The ads can be targeted against the customer’s first-party data as well as AOL’s data, including information about the mobile carrier, device operating system, content verticals and user demographics, e.g., women ages 18-49.
AOL is one of many companies that have unveiled native ad formats. AOL’s native ad unit follows Twitter making its native ad format available to all publishers on Tuesday. And Sharethrough this month launched an SDK enabling publishers to run native ads on apps, in addition to the mobile Web and desktop.
But it remains to be seen whether brand advertisers will embrace native ads beyond app installs. A quick review of in-stream ads on Yahoo’s mobile site, for example, showed mainly ads from app developers like Kabam, Supercell and Goodgame Studios.
AOL’s native ads are mostly app install ads as well. While the majority of clients are using its native ad formats to drive app downloads, AOL is also pursuing other campaigns, Gallagher explained. He demurred when asked to explain what those campaigns would look like, except to note that the company will have more to share soon.
“We started with the demand for an app download unit, but the concept of native is much bigger than that,” he said. “We’re already hearing from brands that say they want to engage in more native formats.”