Standardizing Native Advertising

My Advertising Week New York kicked off with a panel on mobile advertising going native put on by Rubicon project and stuffed with people from Heineken, InMobi, and Business Insider. The main topic of the discussion was whether native advertising can be delivered by programmatic/automatic means. The discussion was pulled in this direction because the organizer (and the sponsor, of course) of the panel (Rubicon Project) is a big display exchange whose main business is programmatic trading of banner ads and who wants to climb on the latest trendwagon which is native advertising.

Programmatic and native advertising in many ways feel as two things that couldn't possible mix since the prerequisite for programmatic is standardization and standardization and native at first blush seems the exactly the opposite of each other; native being about look and feel matching publisher's main offering, while standardization is there to accustom the needs and realities of advertisers. The advertisers will subdue only to the whims of the biggest and most important publishers whose audiences they just cannot ignore (think Facebook); all other publishers will have to adapt to the advertisers requests or risk irrelevance and going out of business. And since publishers don't have knowledge, expertize, or resources to push through standardization themselves, it will be the role of ad tech companies to develop technology and put processes in place to connect native offerings of publishers with brand dollars at scale.