Taylor Davidson · What's Native Today Will be Programmatic Tomorrow

by Taylor Davidson · 12 Dec 2012

On Native and Programmatic | John Battelle’s Search Blog

If I had to wager a guess, I’d have to say that programmatic will be a larger force, but only if you take “native” to mean the native units at domain-specific platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the like. But it’s very important to define your terms here because in five years time, I think you will be able to buy all of these “native” units across a unified “programmatic” platform — and that platform has not yet been built. We are, as an industry, heading in that direction, and it’s a very exciting one. When programmatic merges with native and is fueled by data and a transparent, objective framework, everyone wins.

Agreed. If I’ve had a conversation with you about the future of adtech lately, I’ve probably talked about this opportunity. Yes, scaling native today is challenged by production costs, scale, and lift, but at some point we’ll have a programmatic platform (and a suite of third-party services) to find, create, optimize, and buy native units across a variety of sites. Why?

What’s native today will be programmatic tomorrow.

New platforms create new experiences on the web. Audiences adopt new experiences en mass. Brands follow audiences. Brands re-ask “what should the ads be like” and create new ads that fit the new experiences. In the quest for profits, they chase scale by improving effectiveness and efficiency. And then the kids create new ways and reasons to use the web, creating massive new networks and platforms. Audiences and attention shifts. Repeat cycle.

This has always happened in media. Each new medium creates a new ad unit. Why does it feel so odd right now? This is the first time the digital medium has gone through this part of the cycle. Banner ads were the first ad units created for the web, and have evolved into a “scalable, consistent efficient platform for marketers”. But they won’t be the last platform. How we use the web has changed and will change. It only makes sense that the ads should also change as well.