These conversations started out very similar, we’d talk about marketer’s interest in content, the technology required to serve native advertising like one would any other advertisement, or best practices in content creation – a myriad of concerns a publisher would have in the initials steps taken in establishing a comprehensive sponsored content program. These same conversations have helped shape the direction of our company and helped us achieve massive growth in the past 12 months, serving over a billion native ads to date.Thus everyone is excited to talk about the success of the format. Aggregate data we’ve gleaned from MediaVoice, our native advertising platform, shows that CTR for native ads is well above the average for display advertising with mobile and tablet paving the way with a CTR of .25% and .23% respectively. While these facts and figures impress, the programs and business plans which produce them evolve, and so do the conversations and phone calls. I’m no longer explaining the basics of native ads, I’m asked about measurement, promotion, and creation; but most recently, I’m getting asked about viewability.
Publishers are starting to rethink the way they present the value of native ads, and in turn some have started to place value on the native promotion of sponsored content, in many cases charging a CPM or at least backing into an effective CPM. Viewability has transformed the digital ad landscape and never has it been more evident than with native advertising. Look at recent acquisitions in the tech-world battling fraudulent ad impressions, Google’s and comScore’s purchases of anti-fraud companies Spider.io and MdotLab respectively show a market hunger for legitimate, comprehensive advertising analytics.
In 2015 you’ll begin to see the same excitement and buzz which surrounded native’s engagement numbers migrate to viewability and those who find success in selling there sponsored content programs will be the ones who focus on presenting a complete story to the brands and marketers utilizing native advertising in their publication.
Telling the story of not only a native ad placement’s performance, but how users looked at, hovered over, shared, and interacted the custom content which was made for them is the natural progression for the format.
Any publisher who strives for market leadership in 2015 needs to bring native and viewability together as part of their story. It’s no longer just a matter of “being there” when it comes to selling native ads; taking this new era of advanced viewability seriously and getting ahead of the pack now will ensure you won’t be deemed a laggard in what is quickly becoming a hotly competitive market.
Kunal Gupta is CEO of Polar and regarded as a rising young visionary, shaping the future of media. The world’s largest publishers use Polar’s MediaVoice native advertising platform to grow their revenue. Kunal has been recognized as a Top 30 Under 30, a United Nations Global Citizen and Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year. You can follow him on Twitter: @kunalfrompolar