OPA Intelligence Reports

Posted in News on 12/17/2012 By Mark Glaser & Courtney Lowery Cowgill

Native ads and viewable ads matter

Online ads have been touted as the most trackable ads ever. But how useful can they be if visitors don’t even see them? Lately, publishers have made a two-pronged push to get ads noticed (and tracked correctly): 1) the rise of “native advertising” or branded or sponsored content (a new spin on advertorials); 2) and the new IAB campaign to track only the ads that are actually viewed. According to a study from Solve Media, 49 percent of media buyers say they will allocate money in 2013 to native advertising – advertising that is designed to be part of the site’s editorial flow—and less likely to be ignored. “It’s not a trend, it’s a reality,” Solve Media CEO Ari Jacoby tells PaidContent’s Jeff John Roberts. Two out of five media buyers told Solve they’ll put more than 10 percent of their budget toward native advertising and nearly 20 percent of online publishers say they will add native advertising to their offerings. But it’s still not entirely clear how to define this nascent ad genre – and how to really maximize it. As AdAge’s Ari Jacoby puts it, “We should be asking a deeper question: How does advertising grow so that it really belongs in the customer’s world? I think the answer lies in defining native advertising in terms of adding value for the customer, versus its medium.”

And starting early next year, thanks to the IAB-led Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) initiative, analytics and researchers will start to count only ads that viewers actually see. Adweek’s Charlie Warzel writes, “While many see this as a defining event—the moment when online advertising finally grows up—full implementation will take time, and it’s bound to get messy, according to experts.” One of the “messiest” aspects may be the potential loss in revenue the new viewability standards might mean for publishers. One possible answer to that? Well, native advertising, naturally. Because, the hope is that native advertising can actually ensure more viewability and thus revenue under the new standards. Walter Knapp, the EVP of platform revenue at Federated Media, wrote in iMedia Connection, “The solution is how we construct the holistic environment that welcomes better and more focused advertising in alignment with the content, context, and the reader.”