Every time I see another press release about a firm in the media and ad tech space staffing up to prepare for mobile I have to smile to myself. Just this month OpenX hired a bunch of new execs to adapt their desktop technology to mobile, while at their annual summit this month AppNexus announced that they plan to revamp the company around mobile, as founder Brian O’Kelley noted “desktop is dead.”
While I’m glad that there is finally a ton of excitement and development effort going into mobile, it’s more important for our clients to understand the current state of the mobile market. At PubMatic, we’ve got the product and process in place and are making it easier than ever for publishers to monetize mobile. I won’t get into an “our stack is better than theirs” discussion, but I will offer some words of advice about how to approach the unique aspects of the market:
- Mobile is Not Desktop. There is a key difference in the behavior of mobile buyers than desktop. In mobile, buyers bid less but win 95% of the time. Campaigns all fill 100%. In a market with far more supply than demand, buyers want specific impressions. They expect more targeting. They’re looking for lat/long data and location functionality on impressions and whether an ID was available. Where desktop is often a buckshot approach, mobile is a precision target.
- Data is the Premium in Mobile. This precision buying behavior has redefined what is premium in mobile. Properties like ESPN and Pandora acknowledged the mobile shift early on and pushed the market along, but they did so with the right type of enriched impressions to make them able to monetize. Publishers have to understand that you can’t sell mobile just by virtue of being a media brand. They also need to have the right data parameters to push supply and demand. We don’t have too many mobile impressions in the market; we have too many unqualified mobile impressions.
- Increased Data Increases Competition. To that end, mobile will become a more efficient market when increased data on impressions leads to increased competition. That will drive scarcity and deliver on what is truly premium in mobile: data enriched impressions.
- Transparency is Key. Buyers demand to know what they are getting with transparent targeting parameters. Publishers need to get over their fear of channel conflict and designate quality impressions, and they need to do so openly.
What else do publishers need to know? First and foremost that we’ve created a mobile auction and it’s available now. It increases the performance and competition over mobile with full demand side transparency. We’ve also released an open SDK—essentially a self-serve tool for app providers—that will make our supply that much richer for the demand side. Just this past April, we enhanced our platform with 30 third-party data parameters and up to 20 first-party parameters—10 times more than in desktop—because that’s what mobile demands. By adding the ability to combine first-party, geo, carrier, and device data into the PubMatic platform, publishers can create the premium inventory that sells. We also understand publishers’ fears of maintaining appropriate ads on their mobile content, and we have a custom solution that filters and blocks brands unwanted by the publisher. AdTruth has been integrated for identification and TRUSTe for privacy—all ensuring quality for buyers, sellers and users.
Yes, the mobile ad market is still in its formative days and we have a lot of work to do to increase bid density. But at PubMatic the building blocks of mobile buying and selling are in place and functioning smoothly. Mobile at PubMatic is about the market now as well as what it will be next year—it’s not just a press release or line item on a development plan.