Native Advertising and Programmatic: Pro’s Con’s and Everything in Between

July  30,  2014 / By Allie Bostwick

Native Advertising has been a hot topic of discussion in the paid media world these days.   By definition, native advertising is known as, “A form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed.”

Is Native Advertising effective? Are marketers and brands sold on it? Why should a brand use native advertising? A recent article by Media Post, provided some interesting statistics showcasing that 68% of marketers believe in the promise of native but roughly 27% of digital media buyers abstain from the category.  Why is that?

The main reasons being linked to the quality of the creative – the content isn’t engaging or interesting enough to drive consumers to want to click or learn more about the advertisement.

Quality of content and creative is something that can be easily addressed and controlled in the beginning.  Knowing your audience and what content will resonate with a certain group or demographic will drive them to watch, click and learn more. When compared to banner ads—native advertising has outperformed on multiple levels.

IPG Media Lab and Sharethrough conducted an original study with 4,770 participants to study behavior and perceptions towards native ads utilizing both eye tracking technology and surveys. They found that consumers looked at native ads 52% more frequently than banner ads. Additionally, they discovered that native advertisements registers 9% higher lift for brand affinity and 18% higher lift for purchase intent response than traditional banner ads.

Just think about it—are you as a consumer more likely to click on advertisement that matches the visual look and design of the website it lives within? Or the obnoxious banner that sticks out and follows you around the screen? According to the same study done by Media Post, 86% of respondents said native is more likely to be shared versus other forms of digital advertising.

An interesting turn of events regarding native advertising has been the introduction of programmatic.

By definition, programmatic advertising are “marketing campaigns are automatically triggered and set up by a specific set of criteria and deployed according to a set of rules applied by software and algorithms.”

People are still needed in programmatic campaigns as the campaigns and rules are planned beforehand and established by marketers—but it is still automated.  Which brings us to the million dollar question—where does Native sit at the table in regards to programmatic?

Many buyers are not sure whether native will mesh with the rise of programmatic advertising. Media Post reported that, 60% of buyers said they don’t believe native can be bought programmatically, and 67% remained on the fence about trying.

Many people believe that true native advertising can’t easily go programmatic simply because it goes against the definition of what native truly is.  Native advertising is meant to be seamlessly and naturally integrated into a single, unique site. While, programmatic content marketing is integrated into several sites.

What’s the truth? Can native advertising go programmatic? It’s hard to say with certainty but I have high hopes that the power of programmatic will definitely change digital advertising as we know it.

Here some best practices to be cognizant of when thinking of native advertising and programmatic:

  • Programmatic is not the enemy—rather  a new tool to be aware of when evaluating and making decisions in digital advertising
  • Managing the value exchange of native advertising vs. banner ads is key to maintaining the superior performance
  • Changes to the landscape are fluid so don’t be scared to not have all the answers! With the introduction of programmatic there will be with many new opportunities for creativity and innovation.

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