Apple News Goes Native: Ads That Look Like Stories Soon to Hit News App

“Apple has introduced a new ad format for sponsored posts that will appear in users’ news feeds alongside articles in the Apple News app,” reports Business Insider. “The company revealed the new ad format in a developer-specification document for Apple’s in-house mobile-advertising platform updated in March.”

That means sponsored ads will “display directly in the content feeds, in line with News articles,” and can link to an article in the News app.

This format applies for both the iPhone and iPad versions of Apple News.

“The ads will be set in the same font as other articles in the News app, except for a small “sponsored” tag. The ads are “intended to blend in with their surroundings,” the document reads,” notes Business Insider.

Publishers need to be aware, however. Though they can upload sponsored content to Apple News, flagging those stories as native content in metadata is critical. If they don’t, their Apple News access could be cut off.

“Publishers that participate in Apple News put an RSS feed into Apple News. That feed is essentially a feed of content and some of those pieces of content might be branded content. The onus is on the publisher in that case to very clearly label and title that content,” Kunal Gupta, CEO of advertising-tech firm Polar, told Business Insider.

Little sponsored content appears on Apple News right now — a situation industry observers chalk up to the fact that publishers have been uncertain about how they can monetize it.

“The new ad format would clearly label branded content in the app, as well as give publishers a new way to sell and promote sponsored posts, although it would come at a cost: Apple keeps 30 percent of the revenue it produces through iAd, a mobile-advertising platform,” warns Business Insider.

Bottom line: Apple wants to find ways for publishers and advertisers to monetize the new content platform.