The Truth in Mobile Programmatic – ATS London 2018

At PubMatic_logoATS London, Jodie Collins, MD, Re/Digital, moderated a panel discussion about the developments in mobile programmatic and what the future holds for the channel. Collins was joined by Andrew Buckman, EMEA MD, Sublime; Shalom Michaeli, Director Publisher Development, Europe, Fyber; and Kristen Kelly, EVP, Publicis Media Precision, EMEA, Publicis Media. Emma Newman, VP, UK, PubMatic reviews the discussion and offers her thoughts on the state of mobile programmatic.

 Today’s consumers prefer to engage with online content on mobile devices which has resulted in a situation where around half of all digital budgets are flowing into mobile. However, the online advertising industry still faces significant challenges in this area, which need to be addressed to ensure mobile can fill its potential.

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Web vs. App

Marketers fall into a trap when they think of mobile as a single channel because there are huge differences in the way consumers use mobile web compared to mobile apps.

Marketers need to understand the differences between mobile web vs. app so they can use both appropriately. The way consumers use apps is more experiential, personalized, and geared towards m-commerce; mobile web is more about research and price/product comparisons. For marketers, the challenge is to get the storytelling right across each, as well as across other channels.

When it comes to mobile app environments, it’s important to make the user experience as friction-less as possible, especially in commerce where around 60% of all global commerce happens. When you think about how to engage in an app environment, the whole experience should be as personal as possible. Typically marketers do this by offering a value exchange, often a special offer or voucher. However, there’s another value exchange which is often overthought — providing the user with the easiest possible way to engage through single-click opportunities to discover content or make purchases.

Arguably, in app offers the most interesting opportunities for advertisers and publishers because there is more flexibility and opportunity to create innovative and personalized experiences through the use of device IDs. However, the panel agreed that brands and publishers are not moving as quickly with users to the app world.

One of the mistakes on the brand side is that many are still buying inventory in premium apps believing this is the way to buy quality inventory at scale. However, today scale and quality exist outside traditional premium apps, such as gaming apps. Brands don’t see that the users who are reading the Telegraph or the Guardian are the same as those who are playing Candy Crush. Once that realization happens, this will drive investment.

Another mistake is that brands see apps as walled gardens and believe that the bigger and wider opportunity is on mobile web. They think that every major publisher has a mobile web presence but not necessarily a quality app with advertising opportunities, so they invest more heavily in mobile web. Publishers respond to this by putting more investment and resource into improving their mobile web experience for users and advertisers which fuels the cycle.

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Getting a brand’s message across on mobile is another challenge because you can’t just use the same technology and the same ads. It’s important for both publishers and brands to adapt the way they execute campaigns to match the user experience and KPIs. Many brands put far too much content into mobile ads as they attempt to push a similar message to users on mobile devices as they would on desktop or TV.

The enforcement of the GDPR has unintentionally created a space for marketers to up their creative game. Impacting the opportunities to use data for targeting and optimization, consent-led data is encouraging marketers to look at how dynamic creative optimization enhances performance and improves the creative quality. That’s not to say that universal IDs are not going to come back into focus but there has definitely been a resurgence in creative areas which has paid off.

The knock on effect of more creative optimization is that performance and relevance is improving and we are seeing and will continue to see further increases in investment in mobile.

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As with creative, measuring engagement and performance of both in app and mobile web campaigns requires a different approach to other channels. Most people still look at click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate as the main metrics to measure desktop campaigns and it’s the same on mobile — how many downloads or app installations did the campaign drive?

Furthermore, unlike in desktop, the key in mobile is device IDs. This is why mobile is such an opportunity for brands to engage with consumers as they are no longer dependent on cookies. The device ID is constant. A consumers’ device is their profile and the more advertisers are using and understanding the device ID is the user, the more opportunities there are to leverage this data and bring more accurate ads to those consumers later on.

We’re starting to see a progression as marketers learn how to work with and measure performance using device IDs and linking different formats to tell a story. Now advertisers must start evolving and following the user through their lifecycle with the brand.

Read More: Programmatic Is Not a KPI

Biggest Opportunities in 2019

For mobile, these fall into three categories — branding, measurement, and messaging.

Many marketers see mobile as a performance channel, however, more advanced brands are realizing that mobile is a great branding channel and is often the first place consumers become aware of a brand. Viewability will continue to be important in mobile and once vendors like Moat, Integral Ad Science, Nielson, and DoubleVerify are aligned across the mobile space brands will have an effective way to measure viewability which will help unleash a significant amount of branding budget into the app ecosystem.

On the performance side, as marketers solve the measurement piece by focusing on metrics that matter, investment will follow and the gap between consumer attention and ad spend will close, especially in m-commerce.

As consumer eyeballs continue to shift more and more to mobile, we will see publishers focus on providing evermore meaningful, user-friendly content, which will continue to be funded by a mixture of advertising and subscription models. As content production evolves, ad delivery will have to adapt in order to deliver meaningful and engaging messaging to consumers across all channels.

This will require collaborative education from publishers, brands, agencies, and tech providers who each need to understand the others’ goals and challenges. This is an opportunity for the online advertising industry to unite and provide consumers with meaningful value exchanges, not bombard them with ads.

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