What are feeds?

FEED BASED advertising remains a hot topic of conversation in the marketing world. Rather unfortunately, what we mean by feed depends on context. Consequently, for those not in the know, the public discussion can seem perplexing at times. Feeds can be simultaneously hailed as the next big thing and disparaged as yesterday’s news. Connotation by context can cause unnecessary confusion, but luckily the difference is easy to see once you know what to look for.
Put roughly, feeds can be one of two things.

1) Feed from a (publisher) site perspective

On every news site, there is a flow of content. This is referred to as the feed. Practically everything on the site is considered part of the feed. Ads are served within the feed (typically called in-feed ads) and as such need to be designed with the site context in mind. It is also in this feed that you find Native ads, content marketing pieces written to create a news article impression. If you’re looking at something with a label such as “Sponsored by”, “Branded content” or “Brought to you by”, well, that’s likely a Native and you’re likely in a feed.

2) Feed from a source-to-ad perspective

The second thing feed can refer to is the live data feed between an ad and a material source. The feed enables live updates to the ad. By having an open line of data communication, the same ad, in the same place, can run with differing ad content such as texts, images, colours etc. This ensures an ad that is personal, relevant and fresh. In this context, the feed essentially is a tool with which to control ad content.

Example: a source-to-ad feed that updates a travel ad automatically after a set amount of time.

In other words, feeds can be either site feeds or ad feeds (in lack of better terms). Although the differences are clear when presented next to one another, they are very important to keep in mind for anyone looking to invest in online advertising.
Now that we have established what feeds are, we can start looking at what we can do to utilise them both to the fullest. Next time, we’re going to show you how take in-feed ads and fed ads to the next level!