Highlights from Sharethrough's Native Ad Summit 2018

on Sharethrough Events

Last week, we held our Native Ad Summit at the Exploratorium’s Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery & Terrace. Bringing in upwards of 150 attendees in the industry, Sharethrough, alongside marketing experts from Uber, Clorox, The Trade Desk, AKQA, Amobee, Intel, AppNexus, Placed, Liveramp, and Digitas, took to the stage for our summit, presenting insights into the rapidly evolving media landscape.

Here are some highlights from the content-filled event:

Sharethrough | 2018 Native Ad Summit Highlights from Sharethrough on Vimeo.

From precious to ubiquitous
Sharethrough CEO Dan Greenberg took to the stage the main keynote to discuss the evolution of native advertising, and how it’s evolved to become the ad format of choice for brands. What was once originally considered to be expensive and exclusive now works for all marketers, no matter what the creative or content is. TV ads, big budget brand campaigns, direct response ads — these can all successfully work as native ads, too. Demonstrating his points through client case studies and research, Greenberg further verified the idea of the native advertising impact across the funnel as a workhorse.


Programmatic and mobile
With programmatic and mobile always at the top of our customers’ minds, we wanted to ensure we provided the audience with insights into one of the longest-running hot topics of the industry. And though programmatic and mobile are topics constantly covered at many events, the ever-changing media world allows for more interpretation and insights into how to best address the new behaviors that come from the changing landscape.

Our Regional Director, West, Jim O’Malley moderated a programmatic panel, featuring AKQA’s Evan Fjeld, Amy Peppers from AppNexus, and Chris Norton from Amobee, where they discussed their personal experiences from working in programmatic. Highlighting the realization that brands need to plan for a future beyond banners, native is well positioned to fill that void. Through discussing programmatic scale and driving outcomes, attendees were able to key into learning what can work by adding native into their media mix and what the future holds for programmatic native.

The big call to action for traders in the room: “don’t be afraid to test!”


In keeping with the programmatic theme, Tiffany Lee, Sr. Director of Inventory Partnerships at the Trade Desk focused her particular presentation track around programmatic native video and the value and scale they’ve seen among their clients and how others can look to these examples for their own success.

Though mobile was a topic brought up across nearly all presentations, Frank Maguire, Sharethrough’s Head of Market Development moderated a panel focused primarily on mobile with Luke Kintigh from Intel IQ and Chris Murphy from LiveRamp, titled, We live in a mobile-first world — what will it take for advertising to catch up?, discussing how ad experiences need to change in order to address the increasing time spent on mobile devices. When creating ads and content — especially video — think of the mobile experience. Understand the consumer's journey and where mobile plays a role. If your audience is more likely to convert on desktop but are heavy mobile users, consider using mobile ads to education and move them down the funnel faster, for example.


Impacting brand ROI
With the audience filled with brands and agencies looking to learn how to best future-proof their strategies and step into the future of the digital landscape, presenters from Sharethrough, Clorox, Placed, and Jivox all gave their unique perspective on what it’s like to run campaigns through a number of different lenses, including, brand, location data, research, and creative.

Clorox Brand Engagement Manager, Brooke Shapiro, for instance gave attendees at the summit a peek into their marketing playbook, specifically on how they amplify PR/shopper content through native advertising. Jim Watson from Placed challenged attendees to acknowledge that location-based data allows advertisers to understand their consumers’ journey both on and offline and Anna Luo from Jivox encouraged everyone to embrace the power of 1:1 marketing through dynamic creative.

Midway through the summit, our Director of Research, Melinda Staros presented the research keynote, focusing on what advertisers can do to create better and more effective experiences for consumers with native ads. She provided the audience with the 3 things all advertisers need to account for in order to have an impact on brand ROI:

  • Ads must be viewable and mobile in order for it to create an attentive and intimate experience
  • The ad experience must be respectful, non-interruptive, and efficient for it to earn attention and translate into a preferred, positive customer experience
  • The ad environment needs to be editorial, in-feed, and contextually relevant for it to amplify the brand effect with its halo


Brand advertising: unfiltered
This year, we wanted the Native Ad Summit to address the tension in the advertising market between a new media reality and ad buying behaviors that are becoming rapidly out of date with that new reality. To address these, the program hosted fireside chats with Uber and Digitas, focusing on their personal journeys through the evolving industry not just with native advertising, but with what they’ve seen change in brands’ overall media mix.

Claire Daugherty, Uber’s Growth Marketing Manager, chatted with Sharethrough’s Sales Manager, Erin Turcotte, and walked the audience through her particular experience with introducing native advertising as a resource for Uber’s content distribution and the challenges that came along with implementing her strategy, from execution to measurement.


SVP Media Director at Digitas, Kristin Scheve sat down with Sharethrough’s Sr. Sales Manager, Lindsay Whelan, to talk about the state of the media world and what brands and agencies need to do with ad spend in order to catch up with what’s been changing.

“A format you can stick a TV ad into feels comfortable and a lot of the time these advertisers are scared. But an agency’s role is to help them navigate that and empower them to think outside of that” - Kristin Scheve

Touching upon pain points that all agencies go through – consumer behavior, content consumption, multi-channel strategies — Uber’s and Digitas’ experiences resonated well with the audience, leaving everyone feeling optimistic about how to handle hurdles in their day-to-day campaigns.


Embrace the change

With change being a consistent theme throughout the Native Ad Summit program, we’re hoping everyone was encouraged to become native advertising champions and take the necessary steps to take advantage of the opportunities available in the evolving digital landscape.

See you at the next Native Ad Summit!