The “native” ad formats include in-stream display, rich media and video ad units that are inserted into an app's content. OpenX's launch partners for the exchange include IconApps, Tagged, Run, Mediasmart and Celtra.
Presenting ads in a format that matches the app’s content is important so as not to jolt users, said Al Eisaian, founder and CEO of IconApps, an OpenX client.
“For us, not interrupting the user experience is paramount,” Eisaian said. “We don’t want to jar the user experience with rotating banner ads at the bottom of the screen, whereas native ads are part of the content flow.”
Native O/X lets advertisers bid in real time on in-stream app ad units that can be customized by size, images and other parameters. Providing a programmatic way to bid on in-stream ads addresses the scale issue that has weighed down native advertising, according to Rob Kramer, general manager of mobile at OpenX.
“With Native O/X, we’re giving publishers an efficient way to monetize their inventory regardless of what the ad unit looks like and let advertisers make their purchases programmatically,” he said.
In terms of traffic quality, the advertisers are prescreened by OpenX and publishers can also select and block demand sources, as well as filter and review the ads. The Native O/X exchange includes approximately 300 advertisers. It also offers ad-targeting capabilities, such as GPS-derived location data and demographic data, to help advertisers enhance their bidding decisions.
Publisher controls are key, said Eisaian, who noted that advertisers have violated his company’s criteria in the past. “When we asked the provider we were working with, ‘Why was that ad served into our app?’, the explanations were sparse,” Eisaian said. “With OpenX, we’re looking forward to a tight matching of inventory to our audience.”
OpenX faces stiff competition from Twitter, which launched its own programmatic-enabled native ads platform for mobile apps in December. And although they are not purely mobile exchanges, other companies like TripleLift and Bidtellect (a subsidiary of Domain Holdings) have also launched native ad exchanges.
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