January 12, 2017 | blog | by Alexian Chiavegato

Advances in Ad Formats Are Good News for Publishers

The mobile advertising landscape is constantly evolving. In the past several years we’ve seen formats like native advertising and video ads become major offerings from publishers aiming to attract advertisers to their websites. As the space continues to move forward, new formats pop up from publications and sites across the Internet. Publishers today have an opportunity to draw inspiration not only from other publishers, but from any website that’s launched fresh and innovative ways to serve ads to readers.

One company looking to expand on video ads is Pandora, the music streaming service. Pandora has been beta testing a muted video ad that reportedly has marketers intrigued, along with a responsive mobile display ad. The muted ad has boosted video completion rates by as much as 30 percent, while the responsive display ads kept users on the ad 50 percent longer. In an interview with Adweek, Lizzie Widhelm, Pandora’s SVP of ad product strategy, said, “What’s unique about us is that when the video is running, it’s not dead sound in the background, it’s the station or song that you love.”

So what can publishers learn from Pandora’s new formats? For Pandora, the goal is to provide the best listening experience while serving ads that users find valuable and unobtrusive. The same holds true for the print content that publishers serve up on their sites. Just as a muted video might accomplish this feat for an Internet radio site, a native ad containing valuable content can do the same for a publisher. The lesson to be learned from Pandora’s success is that the less intrusive and annoying the ad formats you serve are, the more likely users will want to interact with the advertisement.

AOL is another major player offering new formats. As we noted in last week’s blog, sites like Twitch and Facebook are making changes to take a more aggressive stand against ad blockers, and now the web giant is following suit, changing its advertising specifically to fight back against ad blockers. DataPerks is one of two new offerings that give value to AOL users by rewarding them with more mobile data from parent company Verizon when they interact with the ad. The second format, Player Up, displays a static pre-roll ad before a video, and keeps an interactive watermark up for the duration of the ad.

DataPerks provides a glimpse into what many think is the future of advertising. Reward-based mobile ads consistently outperform ads that don’t provide value to the reader, and they provide a key weapon in the fight against ad blockers. “If consumers are receiving value from the ads they see, it’s likely that they won’t feel compelled to use ad blockers,” said Spencer Sloe, VP of advertising product and strategy for AOL Content and Strategy. Giving readers something back gives you a better chance of serving of impactful ads.

New formats like these are emerging every month. For publishers, it’s important to stay on the cutting edge of what can be done to make your site an attractive destination for advertisers. Innovative formats are a big piece of the puzzle when it comes to monetizing your publication, no matter the size.