For an ad to be "native," it has to fit the look and feel of the publisher site it ran on, and perhaps even its editorial tone.
But as advertisers pushed to buy native campaigns at scale, a tech infrastructure is starting to emerge to help advertisers deploy sponsored content across many sites.
The native ad-tech ecosystem is starting to look like banner-based display, with ad servers, ad networks and real time bidding is on its way. Add in the systems needed to produce the content and (also like display) you end up with a mess of "solutions" all working to solve similar problems with frustrating complexity.
Trying to resolve this issue, NewsCred today announced a new product that will bring the processes involved in the creation of branded content, and its amplification via native advertising networks, under one roof.
"On both sides of the spectrum -- both for publishers that offer native solutions and brands that are looking for distribution -- they finally have a tool to manage their end to end native advertising needs," said NewsCred CEO Shafqat Islam in an interview with Ad Age.
The tool, which NewsCred calls the "Content Marketing Cloud," will let advertisers plan and publish content within it and then promote and track it via integrations with third party native ad networks such as Taboola and Outbrain. It will also be able to track campaign conversion performance and pull in licensed content from the company's pre-existing network of content sourced from over 4,000 publishers.
Other tech players in the space include Nativo, which sells a native ad server and ad network, and Sharethrough, which lets advertisers run native campaigns across publishers sites and has indicated plans to offer its ads through real time bidding solutions as well.
NewsCred, Mr. Islam said, focused all its resources over the past six months on building this product. "It's millions of dollars of investment," he said.
Watching yet another native ad-tech product hit the market hints to a growing optimism about the money middlemen stand to make sitting between native ad buyers and sellers. While NewsCred will not take a cut from media spend on its platform, it does stand to gain from the fees it will charge for seats on its platform and access to licensed content on its network.
"Sponsored content has made a market for native advertising," said Mr. Islam, explaining that without the eyeballs native advertising can deliver, the money invested in sponsored content may go to waste. And without content, native advertising wouldn't be much of anything at all.
NewsCred, has 110 employees and claims Proctor & Gamble, Visa, Bank of America, The Hearst Corporation and Time Inc. as clients. The company has raised $20 million to date, with $15 million coming in a round in March led by the Mayfield Fund.