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How Programmatic Buying is affecting Native Advertising

Apr 29, 2015 / by Daniel Kohler


 As quickly as native advertising has emerged into its own unique channel, one of the most commonly asked questions from the desks of marketers is simply: how will this scale?

Historically, native ad placements were always sold directly by publishers. Publishers also provided editorial services to the advertiser (producing ‘branded content’). What happened next is interesting.


Native ad networks began to emerge. This allowed for aggregating various publishers. As this ecosystem evolved we now see a new and exciting era of advertising. A modern Renaissance if you will; when native placements are available through programmatic means. So, Now the next million-dollar question (or easily billion-dollar question when judged and measured along evident market size) remains: How will programmatic buying will affect non-standard formats? Since we at StackAdapt pioneered the term “Programmatic Native Advertising” we thought it prudent to publish some thoughts concerning this new digital phenomenon:


  1. Native Advertising goes Mainstream

In the beginning – establishing true scale was a central challenge for Native Advertising and appeared as a roadblock from gaining traction as a mainstream channel - until now. Native ad networks definitely tried to solve the problem of available scale over the past couple of years, although only to certain extent.


Programmatic buying changed everything. Companies such as AdsNative, TripleLift and Sharethrough focus primarily on the supply side (publisher facing), so they are able to scale native placements across hundreds and even thousands of sites. Standing at the demand side are companies likes StackAdapt representing the buy side (brand- and agency-facing). We are aggressively plugging into various sources of native ad supply and as a result are accessing thousands of sites at scale.


  1. Scalable Audience buying comes to Native

When audience buying – advertisers may utilize their own 1st party data (information they have about their consumer, clients and users) and 3rd party data (information available about their potential client group via data providers) and reach these people wherever they are. With this approach marketers can increase ROI quickly and significantly because they will be targeting only the users that want. No wasted advertiser dollars. This is what ‘Real Time Bidding’ is all about --- being able to finite target only the specific and most valuable impressions to you and your brand’s message. Excitingly this targeting mechanism has now made its way to native ads.


Audience buying will allow advertisers to reach their ideal customers across thousands of sites with content-based native ads.


  1. Scalable A/B split testing of Ads/Content

Native is undeniably the most creative advertising format. There is a wider range of space to experiment within. At the ad level – all the different and unique components of the native placement can be changed, adjusted and modified. Undeniably, visual image is the most important component. Keep in mind that properly executed ad copy makes a big difference as well. Programmatic campaign execution allows for the dynamic split testing of various ad executions and shifting focus towards the best performing combinations.


Native truly shines at the content landing page. Native placements simply and effectively amplify this exact content. Being able to dynamically change the content based on the user, site, location, and other parameters will only be successfully possible with a programmatic buying approach. This is when the great content can shine – having the wealth of big data styled information can allow for tweaks to make this same content shine even brighter.


Programmatic buying will bring a great structure to the native advertising ecosystem. Publishers will continue producing great quality content and building toward engaging audiences. Supply side platforms will aggregate hundreds of publishers to access advertising campaigns at scale. And demand side platforms will work with hundreds of advertisers and allow brands to distribute their content at scale.


Topics: Blog Posts, Featured

Written by Daniel Kohler

Director of Sales

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