TechBytes with Maggie Mesa, VP, Business Development–Mobile, OpenX

Maggie Mesa
Maggie Mesa

Maggie Mesa
VP, Business Development – Mobile, OpenX

Opt-in Videos could influence advertising budgets. To understand the extent of this trend and the growing role of opt-in video advertising for digital campaigns, we spoke to Maggie Mesa, VP, Business Development–Mobile at OpenX.

Tell us about your role at OpenX and the team and technology that you handle.

I head the mobile division at OpenX and have helped the company navigate the larger shift to mobile that we’re seeing in digital media as we have grown the company to become a majority mobile business. In-app has been a particular focus for us, and at the beginning of this year, we announced that in-app revenue grew 89% year-over-year as more and more app developers turned to OpenX to drive monetization for their mobile audiences.

How do you see trends in OPT-IN VIDEO influencing advertising budgets?

Our study found that 8 out of 10 consumers prefer opt-in video advertising to other ad formats, and any time consumers feel strongly about something like this, advertisers will take notice. In fact, the report also found that 65 percent of brand marketers are planning on increasing their spend in opt-in video over the next year, so this shift toward opt-in is definitely taking place.

One other key thing is that advertisers are understanding that there are opportunities to use opt-in video outside of gaming, where it has traditionally been used to date. For example, more than two thirds of consumers would watch a 15, 30 and even a 60 second ad in exchange for retailer discounts, free streaming music, or an hour of premium streaming video content. As advertisers start to think more about how opt-in video can work for their specific business, we will likely see budgets continue to increase. Importantly, we are also seeing opt-in work across nearly every segment of the market, from traditional mobile gaming to photo sharing, sports, dating and music apps.

How does your latest report help advertisers find their holy grail in adtech management?

The true holy grail of advertising is to find an experience that drivers superior performance for the publisher or developer, provides high engagement, recall and action for brands and offers  consumers a relevant, valued experience.

The power of opt-in is clear – even though most consumers feel overwhelmed by the number of irrelevant ads they see today, two-thirds would actually be open to seeing even more ads than they see today if they are more relevant. This is huge news for advertisers.

What are the core tenets of OpenX’s programmatic advertising technology? How does it help digital publishers find and target real-time audience?

OpenX has been a leader in the market for more than a decade. Today, we are the largest independent advertising exchange because we have been laser focused on several core tenants. First and foremost, we have have an unwavering commitment to quality. We have one of the largest dedicated teams in the industry and are investing $25M in various quality initiatives this year. We also are strong supporters of third party standards, like TAG certification, which help the ecosystem eliminate fraud and address other quality concerns.

Second, we offer our brand and publisher partners global scale and innovative technology solutions to drive their business objectives. We aim to serve our partners across every screen and ad format, in every major region around the world

More than half of our team serve in engineering and product development roles, and we’re constantly innovating the next evolution of digital advertising.Our opt-in video offering is a good example of how we are leading the charge with a relatively new ad format that is generating real demand and interest in the marketplace

How do you see opt-in video inventories competing against other ad formats?

We have seen that opt-in video is really driving results. Brand marketers named viewability as the number one metric they care about (tied with ROAS) and opt-in is basically 100% viewable. We had data in the report from MediaMath, a DSP who is also very bullish about opt-in video, that showed completion rates for advertisers are significantly higher than other formats

On the publisher side too, we ran an alpha test earlier this year and saw CPMs that were 2.5X higher than interstitial video.

Finally – it’s worth calling out again how much consumers like this data. In the report, consumers were asked to compare opt-in video to pre-roll, mid-roll, interstitial video, and other formats, and it was by far and away the most preferred ad format.

What impact do opt-in videos have on customer engagement across social media advertising—Facebook and Instagram, in particular?

All advertising channels can benefit from providing a better user experience. Consumers have shown that they are looking for more relevant ads and ads that provide real value to them, and opt-in video is a great way to do that, no matter what environment an ad is seen in.

What are the major challenges for video advertising companies in ensuring disruption-free experiences?

One of the first things to think about is viewability. At the most basic level, for a video ad to be disruption free, it has to be seen, and that’s an area where opt-in video is particularly strong.

Outside of that, it again goes back to the consumer experience. Force feeding a video to a consumer is not necessarily the best way to engage them, and advertisers are coming up with sophisticated video strategies that really think through when, where and how to show a consumer a video ad. For example, while 80% of consumers say that opt-in video provides a positive experience, when you look at a format like interstitial video, 69% say it provides a poor experience. The difference here is huge.

What are your predictions on ad-blocking as a technology? Is it a worthy investment for advertising companies to keep searching for a bypass?

This is a great question, and it lies at the center of the research. Ad-blocking is a result of larger consumer frustration with certain advertising experiences today, and the best thing that advertisers can do is to focus on providing value to consumers and ensuring they are delivering quality experiences.

81% of consumers are overwhelmed by the number of ads they see today, and 85% have either used an ad blocker, or are open to using an ad blocker, which effectively means they are “opting-out” of advertising. It’s now up to advertisers to create the kind of experiences that make them want to opt back in, and this survey sheds some light on a way to do that.

How should businesses unlock the value of their First-part and Third-party data for opt-in video?

Opt-in video isn’t necessarily different than other forms of video in this regard. As opt-in starts to break into the programmatic ecosystem in a major way, advertisers have the ability to target on a 1:1 basis, and the data involved in programmatic will unlock more efficiency and relevance.

Thanks for chatting with us, Maggie.

Stay tuned for more insights on marketing technologies. To participate in our Tech Bytes program, email us at news@martechseries.com

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