Mobile traffic first exceeded desktop traffic in the beginning of 2014. By Q4 of 2014, more people visited e-commerce sites using their mobile devices than their desktop, and by mid-2015, more US consumers searched Google from their mobile than from their desktop. The importance of mobile marketing is fully understood, but mobile display ads simply aren’t delivering results.

Native ads have been the quick fix for mobile advertisers and have been gaining popularity quickly among marketers looking for a more integrated and sophisticated advertising format. Promoted tweets, sponsored posts on Facebook, Snapchat’s new Discover video ads, and most sponsored content formats are examples of native ads. And now we think we might have found another one: Pocket Product Tour.


Pocket Integrates Ads into Firefox User Product Tour

Pocket is a read-it-later service that lets users save articles, videos and web pages and view them later, online or offline. Saved content is stripped from everything but the written content and related media, removing all the banners, related links and in-text ads. On June 2nd, 2015, Pocket fully integrated into Mozilla’s Firefox browser, transforming it from a popular browser add-on to a Firefox Account service, available to the browser’s American, German, Spanish, Japanese and Russian users. Based on Firefox’s massive user base, and our analysis (outlined  later in full), we can assess this integration’s potential at 22 million active Pocket users.

22 million people consuming ad-free content is no joke. Moreover, a user needs to visit the content before saving it to Pocket. This means that advertisers pay for ad impressions even though a user may only visit the page to save it for future ad-free enjoyment. The Firefox-Pocket integration may result in big losses for advertisers and publishers alike. Yet where there are big losses, there can also be big gains. This is what motivated us to go through the Pocket-for-Firefox user experience and lead us to discover a new elegant native ad format: Product Tour Ads.

Firefox users that use Pocket for the first time go through a forced product tour that includes a Ted Ideas article that the users have to navigate to and save to their Pocket to finish the tour.

Pocket's New Native Ad Format


There is no way to exit or skip the tour. Users have to go through all three steps and react accordingly to gain access to the product. This is just genius! Not only are all of the new users forced to visit a page in order to gain access to the service they just registered to, they are required to actually save the article, making it accessible to them anytime, anywhere. This is much better than an impression or click, don’t you think?

Suggested Article Saved to Pocket


None of us have ever seen something like this before. This may be the next evolution of native ads. No more CPM, CPC or CPA based models, this format gives you it all and more! Pocket has found a way to force users to view, click on and engage with a native ad without them even realizing it is an ad. With a potential of 22 million users in an ad-free environment, we truly hope this is just one of many native ad formats Pocket will test. We look forward to seeing some more innovative, but hopefully less intrusive, native ads on Pocket in the near future.


Into the Weeds of Our Analysis: How We Assessed the Potential

This is what got us going:

Pocket and Firefox Traffic 2015

Pocket was integrated into Firefox and pushed out to the browser’s users as part of its latest update (Firefox 38.0.5) on June 2nd, 2015. As a result, we expected the Jumpshot Competitive Analysis report to display a correlating traffic spike for both services on the release day, but Pocket’s 670% traffic spike and upward traffic trend of 160% thereafter were simply beyond our expectations.

It was evident that we need to assess the potential of this integration. This is how we reached the bottom line of 22 million active Pocket users:

1. Exposure: 500 million people use Firefox and 36% of them originate from the countries where the Firefox-Pocket integration was launched ⇒ 181 million people have been exposed to Pocket.

Firefox Top Countries 2015


2. Exposure to Registration: Firefox’s Top Pages section indicates that 50% of the traffic to the domain after the Pocket integration resulted from users signing into another service using their Firefox Account. This is one of the ways Firefox users can create a Pocket account to test and use the service. Prior to the integration this page did not receive a significant amount of traffic, suggesting that the vast majority of these users were using their Firefox account to access Pocket. ⇒ 80 million Firefox users will register to Pocket.

FireFox Top Pages 2015


3. Registration to Activation: While 60% of the traffic to the read-it-later service since its integration with Firefox was driven by Firefox and Mozilla, Pocket’s registered user traffic only increased by 17%. This stat lets us deduce that a max of 28% of the Firefox generated registrations will convert into active Pocket users. ⇒ 22 million active  Pocket users.

Pocket Traffic Channels on June 2nd, 2015



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