- Apple is bringing native ads to its mobile News app, according to Business Insider.
- The new ad format will allow for native ads resembling articles to appear alongside publisher articles in users' news feeds.
- The tech titan revealed the update in a developer specification document, which notes the ads will look like other articles in the feed, but will carry a "sponsored" tag. Per Apple's document, the ads are "intended to blend in with their surroundings."
Experts say 2015 was the year that native advertising took off, with the number of advertisers using the format increasing by 136% from January to November last year, according to MediaRadar research cited by Digiday.
Currently, publishers can upload sponsored content into News, but that content must be flagged as such. Business Insider points out that despite this ability, there is a limited amount of sponsored content in News and the reason for that might be monetization issues. The new ad format would allow a fresh way for publishers to sell and push branded content. But as Business Insider points out, this new ability wouldn't be cheap for publishers given that Apple keeps 30% of revenue generated from iAd.
The tech company's News app has already attracted a strong list of publishing partners, including Vox, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and New York Magazine's The Cut fashion blog. However, not all publishers have been pleased with the app. Apple has updated its features for publishers recently, such as a comScore integration, as well as reportedly looking to offer subscription content through News, according to a Reuters report from earlier this year.
As a content distribution platform, Apple News' primary competition comes from Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages project and Facebook's Instant Articles, which is also grappling with how to best please both publishers and advertisers. Facebook updated the app's advertising policies in December giving publishers more advertising options after publishers complained complaints the previous policy restricted the amount of revenue they could earn from Instant Articles content.
One issue facing native advertising is that the FTC is cracking down on how those ads are presented, and making sure consumers realize the ads are in fact ads and not editorial content.
The new native ad format will be available for iPhone and iPad versions of the News app.