While many advocates of native advertising present hole-riddled arguments in favour of unscalable business models, it’s clear that native advertising has some role to play, as indeed it always has. OneSpot, who recently raised $1.5 million, are at first glance a solution to the scale problem. The mainstream tech press have certainly taken a shine to them already. But how are they achieving instant scale? By using the web’s current infrastructure of course. Yes, OneSpot makes use of good old-fashioned, IAB standard MPU ad units i.e. it’s standardised advertising but with a creative format more suited to branded content (see sample ad units at the bottom). And the inventory is bought via exchanges too.
Now if this was Dragon’s Den, I’d be inclined to say ‘I’m out because this can be so easily replicated’. But then pretty much every company in ad tech has at least one competitor either doing or building the very same thing. However, OneSpot just might be on to something here. Between their unique, nicely designed ad formats, and their maturity/realism about what is required to deliver scalable ad solutions — at the very least it looks they’re set to steal a lead on the rest of the market.
Matt Cohen, founder and CEO of OneSpot, sets out the three trends the company picked up on and then fused to create OneSpot:
- Businesses have discovered how to produce great content that they want people to see. Content they create – including blogs, videos, whitepapers, webinars and more – or content others have created, including reviews of products or services, or articles about the company or relevant trends.
- Marketers are ready to use their budgets to prove ROI from content by driving business outcomes. In a world where interruptive marketing is starting to lose its relevance, nearly every business is building a content strategy. Yet that strategy is missing a distribution component tied to marketing goals.
- The technology is here to support convergence. The largest audience in history is accessible through real-time bidding on ad exchanges, and machine learning and big data allow messages to be optimized for what actually drives business outcomes.
While the tech doesn’t appear to be revolutionary, at the very least the company’s timing and positioning is wonderful and taps into the Zeitgeist – it’s essentially data-driven native branded content, with the opportunity to work the lower part of the funnel too, as OneSpot also offer to retarget the user with more performance-orientated ads once they’ve engaged with a piece of content. So, for example, if a user watches a video about a car in one ad, you can retarget the user with a more performance-orientated ad afterwards.
Here’s are some samples of what the OneSpot creatives look like: