AP Showcases Sponsored Content in Updated App

Latest version uses a grid of tiles

The Associated Press is putting sponsored content front and center in the latest version of its iOS app, which goes live on Tuesday.

The app's navigation is built around a grid of tiles linking to news sections and big story collections. A sponsor can buy one of those tile spaces and use it to surface a wide array of advertising content, explained Michael Boord, the AP's global director of mobile products.

"We have the flexibility to do pretty much anything," he said of the potential ad experiences, including linking to mobile websites, videos and text.

No sponsors are signed on for the launch of the app update, but Boord said the AP is in discussions with brands.

This isn't the AP's first time placing sponsored content in front of mobile readers. Boord cited the news organization's 2012 Olympics coverage (sponsored by Fidelity Investments on the app) and a World Cup app (sponsored by Visa) as two other examples. The redesigned mobile app, though, is a way to "increase the visibility of sponsors," he added.

Still, Boord said the biggest gripe he hears about the app amounts to, "Get rid of the ads." Well, that's not going to happen.

"Advertising is just one of those things that is not going away and is necessary to the operation, as far as we're concerned right now," he said. The goal, he added, is to find ways to make the advertising experience better.

"I don't think people are opposed to advertising, necessarily," Boord said. "They're opposed to it being in your face or really disruptive."

Which makes sponsored mobile content even more appealing, with its placement in the user's natural experience of the app. The AP will still run small banner ads on some article pages, Boord said, but the hope is that sponsored content will help the company move beyond that form.

Publish date: June 25, 2013 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/ap-showcases-sponsored-content-updated-app-150626/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT