InMobi recently announced that its native mobile ad platform would be taken out of beta and made available to the public. Forget Facebook and Twitter, the India-based ad network believes its highly customisable solution is the most advanced native ad platform in the world and will open the format up to a whole new range of advertisers and publishers, who are no doubt eager to see what all the fuss is about. We caught up with the InMobi’s co-founder Abhay Singhal to find out what his company can offer in a space that’s becoming increasingly competitive.
Interview: InMobi on Native Ads
Abhay Singhal, co-founder, InMobi
There’s quite a few big players jumping into mobile native ads, so what makes InMobi’s recently native ad product stand out from the rest?
InMobi’s native ad platform is different to others because it gives developers of all sizes and budgets the ability to monetise their apps in a way that doesn’t negatively impact the user experience. Previously, the majority of native advertising was limited to five big companies, so we’ve democratised native ads for all developers. Not only that, now we are offering a process that couldn’t be easier for developers to create advertising inventory in their apps. WIth InMobi’s self-serve platform, developers can create native ads for their app in a matter of minutes. This is a game changer for many developers.
InMobi also offers a network for native ads that is better than our competitors. In the beta testing phase, we served native ads in more than 35 countries, on our network that meant processing approximately 20 billion native ad requests a month. Soon, we expect to be working with tens of thousands of developers and offer native ad experiences to billions of users globally.
But are you worried about competition from companies such as Facebook and AOL? How will InMobi compete against these guys?
Competition is good, because it validates what we are doing and keeps standards high. At InMobi we’re focused on delivering the best products to help developers monetise their apps and advertisers to reach a high quality global audience. We put money on our belief in the quality and variety of users on our network. And it’s already clear to us from the beta testing that our native ad self-serve platform is an attractive proposition for both developers and advertisers.
The feedback from developers during the beta testing of our native ads self serve product has been overwhelmingly positive – between four and 10 times better return on investment than traditional ad formats. Users are also five time more likely to engage with a one of our native ads and when combined with our rapidly growing network, which we estimate will crack the 1 billion active users barrier in the next quarter, its a very attractive proposition for advertisers.
We genuinely believe this a complete game changer for the industry and that other networks will soon start to come along for the ride with us.
InMobi introduces its native ad platform
By trying to scale native ads, and open them up to all developers, don’t you perhaps risk making the ads look too similar and generic?
No, not at all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Native ads open up a wide range of creative advertising executions that weren’t previously available in traditional formats such as banners. So, now advertisers can create more engaging, exciting advertising content served into apps in a much more engaging and compelling way.
We analysed literally thousands of apps across all categories to determine how native ads could be best integrated within the majority of apps. So, we developed a suite of starting points and templates for developers to then customise in a way that works best for them. As more and more developers get on board with native ads, there will be more scale for advertisers to create even bigger and better campaigns, and we can expect to see some exciting creatives on the back of this.
What do you think of Google’s recent ad policy change regarding native ads? Will this harm the ability of native ads to integrate more seamlessly within apps?
Native ads are all about improving the user experience of an app and not detracting from it. We’ve invested heavily into native advertising because we know it’s what developers, advertisers and app users want. There is a significant difference between advertising that integrates into the overall app experience and something that is deceptive and tries to trick users into an action. While native ads match an app’s look and feel, it is still clear to users that it is an advertisement. Also, making ads distinct doesn’t mean making them ugly, right?
A lot of app marketers are looking at emerging markets such as China and India, as a cheaper way to grow their user base. Is this a good idea in your opinion? And does InMobi’s India connection put the company in a good position to help Western advertisers get a foothold in these markets?
Markets such as China and India are significant not just in terms of scale, but also because of their sophisticated engagement with mobile devices. And this is why app marketers and developers are attracted to these markets. The rise of their importance also demonstrates that there is a thriving mobile advertising ecosystem that even players like FB are trying to crack by acquiring apps like WhatsApp.
InMobi’s global presence includes offices in Bangalore, Beijing, Dubai and Mumbai which means we are perfectly placed to open doors for Western advertisers looking to enter these markets. The unique understanding we provide of technology landscape, developer ecosystems, cultural nuances, usage behaviours and other local expertise help us to ensure successful campaigns for our clients.
For more info on InMobi’s new native ad platform head over to the official site.