The Top Emerging Trends for Mobile Programmatic Advertising

Posted 1/28/2016 2:49:45 PM by STUART PARKERSON, Publisher Emeritus

The Top Emerging Trends for Mobile Programmatic Advertising
We recently visited with Josh Stivers, a mobile strategist for AerServ, to get his insights for mobile programmatic advertising in 2016. 

ADM: What are the biggest trends you expect to see in programmatic for 2016?

Stivers: Video will continue to be the big story in 2016, as more consumers switch from TV and desktop to mobile and connected devices for their favorite shows and events.  Most DSPs and SSPs have only recently started building out to support mobile video, but access should improve dramatically by year end.

Targeted cross-screen audience buying will continue to important for advertisers.  Improvements in cross device data technology made mobile audience buying a reality in 2015 and we should see greater scale and reach become available to buyers in 2016.

Also, programmatic direct buying between agencies and supply platforms will increase as advertisers and publishers try to recoup more volume and margin for each ad dollar spent.  SSPs in particular will provide more demand friendly interfaces to attract direct buys.

ADM: What are the biggest challenges facing mobile programmatic?

Stivers: While much has been done to simplify mobile ad buying, the inherent fragmentation and non standardized adtech in the mobile ecosystem is proving hard to fully automate. Advertisers are still adjusting to mobile differences and buying platforms are still being retrofitted to support mobile and multiscreen.

Perhaps the biggest adtech challenge is making audience targeting really work at scale in mobile. Advertisers are desperate to use programmatic tools to move beyond contextual and reach segment-targeted audiences across screens.  

Finally, mobile is still a small inventory pool relative to the desktop web. Much of it resides in the walled gardens of Facebook and some of the larger media concerns. Over mediation of what mobile inventory is available continues to distort our understandings of the true measure and depth of the mobile marketplace.

ADM: How has programmatic changed how advertisers buy from apps?

Stivers: Advertisers used to buy mobile media almost exclusively through traditional ad networks like Millennial, Rhythm, Tremor, etc. These networks often had direct relationships with publishers and could offer guaranteed volume at fixed CPMs.  

Today most apps are accessible via a DSP or Exchange and buyers can bid on nearly all the available app inventory through one interface which makes campaign planning and budgeting much easier and more efficient. There are some downsides in terms of being able to more granularly control performance and optimization on an app-by-app basis.

ADM: How will the increase in programmatic buying impact developers?

Stivers: The rapid addition of more mobile apps to automated buying platforms means that it is now much easier and more efficient for agency buyers to add mobile reach to their media buys. That’s a good thing. 

However, with that access comes more pressure on mobile publishers to conform to traditionally desktop media buying requirements such as fraud verification, view ability, 3rd party creative and better user data collection. Also, the endemic water-falling used by programmatic platforms to boost fill rates will continue to cloud publishers understanding of pricing and market value.

ADM: How can app developers get the most out of programmatic buying?

Stivers: Advertisers are increasingly making buy decisions on the availability of granular audience targeting data and richer creative display capabilities. Developers looking to maximize revenue should try to offer as much targeting information as their user base is comfortable with.  
Josh Stivers

The inclusion of things like demographic and geographic information in the bid stream often significantly improve CPMs. Similarly, Advertisers are obsessed with ensuring their ad creative is seen in the best way. Adopting industry standards for creative rendering and measurement such as MRAID and VPAID, will ensure your app is seen as a premium environment for brand advertising.

ADM: How will programmatic impact inventory pricing in 2016?

Stivers: We should see a leveling off of the downward pricing spiral seen in 2015 as more of the middle platform players exit the marketplace and publishers supply platforms move toward direct arrangements with advertisers. This action in conjunction with the predicted mobile inventory crunch, particularly in video, should help to improve the outlook for many publishers.

ADM: How do I choose which programmatic platforms to partner with?

Stivers: As an app developer there are many platforms to choose from these days and finding the right partner can be confusing. It’s best to start with a publisher-focused supply platform (SSP), preferably one with mobile specific adtech and knowledge of app development cycles.  

Depending on how you choose to monetize (i.e. banner ads, video, native) a good mobile SSP can provide all the tools, SDKs, reporting, pricing information and access to buying platforms needed, so that you can focus more on developing your best application.

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About the author: STUART PARKERSON, Publisher Emeritus

Stuart Parkerson has an extensive background in niche technology publishing.

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