No one can have missed the shift in the industry as programmatic advertising becomes widely adopted.
But even as this innovation beds in, publishers are already eyeing up the next seismic shift in the industry – native programmatic – which serves each advert on an impression by impression basis and uses data in real time to place the most relevant ad in the most relevant spot on a website.
People are concerned that automation will take away the creative element in advertising. But the combination of science and art is crucial
Its impact will certainly be felt across the industry with a recent report predicting that by 2017, content marketing and native ad budgets will grow by 59% and 46% respectively, outpacing the growth of display and search ad spend.
The numbers speak for themselves. Native is definitely entering a new era but there may still be some reticence from brands to buy inventory programmatically even though there’s potentially a huge amount of value in handling these more complex campaigns in this way.
But it seems to me that there are a number of obstacles we need to overcome before native advertising can be harnessed fully.
Firstly, the key to any native placement is to make sure that it appears natural to the consumer and enhances their shopping experience.
Talent is the answer
Secondly because native advertising relies on context as well as content, where an advert is placed on a site matters. This means that for native adverts to be traded programmatically, publishers need to reassure brands that they can be trusted to place them where they will perform effectively, and not just where the most cost effective option is.
I believe the answer lies with the people that publishers employ. Many people are concerned that automation will take away the creative element in advertising. But the combination of science and art is crucial. In fact in a programmatic-only landscape people are critical.
When native is brought into the mix, it’s even more important because even greater judgement is needed to ensure that a creative campaign is placed where it will work hardest for the campaign.
In a programmatic-only landscape people are critical
For me, this means the industry needs to do two things – build up the skills of its existing employees to ensure they can harness data, and alter the relationship with brands so that people on the publisher side are trusted to locate advertisements where they will resonate best with the content of the surrounding site.
It’s a big departure from previous planning functions and will, I believe, lead to the emergence of the Creative Planner – plugged into content and able to bridge the gap to brands.
It’s fair to say that this requires a huge shift in how the industry operates but the age of the traditional creative agency being in sole charge of campaigns is over.
We’re moving quickly towards an era where planners have a significant role to play in flagship advertising campaigns. There’s work to do but once this shift happens, trading native advertising campaigns programmatically can become a reality.