It’s hard to have a conversation about new display inventory outlets without mentioning native. With all of the growth and advancements currently being made within the native space, it only makes sense to get familiarized with the process and upcoming initiatives happening within native. As with many “buzz” terms in the display realm, native has grown to mean a few different things, but in this instance, we are focusing mainly on display-focused native placements. To give a quick overview, native advertising is an ad placement where the format of the creative matches the experience and content in which is appears within the site. Overall, the ad lives within, is formatted like and aligned with the site content – making it engaging for a user.
Growth of Native
Native ad buying has been around for several years now, with companies like Sharethrough, Triplelift and Yahoo allowing brands to buy these content-aligned placements across a wide set of inventory. Engagement and brand lift saw strong results due to the nature of how the ads looked, similar to the page content, and users found these to be more trustworthy. With this success in key metrics and the natural shift in how users are engaging site content, many publishers over the last couple of years have implemented site redesigns. These redesigns include shifts in ad space to a more native feel, and therefore, boosting scale and popularity in native advertising. Nowadays, you will find very recognizable and premium publishers on site lists for native campaigns, with more and more being added every month. Even some of the larger publishing brands such as Conde Nast, Hearst, MSN and USA Today have adopted these formats and will available through native partners.
Based on a session at the Digiday Agency Summit in May, native spend will increase by 46% over the next 2 years. This is in line with the number of publishers making the move within in their inventory and the way users are engaging with this content.
The Future of Native
Now with some of the background out of the way, I wanted to talk through a few of the upcoming initiatives that you should be seeing within the native space:
- Native Video – Video itself has seen tremendous growth over the last couple of years within the display industry, so a natural next step would be native video. Formats will vary based on site layout and specs, with some auto-play, much like the Facebook format. A few media partners already offer video and it should be releasing as a programmatic option by the end of the year.
- New ad formats – Along with video, partners are starting to offer other types of ad formats for placements with the hopes of continually increasing overall engagement. Based on the partner, these could range from rich media-type units, to Cinemagraph images to social-integrated images.
- Global Footprint – International reach is already available with most partners, but like most new display initiatives, scale is currently limited. New countries and international publishers are being added constantly.
Programmatic & Native
I can’t talk about native without mentioning the integrations that many native partners have gone through with DSPs, allowing brands and agencies to incorporate these placements within their current plans and campaigns without a direct buy. This gives more opportunity with advertisers to test with native and buy the inventory more cost effectively. On average, we have seen CPMs be 80% less for programmatic campaigns than with direct native buys — leaving room to increase coverage with greater media spend and the ability to layer on additional targeting layers. Partners are continuing to roll out the new ad formats and publishers for programmatic campaigns as they come into the market.