1-in-6 native ads traded programmatically after RTB standards update

The IAB updated its open real-time bidding (RTB) standard last year specifically to help standardise how native ads can be traded programmatically via scaled marketplaces, such as exchanges.

The question of trading native ad units, which by their very value proposition are supposedly unique and similar in tone to the editorial content they are juxtaposed with, has been something on a conundrum for those in the programmatic space. For instance, how can something with a unique value proposition be traded at scale on an open exchange?

However, research published today (26 April) points to the IAB’s OpenRTB 2.3 update last year as significantly boosting the number of native ad units booked using programmatic technology.

During 2015 around one-in-six native campaigns (15 per cent) were run using programmatic media buying technologies according to native advertising company Adyoulike.

The company does not have a benchmark figure for the year beforehand, but maintains the IAB issuing its Open RTB 2.3 standard made it easier to trade native ad units using the auctioning technology, and that the sector received a significant boost accordingly.

The research also revealed there was also a huge increase in the number of native advertising campaigns run in 2015 based on mobile devices. Back in 2014, half (50 per cent) of native spend covered all devices, 40 per cent was for desktop-only and 10 per cent was mobile-only.

Although it also reveals that in 2015, while half the spend was still device-agnostic, mobile-only tripled in size to 30 per cent and desktop-only fell to 15 per cent.

In addition, last year saw 81% of publishers running native ads on mobile, compared to only 62% the previous year.

It also found that the average dwell time for native ads on mobiles was 2.4 minutes in 2015, compared to 2.2 minutes in 2014, while dwell time on desktops has remained constant at around the 1.1-minute mark.

Francis Turner, UK managing director of Adyoulike, commented: “OpenRTB 2.3 has brought the programmatic revolution to native advertising. Native campaigns run programmatically offer genuine reach and scale, so it’s no surprise that it’s already being widely adopted.

“It’s also clear that mobile and native are a match made in heaven. Native ads provide quality content, which consumers demand, delivered in-feed in a way that doesn’t spoil the mobile experience. In fact, it’s surprising that almost 20% of publishers still don’t offer it.

“With more and more people focusing on mobiles as their primary way of going online, in-feed native ads are going to become increasingly important. The onus is now on publishers and advertisers to ensure those ads continue to provide top-notch content that both engages and entertains.”

Ronan Shields

I'm the digital editor at The Drum, and cover adtech and martech. Prefer news and analysis, over opinion pieces. Current fascination(s) are blockchain and media futures trading; also curious about transhumanism on a personal basis. NYC-based, but really London Irish.

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