All aboard the Paid Advertising train? Think twice before you do.

The news has been filled recently with the emergence of Programmatic and Native Advertising into mainstream media as well as the dispute over its place in Marketing. Throughout this Digital Marketing Course it has become very clear to me that Marketing is an art, but it has been used for the dark side, which has earned it somewhat of a bad reputation (unfair). I’d like highlight that the few organizations that have used Marketing as a vessel for manipulation have got the wrong idea, and are not profiting from their tactics. I am proud to be a Digital Marketer and see Marketing as a field that connects consumers with products and service to satisfy their needs (and wants, too). This connection is where Marketers use different communication methods, forms, and vessel to get the ‘right message’ to the ‘right target’, and Digital Marketing is playing a HUGE role in this connection. Previous blog posts have covered everything from improving Landing Pages to Search Engine Optimization to foster this link, but Programmatic and Native advertising have been steadily gaining a spot in the linkage.

Now, you might be wondering…‘So, what is Programmatic or Native Advertising?”

Programmatic Advertising: The use of an algorithm to optimize the buying and selling of digital advertising that allows organizations to increase the efficiency of ad purchasing in real time. Programmatic is different from Real-Time-Bidding (RTB) because is offers guaranteed impressions from reputable publishers in advance, but is similar in the sense that all RTB is programmatic, but not all programmatic is RTB. It is growing, and is predicted to account for 20% of Digital Advertising Budgets this year.  Read further on these terms on Digiday and Forbes.

Native Advertising: Organizations working with digital publishers to promote content to a target market with the aim of gaining awareness, building loyalty, and encouraging engagement. You will typically find these advertisements embedded within the content, and it isn’t always obvious evident that it is advertising (hence the ‘native’). The Guardian offers some excellent insight on this topic.

You might now be asking ‘Where would I see this type of Advertising?’ Or ‘Why will this benefit me or my clients?’

Examples of Native Advertising can be promoted ads on Facebook or Twitter, and soon to be Pinterest as ‘Artful, promoted Pins’ says Wall Street Journal (see below). You might also hear Native Advertising in Podcasts or on a streaming service such as Pandora. Most famously, and probably most successfully, Buzz Feed is king of Native Advertising. In 2014, they hired a VP of Native Advertising, Tessa Gould, and that is a telling sign of the future of the Paid Advertising landscape.


Examples of Programmatic Advertising are harder to find and less obvious, but seem to profitable for those firms willing to be early adopters of this tactic. Notably, Oreo was the first to buy advertising space at the Super Bowl via Programmatic means. AOL has also recently gained publicity for their implementation of Programmatic Buying which is leading to regaining market share. Their advertising sales have increase 20%. Programmatic Advertising is less publicized, but steadily gaining attention.

‘How can you implement Native or Programmatic Advertising?’

This is probably the most important question you could be asking as you continue to strive to provide the best marketing strategy to your client, or yourself. I predict Native Advertising will continue to be a popular tactic for consumer engagement, and new mediums will become flooded with native ads, as we’ve seen with Instagram, Twitter, and Podcasts. Realize that when your advertisement is targeted towards a specific consume segment that is likely to be using that medium the ad is less likely to be recited as an inconvenience, but as a practical solution. If you decide to pursue Native Advertising ensure your Segmentation and Targeting is flawless. Native Advertising has also created a revenue stream for brands on Social Media platforms that were previously difficult to profit from, which is another added bonus. Remember to ensure that your earned media is as equitable and prevalent as your paid advertising to ensure your brand equity is growing. Plus, consumers are often incredibly suspicious of Native Advertising, which might be a barrier for your organizations, therefore selecting publishers that will reach your TM is critical to effectiveness of the campaign.

I am not entirely sure how quickly programmatic advertising will rise, but it is showing promise for those organizations that are adopting it. It seems it is promising for online mediums (websites, rich media, and video), and is less accurate (currently) for mainstream television because of the diversity of the audience. It offers increased efficiencies in terms of using human capital for ad buying and selling, yet doesn’t offer the uniquely human intuition that can’t be encapsulated into an algorithm. It will allow you to buy and sell at higher volumes and higher speeds without using as many resources (human, financial, technological). I do foresee ‘Premium Programmatic Advertising’ to be more valuable than low-quality advertising, and so do brand giants such as Cadillac and CBS. OpenX is a company that is at the forefront of this trend. They “…create highly efficient, high quality programmatic advertising markets that deliver optimal value to buyers and sellers and evolve rapidly to support the growth of the digital economy across screens and formats”. Working with a company like this can ensure you are maximizing Programmatic Ad buying and therefore generate the highest ROI on your efforts.

Regardless of where you allocate your advertising budget this is not a one-and-done effort. Native and Programmatic Advertising are just part of your marketing campaign, and will still require TLC to cultivate and convert leads to customers. Remember to be authentic, and engaged with your audience. And last, but not least, you must have good content for all your Paid Advertising and promote it on high-quality publishers…Quality matters. 


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