Each quarter we provide a high-level overview of the Native Advertising ecosystem so that marketers can have a deeper understanding of their content distribution strategies. This quarter, in addition to trends in Standard Native and Native Video campaigns, we incorporated the utilization of data in content marketing as advertisers invest heavily in data to ensure precise targeting throughout the consumer funnel.
Native advertising has often been perceived as an upper-funnel strategy used to increase brand awareness. However, content now sits at the center of brands’ marketing campaigns and is used to connect and engage with consumers at all stages of the consumer lifecycle. Layering in data segments and retargeting strategies enables marketers to reach target audiences with their content, deliver sequential messaging as a consumer moves down the funnel and ultimately drive results.
Here are the 3 main trends we found for the Q1 2017 report:
Data is Playing an Increasingly Important Role in Content Distribution
The use of data targeting in Native advertising campaigns has grown significantly throughout the past year. As Native advertising has emerged as a major player in brand’s marketing strategies, advertisers have begun to apply the same tactics from traditional display advertising to their content distribution strategies.
B2B Advertisers Are Investing More Heavily in Account-Based Marketing
Since integrating with Bombora and D&B and offering Account-Based Marketing we have seen a 340% increase in utilization throughout Q1. B2B campaigns have seen tremendous success with Native, now driving even greater results with more precise targeting through account-based marketing.
Retargeting is a Valuable Element for Brands’ Direct Response Native Campaigns
When Native first emerged many viewed it as single faceted, only used for brand awareness and upper-funnel campaigns. But as Native has gained widespread adoption with advertisers and publishers it has proved itself as an invaluable part of any campaign, regardless of the objective (Direct Response, Conversions, Brand Awareness etc.)
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Arthur Hainline, Director of Analytics, Bidtellect
Cory Lamay, VP of Supply Operations and Programmatic Integration, Bidtellect
The current threat of Fake News looming over the digital content ecosystem has caused many brands and marketers to become increasingly aware and sensitive of where their ads appear. Several brands with some of the largest budgets in digital advertising recently pulled media dollars from one of the top digital supply sources due to concerns about the content their ads were appearing next to.
The concept of brand safety is not new, and most companies that handle a digital ad between a brand and publisher have both technology and operational procedures to reduce one’s exposure to it. The challenge arises from the ever-increasing abundance of supply combined with the desire to scale programmatically.
Websites chasing advertising dollars can have a site up and running in hours with only a credit card and a catchy headline to start arbitraging traffic. A site with catchy headlines and fabricated news stories has a chance of passing many brand safety filters, but most brands would find that running on these types of sites is detrimental to their image. With this free rein and no third party monitoring the entire internet for quality and truth, it’s not surprising that many brands end up serving ads next to content that is not explicitly brand safe.
Tying in the Notion of Quality
Despite the term “Brand Safety Solutions,” brands are not completely safe if that is where they place all their trust. Working in conjunction, there needs to be a method for determining the quality and respectability of websites that is not captured in typical brand safety filtering.
The best way to approach this is through traffic sourcing data. How users arrive at a website is an important, and often overlooked method to determine quality and brand safety of content. The key differentiation to make is between sites that primarily source their traffic organically via search or typing the URL directly in the address bar, and sites that primarily source their traffic through social channels, paid advertising, or link exchanges.
Websites that attract users organically have proven themselves to provide quality content worthy of repeat visits, and are more likely to be respectable, widely recognized publications. These are the sites a user has bookmarked on their browser, or when they start typing in the domain the browser auto populates because the site is visited often.
Websites that rely on social and arbitrage clicks to generate traffic, while not inherently unsafe for brands, should be viewed with an added layer of scrutiny. These websites rely on catching the eyes and clicks of users typically with provocative headlines. These are the sites that users visit after clicking a link from their Facebook feed. The user probably won’t be able to remember the name of the site and he or she is not likely to visit again, outside of another paid or shared click. Most of their traffic is either bought or shared. This important distinction should serve as the backdrop to any truly effective brand safety decision making.
Value of Understanding Supply Quality
Distinguishing inventory sources by their traffic sources has other benefits besides setting a foundation on which to develop a brand safe programmatic buying strategy. Quality inventory that sources its traffic organically leads to consistently better post-click engagement with users, higher conversion rates, and fewer fraud signals.
To have a truly effective, brand safe buying strategy on programmatic, even sophisticated tools should be complemented by a quality strategy, or the notion of separating supply inventory into buckets based on the trustworthiness of the sites. One of the most important steps toward brand safety is the distinction that can be made in the primary traffic sources of sites.