Programmatic and native: A perfect match

This blog post also published as a sponsored article in Advertising Age.

Native advertising is huge: By 2021, it's expected to account for almost three-quarters of display ad revenue. Plus, it's effective: A Yahoo study found that premium native ad experiences have seen three times more attention, 55% stronger emotional response and 23% higher quality ad perception than nonpremium environments.

Native can also drive higher ROI for publishers. In the first half of 2016, native ads drove returns at 227% the rate of display banner ads.

As a marketer, how do you take advantage of digital native advertising and ensure that it's performing at its peak? By combining your efforts with programmatic buying.

Why Programmatic Native?

Because native ads adopt a consistent look with surrounding content, they can deliver a better, more engaging user experience to customers whose primary focus is to engage with the editorial content.

While native drives strong engagement rates, those interactions can have greater value if they come from viewers who are in your desired audience.

That's where programmatic comes in.

When buys are evaluated individually, you know your budget goes toward impressions that make a difference. Programmatic offers rich targeting opportunities that enable buyers to look beyond basic demographics. Native ads can be targeted based on device characteristics, geographic location, browsing behaviors and many more parameters.

When you run a programmatic ad campaign, you can see the results of your buys as they take place. You can nimbly react to your campaign, optimizing your campaigns as they run. You can see, in granular detail, whether your creative is working and if your audience is not responding, iterate and improve on those elements in your campaign.

Finally, programmatic buying allows advertisers to set price limits per impression as well as impose global frequency caps. This flexibility ensures you're not exhausting your message by hitting the same people too often and ensures you can get the most out of your investments by adjusting your bidding strategies on the fly.

Getting Started With Native Programmatic

As with any other programmatic buy, when dealing with native, you will be working with DSPs and ad exchanges. Because native is a relatively new addition, you should connect with these programmatic partners to discuss how you can maximize this opportunity.

In addition, you need to consider the native ad units that can be bought programmatically. These include:

  • In-feed: These ads appear front and center inside a newsfeed or other content on a website and can be images, videos, advertorial articles or other types of posts.
     
  • Recommendation widgets: This native content appears on site areas that feature a number of links and are typically labeled "You might also like" or "Recommended articles from around the web."
     
  • In-ad units: This content runs in a standard ad container but features material that is contextually relevant to the site on which it appears.

At the same time, there are a number of ways you can optimize your programmatic experience by drawing viewers to your native ads. In our new e-book, Getting to Know Native From a Programmatic Perspective, we offer four best practices for making the most of your programmatic native opportunities:

  1. Use images that feature people, as they can drive engagement and fixation on both desktop and mobile.
     
  2. Make sure your logo is visible and prominent. Larger logos deliver recall, action and longer fixation across platforms.
     
  3. Brand mentions, while not as powerful as logos, have a strong impact on performance. Include them in the headlines of your ads.
     
  4. Ensure that you have a seamless mobile experience in place for the consumer post-click. When users engage, you want them to understand next steps easily.

Moving Forward With Native Programmatic

The power and control of programmatic coupled with native's performance can make a perfect match. Native already drives strong results for many advertisers.

With the integration of programmatic technology, performance can be optimized further, enabling buyers to drive the best performance possible out of their campaigns.

Read the full case study as a PDF.