If you’re within a stone’s throw of the marketing world, you’ve probably heard the terms programmatic advertising and native advertising. However, in an industry with a knack for introducing jargon without properly defining it, hearing a term and knowing what it means are often two different things. But don’t worry—we’re here to help. Let’s explore what these terms really mean and explain how they’re distinct.

Programmatic advertising is the process of buying advertising impressions automatically using online software, typically through a demand-side platform (DSP). Advertisers set criteria such as timing and price, and the software uses audience data to identify and buy impressions that meet those criteria. The benefit? This process can be done in milliseconds, helping advertisers eliminate wasted impressions and clicks and serve ads to users who are likely to engage.

Native advertising refers to advertisements that follow the form and function of the user experiences where they are placed. In a nutshell, this means that native ads don’t look like ads, and are designed to blend seamlessly with the editorial content that surrounds them. The key to native advertising is that it is considered to be less disruptive than traditional ad formats, exposing audiences to advertising messages without distracting them from what they’ve chosen to read or watch.

Now, to further complicate matters, there’s also such a thing as programmatic native advertising, the process of using software to buy impressions on native ads automatically. This is a little trickier than traditional programmatic advertising because the software has to analyze the form and function of the page where the ad will appear and consider the editorial content in order to serve a relevant message. For instance, a native advertisement for a running shop should appear on a website with content that’s of interest to runners. The solution?

Programmatic native software uses machine learning and contextual targeting to tailor native ads to the audience, environment and topic. This process allows advertisers to gather performance data much more quickly than with traditional native advertising, making it possible to optimize for efficiency across many different relevant sites.

Understanding these different terms and tactics is the first step toward using them to strengthen your marketing strategy. Want to learn more about programmatic and native advertising? Reach out to us.

Understanding these different terms and tactics is the first step toward using them to strengthen your marketing strategy.

About the Author

Matthews Absher

Associate Media Strategist

Matthews has been a member of the 90 team for nearly two years gathering insights from publishers, clients and peers alike. Outside the office, he enjoys the Colorado outdoors, spending time with friends and attempting DIY projects.