Thought Leadership

The Future of Advertising: Programmatic Delivery of Native Units


May 19, 2014

By Sloan Gaon

As more digital ads are being bought and sold programmatically (specifically via RTB), there is a huge opportunity for ad tech to support brands looking to make a bigger impact and engage today’s consumers more effectively. The collision of native advertising and programmatic creates the opportunity to do exactly that.

I recently spoke on the OMMA Native panel, “Rise of the Robot Natives: Oxymoron or Solution?” that closed out the first day of Internet Week New York, which challenged how well we understand the definition of native advertising and how it can extend into programmatic.

So, what is native advertising and is programmatic native advertising an oxymoron?

Native and programmatic are fundamentally different. Programmatic is a media-buying tactic – the pipes of which ensure efficient targeting and delivery of an ad. Native is ultimately how that ad behaves once it’s delivered, and content marketing is the message within the ad.

By trying to compare the two side-by-side, we are doing a disservice to consumers who expect to see great content delivered by brands. The merge of programmatic and native will evolve the market and solve some of the existing pitfalls we’ve seen with static display. A programmatic approach to delivering native ads doesn’t devalue the richness of content and context but, rather, adds value in efficiency and targeting to deliver great storytelling at scale. It allows the publisher and advertiser to put the right content in front of the right consumer at the right time.

Will turning native advertising into programmatic units destroy how publishers and advertisers collaborate to create quality content?

Ben Lampert, Associate Director of AOD, Vivaki, acknowledged during the panel, that the answer to this question is, “skewed towards programmatic, in general, ruining the experience of the internet…Programmatic is a media-buying practice, service and technology, and if you do it right and know how the data flows and the pipes connect [users] can have a great experience.” The best native ads are portable. Creative content and great execution are what allows native to be successful. Programmatic technology will enable this real time branding. If you understand the analytics and data insights of programmatic technologies, you’ll understand how they help to solve for customization issues.

At PulsePoint, we’re seeing that through our new content marketing division, not only can we distribute native ads across our exchange, but we are also able to create custom-content, branded ads that provide value for the consumer (either informative, entertaining or useful).

A recent example of this is a campaign we created for a national food and beverage company. The dynamic messaging units delivered a 140% increase in creative engagement rate vs. standard display (.24% v .1%), and users spent 2,300 aggregate hours engaging with the branded content.

But what about…mobile?

Native advertising will yield an even richer experience on mobile than display. Unlike disruptive banner ads on mobile, native delivers fully immersive user experiences while preserving trust and delivering custom, quality content. It leverages unique mobile features such as context and actions in a more organic way. Savvy brands and publishers are combining engaging content with proper placement for native mobile ads that delight and inspire the consumer.

We’re very receptive to the fact that brand messages work best when they are tailored to consumers’ environments. Meredith, Yahoo and Exxon Mobile were examples given by my fellow panelists of brands that are already successful with native. As the advertising ecosystem evolves, technology is enabling brands’ ability to deliver interesting and engaging content, and we see a clear path where programmatic and native are colliding. Like I said during the OMMA Native panel, “We’re in the first inning of a nine-inning game. We need some runway to grow.” It’s an exciting time to play in the game, advancing the technologies that will essentially lead the next wave of programmatic brand solutions.

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