What is a Native Ad Server?

Ana Kealy

Ana Kealy

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What is a Native Ad Server?

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What is a Native Ad Server?

A Native ad server serves one form of advertising only: Native advertising. And Native advertising is big business! According to Future Marketing Insights, in 2021 the Native advertising market was valued at US$94 billion, in 2022 it is expected to rise to US$100 billion and in 10 years time, the projection is that the Native advertising market will be worth US$650 billion.

If you want to grow a business as a Native ad serving network or if you are a publisher looking to monetize content with Native ads you can quickly and easily start a Native ad serving business using EXADS white label ad serving platform. So you too can take part of that market share and grow to become a major player over the next decade to take an even bigger chunk of that projected $650 billion.

There are many ad serving and media buying businesses that solely concentrate on Native advertising and have grown into big brand companies: Outbrain allows publishers to access top DSPs through programmatic Native ad demand and is used by the BBC and The Guardian. Taboola is used by The Huffington Post and USA Today. Yahoo Gemini in the US is used by Yahoo, AOL, TechCrunch, and Huff Post. Nativo serves Native advertising for Dow Jones, The Wall Street Journal, and Time Inc.

How Native Advertising Works

Native advertising is an ad format whose business model is a form of paid and recommended content, which is designed to look exactly like the editorial content of a publisher's site. It contains an image thumbnail and a headline text, just like a newspaper's news story for example. Native ads are also found in social media feeds. Native advertising works across all devices because the format is fully responsive, so consumers can experience it on desktop, mobile and tablet when they are browsing a site.The unique quality that Native advertising has is that it is non-disruptive - it exposes the reader to advertising content without sticking out like a sore thumb. Which is why Native advertising is big business. Here is an example of Native advertising taken from CNN’s website:

As you can see here are two types of Native ads, the large images are part of a Native widget 2 (rows) x 3 (columns) that contains 6 Native ads, and on the right are smaller widgets 1x5 which contains sponsored advertorial content from advertisers. Notice how each Native ad actually looks like editorial content. An end user is aware that this is advertising because it is marked Paid Content, Recommended by Outbrain (which is a Native ad server) and also the advertiser brand names are featured below each headline text.

Benefits of Native Advertising

  • It is a non-obtrusive format unlike banners for example that come in a range of sizes and can be annoying for user experience
  • Because Native advertising is designed to look like the editorial content of the publisher's site, if the headline is interesting the end user will click on the Native ad. This will take the end user to an advertiser landing page which is always written in the style of an article and not a hard sell to buy, this way the advertiser can educate the end user about the product or service they are promoting. For example with tutorials, testimonials, news stories, real life tests or surveys, etc.
  • Large media houses such as online newspapers and magazines have masses of daily, organic, high quality traffic, this creates big demand from advertisers to bid on those Native ad zones. While the publisher site can monetize their website with user friendly advertising that compliments the end user experience.
  • Because the Native ad is labeled as Paid for or Sponsored content the end user knows it is an ad, therefore the advertiser will only get qualified clicks from consumers genuinely interested in the Native ad. Qualified clicks create higher conversions, leading to higher eCPMs for publishers and higher revenues for ad networks.

EXADS Native Ad Server Management Experience

Because of the flexibility of EXADS white-label ad server platform, setting up your own ad server business can include EXADS full range of ad formats, a selection of ad formats, or in this case just the Native ad format enabling you to create a Native ad server branded as your business.

The Native ad styles you can offer: EXADS Native ad format is based around a widget. The widget allows images 300x300 and a short text (Title, Description) and advertiser Brand Name. There are various blocks of Native ad zones and they are displayed as row(s) x column(s). The widget is fully responsive so it works across all devices: desktop, mobile and tablet and automatically resizes images to fit perfectly within the design of each site. EXADS Native ad zone publisher set up includes many quick customization features to ensure that the Native ad zone mimics the exact same style as editorial content of a site.

The widget can be served in three formats on a webpage: 

  • Native Recommendation: like the CNN example allowing your publishers to place Native ad zones anywhere within their sites content.
  • Native Interstitial: the widget overlays on a web page to display the Native ads. The interstitial transitions smoothly in from the side of the page and publishers can decide when this triggers. It is gentle on user experience and the unit can easily be dismissed by the end user. Frequency capping controls enable publishers to select how often end users will see the widget.
  • Native Exit Recommendation: the widget triggers when the end user is going to exit the site. It can be easily closed by the user.

All EXADS Native formats are fully aligned with Google regulations and the IAB and Better Ads Standards.

Further monetization with Multi-Format Ad Zones: In addition EXADS platform allows further monetization of Native advertising using a Multi-Format Ad Zone which serves multiple ad formats: Banners or Native in just one placement. It pitches the Banner and Native bids against each other and serves the highest paying ad in the Multi-Format ad zone. This ability to serve multiple formats can increase the number of eligible bids and generate higher revenues for a publisher’s impressions whilst giving advertisers access to previously unavailable inventory. If you have publishers interested in monetizing Banners and Native it is simple to create a Multi-Format ad zone and this is a great advantage for the publishers and advertisers in your network. 

A Native advertising self-service solution: Your new Native ad server will offer your publishers and advertisers a complete self-service solution, allowing publishers to create their own bespoke Native ad zones and advertisers to create their own Native ad campaigns with creatives (images and texts) to test, using a large range of deep targeting options and additional tools such as dynamic keywords, emojis, automated bidding, variations and landing page traffic optimization algorithms to help advertisers generate a higher ROI. Additionally our DSP also allows you to plug in your own programmatic Native inventory.

Customizable Dashboards: EXADS gives you fully customizable dashboards to analyze real-time and historical statistics across multiple dimensions to help you maximize your Native ad serving revenues.

Full tech support: EXADS supplies full tech support and keeps you informed of any new feature improvements to the Native ad format as well as providing comprehensive documentation that can also be shared with your advertiser and publisher clients.

So now let's look at the benefits for your publisher and advertiser clients by using EXADS as your white label Native ad server.

EXADS Native Publisher Experience

For publishers, setting up Native ad zones is straightforward, quick and the EXADS platform offers several customization features which can be seen in our documentation here. Here is an overview of what benefits your publishers can expect: 

Mimicking editorial content: Customizable features including font type, size, color, bold and underline, background color, image border size, border color, etc. This way publishers don’t have to compromise their layout in order to monetize their content. Additionally the image size of 300×300 is automatically resized by our system to match the size of the publisher site’s thumbnail images. The publisher can also use simple CSS code to further enhance the design elements of how the Native ads fit into their website.

Options of how Native ad zones are displayed to the end user: Because EXADS platform offers such a large range of widget row and column display options publishers can experiment with different widget sizes for optimal results. Additionally the row and column system of widgets also allows publishers to use different sizes on different locations of their website. For example, the home page could display a 2x4 widget, and a news article could have a 1x1 Native widget displayed as the user scrolls down the article's content. With the Recommendation, Interstitial and Exit widgets, these formats give the publisher further options to experiment with to find the sweet spot between Native ad monetization and user experience. Additionally as previously mentioned, your publishers can also easily implement Multi-Format Ads if you wish to allow your Native ad server to also serve Banner ads.

Native ad zone statistics: Customizable dashboards for showing real-time and historic data for each Native ad zone for quick analysis of how the zones are performing in order to fine tune the Native ad zones and pull performance reports.

EXADS Native Advertiser Experience

EXADS platform gives advertisers the tools to get really creative with their Native ads in order to test and drive more conversions. Lets have an overview of the key features and performance tools for Native advertisers:

Creative opportunities to play with images and texts: A Native ad campaign creative consists of a 300x300 image and 3 text options: Title 50 characters, Description 90 characters, Brand 30 characters. Experimenting with different combinations of images and texts allows advertisers to find the Native variations that bring the most clicks. EXADS platform also allows advertisers to use Emojis both in the Title and Description texts. These are hugely powerful and appeal especially to Millenials and Gen Z audiences. Additionally Emojis allow advertisers to explain their title and description using less characters by replacing words with Emojis.

Dynamic keyword insertion for more personalized marketing: Advertisers can use dynamically changing texts within their Native ad campaigns. This is a highly useful feature so that the end user feels like the Native ad is talking to them. So for example, using the dynamic token for {device} in the text: Find out why this is the most popular game on {device}, if the end user is viewing the Native ad on an iPhone 13 the text displayed to them would be Find out why this is the most popular game on iPhone 13. EXADS offers a large range of dynamic tokens detailed in the documentation here.

Keyword insertion language distribution: This takes dynamic keywords a step further by automatically translating the keyword insertion token into the following languages: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese.

Automation tools: EXADS platform provides a range of automation tools to help your advertisers save time by automating certain optimization features to generate a higher ROI:

  • There is the Bidder which is an automatic bidding optimization which works by intelligently adjusting an advertisers bid for Native ad zones according to how many conversions are received, and blocks those ad zones that don’t convert. Additionally rule blocking can be set to block under-performing browsers, countries, devices, languages, mobile carriers, operating systems, sites, and zones automatically according to rules set within the Bidding Algorithm.
  • Variations and Landing Page optimization: These tools allow the advertiser to select from several traffic distribution algorithms, so for example, the best performing Landing Page or Native variation will always receive the most traffic. 

Deep targeting: EXADS platform offers a large range of targeting options for the Native advertiser to fine tune reach including site, contextual, keyword, language, GEO, region, device, browser, OS, carrier, IP range, frequency capping, day-parting, etc

Native campaign statistics: Customizable dashboards for showing real-time and historical data for each Native ad campaign for quick analysis of how each campaign is performing in order to make immediate decisions on campaign optimization.

Conclusion

If you are a large publisher or you have access to a large publishing network and you are wanting to monetize the content with Native ads, then EXADS is the customizable white-label ad serving solution you are looking for. Why not get in touch with us to find out how you can quickly get your Native advertising business up and running in no time.

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Ana Kealy

Ana Kealy

Product Marketing Manager

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