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7 fundamentals of mobile programmatic advertising

Mobile Programmatic advertising is growing because mobile content consumption is growing. What do marketers need to do differently when it comes to the best outcomes from their mobile programmatic initiatives? We dive in.

With the rise in usage of mobile, and all marketers refocusing on a mobile-first strategy; mobile programmatic is gaining much prominence. While the basic premise of ‘programmatic’ advertising is the same –  an automated process of buying and selling of ad inventory with improved targeting and quicker, cheaper and better results – mobile programmatic advertising is different from display programmatic in some fundamental ways.

If you are part of the statistics (see above box) and are shifting significant amounts of your ad budgets to mobile, then keep these 7 fundamental aspects of mobile programmatic in mind:

1. In-app advertising is big in mobile

According to this Statista , an individual spends an average time of 3 to 5 hours everyday on mobile and 90% of that time is spent on apps. Which means in-app advertisements have huge potential to engage users and interact without interruption. Mobile apps form the backbone of much of the developments happening in mobile programmatic. In terms of both data and viewability, mobile apps are proving to be the best platforms for programmatic ads.

The immersive context within mobile apps provide 95% viewability to full screen ads (Chartboost report). Apart from that, mobile apps collect invaluable data like device type, location, connectivity, operating system and post install events and the information is collected through an to track conversion with precision. The prominent formats for in-app programmatic ads are mobile games, in-app creatives, video ads, interactive ads, static ads, and banners.

2. Beware of Programmatic mobile fraud

Brand safety, invalid traffic and other duplicity of content are the growing issues that need to be handled with caution. This constantly evolving threat of mobile ad fraud has got marketers thinking about how to best address the most prominent methods of mobile ad frauds are audience fraud, install & click fraud and impression fraud. According to RhythmOne, ad frauds in mobile apps are different than those happening in display/web. With mobiles, especially in apps, the nature of frauds is complicated, which makes it even more difficult to detect and trace them.

According to the company report, only 38% of fraudulent ad inventory gets blocked on mobile, and the percentage is even lower with mobile apps (only 27%) – in comparison with desktop (56%) and mobile web (56%). In the meantime, technologies to combat mobile ad fraud are evolving speedily to help marketers deal with this threat with least damage. The IAB UK launched the ads.txt in 2017 to tackle programmatic ad fraud, including for mobile.

Tim Mahlman, President of Advertising & Publisher Strategy at Oath said “Advertisers want greater transparency from their media partners. Publishers that have embraced ads.txt have taken a positive step toward delivering that. It’s a more secure way to publicly identify the platforms authorized to sell publisher inventory, limiting bad actors. And it gives advertisers a more accurate representation of media impressions and who’s selling them. For publishers that haven’t yet implemented ads.txt, they’ll ultimately get on board. They can’t afford not to as more advertisers buy based on transparency.” 

3. Mobile programmatic tapping the game-zone  

Mobile games are indeed the game changers for programmatic ads. According to the Mobile Gaming Guidance Report by MMA Global, the audience of mobile gaming is getting larger and more engaged. The report says that more than half of US population is using mobile games with no signs of slowing down. This indicates a huge opportunity for mobile programmatic ads to reach the already engaged audience with a big impact in their overall mobile ad strategy. Marketers need to hit a fine balance of understanding and utilizing both mobile web and in-app game inventory to create meaningful experiences through standard native formats. At the same time, challenges like viewability, right context, data accessibility and measurability of performance must also be considered by marketers.

4. Understand the Mobile programmatic metrics

People interact with their mobiles in a totally different way than what they do with desktop – marketers must evaluate this shift and reassess the metrics for mobile programmatic. To define the ROI from mobile programmatic, it is imperative to have a realistic and relevant attribution model – marketers need to adopt mobile specific strategies to measure returns from mobile ads. The attribution model should ideally be in sync with customer journeys and the role of mobile in helping customers take a certain buying decision. This will aid in attaching the right budget while effectively improving customer experience.

5. Location-based programmatic is an emerging opportunity

Smartphones are the best device for location-based advertising, and mobile programmatic has a big opportunity in this arena. Cisco forecasts that by 2020 there will be 5.5 billion mobile users (70% of the global population); which implies a colossal scope for brands and advertisers to reach customers on their smartphones based on their location. When combined with the data collected by their mobile device and customer intelligence from their own customer data platforms, the offerings can be not just unique and customized, but real-time and contextual to each moment in time. This means infinite new revenue or engagement opportunities created on-the-go, based on customer movements and needs!  Programmatic mobile advertising based on customer location can reach customers at scale with specific messages, based on their exact location. This strategy, if based on relevant data that avoids being intrusive, can help with last-mile conversion at the POS and can connect the online and offline engagement for a seamless brand experience.

6. Mobile UX is different from display

People use mobiles for QUICK results. With mobiles, users are less tolerant, and it gets worse with bad mobile ads. They don’t want to be held up by ad-rolls, neither would they want your ad to cover the entire screen when all they want is the movie listings or the restaurant phone number. Don’t be that brand that annoys and distracts – ensure that the ad-size and shape of mobile ads meant for programmatic is not ruining the user experience. Insist to work with publishers who care about their audiences’ UX. Don’t use ads developed for the desktop on the mobile. Be guided by user preferences – a host of brands are developing 6 second ads exclusively for mobile as the age-old 30 second TV spot just doesn’t work on mobile. Remember, the ads are not what users open the mobile for – the moment your ad pops up covering the content and slows down the loading time, not to mention use up their data bandwidth, customers will probably hate you forever!

According to John DeVin, CRO of Oath, “Because they’re glued to their devices, consumers have even higher expectations for content on mobile, whether it’s a seamless livestream of an NFL game or on-demand viewing of need-to-know news. And these expectations for quality don’t just stop with content consumption—consumers are holding advertisers to a higher standard as well. Ads must be relevant and customized yet unobtrusive, complementing the consumer’s experience and not interrupting the moment. Today the goal for brands is more focused on enhancing the viewing experience and providing consumers with a new kind of utility from their phones.”

7. Dynamic Creative Optimization

The strength of programmatic to reach customers at scale to deliver highly targeted mobile ads is unquestionable. However, everything boils down to one question – ‘has the ad created a positive impact on the viewer’s mind?’ Creative mobile ads are the winner here. Advertisers are engaging with exciting new creative opportunities to build beautiful UX with the help of Dynamic Creative Optimization tools. This enables advertisers to constantly and simultaneously produce and test several different creative options – and work with the best one making maximum impact.  DCO tools aims to create highly personalized and optimized ads keeping the customers’ specific interests, in mind.

John DeVin, CRO of Oath, added “The heightened expectations for quality content and experiences that put the user first have ushered in a new frontier of ad formats. Those that work well for users and deliver an exceptional experience will, in turn, deliver for brand marketers. Last year there was much talk about the potential impact of mobile and consumer-first formats like augmented reality, virtual reality and 360-degree video. This year, the era of innovative, interactive content has arrived. Forward-thinking brands like The Home Depot and Pottery Barn are leading the pack by putting AR technology to work in their latest campaigns and bringing their in-store experience to shoppers’ mobile devices and living rooms. But it doesn’t stop there. It’s also about testing shorter video ad lengths and full-screen vertical video on mobile devices. These immersive advertising experiences perform exceptionally well with consumers and deliver big for advertisers, too. Brand builders are taking notice. With this future-forward content more accessible than ever, expect even more brands to leverage innovative ads in the year ahead to transform the world around you into an exceptional brand content experience.”

The fast-pace evolution of mobile programmatic ad is here to stay – but of course with new additions and alterations every year, to match with the changing faces of CX and ROI. The industry is getting more mature by adopting more improved, relevant and agile standards and regulations.   Keeping these 7 fundamentals of mobile in mind will help you build a more successful mobile programmatic initiative. It boils down to a fine balance between human creativity, user experience and scientific data-based decision making – all at scale and at an affordable price to deliver messages in an efficient, effective, yet non-intrusive way.

by Sonali Datta
source: MTA