Programmatic TechBytes with Shannon Jessup, Chief Revenue Officer at Tapjoy

Shannon Jessup
Shannon Jessup
Shannon Jessup, Chief Revenue Officer at Tapjoy

Last month, Tapjoy released its “The Modern Mobile Gamer: Advertising Preferences Revealed.” The report found that videos are far and away consumers’ favorite type of rewarded ads on mobile — preferred by at least 6X over playable ads, app installs, surveys and other types of advertising offers.  We spoke to Tapjoy’s Chief Revenue Officer Shannon Jessup about these developments.

MTS: Tell us about your role at Tapjoy and how you got here?

Shannon Jessup: I’m the Chief Revenue Officer here at Tapjoy, which means that I’m in charge of all revenue-producing activities, including advertising sales and developer relationships. I’ve been with Tapjoy for nearly eight years in a variety of roles, so I’ve seen the company mature and evolve to a great extent. It has also given me a front-row seat to the mobile advertising explosion and the great advances in rewarded advertising.

MTS: What prompted Tapjoy to focus exclusively on the mobile gamers’ category for this report?

Shannon Jessup: Practically everyone who owns a smartphone or tablet device plays some type of mobile game, and it’s a very desirable audience for advertisers because of how active and engaged mobile gamers are — not to mention how diverse the demographic base is. We want to make sure that advertisers truly understand the mobile gaming audience and how best to connect with them, so we put this report together to help shed light on mobile gamers in general and specifically how they feel about ads inside their favorite games.

MTS: The  report says “Mobile gamers in the US prefer opt-in, rewarded advertisements over mandatory ads such as pre-roll videos by a 4-to-1 margin.” How can marketers incentivize this particular trend in coming years?

Shannon Jessup: The most obvious way for marketers to boost rewarded advertising is simply to continue pouring their budgets into the channel. But it’s also important that marketers understand the types of rewards that consumers want, the type of ad creative that really resonates with consumers who engage with rewarded ads, the type of context and placements where the ads run, and so on. And that’s exactly the point of our “Modern Mobile Gamer” report series. To show marketers the best practices for rewarded ads. For example, one of the key insights that came out of this particular report is the fact that humorous videos tend to get the most attention, while videos featuring celebrities are among the least popular among mobile gamers. So that helps marketers steer their overall creative direction for rewarded ads.

MTS: How did you track and measure viewability of the rewarded video ads? Did your partnership with Moat bolster this ad (viewability) study?

Shannon Jessup: Our partnership with Moat is an important step for us and the entire industry because it’s so important for advertisers to have independent measurement and verification of metrics like viewability, completion rates, audibility, and other types of engagement. Viewability is especially crucial to the future of the mobile advertising industry because it’s an issue that concerns almost every advertiser. With rewarded ads, however, viewability is much less of a concern because the very nature of the model ensures that advertisers only pay for what they get — in this case, they only pay for video views that are viewed 100% to completion, which is much greater than the current standards of viewability for other types of ads.

MTS: Do you think the results would vary for B2B customers? If yes, what would be the premise of that report?

Shannon Jessup: Even B2B customers play mobile games, so mobile game inventory is a great way to reach B2B audiences as well as B2C audiences. So no, I don’t believe the results of this report would vary much for B2B customers

MTS: Will video ads become the “ad unit of choice” for B2B app marketer in coming years? Please elaborate on this further.

Shannon Jessup: I think there’s a general movement towards video ads for all categories of marketing because they are easy to watch and because they are probably the best way to get a message across in a succinct fashion.

MTS: Why do you think “Rewarded” video ads get more attention from customers? Could you tell us the value of eCPM for these particular ads?

Shannon Jessup: It makes total sense that consumers would prefer ads that deliver rewards and ads that they can choose to engage with on their own terms over traditional ads such as pre-roll videos, which are both mandatory and disruptive. When brands help consumers unlock premium content inside their favorite apps, it helps build a strong affinity between the brand and the customer. We have found that these ads deliver a higher eCPM than traditional ads because of the extremely high engagement and conversion rates.

MTS: How do rewarded ads impact customer experience and enhance virtual economy with a longer retention rate? Please provide us with Tapjoy stats (if any) to exemplify this answer?

Shannon Jessup: We actually released a report just last month showing that consumers who take part in rewarded ads have app retention rates that are at least four times greater than those who do not. For rewarded video ads, in particular, there’s an even higher correlation between those who watch rewarded videos and those with high retention. We believe that’s because rewarded ads provide users with a great introduction to an app’s virtual economy and its premium content, so it helps users engage with the app on a deeper level.

MTS: How do you see the proliferation of programmatic in the premium rewarded video category impact monetization of ad inventories?

Shannon Jessup: Programmatic advertising is extremely important for mobile advertising because it lets brands buy inventory much more efficiently than ever before. However, the lack of transparency for programmatic is troubling many advertisers. We have seen a proliferation of programmatic in rewarded video advertising lately because it helps solve this transparency issue by allowing advertisers to understand exactly what they’re getting and what they’re paying for. We are very proud of the work that we have done, along with our partner Rubicon Project, to bring greater transparency and greater overall performance to programmatic ads.

MTS: Finally, what would be your advice to ad marketers offering paid apps, if they are to succeed against freemium app providers?

Shannon Jessup: My first bit of advice to any developers offering paid apps is that, unless their apps offer a very strong value prop that is highly differentiated from anything else in the app stores, they should seriously consider switching to the freemium model. As our report shows, more than half of consumers say they prefer freemium apps over other models, so if you’re not offering your app for free then you are likely to isolate a majority of the market.

MTS: Thanks for chatting with us Shannon. We look forward to having at MarTech Series again for more insights.

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