The Association of Online Publishers is leading a new initiative with the backing of big media hitters including the Telegraph, Guardian, Bauer and the IAB to increase mobile advertising spend by standardising ad formats and simplifying the buying and selling process, it was revealed on Wednesday.
The scheme has received the endorsement of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and will encourage mobile advertising growth by promoting the value of quality publisher content to advertisers, simplifying the buying and selling process, standardising ad formats and opening a channel between agencies, advertisers and publishers in the mobile space.
The news was announced at the AOP's Mobile Forum and 16 of the association's members have signed up, including Bauer, CBS, the Guardian, the Telegraph, Trinity Mirror, Johnston Press, The Sun, IPC and Conde Nast.
The scheme will begin with a research project in conjunction with Mindshare and Celtra on live brand advertising campaigns and the AOP expects the findings of the research - in which Mindshare will supply creative from three FMCG and automotive brands to inventory supplied by publishers - will show the value of the 320x50 expandable rich media ad-format, which it said allows more creativity than static banners on iOS and Android devices. com.Score will lend weight to the research by providing mobile audience data from its MMX Multi-Platform product.
The results should demonstrate how users respond to creative formats in a premium content environment, allowing publishers to identify how to deliver relevant advertising to users and prove its effectiveness.
"The advent of advertising networks and programmatic trading desks has meant that the mobile advertising landscape has grown up slightly differently to traditional publishing in its early years," explained James Chandler, head of mobile at Mindshare. "This research will reposition premium publisher content at the heart of mobile advertising, demonstrating the effectiveness of placing quality brands in quality editorial environments to achieve optimum advertising results."
Participating publishers will provide brand-safe environments for advertisers, a guarantee against click fraud, mobile expertise and rich media-provider certification to ensure a premium platform is available for mobile ads. The 16 members already signed up hold around 24 per cent of the UK's total mobile internet audience, almost seven million users.
Head of research and insight at the AOP, Tim Cain, said: "Cooperation between premium publishers can help address more issues in mobile more quickly, ensure the voice of premium publishers is heard and helps demonstrate the benefits of advertising around original, branded, quality content.
"By addressing selected barriers together focusing on premium mobile display with agency and client buy-in, we can create more wide-reaching, consistent, effective ads for the entire mobile industry, helping buy-side and sell-side alike."
The news has been welcomed by a range of companies and organisations. Paul Goode, SVP industry relations at comScore Europe, said: "comScore applauds this initiative, especially at a time when mobile usage has more than doubled in the last 18 months to account for 23 per cent of traffic observed on comScore's census network.
"As consumer attention shifts and fragments, it is important that advertisers and their agencies can include mobile in their media mix with more ease and accountability.
Mobile & digital media manager at MediaCom, George Dixon, added: "We think this is a smart initiative that will increase confidence in mobile across the advertising marketplace, while the research will help prove the effectiveness of the channel, all together bringing more money into mobile advertising from leading brands."
The drive was established after the AOP's Content and Tends Census, published last year, highlighted the barriers faced in developing mobile advertising while identifying its growing importance to members. IAB research released earlier this month showed UK mobile advertising spend had passed £500m annually but accounted for only 10 per cent of total UK digital advertising spend.