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Unilever exec: Create mobile-specific native advertising to engage consumers

NEW YORK ? A Unilever executive at the Media Tech Summit 2013 conference said that marketers should work towards creating content and native advertising that works directly within the context of mobile as opposed to taking what they know from older media and translating it to mobile.

During the ?Future of Native Advertising? session this week, execs from Unilever and News Corp. discussed the importance of contextually relevant advertising that mirrors the product in which it is placed. The session was moderated by Jordan Kretchmer, chief executive officer of LiveFyre.

?I think there has to be a level of creativity and imagination to create something different because most people just translate the old to the new,? said Babs Rangaiah, vice president of global media innovations and ventures at Unilever, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

?When radio first started, it was this big ugly box and all it did was broadcast news all day,? he said. ?There was a guy by the name of David Sarnoff, and he had this big idea to broadcast the heavy weight fight on the radio and his management said, ?Nah this is not going to work.? He hired one broadcaster, and they broadcast the fight and that changed the face of radio because all of the sudden radio has been reframed, and it?s not just what was on the older medium.

?Somebody?s going to come up with the model of the future. I think you might get one for social, for search, for mobile, and that would make it more scalable.?

Native advertising
Native advertising means that the ads have the look and feel of the property that it runs on.

An example would be a sponsored post on the Huffington Post. The ad would essentially be a news story that appears in a similar format to a regular article on the site.

Another interesting example is using the captcha on a site as an ad. Instead of having consumers type in the random letters and numbers, some marketers are asking them to type in the tagline for the brand.

These ads tend to be more engaging for a consumer and less disruptive. They fit into the site and enhance the experience instead of taking away.

?From our point of view, we look at native advertising as something that takes the form of the product, which drives engagement and is not interruptive to consumer experience but is clearly marked and denoted,? said Nick Bell, senior vice president of News Corp., New York.

?Sponsored tweets are a good example,? he said. ?The analogy I always use is you go to a movie theater, before you start the main movie you have trailers. They?re interesting, and you?re engaged.

?That?s a great example in the nondigital space of advertising which is contextual relevant, people understand that it?s advertising but it actually adds to the experience.?

For mobile native advertising, marketers should strongly consider the features of the devices and the platforms in order to cater the ads towards their context.

For example, marketers can easily use geolocation in mobile ads to target consumers who are nearby a restaurant or store. Or perhaps they can use a device?s camera to launch some augmented reality feature within the ad.

It is about framing the ad within both the device?s context and the site or app?s context.

Be creative
According to Mr. Bell, banner ads? engagement rates have been declining over the past 12 years. They may help with brand awareness, but the click-through-rates have been dying out.

He therefore advises marketers to get creative.

For News Corp., its takes advantage of its journalists and creative teams to put out engaging advertising.

?As a publisher, one of our biggest assets are our journalists and creative,? Mr. Bell said. ?The reason were so excited about native advertising is because we have hundred years of experience in creating content. It?s about really driving engagement.

?We?re excited because if you look at the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, although it?ll be clearly marked as advertising, we can have a lot of fun communicating to an audience with a brand,? he said.

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York