Interview: Native Programmatic Talks with Sabine Cummins, VP Client & Agency Partnerships at Choicestream

Sabine Cummins, VP Client & Agency Partnerships at ChoiceStream (, explains how native and programmatic advertising can be merged into a powerful ad product serving publishers and media buyers alike.

Ad Ops Online: What is your definition of Programmatic Native?

Sabine Cummins: Programmatic Native is the placement of data-driven content on the web.  It involves predictive and personalized storytelling, in which advertisers purchase the best impressions and then automatically (within 200 milliseconds, in the case of real-time bidding) customize the content to fit naturally into the consumer’s experience.

Ad Ops Online: What are the advantages of programmatic native in comparison to other forms of advertising?

Sabine Cummins: Performance and brand lift statistics associated with programmatic native ads outweigh those of traditional display ads. We’ve seen that programmatic native drives 300 percent higher consumer engagement rates, and increases brand lift by 9 percent and purchase intent by 18 percent. Programmatic native also has a quick and streamlined implementation phase that offers creative flexibility while maintaining the real-time essence of digital media. Lastly, the pricing advantages are huge; CPM’s are much lower than traditional sponsorship native buys.

Ad Ops Online: How has native advertising changed in the last year? What are the most exciting strides that you’ve seen?

Sabine Cummins: Inventory and accessibility are finally scaling in early 2015, and this in turn is enabling bidding on the ad exchanges. This phenomenon changes the nature of native advertising, maturing it to a point where it is more precise and effective. In the past, native has been siloed into the site-direct sponsorship bucket – with expensive CPM pricing, lengthy timelines, and un-targeted placements. However, as DSPs and SSPs flesh out their capabilities to meet the needs of native RTB, the value of ingrained native content becomes essential to ad engagement and relevancy. Brands are starting to see that programmatic attributes like scale, efficiency, and audience data can optimize the placement of native ads, and more and more brands are therefore starting to dip their toes into “ programmatic native” waters.

Ad Ops Online: Operationally, how does native advertising merge with programmatic?

Sabine Cummins: This type of digital advertising requires a brand to provide creative assets (logo, image, headline, caption, click-through URL) to a publisher – whether that line of communication is direct or through an ad exchange. This content is then formatted – either manually or automatically, depending on the relationship – to the page layout of a site, with built-in social sharing buttons. The benefit of programmatic native is that it enables the configuration of advertiser content with publisher content to occur instantaneously. It also allows brands to target audiences and fine-tune inventory purchase decisions based on first and third-party data sources.

Ad Ops Online: What options do brands have for executing programmatic native?

Sabine Cummins: The most common form of programmatic native right now is still site or network direct – think Forbes, NYTimes, LinkedIn, et cetera. While brands that work directly with publishers run the risk of having limited inventory, other brands are acting as pioneers in the RTB native space, partnering with full-service DSPs like ChoiceStream, TripleLift, and Nativo, to access the added advantage of scale and data across desktop and mobile.

Ad Ops Online: What advancements do you see happening in the next year?

Sabine Cummins: I believe that video ad formats will be included in the inventory available, as more sites create their content around snackable videos. Another place for improvement is post-impression measurement. Publishers like Forbes are creating Brand Voice Dashboards, with engagement statistics such as posts, page views, visitors, et cetera.

Additionally, the IAB is working on the release of OpenRTB 2.3, which will contain a standard for real-time bidding of native inventory. The fact that the IAB is acknowledging this facet of digital media shows that we are in the midst of a paradigm shift for native. Once the standard is in place, we will see exponential growth in supply and demand tech developments to support programmatic native.

Ad Ops Online: If you had to give one piece of advice to brands considering a trial native campaign, what would that be?

Sabine Cummins: Pulling from my experience with the agency-side and now with a DSP, I would advise brands to give programmatic native a trial run. It has the ability to complement and diversify overall media mixes with only 5-10% of brand budgets; while maintaining data-driven strategies. Brands that sign on will be forerunners and stand out in comparison to their competitors.
Brands can capitalize on programmatic native to release new product launches, run campaigns with limited budgets versus buying an expensive committed sponsorships, and/or create content social sharing opportunities (for recipes, photos, coupons). Programmatic native is also an excellent outlet for time-sensitive campaigns in the entertainment category with “tune-in” messaging.

About ChoiceStream
ChoiceStream is a full-service Programmatic Marketing Platform that delivers top results in both direct response and branding campaigns. Concierge-level services include creative development, poll-based audience discovery, campaign optimization, and complete transparency. With an extensive first and third party data network, enhanced by proprietary data, ChoiceStream can target and convert the most valuable consumers in real-time. For more information on ChoiceStream, please visit