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Changing the Online Marketing Game with Programmatic Native Advertising

“Programmatic native advertising.” Say that five times fast!

Sure, it’s a mouthful to say but what exactly is programmatic native advertising and how is it changing the digital marketing game?

First let’s tackle ‘programmatic.’

This got a lot of hype a few years back as automation techniques grew. MarketingLand defines programmatic advertising as: “[it] helps automate the decision-making process of media buying by targeting specific audiences and demographics. Programmatic ads are placed using artificial intelligence (AI) and real-time bidding (RTB) for online display, social media advertising, mobile and video campaigns, and is expanding to traditional TV advertising marketplaces.”

Put simply, programmatic buying is the use of software to purchase digital advertising. Instead of, you know, humans negotiating and making a deal.

Paid advertising has been making considerable shifts. As strategies change best practices must be rewritten. We’re constantly hearing “this [insert random trend here] is the future of [anything, literally anything].” Well, programmatic just might be the future of ad buying. Why? Because programmatic buying is efficient. It’s reliable. It’s cheaper. (Interestingly, an article on Media Post says that “Despite the hype surrounding programmatic, more than 50% of advertisers still do not include it in their media-buying strategy.”) We already know that the robots are taking over so why not give them this too? ;D

Next up, ‘native advertising.’ 

A native display ad matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears. Native ads aren’t your traditional banner and social ads that make a direct offer such as “Buy our ___” or “Shop now.” Native ads are sponsored content, recommended content, and in-feed social ads.

Historically, the click-through-rates on traditional online ads suck. Native advertising is still a relatively new form of digital advertising but brands are seeing much better engagement with ads that mimic the platform they’re on. Native ads don’t get ignored in the way that other ads do because, well, they don’t look like ads! They look like the stuff users are already seeing out. By blending into their surroundings on the various platforms where people consume content, native ads reach more targeted audiences. 25% more consumers look at native ads more than traditional banner ads. This leads to clicks which leads to conversions.

Okay, time to put it all together.

‘Programmatic native advertising’ is the technique marketers use to insert their messages and content directly in a platform or publisher’s feed, rather than putting said messages in the margins like we’re use to seeing. These ad spends are done programmatically, not manually. Some native ad placements are non-programmatic but the goal of all native is to be programmatic.

Big names like Google, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter accept programmatic native ads. Even publishers like the New York Times are doing away with standard advertising formats such as banner ads. In their place, the New York Times is implementing proprietary display ads that will appear at the top of webpages, between paragraphs in articles, and in feeds of content across the website. Eventually these ‘Flex Frame’ ads will be able to be bought programmatically using an automated ad buying tool.

It’s been predicted that millions of ad money will be put towards programmatic native ads in 2017. I might just have to compile a few best practices before the end of this year to get you started. Check back in for a part two!


AdAge: Google Delivers Native Ads Programmatically

Digital Marketer: What is Native Advertising? 

Wall Street Journal: New York Times Shuns Banner Ads in Favor of Proprietary Ad Format

Digiday: WTF is programmatic advertising?; Programmatic native is here, and premium publishers are wary

MediaPost: Paid Advertising Making Dramatic Shifts

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