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Cracking The Creative Code: How To Boost Your CTR with Native In-App Ads

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If you’re taking your affiliate ventures seriously, native in-app advertising should definitely become a subject you want to know more about. Yes, it’s quite restrictive. And no, it’s not a good fit for everybody… but numbers can be pretty mind-blowing. All it takes to succeed with your native in-app ad creatives is to play by the rules and make them pop a little. 

And for those wondering how to crack the creative code and boost your CTR, here are the native in-app advertising tricks everyone should know about.  

Native in-app advertising in a nutshell

Native in-app advertising is yet another form of displaying native ads to users. Only this time ads are served on mobile devices exclusively, and only within an app’s content. It’s a great monetization strategy for both publishers (in this case mobile apps publishers) and advertisers. There are no restrictions as to who can advertise with native in-app traffic, anyone who’d want to run their affiliate ad campaigns via a different marketing channel than usual is welcome. But depending on the publisher and the mobile app’s content, certain campaign criteria must be followed. 

Quality content and valuable ads — the perfect match

People don’t actually hate ads, especially in-app native ads. If done well, native ads displayed within the content of an app can become a win-win-win solution for all three parties involved. Naturally, they serve as a great way of raising brand awareness for companies looking to promote their products. They’re also a profitable monetization tool for advertisers like you. But most importantly, native in-app ads simply help users broaden their search and find needed or potentially interesting items faster and more effortless. We’ve all been there… and we’ve all happily clicked such ads. 

Speaking of happiness, keeping your audience happy, motivated and engaged is the key objective for advertisers of all sorts. If users choose to perform a service using a certain tool and are then unhappy with the result, they’re not very likely to come back anytime soon or use the tool again in the future. The same goes for displaying ads within an app’s content — native in-app ads. 

The sole purpose of creating a native ad format was to promote products via a user-friendly and non-intrusive channel that would keep users motivated and undeterred in the long-run. Days of aggressive pop ups are gone, and the affiliate advertising industry has undergone a heavy change to fight its infamous beginnings. Also, it helped us learn a few valuable lessons for your native in-app advertising. Here they are:

  • Quality content — your ads might be of the highest quality, but if the type of a mobile app they’re displayed within is a poor match, or worse, its content is, then there’s no saving. That’s why finding a quality traffic source with precise targeting options for your native in-app ad campaigns is key.
  • Valuable ads — if the environment within which your ads are displayed is perfectly fine, but your ads are not, then you can only blame yourself. Remember that providing poor quality ads fires back and spoils the market. 
  • Conscious audience — users are not dumb, they see if you’re playing dirty with them. Also, they’re allowed to get tired and bored of seeing the same things all the time, ultimately becoming disinterested and immune to your affiliate efforts. That’s why taking care of your customer and treating them seriously is a must. 
  • Hot marketplace — go with your ads where the people are, it’s as simple as that. We’ve talked about how mobile has outdone desktop, and there are just too many references to cite here. Google it, check Statista, Business Insider, eMarketer or tens of other quality data providers if you don’t believe us, and choose whichever is closest to your heart. But more recent studies have also focused on mobile app vs. mobile web environment and it is certain that in-app advertising is the next hot marketplace.

According to eMarketer, almost 90% of the time people spend using their smartphones is actually spent using mobile apps, leaving a mere 10% to mobile web browsers and other activities. 

According to Statista:In 2018, global mobile app revenues amounted to over 365 billion U.S. dollars. In 2023, mobile apps are projected to generate more than 935 billion U.S. dollars in revenues via paid downloads and in-app advertising.”

To keep the native in-app marketplace profitable in the long-run (and the numbers clearly show it is well worth it) advertisement nurturing must be implemented. Providing high-quality and restrictions-compliant ad content will not only encourage users to engage with your ads but will also prevent native in-app advertising from the risks of banner blindness, ad fatigue and possibly, quick market saturation.

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Titles that make headlines — top native in-app ad title ideas

Yes, we all want our ads to be as attractive and attention-grabbing as possible. To achieve this, we need bait. For native in-app ads, headlines can serve exactly that purpose. That’s why we need them short, catchy and on point. 

There are numerous copywriting techniques, advertising strategies or psychological tricks that can be employed while creating ad titles that make headlines. It’s important not to get too carried away and overdo it, though. The perfect headline length for a native in-app ad is approximately 25 characters, so there’s not much room. 

That’s why we’re listing these tips for writing top native in-app ad titles for you to have a look at, dwell on a little, and maybe get inspired!

1. RELEVANT CONTENT

Adjusting your ad titles to the content of an app they’re displayed within may do the trick. If someone looks to buy a new piece of furniture and chooses to search for it using an app, they might not be instantly interested in your offer… unless you make it sound and look relevant. Just think of local marketplace apps! With an inventory like theirs, you’re able to promote anything you wish for as long as you manage to convince people it’s what they’re actually looking for.

2. RELATABLE THEMES

We all like hearing relatable stories… or the ones we can compare ourselves to. Making your titles resonate such a message, or rather hinting at it with 25 characters max, can truly catch users’ attention. It’s because being able to relate to something makes the ads feel more personal and direct to the audience, hence raising the engagement. 

3. SHORT CAPTIONS

Yes, 25 characters are not much yet it needs to convey a lot. While there’s little room for getting frisky, it doesn’t mean advertisers shouldn’t get creative. Think of the best advertising slogans and you’ll see that although quite short, they’re also sharp. That’s exactly what you should be aiming for. 

4. SENSE OF URGENCY

Call it FOMO, ROMO, or whatever you like… but people do act on the spur of the moment, it’s just how our brains work. And though quite old already, it’s a great selling proposition that just doesn’t seem to wear off. Hint at how the deal finishes soon, plant the idea of users missing out if they don’t act quickly… and watch your CTR grow.

5. EVOKING EMOTIONS 

Shock, horror, surprise, shame, disbelief, curiosity… even if we don’t want to publicly admit it, we all share such feelings. And it seems they work as great monetization tools for your ads. This is because in-app native ads feel personal as if tailored just for our needs, interests and buying habits. And if there’s anything users need, but they’ve always been afraid to openly ask for, the in-app ads are there to serve it. 

6. PROBLEM AND A SOLUTION

Just like in case of relatable content, problem and a solution scenario is yet another technique to draw attention and prompt users to engage with your ads. People either realize the issue and would be keen on learning the solution, or if they haven’t been aware of the problem yet, you’ve just made them. Now they’ll be seeking to solve the problem and luckily for them, your ad is the answer.

7. NUMBERS AND STATISTICS 

Numbers are generally believed to increase interest rates and draw attention to the ad. Using digits in your ad titles can be done in various ways, ranging from listing items to giving statistics. Statistics, as can be expected, work primarily well as a proof of concept and add credibility to whatever product is being promoted.

8. POWER WORDS

JUST DO IT! Using power words in your ads copy has been proven to increase ad CTR and propel conversions. They actually work great for all kinds of ads and can be especially useful when fighting the banner blindness effect.

9. DOs

People actually like being told what to do. It saves time, energy and helps them make the best choice according to an expert’s recommendation. Who’s the expert? You are.

10. DON’Ts

Also, people like to be told what not to do. It feels like having such insights prevents them from making mistakes, thus saving time, energy and effort according to someone else’s experience — your experience to be exact. 

Images to die for

If copy is bait, then the image is hook. That’s why choosing the right images for your in-app native ad campaigns is equally important to writing titles that make headlines. 

For in-app native ads, we need to think of two graphic elements — an actual image and an icon. 

It’s worth noting that native advertising, whether done on desktop or mobile, websites or apps, has been successful thanks to its non-intrusive and user-friendly ad format. That entails great quality and captivating images that blend in nicely with the general layout and content of the place native ads are displayed next to. 

To achieve just that, here are top tips for native in-app ad images and icons. Read it, analyze it, and make use of it while creating your campaigns. 

1. OBEY THE RULES 

If you want to make money online running native in-app ad campaigns, you need to obey the rules. If you don’t, you’ll never get your ads displayed, thus they won’t bring you any conversions, hence you won’t monetize. All that because ad images that do not comply with traffic sources’ or publishers’ policies are blocked right away.

2. USE HIGH-QUALITY IMAGES

Images that look blurred, badly cropped, automatically resized and reshaped do not sell. Even if allowed, though credible traffic sources ban poor quality creatives, such images do not encourage users to engage. On the contrary, they usually prevent users from clicking on shady-looking ads… even if products offered are of great quality. 

3. USE PHOTOS FOR IMAGE PART 

Since image occupies the most space of an ad, it’s best to invest time and effort in employing measures that work best for it. That’s why we’d suggest using actual photographs over cartoon-like illustrations. They’re simply more relatable, and we’ve already discussed how relatable content is proven to return better results. Also, more authentic, hence building users’ trust towards such ads. 

4. AND ILLUSTRATIONS FOR ICONS

It doesn’t mean that illustrations won’t be at all useful. No, we’ve got all the detailed worked out and discovered that illustrations tend to work best for the icon part. It’s small, works on the same premises as emojis and should definitely resemble the promoted product. It helps to send an instant and silent message to customers about what an ad is actually promoting, just like road signs! They take a split of a sec to convey a message — so do icons. 

5. SHOW ME, DON’T TELL ME

Images are there to show users a promoted product, its benefits, emotions it evokes… show, not tell. That’s why text shouldn’t be used in ad images. There’s plenty of space to type in all the information required and the ad image space is not one of those places. It may actually hinder your ad’s performance and make it look obscure to users.

6. BELIEVABLE IMAGES ONLY

Users can instantly sense if they’re being tricked, and while a little psychological trick can give your ad creatives a tiny boost, full reality-detached images are not a way to go. Keep your images reliable, believable and relatable to your audience so as they can fully trust what they see and read. Why would anyone want to click on an ad that’s making it obvious that products it’s promoting can’t be trusted?

7. LESS IS MORE

That’s why try to keep the number of objects in a photo you’d like to use for your native in-app ad creatives to a minimum. A number of scattered items make users confused and thus more likely to lose focus, hence disengage with your ads. Images need to be easy to look at and resonate with a clear message.  

8. CLOSE-UPS & FOCUS

That’s why images focusing on one item or one main idea tend to convert better. At the same time, close-ups might serve the exact same purpose and draw attention to the items you want users to focus on. Instead of presenting a broad picture, pay attention to the details, just like some of the best Instagram photos do!

9. GIVE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT

Why would you show people things they’re not interested in? And what things are they interested in? Well, this one is simple — people like watching other people, food and pets. Also, anything that seems luxurious should work, too. The Internet is full of the latest news and trends, just check your Instagram and see what images are trending at the moment. It’s actually a great place to learn from!

10. PSYCHOLOGICAL TRICKS 

Analysis paralysis, anchoring, availability heuristic, bandwagon effect, cognitive bias, decoy effect, FOMO, ROMO, the herd instinct… the list of psychological tricks widely used in the advertising industry can go on and on. And there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t have a piece of that cake and use it for your own ads! The truth is you’ve been using those for quite some time now — creating a sense of urgency, showing fabulous results of using a product, focusing on one item only, before and after effects, a problem and a solution scenario? Yes, all these tricks are based on the same premises, so it might be well worth investigating before running your next ad campaign!

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Stories worth telling 

How to tell a compelling story using only 85 characters? Well… it does seem like a bit of a challenge but we’d bet affiliate advertisers are the best people for that kind of job. Still, to make our advertisers’ lives easier, we’ve decided to talk about the best converting ad descriptions too. 

The first issue that may seem to be a problem while preparing your ad descriptions is the character limit. It is essential, though. It keeps ads from featuring too lengthy texts and allows the native in-app ad’s layout to fit the overall design of surrounding content. Also, it forces creativity and sticking to the point. Here are just a few hints on how to keep your in-app ad creatives clean and converting.

1. RELEVANCY AND FOCUS

We just cannot stress enough how important it is to keep your ad descriptions to the point. Short and clear messages tend to convert much better than lengthy or ambiguous captions. You don’t want to leave users wondering what the ad is about. Instead, you want to be clear as to what and you’re promoting and why users should engage. Straightforwardness is the key — and that word is definitely way too long for an in-app native ad. 

2. CORRECTNESS

It may seem that 85 characters are just a couple of lines of text, a few words maximum, but there’s still plenty of room for mistakes. That’s why keeping your copy typos-free, making the language clear and easy to read, as well as relevant is essential. Incorrect spelling not only looks unprofessional but may also hinder your offer’s credibility

3. AUDIENCE

Know who you’re talking to — that’s one of the most important advertising tips. Is your product dedicated to teenagers, young parents, yoga lovers, keto diet fans or pet owners? Whatever the products, there’s always a niche it falls into and hence there’s a group of potentially interested people who operate a similar phraseology. Stress being actually put on people because we’re not all bots. That’s why your ad copy can’t be too generic or impersonal. Instead, make it feel direct, personal and inclusive.

4. LANGUAGES

Even though English is the language that dominated the online world, it doesn’t have to limit your native in-app advertising. Think of the US… and then think about how many other languages are actually being used in everyday conversations. Why would you ignore such a big audience? Even if the exact language targeting isn’t always possible, city and region targeting usually is. If you happen to be especially successful in an area where other languages are also highly popular, you can always give it a go. Imagine what a nice surprise it’d make for users. 

5. EMOJIS

They’re everywhere and can convey more meaning than a thousand words. Generation X, Y, and Z wouldn’t really be able to exist without emojis, and older generations have also grown quite fond of them. Plus, emojis have a well-proven track record of increasing CTR. As long as they’re not overused, or no forbidden fruits are featured, inserting emojis into your ad’s copy is definitely worth it. 

Powerful CTAs

The last item left to create a perfect native in-app ad is a powerful Call-To-Action button. There’s not much to do in terms of its visual side, but the text itself can be crucial here. And as Neil Patel (an online advertising guru) says in his article on the best converting CTAs

“The call to action (CTA) can be seen as the bridge between marketing and sales. Everything that you’ve done, all the branding and engagement, was so that people would eventually go from potential customer to paying customer.”

This pretty much sums up why CTAs must not be neglected and that these short yet direct messages can really make a difference and boost the performance of your campaigns, especially for native advertising. And if you’re wondering which CTAs convert best, here are five industry tips plus a list of CTA examples that users click like crazy. 

How to write CTAs that convert?

  1. Know your audience’s needs.
  2. Show the value of engaging with an ad.
  3. Be straightforward and to the point.
  4. Make your CTA visible, font and capitalization matter.
  5. Tell users what to do.

Native Advertising CTA Examples

Yes, you’re seeing it right. We’ve collected 200 examples of CTAs that work great… and comply with native in-app ad specifications — 15 characters max. How do we know this works? Apart from our own industry insights, the following list has been collected by analyzing CTAs used by the biggest companies in the online business, like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Spotify, Uber, Pinterest,  AirBnB, Grammarly or the marketing CRM tool —HubSpot. 

CTA EXAMPLES
1 ADD NOW 101 LAUNCH NOW
2 ADD TO CART 102 LEARN MORE
3 APPLY HERE 103 LEARN WITH US
4 APPLY NOW 104 LOG IN FOR FREE
5 BEGIN NOW 105 LOG IN NOW
6 BEGIN WITH US 106 MEET HER
7 BUY MORE 107 MEET HIM
8 BUY NOW 108 MEET US
9 CHANGE IT NOW 109 NO STOPPING NOW
10 CHAT TO US 110 NO, THANK YOU!
11 CHECK DETAILS 111 NOT INTERESTED
12 CHECK OUT 112 ORDER A GIFT
13 CLAIM BONUS 113 ORDER FOR FREE
14 CLAIM BONUS NOW 114 ORDER FREE NOW
15 CLAIM DEAL 115 ORDER HERE
16 CLAIM DEAL NOW 116 ORDER MORE
17 CLAIM DISCOUNT 117 ORDER NOW
18 CLAIM FOR FREE 118 PURCHASE NOW
19 CLAIM OFFER 119 REACH OUT
20 CLAIM OFFER NOW 120 REFER A FRIEND
21 CLICK HERE 121 REGISTER NOW
22 CLICK TO SAVE 122 SAVE NOW
23 COME BACK 123 SAVE UP
24 CONTACT ME 124 SAVE UP NOW
25 CONTACT US 125 SAY YES
26 CONTINUE 126 SAY YES NOW
27 CONTINUE HERE 127 SEE DETAILS
28 CONTINUE NOW 128 SEE MORE
29 DISCOVER FREE 129 SEE OUR OFFERS
30 DISCOVER HERE 130 SEE OUR PLANS
31 DISCOVER NOW 131 SELECT
32 DON’T MISS OUT 132 SELECT NOW
33 DON’T WAIT 133 SHOP FOR DAD
34 DONATE NOW 134 SHOP FOR HER
35 DONATE ONCE 135 SHOP FOR HIM
36 DOWNLOAD HERE 136 SHOP FOR MUM
37 DOWNLOAD NOW 137 SHOP NOW
38 ENTER FOR FREE 138 SHOP SALE
39 ENTER GIVEAWAY 139 SHOP THE ROOM
40 ENTER NOW 140 SHOW ME
41 ENTER PREMIUM 141 SHOW ME HOW
42 ENTER THE GAME 142 SHOW ME MORE
43 ENTER THE SALE 143 SHOW ME NOW
44 EXPLORE 144 SIGN IN
45 EXPLORE FREE 145 SIGN IN FREE
46 EXPLORE NOW 146 SIGN IN HERE
47 FINALISE IT NOW 147 SIGN IN NOW
48 FIND DEAL 148 SIGN UP
49 FIND NEARBY 149 SIGN UP FREE
50 FIND OUT MORE 150 SIGN UP HERE
51 FIND XYZ 151 SIGN UP NOW
52 FIX IT NOW 152 START FREE NOW
53 FOLLOW FOR FREE 153 START HERE
54 FOLLOW IT NOW 154 START MEETING
55 FOLLOW THE DEAL 155 START NOW
56 FREE TRIAL 156 START WITH US
57 GET A GIFT 157 STOP BY
58 GET ACCESS 158 STOP WAITING
59 GET BETTER DEAL 159 SUBSCRIBE
60 GET BONUS DEAL 160 SUBSCRIBE HERE
61 GET BONUS NOW 161 SUBSCRIBE NOW
62 GET DISCOUNT 162 TALK TO ME
63 GET FIT NOW 163 TALK TO US
64 GET FREE TRIAL 164 TEACH ME HOW
65 GET FREE XYZ 165 TELL ME MORE
66 GET IT FOR FREE 166 TELL US
67 GET MORE 167 TRY 9 DAYS FREE
68 GET OFFER 168 TRY DEMO
69 GET OFFER NOW 169 TRY DEMO NOW
70 GET PROOF 170 TRY EXCLUSIVELY
71 GET STARTED 171 TRY FOR FREE
72 GET STARTED HERE 172 TRY FREE DEMO
73 GET STARTED NOW 173 TRY FREE TRIAL
74 GET XYZ 174 TRY IT
75 GET XYZ NOW 175 TRY IT NOW
76 GIVE A GIFT 176 TRY NOW
77 GIVE ME MORE 177 TRY PREMIUM
78 GO FOR FREE 178 TRY THE SALE
79 GO FREE 179 TRY US NOW
80 GO PREMIUM 180 TRY WITH US
81 GRAB DISCOUNT 181 VIEW BONUS
82 GRAB FOR FREE 182 VIEW DETAILS
83 GRAB IT NOW 183 VIEW FOR FREE
84 GRAB OFFER NOW 184 VIEW ITEMS
85 HELP NOW 185 VIEW MORE
86 HELP YOURSELF 186 VIEW NOW
87 I WANT MORE 187 VIEW OFFER
88 INSTALL NOW 188 VIEW PRODUCTS
89 INSTANT ACCESS 189 VIEW XYZ NOW
90 INSTANT BONUS 190 WANT MORE?
91 INSTANT DEAL 191 WATCH DEMO
92 INSTANT OFFER 192 WEAR IT
93 JOIN FOR FREE 193 WHAT WE DO
94 JOIN FREE 194 WHERE TO FIND
95 JOIN NOW 195 WHERE TO TRY
96 JOIN OTHERS 196 WHY WE DO IT
97 JOIN THE BEST 197 YES or NO?
98 JOIN US 198 YES, I DO!
99 LAUNCH FREE 199 YES, IT’S FREE
100 LAUNCH HERE 200 YES, PLEASE!

Native in-app ads done right 

Now that we’ve discussed all the elements needed to build a native in-app ad, let’s think about how to put it all together. 

Remember that native ads are supposed to match the surrounding content so as not to interfere with user-experience. For in-app native ads, this surrounding is naturally a mobile app. That’s why in-app native ads need to blend into the content of a given app that serves as a traffic source for this type of advertising. Because there are billions of apps available, and most of them monetize the ad traffic, the rules for what’s native may differ depending on the app’s rules and regulations. This also refers to the way an in-app ad is built, though they all stick to more or less similar patterns. 

As visible on the graphic above,  five elements including ad title, description, image, icon, and Call-To-Action are usually needed to build an in-app ad. All the technical specifications concerning the number of characters per text space, image and icon size depend on the app. Note that some elements are obligatory for an ad to be accepted by the system, while some are not. For example, a CTA part may be optional for some apps. 

Having a fixed set of rules is essential for keeping ads native to an app’s content and thus allow users to enjoy the experience an app provides. Have a look at an example of native in-app add and the way it appears for users.

In-App Native Ad Specification

Ad creatives that don’t work

We’ve talked a lot about what creatives work best, but what’s also very important is what creatives don’t work at all. Now, there are probably even more examples of poor creatives, but one thing rules them all — no ad will ever work if users don’t see it. 

As much as there might be quite a lot of good ads that just get lost in all the hype and simply lose to the competition, ads that get banned never even get a chance to compete. That’s why making your ad creatives restriction compliant is of utmost importance. 

Native in-app advertising rules don’t differ much from the usual guidelines, whether for pop, push or other native ads. The most crucial part is that both regular native and in-app native ads need to follow direct restrictions of their main publisher.

Key takeaways to increase your CTR and monetize native in-app ads

We hope that advertisers who read this article find all the information needed to successfully monetize native in-app ads. Choosing the best titles, description texts, images or CTA versions may seem like a lot of work. If done correctly and according to an app’s requirements, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work well. Here are some key takeaways.

  1. Mind the difference between mobile web native and in-app native advertising.
  2. Check if an app offers quality content for its users and provide valuable advertising content only.
  3. Make sure your vertical and offer match an app.
  4. Beware banner blindness and market saturation.
  5. Choose titles that make headlines for your ads.
  6. Thoroughly analyze and choose the best performing image for your ad. Don’t forget to include an icon!
  7. Keep your ad description short, on point, yet engaging.
  8. Include a powerful CTA. Use power words!
  9. Obey the rules and regulations for given ad type and traffic source (like here)
  10. Remember how an in-app native add is structured:
  • Title — max. 25 characters
  • Description — max. 85 characters
  • Image — required size 700x289px (badly cropped, resized or non-compliant  images will be rejected!)
  • Icon — required size 60x60px (simple images recommended, must be policy compliant)
  • CTA — max 15 character (if not provided, a Read more button will be displayed by default)

All that’s left is to kickstart native in-app traffic ad campaigns, identify the best performing units of traffic and scale up! 

 

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