Customers wait in line for the April release of the Apple Watch
The age of Programmatic Content Discovery is upon us, with many large
publishers now incorporating Native strategy into their core business model. As one of
the biggest players, Outbrain prepares for a potentially massive IPO, I have pondered a
few questions about the future of Content Discovery. First, many platforms lack
substantial regulation, and group premium publisher content with mediocre and
irrelevant pieces. How will this be addressed in 2015 and beyond? Second, with the
arrival of the Apple Watch and other wearables new platforms should address the
potential for highly engaging mobile campaigns. How will the industry at large respond
to increasing wearable popularity, and how will users engage within a new kind of
Wearables Drive Convenience
While wearables are obviously nothing new, their entrance into the mainstream
consumer base is. The Apple Watch has the potential to bring forth a consumer
experience more personalized and engaging than traditional mobile. To get a better
understanding of just what I’m talking about, let’s look at one of the pioneers in
wearable technology, the Google Glass. Google launched the product in 2013, with a
mixed pool of responses. Many found the technology intrusive, and more of an
annoyance than a convenience. However, I blame this mostly on the unfamiliarity factor
rather than a total distaste for the conceptual platform. In fact, initial Google Glass
users actually report despite the constant annoyance of being exposed to irrelevant
content and information, they crave the experience when deprived of their devices.
Irwin Gotlieb, Chairman of WPP’s GroupM describe this phenomenon and his
experience with the Google Glass last year on Beet.tv. “When I don’t have them on, I
miss them,” Said Gotlieb. “The Act of having to lift my arm to see what time it is, is too
much work.” This user variable makes the potential for content discovery within
wearables unparalleled. As user dependance on wearables increases, metrics like
viewability become obsolete. Content will no longer be requested, it will be expected.
Monetizing via Native
The revenue model at the core of future content discovery is undoubtedly fruitful.
Native Advertising has skyrocketed in popularity with good reason. Content
amplification platform Shareaholic has reported that 70% of users seek product
information in the form of content rather than traditional advertising models.
Furthermore, viewability in comparison to traditional display drastically increases when
looking at Native campaigns. Combining the power of Native within a wearable platform
will bring forth never before seen audience engagement.
While the potential for wearables is huge, there is still one significant problem
with current content discovery platforms. Although many platforms such as Outbrain
and Taboola currently are in the build-out stages of some really awesome mobile
products, content quality within these exchanges is often compromised. Deceptive
content plagues many native ad platforms leading to significant user skepticism. The
solution for many publishers should be to look towards premium platforms who target a
more engaged and conscientious audience. Private exchanges, for example, have a lot
to offer publishers and advertisers building out premium native campaigns. Limiting the
amount of players in the cycle can make the entire process more manageable, while still
retaining the great benefits of an RTB system.
Bringing this back to the launch of Apple’s Watch, wearables are an incredible
vehicle through which to harness the power of Native Advertising and Content
Discovery. However, the key component for success is for advertisers and publishers to
remember what is at the center of their business model- great content. Wearable users
will become passive explorers who are presented with the content they desire, without
actually initiating a search.
Significant work is needed to fine tune the future of content discovery. However,
companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and others have shown a concrete
commitment to developing devices which will allow us to deliver content to consumers
like never before. New platforms will change the way we monetize content and deliver it
to the right audience.