StackAdapt Native Advertising Platform | Programmatic Ad Campaigns

What Is StackAdapt and How Is it Used?

By Annie CallahanMay 2 /2024

As content is increasingly designed for mobile, native advertising is approaching a $100 billion-plus industry. Based on its effectiveness, native advertising is quickly becoming as popular — if not more — than traditional display advertising.

Native advertising is branded content that matches the platform on which it appears. That means, although your ad appears on a website, it blends into that site by matching its design and style.

Banner blindness, when a site visitor ignores ads, is a major issue for marketers. According to HubSpot, this is usually intentional: users actively avoid interacting with an ad that disrupts user experience. Another reason site visitors ignore ads is because, well, they look like ads.

Native advertising helps address this issue — over two-thirds of digital display ads are now native.

Here, we’ll take a look at StackAdapt, one of the major digital ad platforms out there, how it works and how it can be a key player in your marketing strategy.

What Is StackAdapt?

StackAdapt is a programmatic advertising platform that distributes and promotes content using real-time, data-driven audience targeting. It offers numerous formats, including display, native, video and connected TV (CTV) options.

It has access to third-party segments through data providers such as Acxiom and Bombara. This allows targeting by location, industry, job function and job title. The size of their network, targeting capabilities and ad formats allow you to reach your audience while they are online.

When using StackAdapt, you select the targeting criteria, then ads are placed on the websites your audience frequents most. It's beneficial to utilize StackAdapt because it has relationships with multiple publishers. Additionally, there is the ability to do white-listed placement where you select the websites on which your ads appear, but doing this will understandably limit your reach.

If you’re looking to get your brand in front of a targeted audience to generate awareness and traffic at an efficient cost, StackAdapt might be a good option to investigate further.

How Are Native Ads Different From Display Ads?

Display ads are placed outside the main body of a website, while native ads are designed to match the look and feel of the media format in which they appear. With native ads, the site user feels the ads are part of the website they’re viewing. Customers look more frequently at native ads versus display ads, resulting in a higher clickthrough rate (CTR).

Remember banner blindness? Research has shown that consumers are so bombarded by ads that they now easily tune them out, choosing instead to simply scroll to the page content they want. Ad-blockers also play a factor, while some larger sites have implemented countermeasures that require these to be shut off in order for pages to load.

What Is a Programmatic Advertising Platform?

Definition and purpose

Programmatic advertising is one method of solving this ad burnout and catering advertisements to individuals based on more personalized factors like demographics, location data and behavior. This level of advanced targeting allows advertisers to deliver more relevant messages to specific audiences, boosting their messaging’s effectiveness.

Programmatic ad platforms streamline the process of buying and delivering digital ads across websites and platforms using automation. Ads are chosen and delivered to specific audiences through ad servers, often relying on cookies to determine which ads to display to a particular user. Cookies can track if a user left a page without making a purchase, allowing advertisers to run retargeting ads through this information.

By gathering data from various external websites about a user's online behavior, advertisers can develop a comprehensive profile of their interests, enabling them to tailor ads even more precisely. Additionally, advertisers can employ contextual targeting to show display ads relevant to the content of the webpage where they appear. Retargeting, behavioral targeting and contextual advertising with programmatic platforms like StackAdapt help attract more customers because they may not necessarily feel like traditional ads.

Components of a typical platform stack

A key element of programmatic advertising is real-time bidding, where advertisers bid for ad impressions in real-time auctions, with the highest bidder winning the opportunity to display their ad. While you may be picturing a large room full of people holding number signs and a fast-talking auctioneer selling different goods, technology has fortunately made bidding for ad placement a little easier in our digital world.Having the right tools in your programmatic advertising arsenal will make the process smoother. Here are a few common technologies available to advertisers.

  • Demand-side platform (DSP): Brands and agencies represent the demand side that can use a DSP to decide which impressions to buy and at what price point.
  • Supply-side platform (SSP): Media publishers represent the supply side that can use an SSP to facilitate selling ad impressions to brands and agencies.
  • Data management platform (DMP): A DMP collects audience data from various sources and builds customer profiles so brands and agencies can understand their buyers better.
  • Ad exchange: A marketplace where buying and selling digital ads happens.
  • Ad server: Technology that looks at audience segments, timelines and budget to determine the best ads to serve to the right audience.

How these components interact in the advertising ecosystem

All of the above elements are important pieces of the programmatic advertising puzzle. They work together to serve ads within specified campaign parameters and facilitate buying and selling between advertisers and media publishers.

Advertisers rely on demand-side platforms (DSPs) to access publisher inventory and secure placements for various ad formats, including video, display and mobile ads. These DSP marketplaces streamline the purchasing process, allowing advertisers to reach their target audiences across multiple digital channels efficiently.

On the other side, publishers utilize supply-side platforms (SSPs) to automate the sale of digital ad spaces across various user-facing mediums. These platforms, also known as publisher ad servers, enable publishers to maximize revenue by efficiently managing and optimizing the sale of their ad inventory.

Data management platforms (DMPs) play a role in enhancing targeting and personalization efforts by providing anonymized customer profiles to other tools in the advertising ecosystem, such as ad exchanges, DSPs and SSPs. By leveraging this data, advertisers and publishers can improve audience segmentation, content customization and overall campaign performance.

Ad exchanges serve as digital marketplaces where publishers and advertisers can buy and sell ad inventory in real-time auctions. They provide control over ad placements by allowing parties to define parameters such as location, format, content and budget, empowering advertisers and publishers to optimize their advertising strategies effectively.

Using StackAdapt: Do’s and Don’ts

Do: Promote ungated content

For our clients, the Kuno team recommends promoting ungated content like interactive landing pages, blog posts and articles with StackAdapt. Consider a short headline, description and image with no text in order to match the publisher’s site. We recommend utilizing tracking parameters in the URL to segment the data for reporting.

Don’t: Use native ads for lead generation

When someone is just browsing a website reading articles, they don't want to see an ad to fill out a form. Your audience is likely to be further up in the funnel so don't try to push bottom-funnel offers.

Do: Engage and educate the reader

Like the above example, your audience is likely browsing a website, and because they’re farther up in the funnel, they’re not ready to be explicitly sold to. Connect and engage with your audience by providing educational content first and information about your product or service last.

Do: Use first-party data for targeting

StackAdapt offers third-party segments for targeting, but third-party data can be outdated and or unreliable, and is never perfectly triangulated to your campaign’s purpose and aims. When possible, use first-party data: uploading lists from your CRM, company domains, retargeting data, and other sources directly available to you.

There is also a native integration with HubSpot that allows StackAdapt to easily pull lists for targeting.

StackAdapt Use Case

We’ve put StackAdapt to use with success for a number of clients over the years. Here’s an example of how native ads through the StackAdapt platform helped elevate one brand’s awareness within their space.

Dining Services Provider

A dining services provider was doing a brand launch and wanted to increase brand awareness and engagement. To do this, the Kuno team created CTV and native advertising campaigns with StackAdapt.

A custom audience was built to retarget people who viewed a CTV ad with a native ad pointing them to the website. These ads promoted an ungated case study.

The results:

  • 2,047 clicks and 1,508 page views
  • CTR: 0.20% (average: 0.16%)
  • Time on page: 4.9 min.
  • CTA button clicks (View case study): 34

With the right team and the right content, StackAdapt or native advertising can be what you need to increase engagement. Contact us to explore available options to give your brand a boost.

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Annie Callahan
The Author

Annie Callahan

Annie works with companies to strategize and execute successful paid marketing programs. She has more than 10 years of experience in digital marketing. Prior to Kuno, she helped develop and manage marketing strategies for Citizens Bank and Nationwide Insurance. Annie is a Google Certified Professional and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing.