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Brands must automate mobile native advertising

By
April 13, 2016

Joe Prusz is senior vice president and head of mobile at Rubicon Project

Joe Prusz is senior vice president and head of mobile at Rubicon Project

By Joe Prusz

Automation has a way of making every advertising opportunity work better.

Native advertising is one of the most exciting opportunities in mobile right now. Native formats let advertisers create engaging, attractive and unobtrusive digital experiences for potential customers, and for this reason is both an important format for brands and a worthwhile unit for publishers to offer at scale.

However, mobile native is a new advertising opportunity and that can create anxiety among advertisers because they fear that their expertise in the medium is not far enough advanced, the formats and creative choices are too limited, and the scale is too small to warrant a test.

OpenRTB surgery
As much as mobile native has demonstrated its effectiveness, the perception of the degree of custom development required to get started is enough to cause hesitation for both brands and publishers.

This is where automation can save the day.

Automating mobile native advertising makes it easy to launch, run, evaluate and begin to build internal expertise about mobile native.

With the release of the OpenRTB native ad specs, advertising technologies are able to apply the power of automation to an opportunity that once required intense coordination and creative customization to take advantage of now.

Let us talk a little bit more about the specific benefits of automating mobile native advertising for getting up and running with this promising format.

Publishers and advertisers can test waters while building internal expertise
While institutional knowledge about how to approach digital display and search is high for most brands, their understanding of what works on mobile native will be far lower, if not nil.

Mobile native advertising combines the mobile platform and the native advertising tactic, both of which are still in the emerging phase of adoption by most brands.

But behavioral, performance and even operational insights are actually an output of automated campaigns, especially in the beginning.

Through automation, advertisers are able to run many executions of creative and strategies across many publisher environments at once, and with minimal custom creative development. This lets them see which combinations work best for the brand.

Automating mobile native is also an efficient way to see what works well, enabling marketers to decide where to double down on custom native opportunities with specific publishers.

Builds in the mobile native scale and inventory to make a test worthwhile
Brands can be forgiven for thinking that the mobile native advertising environment is highly fragmented and tough to scale. After all, the fact that the creative is customized to each mobile publisher’s environment is the marquee benefit of mobile native.

In fact, there is plenty of mobile native supply, and it is easy to access as long as you are plugged into a single demand source.

To take advantage of the largest share of that mobile native inventory, you just need to supply your demand source with as may creative components as possible to build their mobile native creatives.

Affords creative standardization
How can you take advantage of mobile native without significant creative resources to build custom units for each mobile publisher?

Many mobile native units are composed of a finite set of creative elements: square icons, text and full images, some of which are in Interactive Advertising Bureau standard sizes.

Supplying a variety of creative elements in each of these categories will maximize your chances of being eligible to appear in a significant number of mobile native environments.

AUTOMATING MOBILE native will also make it operationally adjacent to other resources that can make the campaigns perform better, namely the data that can further boost performance for these engaging units.

Brands and publishers can test and scale the mobile native opportunity by making it a machine-powered one.

Joe Prusz is senior vice president and head of mobile at Rubicon Project, Los Angeles. Reach him at jprusz@rubiconproject.com.

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