The Wall Street Journal cited data from ad sales intelligence business MediaRadar which suggest that less than 10% of advertisers are using programmatic native ads.
But it also noted that TripleLift, a programmatic native vendor, saw the number of ad impressions traded through its platform grow more than sevenfold last year to 23bn, while ad tech company The Trade Desk reported that it had seen revenue from native ads grow by 1,000% as traditional display advertising shrank.
Native advertising in many regards ought to be an obvious choice for marketers, being an ideal format for mobile while also sidestepping the use of adblockers, but its Achilles heel has been an inability to scale: programmatic offers a way past that.
"When native advertising and programmatic technologies are combined, marketers are able to apply a user-centric approach to deliver advertising that seamlessly blends into publisher sites and apps where consumers spend their time," according to Greg Endean, Commercial Director, Sociomantic Labs. "We see another case for an industry-wide win-win-win," he told Exchange Wire.
Talking to MediaPost, John Haake, SVP/Marketing at Nativo, was in broad agreement with those sentiments, adding that "Native [advertising] is an opportunity to learn from the lessons of programmatic display technology and do a better type of advertising".
Right now, though, banner ads still dominate and there's some disagreement as to whether that's because advertisers are unwilling to invest the time and money that is necessary to produce suitable native ad creative or publishers are holding back on revamping websites to accommodate native ad formats.
But Haake's boss Justin Choi, chief executive of Nativo, is quietly confident of the future. "The narrative is maybe ahead of the size of the category," he said, "but the hype is justified."
Data sourced from Wall Street Journal, ExchangeWire, MediaPost; additional content by Warc staff