The Mobile Advertising Gap is Closed

mobile advertising

Over the past decade, consumers have fallen in love with their mobile devices, with 46 percent of U.S. smartphone users indicating that they “can’t live without their smartphones”[1] and daily mobile media consumption reaching three hours per day (second behind only TV)[2]. For publishers and advertisers, mobile represented a ripe, new opportunity—but developing sustainable mobile advertising businesses had not gone as smoothly as most had hoped, hindered by device fragmentation, bandwidth limitations and other unresolved technology issues.

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3 Major Challenges in Mobile Video Facing Publishers and Advertisers

mobile video advertising

The stakes for publishers and advertisers are higher with mobile video than preceding formats, because consumers have greater expectations for high quality, relevant experiences. One bad mobile video ad can ruin a consumer’s content experience in seconds. For advertisers, mobile video offers more creative flexibility and, by utilizing touch screens, the opportunity to engage with consumers in a more immersive content environment. Publishers, in turn, benefit from higher CPMs and attractive new inventory to offer buyers. The potential opportunities in mobile video are significant, but hurdles stand in the way of mobile video advertising reaching fruition.

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Cheat Sheet: SDKs, What are they? Why do they matter?


There are a host of technical terms and acronyms invading the world of advertising and media. One you may be hearing more frequently is “SDK.” SDK stands for a Software Development Kit, and one reason why people are talking about it is because it’s playing an increasingly critical role in publishers’ efforts to monetize mobile in-app inventory. A well-implemented SDK can boost the value of mobile app inventory and create a much more dynamic in-app ad experience.

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Mobile Media and The Hispanic Consumer (Video)

Hispanic consumers are heavy mobile users. Indeed, U.S. Hispanics’ use of mobile devices is higher than that of the general population, according to eMarketer. U.S. Hispanics spend 42 percent more on mobile devices and 35 percent more on data services than the general market, according to research by the Alcance Media Group.

Recently, PubMatic President Kirk McDonald sat down with Alberto Pardo, the CEO and Founder of AdMovil, the leading mobile advertising solutions company in the U.S. Hispanic and Latin America market, to discuss how his company approaches reaching the mobile Hispanic consumer.

PubMatic and Adsmovil from PubMatic on Vimeo.

Three Reasons Publishers Need an Ad Server Ready for a Mobile & Programmatic World

Mobile ImageBy Tim Cronin, Senior Director, Ad Serving at PubMatic

We have been catapulted into the era of mobile and programmatic. A recent study by Pew Research found that 39 of the top 50 U.S.-based news sites now see more visitors engaging with their site’s content on mobile devices than on the desktop. Mobile is also projected to account for 72% of U.S. Digital Ad Spend by 2019. And when it comes to programmatic spend specifically, eMarketer projects that mobile will surpass desktop as early as this year, accounting for 56.2% of all programmatic ad expenditures.

The challenge for publishers is clear: adapt your content and monetization strategy to take full advantage of a mobile and programmatic world. For many publishers, this shift will require rethinking a lot of what they have been taking for granted for the past decade – including their technology infrastructure.

One of the key pieces of infrastructure that needs to be reconsidered is the ad server. A mobile-first world calls for an ad server that was built for the unique challenges and opportunities that mobile offers publishers. A mobile-first world that is also shifting to programmatic requires an ad server that helps publishers effectively manage the massive amount of ad spend that is coming from their direct sold and programmatic campaigns. It’s an enormous opportunity for publishers and therefore getting it right will be crucial.

Here are three ways publishers benefit from using a mobile optimized ad server:

1) Geo-fencing – By now everyone understands that a significant part of the value of mobile is the ability to target consumers based on location. The ability to do this as precisely as possible is a critical differentiator. Indeed, PubMatic’s research into monetizing mobile impressions demonstrated that publishers that offer this data can see a 600% jump in mobile eCPMs. Mobile ad servers with geo-fencing capabilities can effectively target consumers who are in a specific location, whether that location is a coffee shop, the World Cup Final or the middle of Times Square.

2) Rich Media, Native, and your SDK – In a mobile first world, every publisher needs the ability – in both its mobile application inventory and mobile web inventory – to deliver everything from rich media to native units. Consumers and advertisers now expect a full rich media experience on their mobile devices. An ad server that is able to standardize rich media across ad units is able to meet the expectation of a more dynamic and interactive experience on smartphones and other mobile devices.

3) Advanced Server Integrations –The mobile world has been quicker to adopt server-to-server integrations than the desktop world. This creates a much more efficient and less error-prone environment. This is especially crucial in the complex mobile environment with so many different types of devices.

At PubMatic we offer publishers an ad server that is designed to meet the challenges of a mobile-first programmatic world. Last week, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of PubMatic’s acquisition of Mocean Mobile, an enterprise grade ad server and mobile monetization platform. PubMatic now offers an end-to-end solution for managing and monetizing publishers direct sold, programmatic, and third-party campaigns. Our comprehensive solution allows publishers to maximize their revenue, improve operational efficiency and “future-proof” their advertising business.

Learn more about our mobile solutions for publishers here.

Four Key Findings About Mobile Media From Pew’s “State of The News Media 2015”

Each year the annual “State of The News Media” report published by The Pew Research Center provides a host of insights about the challenges and opportunities that US-based news publishers are facing. A big focus of this year’s report –released last week– is the stunning growth of mobile.

Here are some key findings:

  • The Mobile Majority is Here. The study finds that 39 of the top 50 news sites now see more mobile visits than desktop visits. This finding was especially true among so-called “digital native” sites like Upworthy, and Buzzfeed where mobile users far outstrip desktop users. However, the finding also held true for more traditional outlets. Indeed, 19 of the top 25 leading newspapers recorded at least 10% more mobile traffic than desktop traffic.
  • Mobile Advertising Spend Is Exploding. In 2014, mobile ad spending leapt 78% to $19 billion, and that red-hot growth rate actually cooled from 170% in 2013. Mobile now accounts for 37% of all digital spend, up from 25% in the previous year. 
  • Desktop Holds An Edge in Time Spent. For 40 of the top 50 news sites, users tend to spend more time on a site per visit when they arrive via desktop than when they come via a mobile device. This fact could be a critical part of keeping advertisers interested in desktop inventory as this extra time spent might possibly translate into increased viewability, which is a key concern for many advertisers.
  • Five Companies Have Grabbed Almost Two-Thirds of Mobile Display Spending. Technology companies have been more adept at monetizing the massive growth in mobile advertising spending. In 2014, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Pandora and Apple (iAd) earned 64% of mobile display revenue. Indeed, it wasn’t that long ago that both Wall Street and Silicon Valley were questioning whether Facebook would be able to monetize its growing mobile traffic. Those questions seemed to be put to rest as its mobile revenue has gone from zero to $3.6 billion since 2012. Now the real question is, “Can the publishing community find ways to begin to earn a bigger a slice of the mobile display pie?”

Publishers interested in learning more about maximizing revenue from their mobile inventory can download the whitepaper. Getting the Most Out of Mobile: 5 Ways to Maximize the Value of Premium Publisher Mobile Ad inventory.

Publishers can also check out the infographic below.

Get the Most Out of Mobile

Apple Watch and Wearables Could Change Advertising But Not How You Think

DSC_2004By Dan Wilson, Senior Director Mobile & Video, PubMatic

To publishers and advertisers, the Apple Watch must seem like the latest in a never-ending proliferation of media screens. And if past is prologue, with each screen comes new opportunities for advertisers and publishers.

However, at the risk of stating the obvious this latest screen is on a watch. And watch displays are really small. And even if that wasn’t true, are people really ready to see an ad appear on a device that is strapped to their wrist?

Needless to say, it is very early days for both the watch and tech wearables generally. But that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start trying to predict the impact of this latest flavor of media consumption on the advertising space. So let me try by outlining three of the implications for advertising that I see arising from the watch.

1) The watch will be an accessory to advertising not an advertising platform.

In the beginning, the watch will feed data about the wearer back to the iPhone and that could allow Apple to make better recommendations in the App store or iTunes based on that data. I suspect Apple will guard the data and real estate on the Apple Watch screen very closely, so those opportunities will be closed off to rest of the media ecosystem.

However, once there is wider adoption of watches and wearable’s in more open ecosystems – like Android – there will likely be more opportunities for advertisers and publishers. So this is really just opening the door to wearables and initially we should expect them to serve more as a potential input device for data that can inform advertising on other screens rather than a screen for displaying advertising.

2) Publisher and Advertisers Will Need Some Time To Figure it Out

Publishers and advertiser absolutely need to be thinking about how the Apple Watch will impact their ability to reach consumers but they won’t figure that out tomorrow. Therefore, I don’t think they need to scramble quite yet but they need to start to consider the watch as part of the overall consumer media experience.

So if you’re a publisher or an advertiser you should go out and buy a bunch of Apple Watches for the people in your organization and road test them over the next few months. You can then match your experience with the watch experience against how the market is adopting the device. You’ll want to see how it’s changing consumer behavior and how you need to evolve your consumer engagement strategy as a result.

3) Don’t Confuse More Screens With More Time or Permission

The Apple Watch is one more screen competing for the consumer’s attention. If you’re looking at your watch then you’re not looking at your phone. And since the its clear that Apple sees the watch as a device that will receive push notifications, the watch may actually reduce the amount of times that users pick up their phones during the day.

That would make the times when people are using their phones more valuable. So advertisers need to ensure that they are delivering the best mobile experience possible by matching the right creative with the right context and data. And advertisers shouldn’t be afraid to pay top dollar for this opportunity to reach the consumer because although the number of screens may be proliferating the chances to reach the consumer may not be.

Additionally, the watch will be an even more personal device, and it’s likely that consumers will resist the intrusion of ad, even native ads on that so small screen. The expectations of highly relevant messages and an understanding of a consumer in context will be the new standard.

In short, I am excited about this new technology. I think there will be a myriad of innovative ways that publishers and advertisers will eventually learn to leverage it. In the meantime, I am looking forward to seeing how my personal interactions and my content consumption change with it.

Native Advertising: Two Truths and a Lie

Graham LinkedInIf you’re not familiar with the popular icebreaker game “Two Truths and a Lie” here’s how it works: each person within a group of relative strangers introduces himself and then proceeds to provide the group with three statements about himself. Two of the statements are true and one is a lie. The rest of the group then tries to guess which of the statements is the lie.

We recently asked Graham Mosley, Senior Director, Native at PubMatic to play Two Truths and a Lie. However, instead of focusing our game on statements about Graham, we decided to focus this round on his area of knowledge expertise, native advertising. We thought it would be a fun way to examine this topic.

Over the past 12-16 months, there has been a lot of attention on native advertising among publishers and advertisers. There’s even some uncertainty over exactly what constitutes a native ad and what function they serve. A December 2013 Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) report (link) attempted to sum up native with the statement: “it is clear that most advertisers and publishers aspire to deliver paid ads that are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong.”

Graham sees a lot momentum in the market around native but also a lot of confusion.

Here is Two Truths and a Lie for Native

Statement #1: There’s now a programmatic standard for native ads that will make it easier for both publishers and buyers to scale native.

Statement #2: Like the rest of the programmatic advertising ecosystem, native is expanding from a strong initial presence on desktop into mobile inventory.

Statement #3: Native is an ad format that’s often used for content marketing, but native is not just a new name for content marketing.

Before we reveal the lie, we wanted to point out that a key reason native has soared in popularity since that IAB report is because these types of ads are remarkably effective at driving consumer engagement.

Some data on consumer engagement:

  • Native ads are 25% more viewable than standard ads (IPG Media Lab and Sharethrough)
  • 52% of native clicks have higher purchase rate (IPG Media Lab and Sharethrough)
  • Native ads generate 82% increase in brand lift (Nielson)


And Now . . . The Reveal

Statement #1: There’s now a programmatic standard for native ads that will make it easier for both publishers and buyers to scale native 

True. There’s a relatively new programmatic IAB standard, which is designed to make it easier for publishers and buyers to scale native ads across the advertising ecosystem.

Graham Mosley: Until recently, native primarily lived inside walled gardens – especially social platforms – where a few players with scale could make the rules about how native worked within their closed environments. I believe we’re at the point where native is ready to go mainstream. The industry wants to see a large number of buyers and sellers transacting across an open and accessible environment. When the IAB recognized the need for a standard, it was a clear signal that native was poised for enormous growth. We were an integral part of the IAB Task Force that developed the standard, and built our solution from the ground up in accordance with this standard. Now that the rules of the road are in place, native programmatic can finally scale.

Another key reason we think that native is ready to scale in programmatic is that it will provide native buyers with actionable third party data. When native was primarily constrained to a closed environment, it didn’t provide the data to allow the buyer to make real-time decisions. That lack of real-time decision-making prevented key marketing techniques like creative optimization that is designed to better match the user experience or even the sequencing of messages. That ability is only available in programmatic, which is why we believe programmatic and native are a great fit.

Statement #2: Like the rest of the programmatic advertising ecosystem, native is expanding from a strong initial presence on desktop into mobile inventory.

False. To a significant degree, the momentum we’re now seeing behind native advertising began in mobile, and because native is fundamentally cross-platform, it is now extending to all screens.

GM: We are starting to see programmatic native, which was very much mobile focused, entering desktop as well. Part of the reason it’s been so mobile focused is because the components of native often fit perfectly into the visual snippets that work well within the mobile form factor. However, this way of displaying ad content is being adopted by premium publishers at scale. And buyers are getting serious about buying native programmatically on desktop. This year we will begin to see real spend by programmatic buyers on desktop native. So in a sense, native is doing the reverse of what we have seen in other parts of the programmatic advertising landscape, where things started in desktop and then migrated to mobile. 

Statement #3: Native is an ad format that’s often used for content marketing, but native is not just a new name for content marketing.

True. Native is an ad format often used for content marketing.

GM: Some people believe strongly that in-feed native is a tool only for content marketing.

Content marketing is when brands create and distribute content to provide value and create a relationship with the consumer. The in-feed native unit is natural ad format to drive users to this content, because it gives the marketer a better opportunity to tell a story than a standard banner ad. Additionally, these placements normally blend into the user experience on a style level and matching the context. However, many marketers are also using in-feed native units for more traditional advertising.

At its core, native is another advertising format. While it is the best ad format for content marketing, it will be used for standard advertising as well. We continue to see premium publishers develop integrated content marketing solutions for advertisers that include in-feed native ad units. Now that we have turned the corner on standards, Native will grow significantly this year and into 2016, supporting all types of marketing.

PubMatic launched its new programmatic native advertising solution at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona. For more information see here (link).

2015: Return To The Power of Consumers, Content and Connections

Kirk McDonald, President

Kirk McDonald, President

There is no denying that the future of media and influence is digital. Globally, costs for devices with screens of all sizes are falling. From smart watches and smartphones to the latest large screen televisions, consumers are finding it easier to create more personal content experiences. Leading publishers and marketers are investing in mapping their content and messages to new consumer engagement points. In 2014, iconic publishers such as Bonnier (Popular Science, Outdoor Life, Saveur), iHeartMedia, The Economist, and ESI Media (Independent, London Evening Standard), and brands such as American Express, Mondelez, and P&G are just a few of the leaders that continued to find innovative and efficient ways to connect with their audiences… and programmatic became a preferred part of their strategy around consumers, content and connections.

Global spend on programmatic advertising, which didn’t even exist a decade ago, increased more than 52 percent between 2013 and 2014 and is projected to reach $53bn by 2018.[1] This year, global programmatic spend accounted for 42 percent of display-related spend, up from 33% in 2013.[2] As we kick off 2015, we wanted to share some insights around the trends we see taking center stage:

Walled Gardens: Friend, Foe, or Both?

We have seen a significant transition in the advertising technology business. We moved from a complex and fragmented probabilistic advertising ecosystem based on cookies and anonymous third-party targeting to that of a few large, concentrated and deterministic ad platforms that enable explicit consumer targeting based on actual identity. The growing presence of large first-party consumer platforms – “Walled Gardens” – with powerful self-interests has a strong influence on the way publishers and advertisers engage and do business.

The benefits for publishers are compelling, but at what cost? Despite access to valuable first-party data, the majority of ad targeting data is applied on the buy side, leaving most publishers’ first-party data falling short of its promised value. From traditional solutions like yield management and Real-Time Bidding to the latest innovations like Automated Guaranteed and Programmatic Direct, PubMatic remains focused on the best interests of the publishers that we work with, providing them with the tools and services they need to maximize their digital assets.

Cracking the Code on Actionable Insights for Publishers

The rise in programmatic underscores the fact that media fragmentation is accelerating—giving rise to new complexities. This makes the need for improved workflows, and smarter reporting and analytics critical dependencies for those trying to differentiate their brands and establish a winning strategy.

At PubMatic, we recognized 2014 as the year that programmatic advertising became the “new normal”—like all manner of technologies before it, from the magnetic strips on debit cards to mobile phones, programmatic is no longer quite the enigma it once was. Programmatic is now well understood as more than just the technology protocol of RTB. It is an integral part of any successful holistic media selling and buying strategies. Advertisers and publishers are using programmatic to be more adaptive and responsive, making real-time changes to strategy based on up-to-the-minute data and insights across every channel (both direct and indirect), screen (mobile, tablet, desktop), and format (video, native, mobile).

digital publisher

The real opportunity for programmatic lies in using software solutions to increase media efficiency and efficacy. In October, PubMatic launched PubMatic Analytics, the industry’s first analytics platform featuring real-time reporting and natural language processing. As the industry has moved to operating in real time, we are meeting this challenge with a best in class technology, first ever real time data and analytics, actionable intelligence and easy to use reporting resulting in superior decision-making and business advantages for users.

Making Valuable Connections with Audiences

Smartphones are the most viewed screens in many countries, representing more than 25 percent of global web usage in 2014.[3] In fact, users in emerging markets like Saudi Arabia and Kenya spend more time on their mobile devices than with any other medium. Publishers are taking note. Over the past year, approximately 68 percent of mobile ads were bought programmatically industry-wide, and that number is predicted to rise to 88% by 2017.[4] As a result, we saw overall revenue generated by mobile on our platform more than double during the first three quarters of 2014, and interest in data-enriched solutions like the industry’s first geo-enabled mobile Private Marketplaces captured the attention of publishers and advertisers alike.

Building on this momentum, we acquired Mocean Mobile, PubMatic’s mobile ad server, in May. The combination of our leading mobile SSP with an enterprise-grade mobile ad server allowed PubMatic to create an end-to-end mobile solution for publishers. As mobile devices proliferate, we can expect to see the exponential growth in mobile programmatic continue through 2015.

No “One Size Fits All” Solution for Publishers

Programmatic is also exploding in markets like Japan, China, Brazil, Mexico, and the Middle East. While the United States will continue to lead the way in programmatic, markets like the UK, China, Japan, and Australia are beginning to close the gap.[5] This growth, along with that of formats like mobile, video—arguably paving the way for programmatic TV— and native, are strong indications not just that programmatic is growing, but that it is thriving. For a publisher, keeping up with the rapid pace of change can be sometimes daunting, as new competencies have to be developed in understanding the application of algorithms, business logic and rules, and brand safety, just to get started managing your inventory in a dynamic marketplace.

publisher types

As such, there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution for programmatic. In fact, as programmatic grows and matures and new global markets enter the fray, we see new trends unfolding in how publishers and media buyers integrate programmatic advertising into their business strategies. Our Platform Solutions team was launched over a year ago to bring business and strategy consultancy to our customers. This team is completely focused on customer success from initial adoption to seasoned programmatic veterans.

So, will 2015 be the year when all of the challenges in programmatic advertising are solved? Probably not. But the companies that are making these trends top priorities will break out and truly make a difference. As the last remaining pure-play SSP[6], and the only one dedicated to the marketing automation needs of publishers, we realize that we have unique and valuable insights to share. It’s increasingly important for us to pause and reflect on where this dynamic industry is heading. That’s why we collected our insights in the 2015 Programmatic Outlook Report, offering our perspective of the major trends and opportunities ahead in advertising as we enter 2015. We invite you to download a free copy of our report by visiting

So here’s to a successful 2015!



[1] MAGNA GLOBAL. “MAGNA GLOBAL’s New Programmatic Forecasts,” 29 Sep 2014.
[2] MAGNA GLOBAL. “MAGNA GLOBAL’s New Programmatic Forecasts,” 29 Sep 2014.
[3] Mary Meeker. “Internet Trends 2014,” 28 May 2014.
[4] IDC. “Worldwide and U.S. Real-Time Bidding Forecast,” 2013.
[5] MAGNA GLOBAL. “MAGNA GLOBAL’s New Programmatic Forecasts,” 29 Sep 2014.
[6] Forrester Research. “The Forrester WaveTM: Sell-Side Platforms And Exchanges For Publishers, Q2 2014.”