Olive gets Canada-exclusive access to Nativo network

Torstar company gets access to Popular Science, Maxim and more

Digital media company Olive Media has partnered with Nativo, a U.S. technology company focused on native advertising, to gain access to its content marketing platform and network of 250 premium publishers.

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Olive (which is owned by Torstar) will be the exclusive representative of Canadian native ad inventory for Nativo’s publishers – a network of 2,000 international sites, including Popular Science, Spin, Maxim, and Entrepreneur.com. In total Nativo sees 7.5 million Canadian visitors each month, according to ComScore.

Nativo’s platform distributes both native ads that sit in a publisher’s content stream and content that the publisher hosts on-site. The advertisers’ ad text, images and content are distributed to target publishers in the network, and are automatically stylized to match each individual publisher’s site. It includes a solution for mobile and desktop sites, as well as mobile apps.

Ray Philipose, Olive’s strategy and audience development lead, compared Nativo’s native ads to those offered by The Wall Street Journal or New York Times – except that through automated design and distribution, Nativo offers much greater scale.

“Nativo checks all the boxes – it’s the only platform that has effectively the same experience as an endemic, site-specific publisher,” he said. “The content is in the content well, on the article page, and contextually relevant to the content in the stream.”

Nativo was founded in 2010, but has seen rapid expansion in the past year as publisher and brand interest in native advertising has ramped up. According to ComScore, its Canadian reach has increased 46% since January. In June, Nativo closed a $5 million funding round, bringing its total funding to $11.2 million.

Nativo has also seen the space fill up with new competitors, like Toronto startup StackAdapt and open-API mobile developer platform PubNative. Other, more established programmatic platforms like OpenX and Unruly Media have also launched native offerings.

Philipose said that when Olive went looking for a partner to help the company get into the trendy space, Nativo stood out for its focus on actual content, rather than just in-stream ads. “What we really like about Nativo is that in working with them, we will help deliver a content marketing solution for the advertiser,” he said. “There’s an education process around how to turn advertiser messaging into compelling content for the user, while also delivering on the advertiser’s business objectives. It’s a much more consultative sell, which is why it makes much more sense to work with an exclusive partner in-market.”

While many companies offer customized in-stream ads, Philipose said that without the content behind them, in-stream ads are really just “banners in disguise.” To emphasize the content marketing aspect of the product, Olive has chosen to call the new Nativo-powered product “True Native.”

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