Future of Native Advertising: 10 Companies on the Front Lines

  • 25 July 2017
  • Dean Schmid

Native Advertising is the biggest it has ever been. By placing advertisements among the content and in the same format as the content that the reader was already consuming, brands are seeing better engagement and following the no disruption code of inbound ethics.

People engage with native ads 53% more than banner ads. Those enticing titles placed at or in the article you are reading, who can help but click them. Bad news for easily distracted, programmatically placed native advertisements are trending hard, so brands can target a relevant audience.

Programmatic native advertising, is just one of dozens of innovations companies are employing to maintain and improve on their ad performance.

But enough chit-chat. Let’s get down to brass tacks and go over 10 companies on the front lines of native advertising.

Future of Native Advertising: 10 Companies on the Front Lines

1. TripleLift The Future of Visual Native Advertising

TripleLift is a platform of image-based marketing tools. With what they call image engagement technology, TripleLift will find your branded images assets across the web, curating them from social media, old campaigns, or maybe a blog or microsite and arrange them into a feed.

The feed is made up of regular content, which TripleLift just natively sprinkles your paid images into. Then using analytics and historical data, TripleLift will rank your content and only display the best performers while the programmatic algorithm selects images depending on who visits the site.

Pretty impressive stuff from the startup. A little background on the company. It was founded in 2012 and went through two rounds of funding, one in 2014 then another in 2015, raising a cool $14 mill on top of the initial $2 million seed.

Founders, Shaun Zacharia and Ari Lewine say that the company’s mission is to help advertisers catch up with “the rise of the visual web.”

2. Namo Media In-Stream Mobile Native Advertising

Namo Media’s SDK integrates with apps on an IOS and Android device to let in-stream advertisements fit snugly among the content.

I don’t need to tell you how important non-disruptive advertisements are to the modern inbound methodology, just compare the exceptional CTR of native advertisements with the mediocre 0.14 CTR rate of mobile banner advertisements.

Revenue, ad performance, and user targeting are all controlled from Namo Media’s Dashboard. I forgot to mention that Namo Media made bank in 2014 when it was bought by Twitter. At the time, it was part of Twitters strategy to get better at integrating advertisements into mobile feeds. If I am honest, this is the startups biggest contribution to native advertising.

3. Pressboard A Native Advertising Marketplace with Over 300 Publishers

Pressboard is a marketplace and native content platform that goes from commissioning the native advertisement to tracking how an audience responds to it. Launched in 2014, the startup has already collected more than 300 publishers on its platform and helped them create more than 1,200 stories, TechCrunch.

Pressboard is really a platform for connecting brands with publishers and mediating their interaction. Basically, every step of publishing native content can be taken within the Pressboard content. It isn’t doing anything that brands and publishers couldn’t by themselves. Pressboard is just streamlining the process. They are investing in developing a predictive algorithm that analyses headlines, topics, sentiment, and readability to predict how a story is going to do before it is published.

4. MediaSpike Leading the Way For VR Native Advertising

MediaSpike is one of the handful of startups working on advertising for virtual reality. On their homepage, they show and the in-game billboard that ironically signifies the front lines of native advertising.

Product placement in video games is nothing new. MediaSpike is already generating revenue by helping companies get their advertisement into mobile game, but VR can create digital worlds and a sense of place, which I think will make it a lot more effective for advertisers. Advertisements in a virtual world make a lot of sense if they are trying to imitate the real world.

Let’s end on a fact. Research firm MarketsandMarkets forecasts that manufacturers of VR and augmented-reality hardware—including smart glasses and head-mounted displays—will generate $1.06 billion in revenue globally by 2018. None disruptive VR advertisements will play a large role in this blossoming industry.

5. Brandnew Automates Finding Publishers For Native Advertising Campaigns

Brandnew helps brands create native advertisement campaigns across multiple social media channels. It uses an algorithm to automate finding influencers and approaching them about participating in their platform. There is no shortage of companies and startups that can do almost the same thing as Brandnew, but I choose to include it to highlight that this is part of an automated native advertising marketplace trend, which is a bit of a mouthful.

You can search an extensive roster of prominent creators, publishers, and influencers, and then using analytics, creator tracking and direct messaging, structure a campaign within the software. This makes for an easy to run a native advertisement campaign that keeps you in the loop with your publisher and performance of your content.

6. Sharethrough Ranks Native Advertising With Engagement Metrics

Sharethrough focuses on scoring in-feed native advertising by looking at engagement metrics, like the social sentiment, CTR, views, and relevance.

Dan Greenberg, the CEO of Sharethrough, told TechCrunch that there’s “a little bit of a battle for the web” shaping up, with one side pushing for native ads that contain genuinely good content, and the other trying to slap the native label on repackaged traditional ads.

I couldn’t agree more. The non-disruptive native adverting content engages an audience on its own merit, while repackaged advertisements sneak in with quality content are little more than clickbait, or a banner ad with steps. Prioritizing high-value content and the publishers that create it will benefit advertisers and let creators compete on quality.

7. LinkedIn’s Open Content Platform is a Standout For Native Advertising

LinkedIn is cut from a different cloth than other social media platforms. For the professionals that use it, LinkedIn is a great community and network to improve themselves and careers. For marketers, LinkedIn is creating an unrivaled content platform for educational or business content.

“When a member publishes a post on LinkedIn, their original content becomes part of their professional profile, it is shared with their trusted network and has the ability to reach the largest group of professionals ever assembled,” comments Ryan Roslansky, Head of Product at LinkedIn.

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What has this got to do with native advertising?

Sponsored posts on social media are almost always presented as native advertising. LinkedIn lets you link back to your profile which you can populate with blog posts and other powerful content.

This makes for is a real opportunity to share high quality content and sponsor it as native advertising. LinkedIn has immerged as one of the best platforms for native advertising.

8. Flipboard A Native Advertising Platform

Flipboard is a mobile and web app that collects content from around the web and arranges it into a grid-like format. Until recently nothing is on the platform. What I mean by that is, if you clicked on a box of content you were redirected to another site. That has all changed with the release of Storyboard.

Image result for flipboard

Storyboard is a platform for brand storytelling. Through a series of images, video, or audio, brands build a story to share with everyone following the interest – kind of like a category – it is posted under. Presented as a multipage carousel, and assuming the content is there, Storyboard should be well received by Flipboard’s audience of 90 million people. This platform was basically built for brands native advertising. Except for the occasional editorial, it is all branded content, with little to no avenue for an individual to gain a following on the platform.

9. Sponsify YouTube Native Advertising

Sponsify is aiming to bring their version of native advertising to YouTube. If you’ve spent any time on the video platform you will know its bursting at the seams with pre-rolled disruptive advertisements. Sponsify, is looking to work with content creators to integrate ads in meaningful less disruptive ways. “

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Sponsify co-founder and CEO Muhammad Huzaifa told TechCruch that “[Creators] don’t have an independent platform where they can actually source advertisers for their content.” Sponsify wants to make that connection and then work with the brand.

Product placement, endorsements, and viral videos are a welcome change from YouTube’s current pre-rolled ads. Sponsify also boasts powerful analytics tools that are displayed on a dashboard and make it easier for publishers and brands to track the performance of their advertisements.

10. Airpush Snaps Up Hubbl to Improve Their Native Advertising

Hubbl is an innovative native advertising tool that disrupted the industry with advanced ad personalization.

Kushal M. Choksi, founder, and CEO of Hubbl said that “Hubbl’s approach to mobile advertising moves beyond traditional mobile ads to create personalized in-app content experiences for users,” said. “This creates a win-win scenario where users get a better experience while developers earn significantly higher revenue.”

Like many a startup before it, Hubbl was bought and combined with another software product developed by Airpush. Today, we see functionality like abstract banners and other mobile ads you can engage with, as the reminisce of Hubbl on Airpush’s platform.

Airpush maintains an ecosystem of 120,000 apps spread across 5000 advertisers. Their acquisition of Hubbl helped propel them to the front lines of native advertising for the mobile platform. They deliver data-driven mobile advertising to household name brands like Coca-Cola.

This lets them hyper-target audience segments across 12 different ad formats and drives incredible engagement.

About Dean Schmid