An Announcement For Those Who Said Native Advertising Couldn't Scale

on Programmatic Native, The Future of Advertising

Two of the largest players in digital advertising are partnering to bring the industry something that many thought was impossible: native ads at scale.

Read more on Adweek: Now Marketers Can Buy Sponsored Content Programmatically Sharethrough and Appnexus sign deal

Native supply side platform Sharethrough and demand side platform AppNexus announced today that they will integrate their platforms to allow brand marketers to access billions of native ad impressions across hundreds of top publishers and apps via the Sharethrough Exchange.

Now brands, trading desks and agencies will be able to purchase native ads through the same AppNexus workflow that they currently use for their display and video ad buys.

"AppNexus and Sharethrough will be the first to harness the scale and predictive attributes of programmatic technology in the service of powering compelling native advertising," said Brian O’Kelley, CEO of AppNexus.

This integration was made possible by OpenRTB 2.3, the IAB's new specification for native programmatic advertising. The standard that makes it possible to trade metadata (headlines, descriptions and thumbnails) through advertising technology systems. Before OpenRTB 2.3, it was only possible to trade fixed sized files, which was not compatible with native advertising.

"Before today, the only way for marketers to deliver native via a major DSP was to use non-scalable manual integrations that required a ton of time and legwork," said Sharethrough CEO Dan Greenberg. "Sharethrough’s standards-based integration with a leading demand side platform allows brands to build programmatic native into their media strategy using the types of advanced programmatic storytelling and targeting provided by AppNexus.”

It's no surprise the two companies are making this happen, with the intersection of programmatic media buying and native advertising set for continued market growth. According to Business Insider, spending on native is expected to reach at least $21 billion in 2018 - with 15% of all online advertising budgets dedicated to native by 2020.

Meanwhile, RTB revenue is estimated to reach almost $15 billion in 2016, according to eMarketer.

The combination of these two burgeoning advertising categories means brand marketers can now tell data-powered stories by blending the precision of programmatic with the content-first approach of native.

“At its heart, advertising is about delivering the right message to the right audience, in the right place, at the right time,” said O’Kelley. "We’re excited about this partnership and equally excited about the value that it offers both publishers and advertisers.”