Native Advertising Grows Up



There once was a time when publishers and advertisers doubted Native Advertising’s ability to scale – but recent numbers have shown these doubts eroding. No longer considered a volatile advertising practice, the universal adoption of programmatic demonstrates that it is as an important tool for advertisers – today it is an industry standard across all platforms. 

Programmatic, particularly programmatic native, has become the preeminent way for brands to engage in meaningful conversations with target audiences.

In the US, native advertising is growing at an impressive clip and continues to prove itself as a viable ad format. Even longtime holdout Buzzfeed recently announced its intention to embrace automated advertising (a move that  helps connect its core native offerings with the programmatic side of its ad business). According to eMarketer-research in 2017 which segmented “US Native Digital Display,” “Ad spend will grow 36.2%... to reach $22.09 billion. At that level it will make up 52.9% of all display ad spending in the US.” This data suggests that Native truly represents a slight majority of all display ad spending, noting that social media is serving as a key driver of this growth.  


AI, Meet Native

An additional component aiding Native Advertising is the implementation of Artificial Intelligence. Utilizing AI is starting to help both brands and publishers determine which content is objectionable, and which is safe, as they conduct real time analyses of thousands of pages per hour. For example, ADYOULIKE uses AI in a variety of forms, even pulling in elements from IBM Watson, to scan content for semantics, sentiment, emotion, and concepts, similarly to how a human reader would interact with content.

It’s apparent that, as machine learning technologies continue to become smarter, AI will accelerate the ability of Native Advertising platforms to match page content, ad content, and users with finite targeting. AI will continue delivering better-focused ads with improved engagement metrics, enhancing transparency and brand safety to help safeguard the industry against fraudulent and unauthorized activity.  


Be One With Mobile

The Native revolution also impacts mobile. According to Lauren Fisher, principal analyst and author of the above-cited eMarketer report, “...Growth of Native Digital Display is being driven by publishers’ pursuits of higher-value and more mobile-friendly inventory, as well as by advertisers’ demands for more engaging, less intrusive ads.”

The point? People view irrelevant advertisements as annoying. They will continue to demand top-notch content that doesn’t waste their time. Native Advertising has the ability to match a user’s environment with styling and context.  


An Initiative for The Best Content

There are certainly challenge both past and present for Native Advertising, including the need to improve measurement capabilities and the ability to offer premium content. As Native Advertising leaders continue to work through these challenges, they are offering genuine scale and greater reach – with quality, in-feed delivery that doesn’t spoil the viewers’ experiences.

Now that publishers have a wealth of data to take advantage of, it will make for a better ad viewing and an improved ecosystem with content that is better suited for everyone, one-to-one. Publishers have been eager to deliver more personalized content, and Programmatic Native is the perfect delivery mechanism.

Tech Categories

Native Advertising


Francis Turner
Francis Turner
Francis Turner, US General Manager and Co-Founder of ADYOULIKE, has 13+ years of experience in marketing and the media industry. In his current role as GM, US and CRO at ADYOULIKE, Turner is responsible for building the native advertising platform’s business in the North American market. Prior to ADYOULIKE, he was co-founder of Content AMP, the UK’s first Native Advertising platform and network. The company merged with ADYOULIKE in 2014, which has become a leading international, in-feed Native Ad platform.