AOL Mobile Advertising Goes Native

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AOL expands native advertising's reach on mobile.
AOL expands native advertising's reach on mobile.

While introducing new mobile app-related features in Google AdWords on Tuesday, VP of Product Management Jerry Dischler noted that 60% of the more than 50 billion apps downloaded each year are never installed. Today, AOL announced the roll out of a new native advertising unit for mobile devices that could work to knock down that percentage, if the company's test numbers are to be believed.

Native ads for mobile apps in a four-month trial on some of AOL's lesser-trafficked sites logged install rates of 6 to 8%—six times higher than the average rate for smartphone display banners, according to the company. Beginning today, the mobile unit will be rolled out to premium properties such as Huffington Post (left), Techcrunch, and AOL Mail, expanding reach to a potential 86 million monthly users.

“By the end of the year, there are going to be more page views on mobile than on desktop. The content is moving to mobile but the revenue is not moving with it,” says AOL Director of Mobile Chad Gallagher. “This will go a long way to making native advertising on mobile more scalable. We're creating a larger ecosystem in which advertisers are not limited to dealing with individual publishers.”

Besides AOL sites, the scalability will extend to more than 20,000 third-party publishers that AOL has invited to join its native mobile ad network. That could well serve to open up the mobile channel to big-budget, national native advertisers.

“When our AOL team told us they're rolling out native mobile ads to quality publishers, we wanted to be among the first advertisers to run,” said Tyler Davis, a partner in digital agency Chong + Koster, in a release announcing the expansion.

Gallagher said that AOL would limit native adds to app links at the outset, but would soon expand to other forms of creative.

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