This article originally appeared on MarTech. View it here. See the author’s companion piece with additional information here.

In the spirit of the well-known ChiefMartec Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic, the Native Advertising Institute (NAI) presents to you the Native Advertising Technology Landscape below. The ChiefMartec graphic has been an annual tradition for Scott Brinker and his team since 2011. It’s something I look forward to every year.

Here at the NAI we’ve decided to make this an annual tradition, too. After weeks of Google searches and visiting every company’s website, we’ve identified 272 native advertising technology companies. As you can imagine, the retargeting from these brands is now haunting me everywhere I go on the Internet now.

The NAI has a global focus which is reflected in the below. It includes global vendors and ones that only operate in places like China, Russia, Middle East, Turkey, UK, etc. It was also designed to be a resource for advertisers, publishers, media buyers, marketers and ad tech folks.

This infographic is a precursor to more content to come. We’ll be publishing an online directory and downloadable guide with more details about each vendor. We’re also working on cataloging all the content studios and publishers of sponsored content (long-form native advertising). That will culminate into an infographic, guide and directory, too.

The 2017 Native Advertising Technology Landscape

Click on the infographic to view fullscreen

2017 Native Advertising Landscape

Items worth noting

  1. Like Scott, we are explicitly granting permission for anyone to republish this infographic and share it across blogs, social media, presentations or wherever it’s appropriate. We do not grant permission to change the graphic from its original design unless it is expressly agreed upon.
  2. This is not a perfect rendition of the landscape. We used content on each vendor’s website to determine if they had anything to do with native advertising. Some had just a small part of their technology dedicated to native. Others were all in on native. If there’s any errors in categorization or missing vendors let us know in the comments so we can correct it for 2018.
  3. While I would like to acknowledge every single source, it would be simply implausible since I ended up visiting hundreds of websites. Instead I’ll acknowledge the key sources: Forrester, ChiefMartec, Thalamus, Nudge and PubNative.

ChiefMartec’s Supergraphic didn’t start out as super as it is today. They documented the growth of marketing technology from approximately 150 vendors in 2011 to over 3,500 in 2016.

Here at the NAI we believe that native advertising is still in its infancy and expect to see the vendor landscape grow in the coming years. We hope to document this growth. It’s at 272 today and it’s anybody’s guess what it will look like in five years.

Native Advertising Technology Vendors

In order for a vendor to make this list it had to meet two criteria:

  1. Meet the NAIs definition of native advertising (see definitions below)
  2. Help facilitate, optimize or track native advertising

Definitions
Since native advertising is slowly, but surely, becoming a content marketing distribution channel, it’s important to shed some light on some of the language associated with the industry. Most content marketers aren’t necessarily experienced digital media buyers.

Native advertising – paid advertising where the ad matches the form, feel and function of the content of the media on which it appears
Demand Side Platform (DSP) – a system that allows buyers of digital advertising inventory to manage multiple ad exchange and data exchange accounts through one interface
Supply Side Platform (SSP) – a technology platform to enable web publishers to manage their advertising space inventory, fill it with ads, and receive revenue
Ad Exchange – a technology platform that facilitates the buying and selling of media advertising inventory from multiple ad networks
Ad Network – a company that connects advertisers to web sites that want to host advertisements
Programmatic Advertising – technology that helps automate the decision-making process of media buying by targeting specific audiences and demographics using artificial intelligence, machine learning algorithms and real-time bidding
Content discovery – technology that helps people discover content they may like but never knew existed
Influencer advertising – a form of paid advertising in which individual influencers are conscripted to organically share media for an advertiser
Sponsored content – content in an online publication which resembles its editorial content but is paid for by an advertiser
Managed Services Technology – A DSP with managed services

Categorization

Admittedly, this was a challenge. Many of the vendors fall into multiple categories. It’s for this reason some of the categories include multiple descriptors. Some vendors were too vague in their website copy so we had to make an estimate based on the content.

The vendors falling under mobile categories are explicitly mobile-only. However, that does not mean vendors falling under a non-mobile category don’t offer mobile capability. In addition, some of the vendors are video-only platforms. For this iteration, we didn’t feel the need to separate them. That may change in the future.

For this infographic, we purposely did not include search-only vendors. While the IAB defines paid search as native advertising, the NAI doesn’t focus on it. However, if a search vendor includes solutions that enable native advertising in some way, they were included.

Content discovery-only vendors were lumped in with the networks. Just because a technology recommends other articles doesn’t mean it’s not a network.

While there are many influencer marketing technologies out there, we chose just to include the ones that also help facilitate a financial transaction between the influencer and an advertiser. If those vendors did not land in the paid media circle below they were not included.

Content

That’s why we call it influencer advertising and not marketing. Many of the technologies that exist just help identify and/or track influencers – falling exclusively in the earned and/or owned media circles.

Feedback

If you have any suggestions on categorization we’re all ears. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. Feedback is greatly appreciated. Lastly, while I do know some folks at a couple dozen of these vendors, not a single one has paid the NAI to influence this project in anyway. It’s purely organic.

We look forward to hearing your comments, critiques and suggestions below and will surely be implementing some of them in 2018. In the meantime, check out some of our other native advertising resources.

This infographic originally appeared on the Native Advertising Institute.

Image: Be in the Know Blog

Chad Pollitt
VP of Audience, Partner, Adjunct Professor, Author, International Speaker & former US Army Commander | Native Advertising Institute
Chad Pollitt, a decorated veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and former US Army Commander, is VP of Audience and a Partner at the Native Advertising Institute, a global think tank dedicated to advancing native advertising as an industry. He’s also an Adjunct Professor of Digital Marketing at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business and Adjunct Instructor of Content Marketing at the Rutgers Business School.
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