Justin Choi is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Nativo, a patent-pending advertising platform that enables publishers to manage native ad placements across their media properties.
Typically publishers don’t sell all their inventory, so they can make their inventory available on the Nativo marketplace.
Native Insider spoke with Choi recently. Here's an edited version of the conversation:
Native Insider: What are the prospects for native programmatic?
Justin Choi: Keep in mind that people are using "native" to describe different things. There’s still a lot of manual work in the process. The ad-tech view is more about applying what you call programmatic for display, to native. It’s about creating standardization around native ad units -- which means facilitating the demand that goes into display, into native.
One trend is native as an ad placement. The content can be the creative. Or, you can evolve banner/display demand and place it in-feed. Basically, all advertising becomes native, and it moves within the feed.
Existing ad technology will make native biddable and as automated as possible. Mid-tail and long-tail publications and sites will make the inventory as easy to fill as possible.
So there are two sides: ad technology that can make native scalable and biddable. And there’s the other side, where publishers want to do more high-touch and bespoke programs that are higher in the funnel. If the ad tech point of view "wins," then we lose the chance to do anything new, and native just becomes the next iteration of display advertising.
NI: What’s your take on native being used as a sort of work-around for ad-blocking?
Choi: Ad blocking is the ultimate consumer feedback, and.... native can deliver a better user experience for consumers. Everyone’s trying to define all their executions as native.
If you ask any publisher, are these Taboola widgets native? You’d say no. They’re not native to your site, but the reason the definition matters is if those units deliver bad experiences. Publishers and advertisers enable them. And then bad experiences drive even more adoption of ad blocking.
Due to ad blocking, we see dollars shifting to native executions that are more integrated into sites. True native advertising is most aligned with driving user engagement. So we see dollars shifting to branded content....
When you’re an advertiser, you’re not saying "I need to do native." The first thing you’re starting with is content. Your message is aligned to engagement. It’s about content, not advertising....
Content works well for advertisers in-feed. The starting point is that you have to have some type of message. Advertisers are shifting dollars into content, everything from branded video, slideshows, infographics and more.
NI: Do you think marketers will be spending more on native?
Choi: Yes, there will be more spending, but it’s really about shifting more dollars into content, and how do we drive more readership of content. Content is the creative! It starts with the shift to content.
NI: What are you hearing from clients?
Choi: Publishers are trying to get scale but also keep their native programs bespoke.
For advertisers, they’ve bought in on native content but they have a lot to learn, and more work needs to be done on measuring different types of executions.
Measurement of native advertising remains a challenge in that there are a lot of metrics to look at, like time spent, did people scroll all the way to the bottom of the content, did they view the entire video, etc.
Different publishers have different metrics, and it’s the same with marketers. We need to know how to process those metrics and have consistency among publishers.
Marketers are trying to understand what analytics are available.