There has been a robust competition between these two advertising trends in recent years. Both are on the rise but remain very different from each other.
Programmatic focuses on efficiency and low-cost, while native ads strive to bring the most value (and are more expensive as a result). Up until now, they have remained entirely separate. This year, however, media conglomerates are attempting to bring the scalability and price points of programmatic ads to native advertising.
This effort is being driven by companies that are finding ways to scale native advertising. They’re doing this by packaging the native content so it can be sold the same way programmatic ads are. BuzzFeed was the first to dive into this sort of thing by building a network of partner sites to run their sponsored content.
The concern raised by those who create this sponsored content, however, is how to retain quality and value while still ramping up the scale.
Regarding this matter, Andrew Gorenstein of Gawker Media said, “The notion that you could potentially automate that process goes against what native is at its core. A piece of content that is native to Gawker, by definition, cannot be native to another site, even if it has a similar audience or editorial content.”
With every move to standardize the ads, value is lost from the original content and from the original format. If there is a more automated way to produce native ads so that they can truly function like programmatic ads, it is yet to be pioneered.