This Week in Native Ads 10/14

Brands are still doubling down on content, especially in finance. This week we saw Goldman announce its new initiative and Vox partnering with Chase to produce Meridian.

With this continual focus of content, brands as publishers, more and more ad:tech will be now consumed by the brands direct, i.e. take a look at they have News & Stories on the homepage. Tactics publishers use are now required client side.

Notable Stories this Week

  • Goldman Sachs wades into branded content. Alongside their millennial focused Marcus launch, we can only anticipate content becoming front and centre of Goldmans comms.
  • [More publishers on Google’s flex/native ads] The Daily Beast, eBay, Grupo Expansion in Mexico, Aller Media in Sweden and Trovit in Spain are also building custom ad experiences using Google’s component-based ads. Gannett expects to roll out its version in November.
  • FlipBoard launches Twitter Moments/Snapchat Stories/Instagram Stories/Facebook Canvas ad product.
  • Vox is launching a travel content site for Chase. Great to see publishers playing to their strengths here. The next question is – how do you measure success? Content is seen as the more effective (read: cheaper) way to acquire audiences.
  • [Tactics] Watch outs in executing native advertising campaigns.


Smartest Commentary

Datapoints of Note

Trends to Watch/Bleeding Edge

  • Standardising native, Google is looking at it from a component perspective (as they should be), how to break apart those components. And publishers are having a lot of discussion on the native content end.



This Week in Native Ads 10/07


New York Times showcases some of Google’s Native Stack, which is neat, where we see premium publishers experimenting. It’s an early indicator of where the rest of the market will follow, especially given the Times role in helping spread native content.

I have an ask this week… we want to feature more people in the industry. If you’d like to put your hand up, or someone you think we should talk to, we want to do a few interviews and share with the community.

Further, we see a dichotomy with Facebook, pushing transparency on to publishers but having transparency issues of its own… reiterating my take last week that the long run here is more transparency.

Notable Stories this Week

Campaign of the Week

  • Couple here from WSJ… the first up is their Narcos execution: Follow the Money – How do you hide $1b a month? (a great question), a follow up on last year’s Cocainenomics. A great piece, weaving parts of the show in the narrative, making it stand alone.
  • Also from WSJ Transforming the Course for Microsoft Cloud, using data to inform design and the story behind Golf Course Design Gil Hanse working with Microsoft Cloud. Perfect example of thought leadership and practical use of the cloud tools.
  • People and Old Navy tap in to current issues (the election) in a way that’s right for the brand. Asking people to rep their local wear, including links to the products. Brilliant execution.
  • And Dewars The Best Dressed Less Stressed Dinner Party with InsideHook. In particular I like the flow chart. Some product links would have really elevated this though.


  • SnapChat working on an IPO valuing firm at $25b. Expect them to keep refining their monetization options as this IPO gets closer. Will we see influencer rev share? Will we see standard advertising? Will we see desktop? Will we see richer ad units? Or the bones of programmatic native?

Smartest Commentary

  • “Custom native allows brands to create a positive, informative and interesting experience for the consumer without being forceful. When people see that a brand has given them credibility by creating a great experience, they repay that trust with their attention.” -Andrew Mole
  • And more from Andrew [on the future of native content] “Due to more advanced analytics and an increase in research in general around digital, we’ve seen custom native go from being a small addition on bigger digital plans, to being a central part of plans with significant budgets invested. The tide of advertising has shifted from pointless reach metrics and more towards real engagement and ROI.”

Datapoints of Note

  • In this study, native video had an 84% average for completion and the average time spend viewing native content was 56 seconds.
  • In February this year, the IAB put UK adblock usage at around 22%, just 4% growth since the launch of iOS9.
  • I like this from the same “The ‘adblockalyspe’ hasn’t happened, but it has kick-started change for the better. It has reignited a focus on the user and what they will find acceptable.”
  • Programmatic native expected to double in 2017. With growth through addition in spend and replacement. Greg Williams, the co-founder of MediaMath, says he expects that investment in the format to at least double in 2017, with the growth funded not just by money pulled out of other types of spend but by new funding altogether

Trends to Watch/Bleeding Edge




This Week in Native Ads 09/30


The story of the week is Facebook incorrectly measuring attention on its video ads for 2 years! Read it here.

It’s kind of a simple (and easy to make) mistake in the algorithm. But it has gone unchecked for so long. Facebook said it didn’t impact what people paid but incorrect data changes everything about your ad spend. This supports the need for an open eco-system, which arguably Google has been more adept at. But if you are Facebook, the current ad stack would murder the user experience, just look at the mobile web! Conundrum indeed. My take, open measurement will be allowed by FB with strict protocols around user experience.

Notable Stories this Week

Campaign of the Week

  • Epix mirroring the success of Netflix’s native content for their new show Graves with this piece on the WaPo. Simple and very speedy load time.
  • This eBay Promoted Post on Imgur– it is cheesy! But gets the point across. Hunt on eBay for weird geeky gifts, embracing your inner geek.


  • AppNexus raised $31m, which included $10m from Yahoo Japan. Off the back of TheTradeDesk hot IPO these guys are likely to be next.

Smartest Commentary

  • [How Google Ruined Content Marketing] “The native ad networks themselves have made it difficult for content marketers to adopt them for distribution. They were created with the same language and thinking behind Google’s advertising network. This further encourages content marketers to hand off their top-funnel content to the ‘PPC guy.’ These are not the people who should be doing native advertising for content marketers’ top-funnel content.” – Chad Pollitt
  • “Viewability is a valuable ad validation method but it was never designed to tell us anything about effectiveness,” he cautioned. “Be aware of viewability’s limitation, and always assess it in context.” – Hugo Drayton

Datapoints of Note

  • 36% of social sharing happens on-page for native content. Nudge, 2016.
  • Including the advertisers name in a mobile native ads disclosure increased CTR by 220%.
  • “Branded content is highly effective across the branding funnel and outperforms display ads. In addition to aided recall’s 59 percentage point increase, brand favorability was 7 percentage points higher and purchase consideration was 9 percentage points higher.”
    And more from this study:
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Mention Your Brand: ‘Higher Branding,’ defined as 2x the number of brand mentions, caused brands to be perceived as more educational by over 7 percentage points and performs better on mobile devices.
  • Longer Form Branded Content Drives Millennial Purchase Consideration: 18-34 year olds responded better to long articles, driving higher engagement consideration rates and aiding recall.

Trends to Watch/Bleeding Edge

  • Cognitive Ads, great use of ‘inventing a new term’ for ads powered by Weather Channel data and IBM Watson. We’re just starting to see the realities of machine learning in the space. The output in this example is personalized recipes based on location and weather, I would gather context (work, home or mobile) would also feed in to this. Neat stuff!



That’s it! Thanks for reading. If you’d like to learn about our research in the space, reach out or check them out here.


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This Week in Native Ads 09/23


We have some interesting datapoints from Dmexco, thanks to TheDrums coverage and interviews with Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP and Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL. Further in exciting news this week, we at Nudge are sharing a case study in partnership with The Atlantic, demonstrating how native can convert. And Yahoo wading in to native retargeting for its search advertisers.

Notable Stories this Week

  • How Vertebrae is bringing native advertising to VR, ad platforms are developing faster than adoption! But great promise here.
  • Mode Media Shuts down.
  • [Native content] From our friends at Affinio: How networks can write data-driven storylines. Great insight.
  • From Tim Armstrong: If Facebook is social and Google is search, AOL is brand. Give the video a watch. Tim talks about how they’ve shifted from a wall garden to an open view, partnering with everyone.
  • [From us] Demonstrating how native content can convert and why that’s important even for brand campaigns.
  • Yahoo lets advertisers retarget with native ads. Surely something Google will be keeping an eye on, with their experiments in native units and existing retargeting infrastructure. The challenge here is dilution of search CPCS but with mobile search CPCs coming down it may not matter but requires treading carefully.
  • Twitter announces native ads over its audience network. Starting with app install ads, expanding over time. Easy revenue for Twitter to lock in, app install ads have been fruitful for Facebook. This will also help fill the ever expanding mobile inventory.

Campaigns of the Week

  • A higher education example, this for UConn is a way of sharing interesting research in order to position the UConn brand within the industry. These niche examples are where native really comes to life. Engaging content, in front of the right audience. Simple easy and a great reference.

Smartest Commentary

  • This from Mel: “If a reader is tricked, and they don’t know that it was sponsored content, no one is winning there. The reader is certainly not winning; the advertiser is definitely not winning because they haven’t gotten anything out of the experience that they paid to create and promote, and the publisher is not winning because they are potentially losing the trust of a reader. I think when it is done correctly, no one should feel tricked.”
  • And more from Mel on native content from the advertisers perspective.

Datapoints of Note


This Week in Native Ads 09/16

Dmexco is in, in big time this year! I attended last year and thoroughly enjoyed it but unfortunately couldn’t make it this year. Will share the best post analysis next week.


Campaign of the Week:

12 Free Apps that will Enhance Your Life

Source: USA Today


Why we like it:

We like this USA Today piece for StraightTalk, helping reach a mainstream audience with real utility – apps that will improve their lives. Simple straight forward piece and a great telecommunications example.

Quote of the Week:

“There is only one benchmark and one KPI: are you persuading someone to change their behavior? That is what advertising is for…everything else is a byproduct.”

-Adam Foley, Guardian’s Commercial Strategy Director



Why OTAs Are Turning to Advertising

You have probably heard about Expedia, one of the most popular OTAs in the world. But you probably know little about Expedia Media Solutions, also known as MeSo, the company’s marketing agency that brought $200 million to Expedia on 2015, and which has been growing by 23% annually, according to research provided by Tnooz. According to Eye for Travel Business Intelligence’s study, Monetizing web traffic in the travel industry, 95% of visitors to online travel agencies’ sites don’t actually buy anything, checking on prices and later booking directly with the providers.

Source: Portada


Yahoo brings content marketing studio Storytellers to the UK

Yahoo has launched its full service content studio Storytellers in the UK, following its opening in the US in June this year, to help advertisers better reach their target audience. The studio will provide UK brands and agencies with data-led content marketing services that leverage Yahoo’s editorial expertise, data and native advertising and content marketing on Tumblr.

Source: The Drum


How Automotive Companies Are Getting Better Results Promoting New Models With Native Ads Rather Than Traditional Display

Ten years ago, when an automotive company was designing a digital strategy to promote the launch of a new car it would traditionally turn to pre-roll to extend the reach of its TV spots, or use banners to drive traffic to strategic feature pages. Increasingly at Sharethrough, we’re seeing automotive companies use native ads to do these same things.

Source: Native Advertising

Native mobile adtech startup Avocarrot acquired by Glispa Global Group for $20M

Native mobile advertising startup Avocarrot — which, interestingly, was in the first cohort of company builder Entrepreneur First — has been acquired by adtech company Glispa Global Group. Terms of the deal remain undisclosed, though TechCrunch understands from sources that the headline price is around $20 million.

Source: Tech Crunch


As The Tide Rises For Branded Content, BuzzFeed’s Boat Is Lifted Even Higher

BuzzFeed set its stake in branded content back when display was king. Today, as publications derive an increasing share of their revenue from branded content, Chief Revenue Officer Lee Brown sees that competition creating a market. “More awareness and education in the marketplace creates more opportunity for everyone,” Brown said. “We’re excited about our share of that opportunity.”

Source: Ad Exchanger


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The three hour Native Ad Forum will take you inside the fastest growing segment of the ad market and bring you insights on the key growth areas of native advertising — programmatic, mobile video, and sponsored content. Hear from industry leaders including, Google, Moat, Sharethrough, Mindshare, Turner, Pinterest, Horizon Media, Cadreon and many many others on how they are utilizing native today, how their organizations have adapted to support native and what to expect from the year ahead.

Source: Advertising Week