Native Advertising, At Scale

One of the recurring topics when it comes to native advertising is whether it can be done 'at scale'. But before providing my opinion on the issue, let's first tackle the question what does 'at scale' mean in marketing.

Ultimately all the marketing is about sales. As Lucas Herscovici, VP of Consumer Connections
Anheuser-Busch, said at the panel on Monday, all they want to do is sell more Budweiser beer. If the marketing does not result in increased sales, a particular marketing experiment will be eventually scrapped. Most of the types of native advertising are still part of experimental marketing budgets and if they ever want to become part of real budgets they will have to deliver results, that is, they will have to result in more beer sold either directly or indirectly through brand lift and other top of the funnel metrics.

There is one type of native advertising that has definitely showed results - paid search. Google is definitely no longer a part of experimental budgets, but one of the most important bottom of the funnel tools to drive direct sales and conversions. So if advertisers managed to accept the paid search and include it in their marketing mixes, there's no reason why other types of native advertising wouldn't get accepted. But especially for types of native advertising that publishers are trying out at the moment, we are still waiting for some Overture-style ad tech company to enable advertisers to buy these new types of native advertising at such scale that they would move the needle in the most important marketing metric of them all, to sell more beer.