Automation within the native channel

Posted on: Thursday 12 December 2019 | By IAB UK

In part four of a series that deep dives into different digital channels, we spoke to Chris Rooke, SVP of Strategy and Operations at Nativo, about how the native industry is using, and embracing, automation

How is automation currently being used within native?
Automation within native can be found across all aspects of the supply chain. It is used throughout planning, fulfilment and reporting to simplify otherwise laborious or impossible manual tasks. The list of applications is so long; it’s safe to say automation is an integral part of modern native technology.

On the sell side, creative assets can be automatically discovered and ingested for use during pre-sale, and post-sale campaign setup. Automation is also found in campaign planning, scheduling, creative/delivery optimisation, performance measurement, analytics and reporting functions.

Automation also provides operational insights for sellers to monetise better, optimise inventory health towards metrics buyers care about, and position supply to drive revenue and CPM lift.

On the buy side, automation helps clients activate programmatically, and facilitate open and private marketplace and direct I/O activity with sellers. Buy-side investment can be automatically deployed across individual publishers, alliances, curated marketplaces, and other integrated supply.

Automation generally ensures contextual relevance for campaign delivery, and enables optimisation across a spectrum of performance metrics (viewability, CTR, engaged time, etc). Automation in native goes further, to provide granular A/B testing of creative combinations and messaging tactics. This helps marketers connect efficiently with their desired audiences in different editorial contexts.


At what stage of a native campaign can you use automation?
Automation can be applied at every step of a native campaign's life-cycle:

In pre-sale, sellers can auto-generate live, functioning demo links for client presentations and in response to advertiser briefs.

During campaign creation, matrixed teams can collaborate internally and externally, locally and remotely, to add creative assets, provide feedback and finalise approvals throughout the creative process.

Campaign managers can launch and optimise campaigns based on real-time insights from reporting tools, even as algorithms automatically optimise them. 

Publishers can monitor and update their inventory, based on what's performing well, and in-campaign and post-campaign reporting can be automatically generated to quickly present key insights to clients and external teams, saving teams hours of manual labour.


What are the current benefits of using automation within the native channel?
Operationally, automation saves time, keeps overhead low, maximises cost efficiency, helps business scale faster and increases revenue and profit margin for all stakeholders.

Automation helps campaigns optimise quickly, maximising Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) and driving business outcomes faster for advertisers.

Automation also helps publishers recover lost inventory and revenue, improve inventory viewability and benefit from other positive side effects as a result of faster page and ad load speed performance.


What are the current challenges to using automation within native?
Automation and general capabilities vary widely among native solutions providers. Publishers and advertisers are at risk of knowledge and capabilities gaps that can put them and their clients at a significant disadvantage. 

In addition, advancement in supply-side technology now allows standard display banner slots on publisher pages to accept native ad creatives. Although this form of native delivery represents incremental monetisation for publisher supply, it often fails to meet advertiser and agency expectations of native inventory, resulting in buyer confusion and frustration, followed by demands for inventory makegoods and a deep loss of trust in sellers and associated technology providers.


What one top tip would you give to advertisers and agencies who are running automated native campaigns?
Advertisers should conduct regular partnership audits to maintain a clear view of what they are buying. Buyers should be diligent with suppliers to ensure native campaigns are run across inventory that fulfils clients' performance expectations. On request, native suppliers should be happy to present examples of all placements and site types they may use to fulfil native activity.

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