Psychology is playing a pivotal role in the shift of mobile digital marketing from traditional mobile banner ads to native ads. Yeahmobi runs various forms of mobile native ads and for one format, the in-feed native ad, understanding the psychology of users can seriously affect the success of mobile advertising. We’re here to give a quick guide to using psychology to optimize ad displays, for both advertisers and publishers.

Quick Guide Part 1-User Psychology and In-feed Native Ads

This guide comes on the back of Sharethrough’s recent publication of an infographic on native ads neuroscience, and the release of the ‘IAB Deep Dive on In-Feed Ad Units’ – both excellent sources of information for businesses wanting to create highly-effective native ad campaigns or indeed monetize via in-app ad displays.

Yeahmobi is offering quick tips that could help you implement a psychological approach to effectively using mobile native in-feed ads to advertise or to monetize your ad inventory. And we’re doing it in 3 parts.

In Part 1, here, we’re looking at optimizing native ads components. What do we mean? By ‘ad components’ we mean the color of ads, their style and composition, and the frequency at they are displayed. All of these aspects can be influenced by both advertisers, who can edit the components in the content of their ads when creating a campaign, and by developers, who can control the components in the ad display unit in their apps. The arrangement of these components can lead native ads to trigger deep responses from users. They can create memory associations and emotional responses.

So, what can advertisers and developers do to optimize the components of in-feed native ads on mobile?


You can influence emotional responses in users by optimizing color. For example, red is often associated with intensity, energy, passion and even danger. Using strong reds is likely to ignite such emotions in users. It could be a brilliant color for promoting action games like Fire Age. Blue, on the other hand, is associated with the sea and the sky, things people can trust that are stable and tranquil. It is commonly used in the branding of tech companies, and would be ideal for ads promoting utility apps where you want to evoke a sense of reliability in your users.

Choosing the right color can influence the way users react to ads displayed in an app’s feed, whether it’s a content feed, social feed or product feed.

Style and Composition

You can change layout of ads, for example by having pictures before text, or vice versa. Although to make ads ‘native’ you don’t want to stray too far from your main content in terms of structure, you can play with it to achieve different effects – there’ll be more on this in Part 3.

You can make the style more or less in line with your app feed’s main content. Optimizing both style and composition can influence the depth of engagement with an ad and how users connect ads with the content in which promoted content is embedded. If your app’s feeds display copy before images, then you can either keep ads the same, or reverse them so they show images first.

The ad that remains the same would require the user to engage with the copy of the native ad in the feed, and would therefore need to provide high-value information to the user, which could be useful for ads aimed at gaining longer term user engagement and direct ROI. Reading a headline yields more than 300x consumer attention than showing an image – so users are more likely to want to go on to do something with an ad focused on copy than one on image.

Alternatively, by reversing the order from that of the main feed – displaying an image before the text – you could make ads stand out more. These ads would still be native because they placed in the users main feed of information and they match the feed by containing the same components, i.e. copy and image. In fact, the reversal of order could be an interesting way of declaring the ad as an ad, which is advisable certainly according to IAB guidelines. Native ads achieve 2x more visual focus than banners, and making the ad stand out in this way would bring attention to the immediacy of the brand being advertised, rather than encouraging very deep engagement. Attention for the brand could benefit advertisers trying to promote their name over their particular products, useful for apps that aim to cover a large audience, and for developers looking to monetize by maximizing impressions.

Frequency of Display

Adjusting the frequency with which ads are displayed can seriously affect the emotional response of users. Too few and far between can lead to ads seeming surprising and interesting, yet go too far and they might confuse users. Place them together can create a sense of urgency which can stimulate users, but too many can infuriate them.

People also get used to – read bored of – the same thing over and over. So if ad displays aren’t updated regularly enough, displaying ads in a stream of news or posts from friends could fatigue the user and lead to banner blindness. It is crucial that as a developer implementing ad displays, or as an advertiser creating an in-feed ad campaign, you think about how often you need to stimulate a user’s interest and how long it will be before your potential users are bored of your announcements. You have to find the right balance, to achieve the right psychological reaction and ultimately the right result.

Overall Conclusion

Think about what effect you want to achieve and plan for it. Test it and optimize ad displays and ad campaigns. Make sure you achieve a balance.