How Sharethrough is redefining the value of native as a format

How Sharethrough is redefining the value of native as a format

Ahead of a panel session on publishing and programmatic at Programamtic Punch NY, Sharethrough’s chief executive officer, Dan Greenberg speaks to The Drum about brand safety and how the biggest challenge facing the industry right now is educating traders to implement a “workhorse” mindset with native display.

It’s time for traders and marketers to take advantage of the opportunity that native ads can provide, he says. There needs to be a format which is scalable, respectful of ad formats which fit into existing functions and drives measurable performances.

As there can be less control of where ads appear when buying blind over a network, will issues around brand safety remain?

If brands are running campaigns across hundreds of thousands of sites, chasing audiences down back alleys deep into the long tail of the Internet, brand safety concerns will always remain. As brands have started to pay closer attention to where their ads are ending up, the absurdity of this situation has become clearer. Famously, last year Chase Bank cut back the number of sites their ads were running on from 400,000 to 5,000 without sacrificing any impact. And why would they want to be on that many sites?

For brand marketers, the days of running ads on 400,000 sites are coming to an end. Sharethrough’s 1,200 publishing partners reach 92% of the US population and a better and more impactful environment to advertise in, without any of the same fears about what your brands are ending up next to.

Will native advertising assuage such fears with a more bespoke offering?

Programmatic native advertising is by no measure bespoke. The Sharethrough Exchange serves 12 billion native ad impressions each month. The largest DSPs in the world -- like DBM, the Trade Desk and Adobe -- have all built-in programmatic support for native. Brands can execute native campaigns easily and not sacrifice the sorts of scale they might see with traditional ad buys.

Where native does assuage brand safety concerns is by allowing brands to place ads inside the feed of their audience’s favorite websites, ads that match the form and function of these pages. Native allows brands to benefit from the context of a premium publisher environment, reaching audiences that are engaged and switched in, in and around content they can trust.

Can programmatic native successfully marry both virtues?

Native ads are so effective because they fit into the feed and earn primary attention, helping brands reach consumers that have become virtually blind to peripheral ads.

As the market for programmatic native ads has expanded aggressively over the last two years, native’s existing benefits have been given new possibilities of scale and powers of precision. Publishers can trade off the value of the equity of their masthead while also leveraging their own proprietary data and audience targeting. Advertisers can target audiences in smart ways with content their considerably more likely to read. DSPs and trading desks have been able to open up access to native supply and allow buyers to benefit from new and innovative buy side tools.

What are the main challenges that Sharethrough faces in the automated media buying world?

To bring native display and native outstream video to the programmatic ecosystem required major work: standardizing the format with the IAB, establishing open RTB specs, setting up direct DSP integrations and socializing the workflow so buyers know how to include these new formats in their existing plans.

The biggest challenge right now is educating traders to think of native display and native outstream as a “workhorse” media product, like traditional display and traditional pre-roll or non-native outstream. Native ads can drive scale and performance, right in line with other programmatic digital ad formats.

How to you propose to tackle these issues?

We’re meeting these challenges by making a strong investment in our programmatic growth, buoyed by our success over the last few years. We’ve proven the value of native as a format. We’ve catalyzed the market and standardized the format. Now is the time for traders and marketers to capitalize on the opportunity with native ads — a scalable, respectful ad format that fits into their existing workflow and drives measurable performance.

Sharethrough will be appearing at Programmatic Punch New York on March 28, discussing the challenges publishers face in an automated media buying world.

Tickets are available to purchase online, with the event taking place at Ogilvy & Mather, New York.

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