In addition, Twitter’s recent acquisition of mobile ad exchange MoPub and Livefyre’s acquisition of Storify, a social media-curation startup, could lead to new developments in native ads.
Kevin Weil, VP of product, revenue at Twitter, told AdExchanger that native advertising is “a major opportunity for mobile advertising…we think there's an opportunity to bring more native advertising to mobile applications – even through an exchange." Weil also noted that, "A lot of [Mopub's] business is traditional display, but we think there's an opportunity to mix up more native advertising in there."
As for Storify, the startup’s ability to build stories out of curated social media conversations makes it an ideal fit for creating native ads, according to Jordan Kretchmer, founder and CEO of the commenting platform Livefyre.
“With Storify, you’ve got brands that are creating their own stories every day out of social conversations but they need a way to scale them.” Kretchmer said. “Livefyre is a content syndication source so we’re pulling in content from all over the place, filtering it and redisplaying it as native content on publishers’ sites, which helps lower the barrier in scalability.”
Livefyre has a network of more than 450 publishers and media companies, such as AOL, CBS, Dow Jones and Time Inc., according to Kretchmer. Once Storify has been integrated into its system, Livefyre will be able to “syndicate a story written by, say, Ford to all our relevant publisher sites as native content,” Kretchmer said.
In terms of targeting ads, Livefyre can target audiences based on a few characteristics such as topic, region and geo-location. “We don’t have the tools for tracking people around the web and we purposely don’t do that,” Kretchmer added. “But if we know a user talks about politics, for example, we’ll make sure they get a specific message versus someone who doesn’t talk about politics.”
The targeting capabilities of most native ads are currently limited and based on personas or specific audience segments in contrast to the more data-driven approaches used in programmatic media buys, acknowledged Lieb.
The reason for this “loops back to the issue of scale, which of course, native hasn’t solved for,” she said. “This is not a bad thing. One of native advertising's marked advantages is that in being more engaging and content-rich, which is arguably the antithesis of data-driven display advertising, it can combat banner blindness and consumer aversion to overly commercial and sales-y messaging from advertisers.”