The era of big data has ushered in a sea change in how ads are placed, with “real time buying” (RTB) bringing incredible efficiency and relevance to digital campaigns. But RTB won’t fly for native advertising, for three good reasons.
So says Ben Plomion of RTB Insider, who recently outlined his reasons why native advertising won’t scale for RTB.
To begin with, says Plomion, native content is really not advertising in the traditional sense, where you can plug and play in any publication.
He explains, “A piece of content that is native to Gawker cannot be native to another site. In other words, to be completely native, you must match the user experience of each individual publisher.”
Secondly, while the folks who are pushing native ads through RTB can certainly provide a piece of content to plug in, by definition that is not a native ad, according to Plomion.
“An ad that’s contextual and looks like the content around it, such as Facebook’s right-rail units, doesn’t meet the native standard because it offers nothing more to the user than any other ad. A true native campaign doesn’t disrupt the user experience in any way,” Plomion continues.
Perhaps the biggest reason to avoid RTB for native advertising is the amount of control a brand must give up to participate. Creating the perfect native experience is a challenge, and typically requires publishers to work closely with the brand on format and message.
“The brand always wants to remain in control and to know where the native units will appear. This is almost the opposite of how brands approach RTB ads. The more automated the process, the less control for the advertiser, and the less such ads can plausibly be considered native.”
We only have to look as far as The Atlantic’s native advertising disaster to realize the pitfalls in a hands-off environment like RTB for native advertising.