India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, poised to achieve a growth rate of almost 8% in 2019. One of the key drivers of this strong growth is the flourishing digital economy, which has been projected to surpass $1 trillion in just three years. As digital continues to dominate Indian ad spend, crossing the 40% mark for the first time this year, native discovery – personalised recommendations that appear in a format native to the platform – seems to be leading the way, growing at an even faster pace in the overall digital ecosystem. While native discovery is by no means a new kid on the block, here are four reasons why it’s now become mission critical for every media planner to include it in their overall media plan – if they aren’t already doing so.
1) It offers variety – useful for planners looking to hedge their bets
There’s no denying the dominance of the Google-Facebook digital duopoly, especially with Google’s commitment to bringing more of the Indian population online with its ‘next billion’ plan. However, Indian marketers and agencies are increasingly looking to diversify budgets away from the duopoly – not least as the tech giants continue to be held up to scrutiny, with Google most recently being fined $57 million by a French regulator for breach of the GDPR. Against such a context, native discovery lends itself as a promising alternative for media planners who want to spread their spend across a variety of platforms. After all, from video to blogposts, native discovery encompasses a range of solutions available on a selection of premium publishers, while at the same time preserving a superior user experience.
2) Native discovery is now available programmatically
With almost 20% of all digital media in India now being bought programmatically, up from just 15% last year, programmatic continues to be on the up and up, as agencies leverage programmatic to regain control of the ad buying process, as well as to enjoy the unmatched targeting options offered. And in a union of two darlings of the digital advertising world, media planners would be glad to know that native discovery can now be bought programmatically – Outbrain, for instance, has extended its programmatic reach through programmatic platforms like AppNexus and The Trade Desk, while bolstering its programmatic native offering through the acquisition of Zemanta, a native demand-side platform.
3) It empowers planners with greater control over quality, driving performance
In a world of performance-based advertising that continues to be besieged by issues like ad fraud and ad wastage, native platforms are able to offer planners some relief, as many do offer various options for media planners keen to control quality and drive performance. For example:
• Publisher block: agencies and advertisers have the option of blocking certain publishers in the event that their platforms are not driving enough conversions for them.
• Interest targeting: certain native platforms allow interest-based targeting, giving planners the ability to target a more specific audience within a particular category like Finance or Pharma, therefore reducing wastage for advertisers.
• Operating System (OS) targeting and browser targeting: many native platforms also offer OS and browser targeting options, which can be especially useful when promoting something relevant to a specific OS, thereby also drastically eliminating wastage.
• Performance evaluation: nowadays, native platforms offer tools which agencies and planners can utilise to drive results for their clients, such as multi parametric pixels, which can help capture multiple matrices in the same pixel, allowing clients to track the entire user journey, from first click to the final transaction.
4) Native now includes video formats
With Indian users watching more video ads on their mobile devices than most of the world, the traction of video as a format is at an all-time high. Unsurprisingly then, Indian ad spend is following a similar pattern, with India now one of the top countries for programmatic video spending. This is only expected to continue to grow as online video consumption climbs, driven by low data rates. In line with this, Outbrain recently launched Focus to further strengthen its native discovery video offering, a 100% opt-in, click to watch video solution that enables true storytelling through long-form video content.
Clearly, with all that native discovery has to offer, from availability on programmatic platforms to the ability to push out video campaigns, it is time for the industry to rediscover native discovery. And as India’s millennials, who have been found to demonstrate a predilection for native advertising, swiftly reach their peak spending years, there’s no time like the present.
Written by Sandeep Balani, Head of India at Outbrain