Nativo Expands into Canada: Q&A With Eyal Zilnik
Eyal Zilnik is Nativo’s inaugural employee in Canada, and as senior director of sales, launched Nativo’s sales and business development operations in the region. He works with brands, media agencies, and agency trading desks to sell and evangelize native advertising formats across top-tier publisher inventory at scale. Eyal has worked in digital advertising for over 15 years. Prior to joining Nativo, he served as a senior account director at Oath and as the Xbox advertising sales lead in Microsoft’s gaming division.
What are Nativo’s goals for the Canadian market?
The Canadian market has very advanced knowledge of digital advertising, with strong awareness about fraud, bot traffic, the GDPR, the Coalition for Better Ads, and metrics and measurement beyond just CTR. There’s a sense that the environment is changing and that consumers are starting to demand respect from advertisers. The goal for Nativo is to show Canadian consumers and brands that our company has always respected consumers by creating non-interruptive ad experiences. We help brands get their message across in a bot-free environment and in a way that is informative to the consumer and creates brand consideration. We want consumers to feel in control of their web experience, and we support premium publishers who make that experience brand-safe and rich with content.
How is the Canadian market different from the U.S. market?
Canada tends to look to the U.S. for a view of what is coming next in the digital sphere. One difference is that the U.S. ad marketplace has much larger scale. Other differences apply to specific verticals, like banking, which are more regulated in Canada than in the U.S., and have certain restrictions around advertising. Additionally, cultural differences and different approaches to the same subject matter affect the style of content and the tone of messaging. It is important for brands to message Canadian consumers appropriately: authenticity is lost when Canadians can clearly identify advertising intended for a U.S. audience.
What need is Nativo filling in the Canadian marketplace?
A lot of things! For one, Nativo fills the need for a new consumer experience. The general native scale that Nativo opens up for Canada is exciting in itself. The three Nativo formats — Native Articles, Native Video and Native Display — create strong data fidelity for clients to help grow their first-party data collection and understanding of their customers.
What I love about the Native Article unit is that the ad, and therefore the consumer, stays on the publisher’s website. This helps with that very elusive, middle-of-the-funnel, consideration metric. Native advertising excels at educating consumers and showing the value of a brand; Nativo empowers advertisers to syndicate brand content across the open web. We take them beyond the boundaries of where they currently publish, and this brings them not only great scale, but great efficiency.
Brand safety is another important aspect of Nativo’s execution. We enable brands to reach real humans with a genuine message that provides value. Our ability to go publisher-direct, and to provide verification by third-parties like Moat, are part of the picture, but safety is not just about bots and fraud. It’s about assuring advertisers and agencies that they won’t be woken at night by an angry phone call because their ad appeared around inappropriate or offensive content.
What made you want to join Nativo?
For most of my career, I worked for Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies. While they were amazing corporate jobs, I left that world to come to Nativo because I was impressed by what Nativo built. Nativo’s understanding of the complex media landscape and its players, and the intelligent, thoughtful, build of product inspired me. I didn’t want to walk away from the opportunity and forever wonder about it. I’m personally very excited about the product. I’m excited to ride this wave with a company like Nativo that’s offering something unique and different.
Give us some fun facts about you that have nothing to do with ad tech.
I have three sons. I’ve lived in four countries, and I can speak four languages: Russian and English completely fluently, and Hebrew and Spanish conversationally, as well as some German, since I lived in St. Gallen [Switzerland] for university and it was mostly in German. Oh, and one time I hitchhiked to Antarctica on a boat.