Over the last few months, the term "native advertising" has evolved from a simple industry buzzword to a complex, frequently debated advertising strategy being heralded as the future of digital. That's all well and good, but my question about any successful advertising approach is, can it scale?The most common definition for the term native are ads that are so well integrated that they appear to be specific and unique to the site or platform hosting them &#8211; like sponsored posts on Facebook or AdWords on Google. While that certainly combats challenges like banner blindness, it may be hard to scale these ads when they, by definition, live on a custom-built platform or feature "never been done before" creative execution by a single publisher.I have my own classification of native. A native ad must be user-controlled: unless a user takes a deliberate action to manually expand them, they shouldn't "do" anything that detracts from the user's consumption of publisher content. At the same time, these ads should offer the advertiser a large canvass to give them significant share of voice, albeit in an unobtrusive manner. They should also offer the audience some value, like educational or entertaining content, in exchange for the user's time. Finally, native ads should be built within IAB's Rising Stars, the high impact, rich media canvases that were introduced a couple of years ago. Under this definition of native, these ad units can scale, and even be bought and sold programmatically. One of the most compelling Rising Star units, the Portrait, functions like a native ad should, it aesthetically conforms to the design of the host site, so it looks better and less obtrusive than many other display formats. It lets a publisher's web site and content take the spotlight. For advertisers, the Portrait serves as a beautiful canvas to tell engaging brand stories. From video to photo galleries, there are several opportunities for brands to reach an audience without being viewed negatively by a consumer feeling as if they are being bombarded by an advertisement. That fact alone is a strong benefit. But it's what goes into these units that make them compelling and, what I think of as being truly native. It's the content.At a time when content is considered the number one marketing priority of 2013, according to eMarketer, these ad units seamlessly integrate relevant content with the brand messaging, making it feel as part of the advertiser's message. Our clients have seen great success blending content with brand messaging, especially as they target the affluent, an audience that is notoriously hard to reach with traditional forms of advertising. As an example that we have run, an ad for a well-known financial trading product offered a brief video on why customers should work with them in the top module of the unit. The second module then offered premium editorial content from Forbes that spoke to the brand's messaging &#8211; articles offering financial advice and insight. The third module let customers locate the closest agent. The three modules fit together seamlessly, and the branded content is completely relevant to the publisher content. And it's completely shareable. The resulting ad is not only rich and beautiful, it's also relevant to both the context and the design of the page on which appears. Plus, we are able to continually optimize the creative and the content by closely monitoring engagement and interaction metrics.A final benefit for both parties is scale. Native advertising has traditionally been limited to the site for which it's native. Leveraging the Portrait, an IAB standard, as a native unit allows advertisers to reach multiple publisher networks with a native unit. The use of a standard unit also gives publishers an advantage, since networks and exchanges can include them within inventory. That means the publishers can enjoy all the benefits of native, without the need to build a custom platform.Native advertising has become such a huge trend for a reason: It drives results. By making native scalable, the results improve for everyone &#8211; publishers, advertisers and consumers.Tom O&#8217;Regan is a seasoned advertising executive with an expertise in vertical publishing and sales strategy. As CRO of Martini Media, he is responsible for company-wide advertising revenue and operations. Tom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Read all Toms MediaBizBloggers commentaries at Through the Martini Glass.Check us out on Facebook at MediaBizBloggers.comFollow our Twitter updates @MediaBizBloggerThe opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaBizBloggers.com management or associated bloggers. MediaBizBloggers is an open thought leadership platform and readers may share their comments and opinions in response to all commentaries.