Categories: News

The transparent way for publishers to tap into native ad budgets

AdUnity introduces native distribution ad formats to AUX, (the AdUnity Exchange), Europe’s leading multi-screen pure-play publisher focused exchange.

A simple and transparent way to go native

Native advertising has become a recognised additional source of publisher advertising revenue, with many advertisers allocating budget to this fast moving category of advertising. Native is a particularly important format for mobile inventory as it provides a user-friendly way to exploit feed design layouts that are dominant on smaller screens. The problem with native is that it is yet another type of programmatic demand for publishers to understand, manage and exploit (on top of traditional display, video and special formats). Not only that, but native advertising is complicated and means different things to different people. In fact, native advertising is not a single entity but rather a range of opportunities and challenges for Publishers.

AdUnity provides a portfolio of tools and products to enable and manage native advertising for Publishers: from the very basic native distribution ad formats to the more complicated and bespoke Publisher hosted formats. We do this with a simple focus: to maximise ad revenue for Publishers. Our approach is to bring together all kinds of quality programmatic buyers and provide Publishers with a transparent way to sell their media. AdUnity has simply added native to the mix of formats and demand options available to Publishers. This means it is easier for Publishers to start working and experimenting with native, by simply adding new native placements or allowing existing placements to switch between native and standard formats depending on demand. For Publishers using AUX, we provide all options for native distribution ad formats (as defined by the IAB). For Publishers using our ad server or SSP, we provide the tools to create bespoke Publisher hosted formats.

Illustration of Illustration of Newsfeed style placement
Illustration of In-feed style native placement













AUX is the best way to tap into native advertising budgets

There are four reasons why we have the best native advertising solution for Publishers.

  1. AdUnity is a pure-play publisher platform. A Pure-Play Publisher ad platform focuses solely on maximising yield for Publishers and will treat all buyers equally. We DO NOT simultaneously buy and sell the same media. In this way, the incentives for our ad platform and our Publisher customers are completely aligned. There is no arbitrage and there are no hidden margins. Most native ad platforms work both with advertisers and publishers and work on hidden margins.
  2. We have fully integrated native formats into our platform. All our existing features that give Publishers control over their inventory (i.e. Brand Protection ) and enable them to maximise ad revenue (i.e. Dynamic Lift, our dynamic bid floor technology) are available with our programmatic native formats. AUX provides a single and simple view of all demand sources (including native) for better control and easier yield maximisation. Using AUX Publishers can exercise a high level of control, including the ability to reject any native advertiser, filter and review specific ads.

  1. There is a smooth migration path beyond the basic native distribution ad formats that are available in the real-time markets to bespoke Publisher hosted formats. AdUnity provides the technology to make and serve these more complex and lucrative native placements or “ad-supported content” that look like the surrounding editorial. These can also include rich media and video.
  2. The way we work with native formats means it is much safer for Publishers to adopt native with AdUnity than many other ad platforms. This is because we use a protective native container that does not interfere with the page formatting of the site, (as happens with many of our competitors); and we use technology to load page content before the ad. We make sure that running ads do not interfere with the natural process of content consumption by users.

How programmatic native ads work

Native ads are created when “assets” from advertisers are combined with the styling of a site to create an ad that closely matches the look and feel of surrounding content, so it does not disrupt the immersive user experience. These “assets” from advertisers are the creative elements of the native ad (i.e. headline, call-to-action message, thumbnail image, description, brand logo). AUX assembles these components in real-time into multiple formats and styles to fit each Publisher’s unique look and feel. AUX native formats are automatically scalable and available in any dimension to fit any placement size.

How native ads work

We give Publishers the ability to customise the look and feel of their native ads so that it matches their site’s design, giving complete control over the number, size and layout of thumbnails, as well as hover effects and the appearance of text.

AUX provides programmatic native formats to Publishers on a CPM basis.


We conform to IAB standards and guidelines

AdUnity follows industry standards so in this case, we use OpenRTB 2.4 and Dynamic Native Ads API 1.1 The native advertising demand available on AUX are the Native Distribution Ad Units defined by the IAB (see IAB UK Content Native Definitions Framework). The Native Distribution Ad Units we provide are:

  • 3rd party discovery tools
  • 3rd party recommendation tools
  • In-ad
  • In-feed

In addition to this customer of our ad server or SSP will also be able to sell content-based advertising, i.e. commercial content that is jointly publisher/advertiser controlled (e.g. online advertorial, advertiser funded content or advertisement features) and is designed to fit the format and style of the surrounding editorial content.


EU rules applicable to native advertising

Site visitors should be able to distinguish between editorial and commercial content. It may sound paradoxical but for native advertising to be successful it must appear less intrusive than a standard display ad, whilst on the other hand, it should be clearly identified as advertising. This is simultaneously an ethical, stylistic and legal issue.

The laws relevant to native advertising are Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (2005/29/EC) and E-Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC). These directives do not only apply to advertisers, but can, in different circumstances, apply to Publishers, and other marketing practitioners. Hence we provide compliant templates to make it easy for Publishers looking to sell native ad placements to follow practice recommendations. We work with IAB Europe’s easy to follow good practice guidelines (see How to Comply with EU Rules Applicable to Online Native Advertising), these are summarised as follows:

  1. Clear identification. The ad should clearly convey the identity of the advertiser (ideally with a logo), where applicable, and of the third party that has compiled the content (i.e. AdUnity).
  2. Label Description. The label should clearly convey that the native ad is a commercial communication and not standard editorial content.
  3. Visual Demarcation. The native placement should look sufficiently different in terms of design, to immediately identify it as not being part of standard editorial content compared, .e.g. the template for the ad could include shading, outlines or borders that are subtly, yet noticeably different to the editorial content. The configuration of this visual demarcation is decided by the Publisher and is configurable by the Publisher.

About AdUnity

ADUNITY is a publisher focused ad technology company based in the UK with offices in both London and Bucharest. We deliver trust, transparency and advanced technology in the programmatic ecosystem. AdUnity provides transparent trading platforms for publishers (no black boxes) and does not operate an arbitrage model; just a flat revenue share. We comply with the latest programmatic standards (OpenRTB 2.4) and format standards (HTML5, VAST 2.0, VPAID 2.0, MRAID 1.0, Native Ads API 1.1). AdUnity works with the largest media and agency groups in Central and Eastern Europe and Turkey.




Rupert Graves

20 years commercial and product experience in digital media, mobile and advertising, with deep domain experience in programmatic advertising and media trading. Sector Experience in: Advertising, Digital Media, Mobile/Fixed Line Telecoms, Broadcast TV, Consumer Electronics, SaaS. This includes B2C and B2B marketing and product development.  

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