NEW YORK: Native advertising works best on mobile, where click through rates and engagement levels are significantly higher than for desktop according to a new series of benchmarks.

Created by Polar, the native advertising platform, and based on the aggregate data of over one billion mobile impressions from its MediaVoice platform, the 20 native ad benchmarks for mobile devices show how readers around the world are interacting with sponsored content.

The click-through-rate (CTR) on mobile placements, for example, averaged 0.26%, or 57% higher than on the desktop, while engagement time on mobile native ads, at three minutes and 12 seconds, was 33% longer than on the desktop.

These figures were even higher when smartphones were considered in isolation from tablets. Smartphone native ads boasted an engagement time of three minutes and 37 seconds, 45% higher than those served on tablets, while the average CTR stood at 0.27%.

There were some distinct regional differences, as the average mobile CTR registered in the UK was just 0.16% and the average time spent was lower in the US and UK by 16 to 18 seconds.

Polar also compared performance of mobile native ads in the content categories of finance, lifestyle and news. Finance had the lowest click-through rate (0.12%) but the longest time spent per ad (four minutes and 28 seconds), while, conversely, the news category had the highest click-through rate (0.32%) but lowest time spent (two minutes).

The lifestyle category was nearer the industry average, with a CTR of 0.24% and time spent at two minutes 56 seconds.

Writing in Admap earlier this year, David Hewitt and Zach Paradis of SapientNitro highlighted native advertising as one of seven ways in which mobile advertising would be most effective in the future.

"Taking ads out of the periphery column and crafting them as inline content, boosts click-through rates as the more intimate content partnership drives both perceived relevance and in-reader flow," they said of native advertising in general. And this was especially true of mobile where smaller screens make periphery ads impossible.

The other factors they drew attention to included: content and consumer participation to build credibility; brand partnerships with networks and sources of inspiration; ads as part of a social community; mobile search; mobile providing continuity in omnichannel marketing; and integrating brands into existing mobile activity.

Data sourced from Polar, Admap; additional content by Warc staff