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Advertising Within Your Product Experience: Placement Best Practices


Placing targeted, non-intrusive ads within digital product experiences represents an emerging revenue stream. Done right, in-product advertising enhances value for users and provides monetization upside.

This comprehensive guide covers proven techniques for effectively incorporating advertising without degrading core product utility. We’ll review:

  • Selecting appropriate ad formats
  • Identifying high-value placement locations
  • Maintaining context and relevance
  • Optimizing timing and frequency
  • Setting ad quality standards
  • Balancing revenue vs. experience
  • Measuring ad performance

Follow these in-product advertising best practices to tap into new monetization while retaining an optimal customer experience. Let’s dive in!

Choosing the Right Ad Formats

Start by selecting unobtrusive ad types matching product contexts.

Consider Native Ads

Native ads incorporate sponsor messaging directly into product interfaces for natural blending.

Evaluate Intersitials

Full-screen interstitial ads display when transitioning between product pages or activities.

Assess Banners and Sidebars

Banner and text ads contained within sidebars or dedicated ad blocks work for many products.

Test Contextual Pop-Ups

Pop-up ads shown based on certain user behaviors can provide relevant messages.

Review Product Placements

Subtly displaying or mentioning complementary brand products and services may fit.

Augment Reality Ads

For AR/VR experiences, explore blending ads into virtual environments.

Analyze Video Ad Options

Short video ads before, within, or after on-platform video content may work for entertainment products.

Identifying High-Value Ad Placement Locations

Place ads in spots users frequent and expect sponsorships.

Home and Landing Pages

Homepage banners and sidebars establish broad exposure.

Around Related Content

Show ads near related editorial content and trending topics.

Portal Pages

Hub pages like newsfeeds or dashboards offer engagement.

Around Communities

Ads supporting relevant discussion forums and groups maintain context.

During Workflows

Show ads when users are performing workflows like account registration.

Within Dedicated Ad Zones

Create branded zones clearly marked for advertising to set expectations.

At Natural Breaks

Display ads between levels of games, chapters of books, or songs during audio streaming at logical transition points.

On Error Pages

Banners on common error or loading pages tap attention while waiting.

Maintaining Contextual Relevance

Ads must align with surrounding content and user mindset.

Target by Page Context

Only show ads relevant to the topics, products or actions on a screen.

Respond to Intent

Leverage predictive intelligence to serve ads matching inferred user intent and goals.

React to Emotion

Adapt ads dynamically based on detected emotion and mood using ML.

Personalize Across Journeys

Vary ads throughout individual user journeys moving from more generic to hyper-targeted.

Sync Across Devices

Coordinate messaging as users move across mobile, desktop and other devices.

Evaluate Ad/Content Fit

Manually review advertiser content and offers to ensure appropriate adjacency to your product content.

Honor Brand Safety

Block any ads containing messaging or creative misaligned with your brand standards.

Optimizing Timing and Frequency

Dial in ad delivery to balance revenue without overwhelming users.

Vary by Usage Patterns

Show fewer ads for users with lower session frequencies or engagement.

Pace Intelligently

Gradually increase ad quantity as users spend more time in-product.

Cap Limits

Impose limits on the number of ads displayed per session or hour.

Let Users Set Preferences

Provide controls allowing users to indicate desired ad timing and frequencies.

Avoid During Critical Workflows

Refrain from inserting ads during technically complex or high-focus activities.

Consider Life Stage

Adjust cadence during onboarding, churn risk periods, and inactive phases.

Test Rhythms and Patterns

A/B test timing approaches to identify the optimal balance between revenue and experience.

Maintaining Ad Quality Standards

Vet and filter low-quality ads to avoid degrading product perceptions.

Ban Inappropriate Creative

Prohibit offensive, objectionable, or misleading creatives.

Insist on Relevance

Reject irrelevant or generic ads that provide no contextually utility.

Require Brand Safety

Prevent ads for competitors unless strategically placed.

Establish Creative Guidelines

Set specifications for font, imagery, animation, audio and length.

###Mandate Device Testing Force mobile, tablet and desktop compatibility.

Limit Disruptions

Restrict ads with pop-ups, audio initiation, and excessive density or motion.

Screen New Advertisers

Review new advertiser reputations, offers and creatives thoroughly before approving.

Balancing Revenue Generation With Experience

Revenue focus can’t undermine core value delivery.

Map the Customer Journey

Understand key journeys and ecosystem interactions to identify ad placement risks.

Place Experience First

Avoid locations that might compromise usability, distract from critical workflows or obstruct value.

Check Increased Ad Loads

When raising ad quantities, monitor usage metrics closely for negative impact.

Honor Power Users

Provide ad-free experiences to valued power users and Enterprise accounts.

Share Revenue

Consider passing along a share of ad revenue generated from user activity back to them.

Be Transparent

Communicate how ads support product development and usage offsets to establish value exchange.

Measuring Ad Performance

Key metrics indicate placement and delivery optimization opportunities. Track:

  • Ad recall, awareness and favorability
  • Click through rates
  • Conversion rates on promoted offers
  • Revenue per ad placement
  • Impact on churn and retention
  • Influence on product perception
  • Preferred positioning, creative and formats

Key Takeaways

When executed strategically, limited advertising can provide revenue upside without compromising user experiences. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Experiment with native, non-intrusive formats
  • Identify contextual placement spots
  • Maintain relevance to content and user mindset
  • Find optimal timing and frequencies
  • Enforce strict ad quality standards
  • Prioritize experience over revenue focus
  • Quantify ad performance through testing

With the right balance, in-product advertising expands monetization through audience targeting within your engaged user base.

By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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