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Can We Ever Expect Native Advertising to Scale?

  |  October 18, 2013   |  Comments

A platform that can deliver content marketing at scale, for both publishers and marketers, must have both ends of the advertising spectrum--native advertising and programmatic buying--working in concert.

growth-engineDeclining CPMs and squares and rectangles largely ignored by their audiences have left publishers reeling. As they scramble for new ways to support themselves, they need an alternative advertising solution to help engage their readers and make more money; something that leverages the two big trends of native advertising and programmatic buying, two of the fastest growing segments of online advertising.

Today, these disparate solutions are planted on both ends of the spectrum. As an industry, we need a platform that combines the data-based and automated characteristics of programmatic buying with the custom, high engagement aspects of content marketing. This will allow distribution of content to the right people, at the right time, in the right context, at scale. Sound impossible? It's not.

Content Marketing and Scale

The main challenge with current native advertising and content marketing programs is that they aren't scalable, thereby limiting their ability to deliver true reach across the independent web.

To be successful with scalable content marketing solutions, we need to figure out how to leverage programmatic means to retarget engaged audiences, without the use of standard IAB ad units. Using programmatic tools to reveal user data at a browser-based level, we can then retarget them with additional content marketing. This allows both better matching of content with customer intent and greater overall conversion.

The Relevance of Native Ads

In creating great content, brands want people to see relevant and meaningful information multiple times and in different contexts. When it comes to native advertising, there could be an awesome opportunity to do that, especially when there is an entire series of content that relates to one specific topic.

For example, a visitor lands on a page and gets pixeled. On that page, there is a native-programmatic ad unit, but as the reader travels to other sites, a different version of that same ad or content is served. This creates a union of efficiency and scale, combining high-quality content with programmatic, and delivering a higher level of relevant audiences as they traverse the independent web.

Connecting the Dots

Another integral part of developing this platform is understanding and addressing the specific content on each site within the independent web. We need to identify the brands that match those sites and content. This increases the degree of relevance and rids the Internet of random advertisements that don't relate to the site's content or its visitors.

A platform that can deliver content marketing at scale, for both publishers and marketers, must have both ends of the advertising spectrum--native advertising and programmatic buying--working in concert. Not an easy task, but it could well be the solution for helping publishers grow revenue and for marketers to best reach their target audiences.


Laney Whitcanack

Laney Whitcanack is Federated Media Publishing's chief community officer. Prior to joining FM, Laney co-founded BigTent in 2006 and focused on innovating online and offline ways to connect people with communities they care about. She spent the decade previous to BigTent coaching and training hundreds of community leaders, in the U.S. and Mexico, most recently as the director of community programs for the Coro Center for Civic Leadership.

A published author and speaker on entrepreneurship and community organizing, Laney received the Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2008. She is currently a board member of Zeum: San Francisco's Children's Museum and The Princess Project and is involved in even more community groups after the birth of her daughter, Campbell, last year. Laney has a B.A. from UCLA, and MBA from the Simmons School of Management, and an Ed.M from Harvard University.

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