Psychology is playing a pivotal role in the shift of mobile digital marketing from traditional mobile banner ads to native ads. Yeahmobi is looking at how psychology can be used to optimize native ad displays, by both advertisers and publishers, to better engage users. Last time, in part 1, we took a look at how the components of ads could be better honed, discussing aspects such as color, style and display frequency. In part 2, here, we’re taking a look at how text can make or break mobile native ads.

This guide comes on the back of Sharethrough’s recent publication of an infographic on native ads neuroscience (based on their study with Neilson), 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.

So getting to the point, what text should you be using in in-feed ads and what effect does it have? On the findings of their study, Sharethrough stated that: “Among native ads, the majority of explicit visual focus was on the ad’s text rather than the thumbnail. The same was true for editorial posts.” It is crucial that when implementing native ads you use the most effective copy. Here’s how you might do that:


When you create copy for in-feed ads you want to make sure headlines inform the reader of your main point or about your brand in a way that engages the user. Testing longer and shorter headlines can tell you which method works best for your ads and for your users. Sharethrough’s research actually suggests you use longer headlines as it leads to higher engagement rates – the highest engagement from tests came from copy with 61+ characters. Whilst longer headlines do give readers more information that can help associate your brand with the things you specifically want, the length might not work in all situations, mainly mobile phones and with gaming ads.

On mobile it could be better to keep headline copy short (but not necessarily sweet). Bearing in mind that mobile screens can often be quite small compared to tablets and desktops, longer headlines in ads might put some users off. Keeping text short can ensure that you get the key point across more clearly in the limited space available on a mobile screen. But if you use shorter headlines you need to make sure the brief copy delivers a greater impact. You could even try using negative wording, which is known to create more sharing. Social media marketing expert Pam Dyer suggests that using words like “No”, “Without” and “Stop” impact users and readers by tapping into our insecurities. A/B testing the length of text and words that stimulate sharing can gradually help build your brand and deliver high value to mobile marketing.


You respond to information quickly and deeply if it relates directly to you. When you run ad campaigns, whether as monetization in your app, or whether you are creating headlines for your campaigns, it’s important to think about how you speak to your targeted customers. Using ‘we’ and ‘you’ in ad copy can help make ad dialogue seem like a more personal and natural dialogue. For app developers monetizing their products, copy personalization could be done in the ad disclosure text. Instead of ‘Sponsored’ on a tag, ‘Suggested for you’ might better engage users during in-feed scrolling.

Personalizing messages in advertising can also help offer users more value. Forbes contributor, Jayson DeMers, suggests offering a clear benefit in a headline to engage readers. A headline for a cleaner app advert reading “5 tips to increase your phone’s memory” is likely to have a stronger impact that “Read about this great cleaner app”. If you can offer readers valuable, useful information that is directly addressed to them, you are more likely to engage new users and build your audience.


Sharethrough’s study also found that descriptive language in in-feed ads creates associations with brands. This is crucial for brand recognitions and stimulating organic user growth from ad campaigns. Including the advertised brand name and key words related to the brand can create an impression that lasts beyond the view of the ad itself. For example, if you are promoting a mobile racing game, you might want the audience to associate with a phrase like ‘turbo pace’. By including the phrase in ads that users and prospective users see, those same viewers are more likely to associate ‘turbo’ and ‘pace’ with your game when they see the words after the ad.

And that impacts on ASO. For app developers, using the same keywords in ads as you do on the app store landing page can create a stronger resonance of your game in your users’ minds. And by suggesting the right words in ads, you might be encouraging specific language for users to search for your app, and that means a greater likelihood of them finding you. Especially now that Google and Apple are making serious progress in app-store discovery.