Google’s decision to allow organizations to programmatically buy native inventory reflects the growing importance of native, which is proving to be more effective than traditional ad units.
This summer, Google announced at its DoubleClick Leadership Summit that advertisers can purchase native ad inventory programmatically using DoubleClick Bid Manager, as SearchEngineWatch reported. Publishers have since been able to make their existing ad inventory on both the web and mobile applications available programmatically, eliminating the need for a direct relationship between publisher and advertiser.
The move allowed advertisers to give only specific components of a given native ad, like a headline, image, or text, rather than providing a fully-designed creative project, explains Ad Age. The ad is then automatically displayed in a context and format that is optimized for the platform on which it will appear. Instead of being interrupted by a static display while browsing an otherwise optimized mobile site, Google’s solution will seamlessly integrate those ads into the user’s experience.
Google also designed its new ads to be Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP)-ready. These pages load 85% faster than standard mobile websites, according to Google, and are meant to compete with Apple News and Facebook’s Instant Articles. More than 200 publishers are using Google’s native ad solution.
Rise of the Native Ad
Not too long ago, there was a tremendous amount of confusion surrounding the definition and implications of native advertising. In 2014, BuzzFeed solidified the promise of the native ad concept, capturing the majority of its revenue by developing custom video and “listicle” advertising content for brands. The ads blended in with BuzzFeed’s own editorial aesthetic and content, boosting click-through and even share rates. According to TechCrunch, the online publication made around $120 million in native ad sales in 2014.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Google has made concerted efforts to develop its own native solution. Its original launch of programmatic native ads was available only to publishers and advertisers that had a direct relationship with Google, a group that was largely exclusive to huge, well-known brands like the New York Times. The solution for mobile increased click-through rates 40-50% over standard 300×250 ad units.
This development has been a boon to brands hoping to cash in on the growing popularity of native advertising, but even with this advancement in native accessibility, the investment required to purchase that large, prominent ad space and scale efforts could also be a huge risk if managed ineffectively.
While the ability to purchase native inventory programmatically makes it possible to automate the placement of this ad unit, the history of digital marketing thus far has demonstrated that automation alone isn’t sufficient. Marketing organizations must adapt by equipping themselves with the resources necessary to effectively leverage this potentially powerful new form of programmatic advertising. Native will become just another piece of an increasingly large unwieldy puzzle that marketers must put together to construct a useful, consistent campaign across media channels.
Organizations are often forced to dedicate entire teams to channels and ad units, throwing a great deal of their time and resources at testing and evaluating campaigns for each platform to identify the most promising or successful pathway. Autonomous marketing platforms like Albert from Adgorithms does that tedious work for marketing teams, using artificial intelligence powered by machine learning to independently test various iterations and placements of your creative material.