What is Promoted? Or, why we think we can scale native advertising

August 19, 2013

First things first, please see our definition of native advertising. The most important piece of native advertising, as you'll see from reading that link, is that a truly native ad, is an ad that can be purchased at scale. That's exactly what we intend to do here at Promoted - introduce a new standardized ad format that is native, and scales.

Two recent, and great, examples of native ads are Facebook's Sponsored Stories and Twitter's Promoted Tweets. Here's what I love about these formats:

  1. They have massive scale
  2. You can target the ads like you can display ads (mostly, and it's always improving)
  3. They fit right in with your normal timeline-based content consumption experience

And that's when the Promoted opportunity dawned on us: Why not build something as native and scalable as promoted tweets and sponsored stories, but for the rest of the web? The web, by-and-large, is one big timeline. A blog is a timeline. Any news consumption service or app is timeline based. A forum is timeline based. So much of the web is already organized in a "show the latest article/content" format. This content is the same content that suffers the most from declining ad rates, and that takes the brunt of the advertising backlash on the web.

So, why not take all that we have learned from building the web's largest self-serve ad marketplace and apply that to a new singular ad type that will help advertisers and publishers alike more effectively achieve their goals? We have the team, we have more than half of the tech, and we have a ton of advertisers and publishers that we already work with.

Just as Google didn't invent Pay Per Click, we didn't invent "native advertising". However, just as Google ultimately WON the PPC battle, we believe we can WIN the native advertising battle by building better distribution. That's all this really comes down to: building better distribution than anyone else.

The Promoted ad type consists of three different formats: image, video, and story. The image format is just that, an image. The video format, too — nothing innovative here, it's just a video. The story format is a little more complex, it consists of: a headline, an image, a company name, and the story. We are currently only doing campaigns for the story format — image and video are both in the works and not yet ready for public use.

Promoted isn't just a collection of ad formats — it's a content distribution platform for advertisers to get more traction for the content they are already producing. For publishers, it's relief from the age-old banner ad, the only scalable way for them to make money from advertising these days, and an API that they can plug in to, to get high-quality ads and earnings by sharing access with advertisers to their audience.

Just think about it — advertisers/marketers are more and more seeking returns from spending considerable amounts of money to produce remarkable content. For many of them, however, they lack a key ingredient in ultimately making that content successful: distribution. Better yet, picture being able to distribute your content with the same level of targeting and accuracy of display advertising. That's Promoted.

Here are a few examples in action:

Promoted example

Promoted example

Promoted example

Interested in learning more? Get in touch - we'd love to chat and see if there is a fit.