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Pepsi, Sauza eye new mobile opportunities with native advertising

Pepsi, Sauza Tequila and Cruzan Rum are betting on in-stream mobile advertising to drive video views of their YouTube campaigns.
The brands are the initial advertisers running campaigns with Sharethrough?s new mobile advertising platform. The platform is meant to help brands reach groups of mobile users through in-stream ad units that resemble sponsored content.

?The static banner ad that sits on the top or the bottom of the phone is a bad user experience ? there are a lot of accidental clicks, and the content is not integrated with the site,? said Chris Schreiber, vice president of marketing and communications at Sharethrough, San Francisco.

?We think in-feed advertising builds two important things ? a really good user experience and scale,? he said.

A mobile fit
One of the main challenges brands have with native advertising is scale since these ad units are typically created to only fit on one publisher.

Additionally, brands are increasingly looking for ways to leverage mobile advertising to distribute content.

Forbes, Serious Eats and Time Inc.?s People are Sharethrough?s initial publisher partners that place the ads within their mobile Web sites.

Pepsi is running a mobile advertising campaign to promote its new ?Mirrors? YouTube video as part of a bigger marketing push around spokeswoman Beyonce and the #BeyHereNow campaign.

The video is one-minute long, and is packed into an ad unit that resembles a bar that is marked as sponsored content.

Similarly, Sauza Tequila?s mobile advertising campaign features an ad that expands when tapped on to promote the brand?s ?Make it with a Lifeguard? video series.

Via the ads, consumers can watch a minute-and-a-half video clip that walks consumers through the steps of whipping up their own cocktail.

Additionally, buttons to share the content across Facebook, Twitter and email run along the bottom of the ad.

The ads use a technology called Real Time Templating, which customizes the ad to match the style of the publisher?s site with the ad via fonts and colors in real-time. This is meant to help an ad blend into a reader's news feed.

Death of the banner?
Some marketers believe that mobile display advertising does not live up to its potential with ad formats and creative that essentially pours desktops ads into smaller-sized screens.

Although native advertising is traditionally more labor-intensive and costly for marketers, there are signs that marketers are increasingly eyeing the ad formats to reach mobile users in unique ways.

For example, 30 percent of Facebook?s revenue came from mobile during the first-quarter of 2013, suggesting that its recent targeting improvements are appealing to brands (see story).

Additionally, Yahoo recently rolled out new advertising units that pop up in streams of content for smartphone, tablet and desktop users.

?This is the future of mobile advertising,? Mr. Schreiber said.

?The display static ads that sit on the top of the screen are dead on arrival,? he said.

?If you think about all the things that brands are doing with content, all of that works well with native ads.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York