The Question Is: Does Facebook Eat The World?

Nativo is a company with a patent-pending advertising platform that enables publishers to activate and manage native ad placements across their media properties.

RTBlog recently spoke with Justin Choi, the company’s Founder and CEO, about industry trends.

RTBlog: What is Nativo’s focus at the moment?

Justin Choi: Nativo is focused on banner executions and in-feed advertising. Publishers are running ads in their feeds, but there are also publishers looking to fill more of their available inventory. Multiple providers are filling that need.

We’re working on offering more healthy choices outside of Nativo—third-party options that will provide distribution, not the demand. We’re testing the efficacy to see if these partners can provide meaningful fill. We’ll be announcing partners in the coming weeks.

RTBlog: How would you describe the challenge then?

Choi: There’s a challenge where publishers are looking for more fill, and they’re looking at their feeds as inventory that they now have to fill. We’re trying to provide publishers with the ability to fill more of their feeds with ads without delivering a bad user experience.

The ad tech industry is trying to move into the feed and some are providing low-quality ads. So the options available to publishers are repurposed banners. That’s a challenge for publishers. They have to fill the feed but also to do so without hurting the long-term viability of their business. Lower quality ad inventory is trying to invade the feed. The ads that run in the feed will determine whether native becomes another terrible ad experience.

RTBlog: It sounds like the best in-feed ads are sold by publishers directly.

Choi: The best in-feed ads are contextually relevant to the sites they’re running on. Publisher-sold executions offer a very good native experience.  Publishers are smarter about running campaigns that don’t disrupt the user experience on their sites.

Everyone is realizing that the feed is the most valuable real estate. Publishers think of it as their inventory. But they’re being challenged with monetization goals.

RTBlog: What’s your take on the prospects for programmatic native?

Choi: Right now only in-feed ads are adaptable to the programmatic process. And the process is only aligned to driving traffic and conversions. Programmatic native is really programmatic in-feed right now. It’s the evolution of display dollars, and not the evolution of native.

One of the challenges for news publishers is that they don’t have enough scale to drive the revenue they want to drive. Facebook is the cheapest source and it has  unlimited supply. The prices go up as they drive more demand to that supply. We’re starting to see publishers that are cooperating with one another, as is the case with a group of German publishers that are pooling their data to go up against Facebook.

RTBlog: Can you elaborate on Facebook’s role in all of this?

Choi: In-feed advertising is driving the scale. It’s a FB traffic arbitrage play. The way native works is that in-feed advertising has really dominated what native has become and that aligns more with the evolution of display.

Advertisers are actually buying content creation and the brands from publishers like Buzzfeed—and that’s driving scale through Facebook. The question is, does Facebook eat the world? It’s creating a lot of pressure on the industry and publishers to get smarter, consolidate, or cooperate. Does the pressure collapse them or make them operate better?  

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