Kristen McDonnell and Jennifer Zeider

As referenced in an article by Business Insider in June 2016, “Native Advertising in the US will drive 74% of all ad revenue by 2021.”  BI data further suggests that “Spending on native advertising in the United States will reach $21 billion by 2018.”  We can all agree that the Native Advertising is the future and the future is now.

Proving the success and ultimate worth of an advertiser’s online media spend has been a struggle for the entire industry ever since the first banner ad was sold 22 years ago. The digital ad landscape changes and evolves faster than we can explain to our parents what it is we do for a living, which makes it virtually impossible to accurately measure each ad’s performance and readily report back to our clients in a comprehensive way.

Although this is a prevalent challenge facing the entire industry, at Bidtellect we have four key focus areas to ensure we are delivering the highest quality content experience to consumers and the greatest ROI and metrics to our advertiser partners.

Understanding Quality vs. Performance

This industry-wide challenge has spurred the creation of many “ad verification” businesses, whose sole purpose is to help solve the very issue at hand.  Companies like Double Verify, IAS & Moat, for example, have been built upon a methodology which promises to ensure our clients that every dollar spent on serving an ad/impression yields a maximum return. Throw in a viewability guarantee and a 0.1% CTR and we’ve convinced our clients that their $500K media plan was worth every penny.

What many advertisers and clients aren’t taking into account, though, is that there’s a difference between quality and performance – one cannot measure the overall effectiveness of a campaign solely on the quality checks that they receive from their Ad Verification partner.  Ad quality should almost be a given at this point, and essentially ‘step one’ of the campaign measurement process.  Bidtellect for example, a leading Native DSP, automatically scans impressions for fraud and bot traffic, pre-bid, thus not spending the advertiser’s budget on wasteful media.  This then leaves us to the second and most important part of campaign measurement, PERFORMANCE.  What your advertisers’ partners actually do with those quality impressions, in terms of optimization and strategy, is really where your media plans’ quantification comes into play.

User Experience

And speaking of performance quantification, let’s talk about user experience.  As more and more online publishers revamp their sites to only accommodate Native Ad inventory, the extinction of banner ads is rapidly approaching. Native Ads create an environment that fosters a much more positive user experience than the standard banner and one in which is non-intrusive and the user more often than not actually wants to engage.

The purpose and strategy behind Native ads, (or “content previews”), is to promote our advertisers’ products and/or initiatives in a contextually relevant, non-intrusive manner.  Native ads essentially become a “content preview”, which direct to the advertiser’s content hub, website, product page, etc., with the notion of educating and engaging the masses. When a user engages with a Native ad they are typically being directed to an informative site, which, in one way or another, is meant to highlight steps, recommendations, referrals or references, all with the hope of providing an experience that will enhance the online user’s overall quality of life. Many are centered around upgrading one’s daily routine – how to be more efficient and what products can help you get there, some are focused on upcoming travel plans, others around overall health & well-being, the list goes on and on.

Catchy Native ad headlines may sound something like, “Recipe pages for quick meals on the go”, “Best hotel deals of the week”, “How to be more present and improve your mental health”, “Top attractions in your favorite city”, these are all commonly seen content verticals running in today’s Native landscape.

CTR is Out, Engagement Is In

The act of measuring performance by CTR or even “Viewability” is slowly becoming obsolete as advertisers realize that they can gather much more valuable data and measure performance based off of engagement metrics (Post-Click Engagement). For more information on why you should be using engagement, not CTR, to measure awareness, read this article.

What is the user doing after they click on the ad? How long are they staying on the site?  How many pages deep into the site are they?  How far down the page are they scrolling and which pieces of content are they spending the most time with?

Optimize Toward Engagement

Bidtellect can accurately measure and optimize to post-click data via our proprietary Engagement Score code.  This capability has made measuring engagement a reality and subsequently, all our lives a little bit easier.  The ability to measure post-click engagement metrics and optimize in real-time upon said metrics is done at scale and we have seen great results.  This unique offering is what sets Bidtellect apart from other companies utilizing such as Google Analytics, VisualIQ, and Omniture.  The key to success is in the “optimization.” This means clients’ media budgets are being spent as efficiently and effectively as possible with the proof to back it up.