DIY Native Advertising: Nativo’s Self-Service Platform

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Digital advertising is not slowing down. According to Magna, global advertising spend grew by nearly 8% last year, its strongest growth since 2010. What is driving this accelerated growth? Surprisingly, it hasn’t stemmed from the massive Fortune 500 budgets of the world, but rather the millions of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) that have flocked to new digital ad buying tools to extend their advertising reach. The democratization of media buying platforms has empowered small to midsize businesses with the tools to target and engage their audiences directly through online channels.

The industry has changed for SMBs for the better. Gone are the days of needing a sophisticated agency or massive budgets to help scale advertising efforts. All you need is an internet connection, credit card and your creative assets. It’s an exciting time, where self-service buying platforms empower SMB marketers with meaningful ad formats their audiences can engage with. Previously, native advertising meant large brands, large budgets and even larger teams. Now, Nativo is setting the stage by offering the first-in-market self-service native advertising platform for brands of all sizes.

We sat down with Casey Wuestefeld, Nativo’s Vice President of Platform Operations, to find out how SMBs can successfully leverage Nativo’s self-service platform.

Nativo has worked with agencies and brands for many years through our managed service offering. How do you envision self-service fitting into Nativo’s existing model?

[CW] I see self-service being very complementary to what we have done historically with our managed service and programmatic lines of business. It rounds out our ability to work with advertisers of all sizes and provides a best-in-class platform for buyers who prefer to execute campaigns themselves.

What type of user would benefit from handling their own campaign creation and management? How are they different than those who use Nativo’s managed service or buy Nativo inventory programmatically?

[CW] Thus far we have seen early adoption from agencies and brands that, up until now, have been unable to buy native due to prohibitive minimum spend requirements: they can’t afford managed service minimums or don’t have large enough budgets to have a seat at a DSP. What we’re finding is that doesn’t necessarily mean a brand has a small advertising budget. Many times they just have a hard time justifying a mid five figure budget for testing a new medium.

Are Nativo’s managed service clients now logging into the platform to create and manage their own campaigns? Is there any change in service value?

[CW] The managed business provides a white glove service where clients don’t have a need to log into the platform, leaving the rest to Nativo. There are advantages to the expertise Nativo provides, like facilitating new content creation for clients, running advanced measurement studies and leveraging our years of experience to ensure clients are set up for success. Many of these things are now incumbent on self-service customers to handle, but over the years best practice resources have been created which I’m confident customers will be able to follow. One way to think about it: we’re training customers on how to drive a sports car, giving them the keys and letting them get behind the wheel to see how fast they can go.

What is something interesting or unexpected that has come up in discussions with clients as you’ve introduced them to the platform?

[CW] Early in my career I primarily used Doubleclick/Google products, but over the last five years I have been eating/sleeping/breathing the Nativo platform. Over that time I haven’t been regularly active in other buying platforms so it’s been very refreshing to hear from early customers about how intuitive the platform is compared to others they regularly use. It’s also been great to see how quickly they’ve been able to launch campaigns after being on-boarded. In some cases, the day after their initial training I get a notification they are activating their first campaign.

What Key Performance Indicators are self-service users generally working toward?

[CW] Like the wider digital media space, it varies on a customer by customer basis. We see it range from upper funnel objectives like generating brand awareness all the way to driving purchases on e-commerce sites. That really is the beauty of the product -- that by leveraging different creative assets, messaging, targeting tactics, etc., different business objectives can be achieved.

What are some of the features that users have embraced? What problems are they solving for?

[CW] Early users have really taken a liking to the Content Library. It not only streamlines building creative, but also pushes it to multiple budgets with one click of a button for brands focused on more granular segmentation (ex. geo-targeted budgets). The other feature that regularly receives rave reviews is the platform’s ability to automate A/B testing. This can be cumbersome due to its manual process in many other platforms. Once I demo how this works, they immediately see the efficiencies and performance gains they’ll be able to take advantage of.

How do you see the self-service platform evolving in the short term and the long term?
[CW] Growing self-service is a strategic priority for Nativo now and looking toward the future.  There are many exciting product releases ahead to continually improve the user experience. One that comes to mind is streamlining the set up where new users can create an account and be up and running with their first campaign in a matter of minutes; companies already have a great footprint in that arena, although it’s definitely a longer term goal.