Here's Everything We Learned At Advertising Week's Native Ad Forum

on Sharethrough Events, Native 101

Advertising Week in New York signals the beginning of autumn and Q4, which is a time when publishers and advertisers look back on what has worked as they begin to gear up for the frenzied holiday season.

At the Native Ad Forum, representatives from companies like AppNexus, TechCrunch, Medium, Adobe and Sharethrough gathered to discuss the hottest topics in media and adtech.

Below are highlights of the half-day event. You can stream the entire Native Ad Forum here.

A Partnership For Those Who Said Native Couldn't Scale

AppNexus President Michael Rubenstein and Sharethrough CEO, Dan Greenberg appeared on stage to announce the first ever integration between a native supply side platform (Sharethrough) and a demand side platform (AppNexus).

Megan Pagliuca, CEO of Accuen, joined them on stage to congratulate them on the partnership and to reinforce why it is a big deal for buyers and sellers of native ads.

"The mobile banner business has a ton of supply, but their ad units are terrible," Pagliuca said. "This partnership pushes publishers to have ad units that are Facebook-like in format while providing higher impact ad units for marketers."

The Neuroscience Behind Native Advertising

Neuroscientists believe our subconscious is the motivating force behind many of our actions, including which brands we buy from.

Sharethrough's Dan Greenberg revealed details about a multi-year neuroscience report that found that native ads are read more, deliver more focus, more meaning and more subconscious impact than other ad formats.

"The [neuroscience] study proves that not only are consumers seeing native ads, they're paying much more visual attention to them and in fact, reading their content," said Greenberg.

You can learn more about the full report here.

Consumer Attention on Branded Content and How to Measure It

With new ad formats comes the need for new success metrics.

With native ads, attention metrics are proving to be extremely valuable.

While traditional ads put most of the value on the click, native ads are able to generate higher impressions value.

Representatives from Medium, Chartbeat and Sharethrough discussed how they are dipping their toes into the attention metrics waters — both pre- and post-click — and how their clients are responding.

Medium is now transacting directly with their advertisers on a "Total Time Read" metric. This means that Medium will track the time that a user stays on a specific piece of content and charge an advertiser accordingly.

"We know that post-click attention matters, but what about pre-click? We need to get better about finding ways to measure attention at the impressions level," said Sharethrough's VP of Product, Curt Larson.

The New Video: Native, Instant and In-Feed

There is no hard or fast rule for how brands should approach native video content creation or distribution, so representatives from TechCrunch, Yahoo, MEC and DigitasLBI got together to discuss what success looks like to them.

For MEC and DigitasLBI, platform specific videos, such as six seconds videos for Vine or short-form video for Facebook, can generate more attention because they are extremely native to their environment.

But regardless of whether a video is platform-specific or repurposed, all of the panelists agreed that there every video experience must be consumer friendly.

With choice-based native video units, brands must win a user's attention instead of forcing it.

The Mechanics Behind World-Class Brand Publishing

Representatives from Contently, Sharethrough, Adobe and Casper shared their thoughts on how to develop a branded publication and whether there is a need to tie content back to the brands that they support.

One thing they all agreed on was that the first step to developing a successful publication is to develop your audience.

Once that audience is built, you can start to track key KPIs such as engagement with content, shares and time spent.

"We are trying to be on the pulse of the industry and tell stories that aren't being told," said Chris Schrieber, VP of Marketing and Communications at Sharethrough. "That is effectively our brand. Drawing a line on editorial is a line that every company needs to draw for themselves. There is no playbook on branded publishing."

The Future Of The CMS And Sponsored Content Publishing

Lucia Moses, Senior Editor at Digiday, led a conversation with The Onion, Vox and Sharethrough about what they think is the best way to host or serve sponsored content. The opinions were varied.

At Vox, who has a robust CMS called Chorus, they execute sponsored content and native advertising campaigns directly through Chorus. They can even target specific user segments that advertisers want to reach.

The Onion's advertising team doesn't use a CMS and instead goes at it manually and uses an ad server to to serve most of their sponsored content.

Outside of the mechanics of who serves what, the panelists talked a lot about how much to include the brand in pieces of sponsored content. The conclusion was that "it depends." It depends on the brand's specific goal and what each individual publisher feels is the best experience and format for their audience.

"For us at The Onion, the sign of a successful sponsored content campaign is engagement metrics that mirror that of organic content. We see a lot of that," said Hassan Ali Kahn, SVP of Marketing at The Onion.