[Interview] Nick Kalse (Outbrain): Native advertising will gain a solid position within digital marketing strategy
Hi Nick can you introduce Outbrain?
Outbrain is the world’s leading discovery and native advertising feed for the open web. A third of the world’s Internet-connected population explore and discover information through our feed technology, which is trusted by emerging to established brands and integrated into thousands of media companies’ tech stacks to manage and monetize their publishing operations.
We work with thousands of premium publishers across the globe, in the Netherlands with De Telegraaf, Omroep Brabant, Omroep Gelderland and many others. With Outbrain, advertisers can appear on the most prestigious publishers via one single platform. The serving of our discoveries is based on the consumers authentic interests which leads to personalized experiences and therefore higher engagement rates.
What kind of year did Outbrain have in 2020?
Despite the circumstances, Outbrain had a good year. The new normal in 2020 brought a lot of perspective. .2020 has shown us that true partnership is so important ; that if you tackle problems together, you will find a suitable solution for every challenge. We work with the largest publishers and advertisers worldwide, everyone has faced tremendous challenges and approaching these as a team working towards one goal has really helped. . At the core, 2020 proved that collaborating, being transparent and entering into the conversation (honestly) is the best way forward. .
2020 was a year of digitization and innovation. Also for Outbrain?
2020 was THE year of innovation at Outbrain. We pushed ourselves to be as innovative as possible - and we’ve launched several new products as a result! We’ve launched our carousel format, App Install Smartad, Native Awareness + (where you can actually bring your social and display creatives to a wider audience). All these formats really helps our clients have a full-funnel approach with Outbrain - allowing them to diversify outside of the duopoly. For example, our Native Awareness + format can be leveraged for the branding and awareness, then we can follow-up with our story sequencing product (retargeting); we can also help marketers reach and aim for highly engaged traffic or pure performance with our traditional Smartads Amplify (text-image) product too. No matter what the goal or KPI - we have a solution.
More generally, with regards to advertising, the lockdown accelerated the shift to digital advertising that we already saw in the last couple of years. This is not completely new, but it might see another boost with advertisers shifting their budgets to new digital channels even more this year as lockdowns continue worldwide. The general trend with companies also rethinking their business models and including new offers is also interesting. For example, car companies, traditionally relying on the showroom experience, either transferred this experience to the digital world or focus now on offering car subscription models which you can sign up to online. Before the crisis, Care by Volvo was the innovator in this regard and we might see more and more companies switching to this innovative model, taking the long-term commitment out of the mobility sector.
As the digital landscape changes continuously, innovation has always been the foundation for our business, and it will continue to play an important role. We were one of the pioneers in the native advertising business 14 years ago and introduced many major innovations in the last years, like our Programmatic access, our personalized Smartfeed or the Click-to-Watch video format. And we plan to continue to develop exciting products.
How do you see native advertising developing in the coming years?
Native advertising is still a broad concept and is also embraced in many different forms within organizations. I expect it to gain a solid position within the digital marketing strategy of many advertisers and cause a shift in the traditional display and social budgets. This also has to do with the evolution of native advertising, it is not just traditional end-of-article integration anymore (for a while now). It is much more than that. Native nowadays is video, carousel, special app download products, in-article integrations connected to social, display and video. All this of course in a suitable way and thus integrated in the 'native way' on the page or in the app of the publisher. In short: there is still plenty to discover and above all to win for many advertisers and that makes native more interesting and relevant than ever before. With this constant development and innovative character attached to native I can see some years with lots of changes, adoptions and growth (of importance) of native advertising.
For whom is your webinar Outbrain Unveil interesting?
Unveil’s primary target are brands and agencies, focusing on how Outbrain can be used as a partner to grow their business in 2021 and beyond. This automatically results in the fact that it will be interesting for publishers as well, to see what they can access by working with Outbrain’s advertisers.
What can we look forward to as participants?
Unveil is our way of showing advertisers we can help them be successful this year, and beyond. And we have a slew of new products to do so, including new ad experiences (Carousel, App Install, Call-to-Action and Video), Conversion Bid Strategy (CBS), and Native Awareness+.
What's the latest news?
The launch of our product Native Awareness+. The new solution answers two main challenges of advertisers: driving awareness without relying on invasive formats and scaling impact outside of the walled gardens of the duopoly. Outbrain’s Native Awareness+ suite combines the strong brand awareness capabilities of display advertising with rich, high impact native ad experiences built for engagement. It features three unique experiences: Native Display, Native Social, and Native Video, all of which ensure high viewability and brand safety, free from adjacent ads. Outbrain’s Native Awareness+ formats are exclusively in-article and brand safe, with no brand adjacency — featuring large format, vertical creatives that drive better brand results. It gives marketers a simple way to extend existing social campaigns to brand-safe placements on the open web. With Native Display and Native Video, marketers achieve high awareness without relying on disruptive ad formats which risk negative brand perceptions. Native Social offers the unique capability to extend social campaigns from Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Snapchat and other platforms, into brand-safe placements across the world’s most premium open web publishers.