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Native programmatic: Why it’s a major opportunity for publishers

Dec 2, 2022

Chameleons are fascinating species. Not only are they able to change colours to blend in and adapt to their surroundings, but their super strong tongues also allow them to grab food within fractions of a second.

Native ads could be called the “internet chameleon” of the digital advertising world. They blend in with the surrounding content and the really good ones hijack people's attention in a matter of milliseconds to get the click. 

Paradoxically, despite their stealthy nature, native ads on publishers' sites are proven to be seen 53% more than display ads. People have been trained to simply ignore banner ads over the years and have developed a condition called "banner blindness."

Not only do native ads grab more attention, but they also drive 8.8 times higher click-through rates compared to banner ads, as one study suggests.

When programmatic is added to the equation, advertisers can leverage the same standardized specifications to serve ads on any publisher on the open web. That means the ad-serving technology behind native widgets will dynamically and automatically adapt to almost any ad slot and format, making it more relevant and providing a better experience for the consumer. TripleLift's forward-thinking ad technology is a good example of this.

When we talk about native ads’ chameleon-like ability to adapt and perform in different environments, there's another subject we must keep in mind - contextual targeting.  The cookie deprecation and ad blockers that give some marketers nightmares are made irrelevant by contextual native advertising, making it the close-to-perfect strategy for an eminent cookieless digital world.

All of this can translate into more engagement, an increase in loyal readers, higher brand affinity, and ultimately more revenue for the publisher.

Data-Driven Advertising: A New Era

Long gone are the days when the only way to get access to a publisher's inventory was through tedious back-and-forth suit-and-tie meetings, endless negotiations, and pen-to-paper insertion orders.

Because publishers couldn't sell all their inventory manually, a new reality emerged: programmatic trading. This is when ad inventory started to be transacted on ad platforms. Here, guaranteed deals would be prioritized until the ad space was filled, at which point available inventory would fall back to the next layers, reserved for private auctions and open auctions, a process called waterfall.

READ ALSO: The main types of native advertising everyone should understand

The industry took another sharp turn in 2016, for the better, with the introduction of header bidding. This made the whole waterfall and every single ad impression accessible to advertisers to potentially bid for, creating higher fill rates and boosting revenue for the publishers that adopted it.

This short journey through history can almost help us predict where the industry is going. We're now seeing the rise of programmatic media buying and selling at its most efficient state, where ads are transacted within milliseconds. These transactions are powered by meaningful data insights that not only make it cost-effective for the advertiser but also lucrative for publishers who find it easier than ever to provide a better experience for the consumer.

The Master Chef

It's hard to come across a type of advertising that does a lot of things very well in almost any way. Native programmatic is one of those. Not just because of its versatility or engaging nature but also its efficiency at scale. Like a master chef, it comes with a wide range of refined skills and techniques to create spectacular dishes.

Programmatic native inventory can be bought through the same demand-side platforms (DSPs) where you'll find display inventory. DSPs are often integrated with data management platforms (DMPs), which are used to collect, manage and activate audience data.

READ ALSO: Native Programmatic: What Does It Mean for Publishers?

The real magic happens when DSPs and server-side platforms (SSPs), the technology for publishers, cross reference user data and activate it to serve the best possible ad impression to that specific user. Instead of having that impression potentially be worth $5, it's now worth $30 because of the applied data and insights, which ultimately create relevance.

That ad impression is just a tiny grain compared to the millions of ad impressions served every second through programmatic buying and selling, a process we could call real-time bidding (RTB). I predict this is the way all digital media will be transacted at some point because it has gotten so efficient.

Applied data, engaging ad formats, real-time bidding and automation are the ingredients for massive scale and profits, for both advertisers and publishers. The recipe is called "native programmatic."

Is Selling Native Ads Programmatically The Future?

At the end of 2021, Facebook saw a decrease in active daily users for the first time in its 18-year history. Users seem to be slowly leaving social media (at the time of writing Twitter seemed on the verge of implosion) and advertisers are more conscious than ever of the alternatives. As more advertisers move budgets to native and programmatic, publishers need to catch up to follow the demand and maximize their revenue.

Compared to display, advertisers don't need to compile a plethora of single ad units. Native reduces the complexity of ad buying and shortens campaign launch timings, which is why it's going to become an even more attractive format moving forward, not only for advertisers but also for those publishers who feel confident riding the wave.

Programmatic offers publishers the ability to attract a more diverse range of advertisers and maintain a high level of ad control while native placements create more opportunities to drive higher engagement and revenue.

In a nutshell, publishers can benefit from the flexibility and "chameleon-like" nature of native plus the scale and the efficiency of programmatic advertising. This is a powerful combination most have only started to grasp. 

Story by Pedro Campos

Pedro is an advertising consultant at Advertongue, the world's leading all-in-one, performance-based native agency. An award-winning professional with multi-million dollar budgets spent for a wide range of industries worldwide, across search, social, programmatic display, audio, video and connected TV, specializing in native. Sought out by peers for his creativity, wisdom and positive vibe.

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