Native Ads and Native Apps: What’s the Difference?

by • October 26, 2015

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I am a native English speaker. Like a native speaker of any language, I don’t have to think about the words I use (unless it’s 4:40pm on a Friday, when my brain is a little rusty).

I can call up expressions and turns of phrase that only a native speaker would know, and use them to communicate effectively. I can see words written in English and process them mentally before I’ve even realized what I’m doing. I am pre-programmed to speak English, as it were.

The term “native” doesn’t just refer to linguistics, of course. It’s a long-used technology term to describe something built specifically for the platform on which it will be used. The platform can support that technology without any outside help or having to emulate another platform. Because of that, native technologies usually run more efficiently and successfully. Just like my brain runs English a lot more fluidly than my half-remembered high school Spanish.

In the digital and mobile world, we like to keep it extra confusing by talking about native apps and native mobile advertising, which represent two different kinds of “native-ness.” Let’s look at what each of those mean and why they’re important for marketers to understand.

What’s a Native App?

Native apps are coded with the specific programming language used for either iOS or Android. They literally speak the same language as the operating system of the device on which they run, and they can take advantage of unique features enabled by that OS like the camera, contacts or GPS navigation. Non-native apps are usually coded with browser-based technologies designed to work across all potential platforms (HTML5, for example), but that cross-platform portability comes at the expense of sophistication and functionality.

At Phunware, we believe in native app development primarily because native apps deliver the best user experience. They’re faster, more feature-rich, and more intuitive than non-native apps, which means people are more likely to use them—and that means brands are more likely to get the marketing ROI they’re looking for.

What’s Native Advertising?

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Native Advertising Playbook,

“Native advertising is a concept encompassing both an aspiration as well as a suite of ad products. It is clear that most advertisers and publishers aspire to deliver paid ads that are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong.”

The IAB goes on to define various categories of native ad products, which include in-feed units, paid search units, recommendation widgets, and other types of placements. What all of these ad types have in common is that they are developed to blend seamlessly with the environment in which they appear. A banner ad isn’t native, but a sponsored post that blends in among your friends’ updates in your Facebook timeline is.

The bottom line is: people have trained themselves to ignore traditional banner ads. When was the last time you clicked on a banner? What’s more, with the rise of ad blocking, more of these traditional digital ads are not getting delivered. Nobody sees them. But because native ads are not affected by ad blocking technologies, they can be extremely effective—IF they are truly relevant to the target.

At Phunware, we are big advocates of native advertising, particularly on mobile platforms—in other words, ads appearing seamlessly in content on mobile browsers or within mobile app content. These ads can actually delight and entertain users, rather than interrupting their mobile time. Even better, smartphones and tablets yield rich opportunities for personalizing ads through location-based and behavioral characteristics, and creative developers are pushing the boundaries of what native advertising means.

As we’ve said before:
Better user experience + Better personalization + Better segmentation = Ads that perform better (and don’t annoy people)

Check out Phusion Native Brand Placements to see how creative native can be!

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Source: Phunware

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