#OPSPOV: Native, Ops and a Bridge Between Ad and Content Servers

A Native Bridge Between Ad & Content Servers?

No surprise that viewability was high on the minds of the revenue specialists that headed to New Orleans for the 32nd AdMonsters Publisher Forum, but another trend threaded its way throughout the three days of presentations and discourse: native.

The most high-profile examples were an insightful keynote from Quartz Publisher Jay Lauf detailing that site’s best practices in developing native content and a smart attendee session led by WetPaint Director of Revenue and Ad Ops Melissa LaCaille detailing opportunities in native and other revenue channels that don’t lean on the ad server.

A question that’s seemingly been on repeat since native took the scene is, “What is ad ops role in native advertising?” Lauf was kind enough to map out how sales, ops and marketing work together to bring the product to life, but Quartz’s model won’t work for every publisher – Quartz has the additional advantage of being a startup pub with no legacy workflow management or convoluted systems.

On mobile screens, the news feed is proving the optimal content delivery system for many publishers, and in-feed advertising – particularly native and custom-built HTML5 units – are proving prime revenue draws in an ailing channel. So, as Zemanta’s Todd Sawicki suggested in last year’s PubForum Sonoma keynote, why have separate servers for content and advertising? CMSs and ad server both offer features that could be advantageous for the other side, but an integrated content-ad server seems like a far way concept.

Well, maybe it’s getting a little closer: earlier this week, The Washington Post announced it would be using Polar’s MediaVoice for its “BrandConnect” native product as well as new in-feed mobile ad placements. Polar was a sponsor at PubForum NOLA, and I was quite intrigued to analyze their offering: a bridge between the CMS and ad server to facilitate the execution of native content. 

Polar heralds MediaVoice’s smooth integration into ad server and site, as well as its self-serve tool for native campaign management. But probably most important in terms of driving additional revenue into native is the reporting– as we’ve heard from many pubs, agencies and advertisers are skeptical about buying native products because of a perceived lack of metrics. The MediaVoice dashboard should enable pubs to offer their advertisers the measurement they crave.

It’s an interesting product that points towards new territory in mobile, and may be a sign that the integrated content-ad server is within grasp.