What are native ads?
Native ads allow you to customize the look and feel of the ads that appear in your app. You design the ads from the ground up: how they look, where they’re placed, and how they work within your existing app design.
Why use native ads?
By creating custom ad designs with native ads, you can drive better user experiences in the app and may help to improve your overall earnings from ads. You should consider native ads if you’re looking for a better user experience, more long-term revenue, or both, and you’re willing to design your own ads to achieve these goals.
Advantages of native ads
- In general, native ads provide the most natural look and feel for your in-app ads.
- Studies have shown that users find native ads less distracting than banners, and offer a more cohesive experience overall.1
- You have more flexibility in how you integrate native ads in your app than with other ad formats.
What does all this mean for you
Native ads allow you to create a smooth and natural ad experience so that you can potentially show more ads overall and keep your users engaged. Ultimately, this may help you maximize ad revenue over the long-term.
Best practices for native ads
When thinking about native ads, keep in mind that performance is closely linked to where the ad is placed and how the ad looks - both features you can control. Thoughtful design and attention to detail is needed to get the best performance.
With the Native Ads Playbook, we hope to provide you with best practices, examples, recommendations, and resources to help you achieve success with this format. Read on for more.
The flexibility of native ads make it a great fit for many types of apps. When it comes to implementing a successful native ad strategy, the most important things to consider are the ad design and placement. A good native ad experience should always fit naturally with the app design and not interfere with the user’s experience.
Best practices for native ad design
While native ads allow you to customize the ad design the way you want, below are a few general rules of thumb to follow when you’re deciding how your native ads will look:
1. Match the ad design with the look and feel of your app’s content. Align elements and use similar fonts, colors, and styles. Avoid stretching or cropping advertiser assets.
This sample ad below applies the same color palette, button style, font, and size as the field directly above it, creating a consistent visual experience.
2. Clearly indicate that ads are ads. Always include the Ad badge and AdChoices icon and follow the native ads policies. Distinguish your native ad with subtle visual cues like elevation or drop shadows.
The sample ad below includes not only the ad badge, but star ratings and a large call to action, clearly distinguishing it from other non-ads components in the app.
3. Make ad content discoverable and actionable. Where it fits in your app content, consider a larger-sized layout to make the ad more noticeable. Always include an obvious call to action, like Install, Shop Now, Get Started, or Learn More to drive engagement.
The sample ad below takes advantage of the app’s loading time, has a larger layout, and a clear call to action, creating a compelling, yet unobtrusive ad experience.
Best practices for native ad placement
Ad placement plays a critical role in the success of your native ad strategy. Below are the top guidelines to help you decide where your ads will go:
1. Make the ad a natural component of your app. Fit the ad within the app’s content and design flow, but be sure it’s distinguishable. Do not surprise users with your ad.
The sample ad below is placed in the feed of the app, but is distinct from the content. While the user scrolls through a list of restaurants to order, they’ll see an ad that fits in the flow of the app with relevant content.
2. Don’t add friction. Your ads shouldn’t get in the way of what users are doing in your app. Users should be able to tell where the app content ends and ad content begins.
The sample ad below appears when the user is writing a caption, but doesn’t hinder the user from doing so. The user can still write their caption, while viewing the ad below. The ad content is also clearly distinct from the app content.
3. Know your user journeys. Think about what your users are doing before, during, and after they interact with your ad. Users should see your ad when they’re considering the content on your screen, not when they’re trying to go somewhere else.
Best practices for native ad implementation
When you're ready to implement your native ads, follow the best practices outlined below with resources to help you optimize the results:
Test your ads. Try multiple designs and test them against each other. Different designs perform better in different apps, app categories, or regions. To find the best performing ads that also engage your users, try using Firebase to A/B test different ad designs.
Check out the native ads policies and make sure your ads are compliant. These guidelines can help you create ads that lead to a positive user and advertiser experience.
Create a post-implementation plan. Keep tabs on how your native ads are doing after they're up and running in your app. A post-implementation plan might include when and how you review the ad placement and performance using AdMob reports, and a schedule for any updates.
Get inspired. See how others have implemented native ads in their apps.
Below is a list of resources that may come in handy.
- Developer Documentation: Getting Your App Ready for Native Ads - Android | iOS
- Developer Documentation: Making Native Ads from Native Templates - Android | iOS
- Developer Documentation: Making Native Ads from Scratch [Advanced] - Android | iOS
- Developer Documentation: AB Testing Your Ads with Firebase (see also: Integrating Firebase - Android | iOS)
- AdMob Help Center: Native Policies and Guidelines
Ready to create a native ad?
If you’re looking for an easy way to get started, check out our Native Templates for Android or iOS. These templates have all of the code for a simple native ad. You can use them as-is, or customize them to better match the look and feel of your app.
If you’ve used native ads before or you want to start from a blank slate, feel free to jump straight into our documentation for Native (Android, iOS).
1. Google Internal Study, 2017