Bidtellect Native Report 2H 2018

Every half year, Bidtellect dives deep into the Native Advertising ecosystem to provide a high-level overview of notable findings, with the aim of giving marketers a clearer understanding of the state of their content distribution strategies.

As technological advances increase, sharper targeting, dynamic optimization, high quality creative, and flexible goal types make bringing the right creative to the right user ever-easier and cheaper – and the engagement data proves it.

The deeper engagement trend of the first half of the year continued through the second half of 2018. Bounce rates across devices decreased, while the length of time spent on sites visited and number of page views per visit increased. In Mobile engagement, the rate of change surpassed Desktop.

Click Through Rate (CTR) continues to be a top priority for marketers and advertisers, but as Viewability emerged as a new top goal in Q4. CTR in Mobile, again, grew noticeably, indicating it’s becoming – and should be – a priority for advertisers. Users are not only engaging with content on mobile and tablets at a growing rate, but engaging deeper and more thoughtfully.

Marketers are recognizing the importance of creating appealing Native Ad copy and images, and requests for creative services increased over 2018 and top-requested categories emerged. High-quality content deserves high quality advertisements that simultaneously blend seamlessly into the environment, appeal to the right consumer, and match the voice and personality of the content they are directing the consumer towards.

Here are the 3 main trends we found for the 2H 2018 report:


Longer Engagement Across Devices

Lower Bounce Rates and Higher Time on Sites and Page View per Visit point to high quality content coupled with accurate targeting capabilities, including increased contextual placement targeting. Creative service requests are increasing.


Mobile CTR is Surpassing Desktop

Mobile engagement continues to grow, and CTR not only increased in Mobile over Desktop, but the rate of increase is far higher than that of Desktop.



Creative Ad Image and Copy Are a Higher Priority

The increase in Creative Service requests point to more advertisers recognizing the importance of creative in appealing to consumers- especially in Native.


Longer Engagement Across Devices

Engagement by Device:

Engagement Score is a unique metric created by Bidtellect to most-accurately measure the success of a Native asset based on user behavior. Its algorithm factors in sessions, pageviews, bounce rate, and time on site. Over 2018, the Engagement Score rose steadily across all devices (ES & Time on Site) in comparing Q4 2017 to Q4 2018. This improved performance speaks to Bidtellect’s continued improvement of its optimization as well as the public’s shift towards native as the type of ads they want to engage with.

Time on Site:

Time on Site had the most marked increase across device. High quality content in conjunction with clear messaging and engaging creatives led to longer Time on Site. The most notable change is in Mobile, in which Time on Site increased from Q1 to Q4 by 25%.

As a result of increased Time on Site, we tied a decrease in Mobile Bounce Rate from Q1 to Q4 2018 by 25%.

  • Mobile Time on Site from Q1 to Q4  increased by 28%
  • Mobile Bounce Rate from Q1 to Q4 decreased by 25%

And in comparing Page Views Per Visit, Desktop vs. Mobile: Desktop had slightly more page views per visit and they had about the same bounce rate.



While engagement grew across devices, Mobile’s huge leaps in CTR stood out. Mobile advertising engagement continues to increase in conjunction with the vast improvement in the Mobile web experiences from readability to relevant placement. In comparing the rate of growth compared to Desktop, we noticed an increase in rate of change from 2017 compared to 2018.

Q1 2017
Mobile CTR was 55% higher than desktop.

Q4 2017
Mobile CTR was 68% higher than desktop and 20% higher than Tablet.

Q1 2018 
Mobile CTR was 229% higher than Desktop and 44% higher than Tablet.

Q4 2018
Mobile CTR was 150% higher than Desktop and 19.2% higher than Tablet.

Creative Engagement by Vertical

High-Quality Native Ad Copy:

High-quality Native Ad copy and images are not only desired by expert content marketers but necessary to engage the right consumer. Representing the brand and ultimate destination of the ad can be lost in programmatic. Native Advertisements are a cut above display, and the Creatives should reflect that. Content marketers are recognizing the importance of a specialized creative agency. Bidtellect’s expert creative services team, [b]+studio, leads the industry in creating eye-catching, performance-driven copy and image pairings for clients. We analyzed the number of requests by vertical for each quarter of 2018. Clients on any model from self-serve to full service can request [b]+studio’s services.

Bidtellect saw a 32.5% increase in total requests from Q1 to Q4 2018.

Tech, Retail, Finance, Food & Beverage, Health, and Travel were consistently the top-requested categories for creative across 2018, with Tech, Retail, and Finance being the Top 3 Requested Verticals overall. Generally thought of as “dryer” subjects, Technology, Finance, and Health often requires creative input to make more-engaging Ads or to appeal to the right consumer.

Retail soared as the holiday shopping season took hold; the top-engaging creatives of Q3 and Q4 were often Retail.

Standard Native

Engagement by Contextual Categories:

As contextual targeting becomes more prevalent with evolving data standards, marketers recognize the importance of altering their strategy accordingly. With increasing contextual targeting capabilities, top-engaging categories emerged.

Contextual category defines the category at page level, i.e. this article about the Housing Market on is a Real Estate category.

It’s unsurprising that Religion & Spirituality emerged as a top category as the holiday season falls in the second half of the year, as do the busiest gift-giving and shopping days and the high ranking Shopping category. The gift-giving season likely contributed to high Technology & Computing article visits for gift research, but continuous, rapid advances in Tech, as well as heavy mention of Technology in the News the second half of 2018 likely contributed.

Contextual categories are provided by Bidtellect’s partner, AdmantX.

About this Report

Bidtellect’s Quarterly Native Report was created to provide advertisers with important insights and trends in the Native Advertising industry. Bidtellect’s platform processes over 10 billion Native auctions daily across 58 million distinctly targetable placements, and this number continues to grow quarter over quarter. We collect data from the start of an auction through post-click consumer activity including but not limited to the metrics captured in this report.

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