Let’s face it: native advertising and programmatic buying don’t quite sound like they’d go well together. On the surface, their pairing appears to be a clash of qualitative vs. quantitative – of optimizing user experience vs. standardisation and scaling. But what many app publishers and brands aren’t realizing yet, is that native advertising and real-time bidding (RTB) integration is very possible, and it’s poised to become the gold standard in mobile ads.

So, why are advertisers and publishers smart to begin utilizing RTB for mobile native advertising right now?

Buying Native Programmatically Combines Effectiveness and Efficiency for Brands.

Display ads may be fully standardized, but they’re certainly not effective. Considering you’re more likely to survive a plane crash or summit Mt. Everest than you are to click on a banner ad, there has to be a better way to target users.

Native advertising blends seamlessly into surrounding content; since consumers don’t want to be told what to buy or do, native acts like an honest extension of its surroundings. Engagement and conversion, therefore, are much greater with native than they are with banner ads. 70% of internet users would rather learn about products through content as opposed to traditional advertising. Furthermore, native ads are viewed 53% more than banner ads, and their non-disruptive nature helps users to attach more positive emotions to the featured brands.

OpenRTB Version 2.3 has promoted increased levels of standardization in mobile native ads, so that advertisers can access a large pool of high-quality inventory through real-time bidding. It provides a common language to assist developers in building scalable native ads for RTB. Because native ads are composed of multiple elements (metadata) – as opposed to the single file display ads – a new object had to be built in the spec to support bidding for these ads at scale.

This update brings the most significant change since OpenRTB 2.0, placing a new Native object next to existing Banner and Video objects within the impression that is run through the bidstream. On the request side, the new standard helps to describe the native unit that’s being bid on and the elements the publisher needs to render the ad. As a result of these programming allowances, RTB mobile inventory is skyrocketing at 192% quarter-over-quarter growth for Q4 2014.

The data-rich aspect of native RTB also represents an attractive quality for advertisers. Programmatic strategies are helping brands more effectively target their ads through deterministic and probabilistic techniques. Of course, this spells out increased conversions and more streamlined marketing on top of the benefits gleaned from non-invasive native context.

Ever-increasing Levels of Standardization Maximize Returns for Publishers.

Programmatic buying of native ads has already caught on with content-rich platforms such as Buzzfeed and Facebook. More than 60% of the top 100 U.S. publishers already use in-feed ads on their mobile apps and websites. The world is familiar with the layout and flow of these websites, to the point where trust in ad placement and ROI is unbeatably high. In-feed ads have traditionally been the easiest to standardize – but for interactive mobile apps (games, messaging services, etc.), programmatic buying of native has remained a bit trickier and, therefore, largely untapped.

Once again, OpenRTB 2.3 facilitates this innovation, transforming the way DSPs and SSPs communicate their metadata and allowing for higher levels of standardization in native. Unification of programmatic requirements, such as equality of clicks, helps to ensure scalability of native ads. This kind of standardization means big things for publishers: advertisers are more willing to buy inventory and spend money on apps.

The endgame here is that publishers and advertisers should consider moving away from display and instead reap the benefits of mobile native through RTB, facilitated by OpenRTB Version 2.3. The prospects and reach for this integration will only improve in the upcoming months.

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