Skeptics say that native
advertising requires too much customization to benefit from automated ad systems. But don’t tell that to Bidtellect -- one of several start-ups trying to meld programmatic with native -- and Lon
Otremba, its new CEO.
“We know technology can be applied here in a scalable way that feels right and feels native,” Otremba said on Wednesday.
outgrowth of Domain Holdings Group, Bidtellect is the brainchild of Advertising.com co-founder John Ferber. “When Jon and his team built Ad.com, no one thought you could sell unsold online
inventory,” Otremba pointed out. “But look at that business now.”
Still in private beta-testing, Bidtellect is attempting to combine direct demand-side platform
access, direct sell-side platform access, and RTB capabilities -- all featuring native ad formats. Otremba said about 10 brands and 15 publishers are currently testing Bidtellect’s exchange,
which he expects to officially open its doors within two months.
Bidtellect isn’t the only start-up trying to improve on native by baking in the efficiency of automated
advertising. Just this week, the market got its first peek at TripleLift’s “native ad exchange.”
Still, critics doubt whether programmatic and native can mesh.
“RTB lends itself very well to ad formats that have a standard size, placement etc.,” Chris Sukornyk, founder of media-buying platform Chango, said on Wednesday. “However, native ads
are inherently non-standard … While standards are being looked at, there are a lot more variables with native ads, and it often requires publisher approval/input.”
“If every native ad buy needs to be setup/negotiated by hand, then you remove a lot of the efficiencies that programmatic provides,” Sukornyk added. “A similar challenge exists
with private exchanges today with display, but I think native ads have an even more difficult set of circumstances.”
A true industry veteran, Otremba comes from Beintoo, where
he was helping the Italian mobile engagement firm integrate some technology that it acquired from Tylted -- a mobile gaming company that Otremba previously ran as CEO.
Earlier in his
career, Otremba also served as CEO at Access 360 Media and commercial music services provider Muzak, EVP of AOL’s Interactive Marketing Group and founding COO and president of Mail.com.
J.P. Morgan recently predicted that native would take over digital channels in 2014. “We believe native ads are quickly becoming the de facto ad format on mobile and increasingly
moving into desktop,” lead analyst Doug Anmuth wrote in J.P. Morgan’s annual “Nothing But Net” report.
It was especially significant that Anmuth and his
colleagues tied the success of native to mobile, considering that they expect ad dollars devoted to the channel to overtake desktop dollars this year.
Last year, eMarketer predicted that
the native niche would hit $2.85 billion by 2014.