The Opportunity of Mobile RTB for Publishers and Advertisers: Q & A with Mobile Sales Director, Heather Menery

Heather Menery, who has been working with agencies and brands to launch mobile campaigns for over seven years, is the new Director of Sales, Mobile, at PubMatic where she will be responsible for sales to both publishers and ad buyers.  Among her varied roles in mobile, Menery was sales director at Velti, a mobile marketing and advertising technology company, and a sales executive at Jumptap Mobile Ad Network. Heather shares what her experience in mobile has taught her and what she can bring to publishers and demand partners at PubMatic.

Q:  You’re one of the few mobile execs to have spent your entire career in mobile.  What do you think you learned about mobile as a marketing medium at your first job?

I am glad that I was first on the account management side at Enpocket, a mobile media company with mobile marketing services, before starting my sales career. I learned so much about the importance of client education, especially as it pertains to new media. In 2006, it was not just about educating the advertiser on why they should invest in mobile but also how to take those first steps to launch a mobile campaign. As the landscape is constantly changing, the education piece has not changed. Some of the first mobile buys I received from agencies were a result of continuous client education and proper expectation setting.

Q. What is the biggest consumer trend impacting mobile advertising right now?

Users are consuming more media than ever before. Because so much of this consumption is taking place on the mobile device, mobile can no longer be considered a “third screen.” We are a generation that thrives on multi-tasking and we are consuming media from different devices simultaneously or within seconds of each other. We watch TV, see a brand’s commercial, and immediately visit that brand’s site on our mobile device.  I love the cross-platform play as mobile stands out as the connective tissue for all forms of media vs. being labeled as a “third screen.” As we heard from many agencies at the recent Mobile Media Summit, companies that can target users cross-platform will impact mobile advertising in a big way.

Q.  What do you think is unique about mobile as an ad medium?

How personal our mobile device is. I do not share my phone with anyone, it’s become more important than my wallet. In some cases, it is my wallet. It’s the first thing I look at in the morning and often the last thing at night. Because it’s always with us, the location piece is essential. If publishers can pass us latitude and longitudinal data we can deliver much more effective targeting, which in turn makes the inventory more valuable. Even national retailers are using location to add relevance to their advertising and layering on daypart targeting. People do things at certain times of day and if you can reach them at the right moment with a localized message, it’s gold.

Q.  What do you think will most impact mobile ad spend which has been lagging compared to spend on other media.

Most of the time, mobile is still the last line item on a media planner’s media budget. There is still the need for continuous education, especially in such a fragmented space. There are new mobile companies popping up daily, new devices, new ad formats…taking a week vacation from reading about mobile trends means you’re already behind. The need for education is still prevalent.

But I believe the biggest challenge in mobile right now is the lack of standardized tracking, both at the mobile media display level and attributing this media to users’ post click actions.  The tried and true way of tracking on digital display is not working across mobile, which is very frustrating to advertisers. Combine lack of unified tracking with privacy concerns in a fragmented space that changes daily and you’ll understand why the investment isn’t there yet.

I’m confident that this industry is too smart to fail and we may all need to work together towards a universally accepted method of tracking that is privacy compliant.

Q.  You’ve been on the agency side. What are budgets like these days for mobile?

It depends. There are some brands with seven figure mobile budgets but average deal size at the campaign level can still average $25 – 50K per campaign.

Q.  What do publishers need to understand about mobile in terms of mobile advertising?

Your standard “desktop” site may look fantastic on the iPhone but publishers need to think beyond aesthetics and understand how users’ behavior is different on their smartphones vs. laptops and even tablets. A mobile optimized site is a must and the functionality and organization of your mobile site will differ from your desktop site. Take advantage of all the ad sizes mobile can deliver beyond just the standard banner i.e. rich media and video. The targeting you can offer advertisers will only make your inventory more valuable, especially if you can target based on a user’s location.

Q.  What is the greatest challenge for publishers about mobile advertising?  

That it’s a fragmented space and there’s always something new to learn. Advertisers and publishers share many of the same challenges, as I mentioned above. It goes back to education…there are a lot of nuances. That’s one of the reasons I think it’s so smart that PubMatic partnered with MobStac, which simplifies the process of optimizing content for any mobile device.  It’s one of the headaches that can now be solved through automation.

Q. What are the most important things you think PubMatic can do for publishers with mobile inventory?

Better understand their mobile assets and increase the value of their mobile inventory. Aggregate demand partners and continuously innovate to stay on top of market trends. I also would not downplay the service aspect.  At PubMatic, we provide insights into the bidding environment because we live and breathe it every day.  The mobile team is made up of true mobile experts who really understand RTB.  The reason I came here is that I see the promise of RTB for mobile.   I’ve been working at different mobile ad networks for some time and advertisers want to talk about RTB. I wanted to work at a company that really gets it.

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Have a question for Heather we haven’t covered here?  Leave a reply, question or comment below.

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