TechBytes with Arndt Groth, President, Smaato
Not monetizing your app means you are missing out on serious revenue from your ‘best’ mobile advertising tool. To better understand the state of mobile app monetization and the rise of the blockchain in the adtech industry, we spoke to Arndt Groth, President, Smaato.
Tell us about your role at Smaato.
As President of Smaato, I am responsible for the core business operations. Smaato is the leading global real-time advertising platform for mobile publishers and app developers. We work with 90,000+ mobile publishers and app developers, 450+ demand partners and 10,000+ advertisers. Smaato manages over 19 billion mobile ad impressions daily and reaches over one billion unique mobile users monthly. We have offices in San Francisco, Hamburg, New York City, Shanghai and Singapore. With 13 years of mobile-first experience, we are a trusted partner in the mobile in-app advertising ecosystem.
What is the “State of App Monetization” in 2018?
The global in-app advertising industry is set to triple from $72 billion in 2016 to $201 billion in 2021. And according to eMarketer, 80.6% of all US mobile ad dollars in 2018 are expected to go to in-app. With apps responsible for upwards of 95 percent of the time people spend using mobile devices in some regions, our market is growing at a remarkably fast rate. Taking this into account, app monetization is already extremely advanced. However, this is not yet the case in all regions. Some advertisers still tend to prefer mobile web, because that is the logical first step after desktop. Nevertheless, the advantages of in-app are obvious (e.g. no ad blocking, SDKs and targeting, no cookies, more advanced analytics, etc.) — and as such, budgets will continue to shift to in-app advertising.
How would you define Ad Fraud? Is it really possible to beat ad fraud/malvertising in 2018?
Simply stated, ad fraud is any traffic and/or ads that are manipulated or artificial. Here at Smaato, we would never say that it’s possible to eliminate all ad fraud. But there are smart and effective ways to combat it. Smaato has a dedicated team of internal market quality experts in APAC, EMEA and the Americas that monitor our ad and traffic quality 24/7. In addition, we use sophisticated internal and external technology, as well as third-party vendors, to ensure a safe and protected mobile marketplace.
How should mobile-first companies prepare for newer ad formats? How does Smaato enable such companies in achieving full-success with their app marketing?
It is all about testing and benchmarking new formats to individual audiences. We work with both our supply and demand partners on a regular basis to improve our ad formats, as well as their individual performance. At the moment, video is the hottest of all mobile ad formats, especially rewarded video. With higher eCPMs for publishers and highly-engaged users for advertisers can target, video ad formats will continue their upward trend.
How could blockchain technology impact the whole ad tech industry? Could you provide some relevant examples/ context to this disruption?
The ads.txt initiative in the web world is a perfect example of how blockchain could impact the ad tech industry. Implemented by the Interactive Advertising Bureau for the web, ads.txt requires publishers to place a text file on their server that shows which supply-side platforms and networks are allowed to sell their inventory. A blockchain solution could help in proving to all market partners that traffic is valid and that the individual seller is eligible to trade the impressions.
What percentage of ad spend could blockchain technology monetize? Does it really have the potential to outgrow expectations from the mobile advertising campaigns in 2018?
We believe that blockchain technology will have an impact on the mobile advertising industry and we look forward to seeing how it develops. However, it is far too early to tell exactly where and how it will have an impact. One key challenge is the amount of traffic that needs to be tracked. Just imagine: Smaato alone currently delivers more than 500+ billion impressions per month! And at the moment, blockchain lacks a solution to overcome the cost and the time that would be needed to certify the massive volume of ads in our industry.
What audience data do you measure to ensure transparent and effective ad fraud detection?
Our internal teams constantly look at a sampling of our traffic, in order to determine any possible instances of fraud. As mentioned above, we also work with various third-party traffic quality partners to provide an extra layer of security for our marketplace. In terms of onboarding, new publishers requesting access to the Smaato platform face the toughest of standards. Our goal is to offer an exceptionally clean marketplace with only premium publishers and top-quality inventory.
How do you leverage AI/ML and data science at Smaato? What AI companies are you particularly interested in
Smaato is working on artificial intelligence and machine learning in various areas of our business. This is such an important field that we wanted to do our own development. And in the light of the GDPR, machine learning is becoming more interesting, because personally identifiable information (PII) will not be available for everyone.
Thanks for chatting with us, Arndt.
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