Programmatic Mobile: The Leadership Sessions

Millennial Media


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September 16, 2015 | 5 min read

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You don’t have to be on the show floor at Dmexco to see that the worlds of mobile and programmatic trading are at a crucial juncture.

Paul Gubbins (standing) leads the discussion

Firstly, the relentless growth of mobile continues to roll on. Both in terms of usage – mobile is now the device most used for accessing the internet in the UK according to Ofcom, with 23.6m 4G connections – and in terms of ad spend – as the IAB reports mobile now accounts for over one fifth of all digital advertising.

Likewise, programmatic has evolved from being ‘the future’ to being ‘the now’ of how digital media is traded. Once again according to our friends at the IAB, programmatic share of mobile ad sales has nearly doubled from 37 per cent in 2013 to 64 per cent in 2014, with estimates that around 70-80 per cent of all digital spend will be programmatic by 2018.

Put simply, for both those at the supply and demand ends of the digital industry, programmatic and mobile are here to stay.

Five takeaways for the future of programmatic mobile

In the run up to this year’s Dmexco, we gathered together leading industry figures from Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs), agencies and trading desks to discuss mobile programmatic, and how it is changing the media landscape.

Convening at Central London member’s club The Library, the first ‘Programmatic Mobile: The Leadership Sessions’ roundtable covered a broad spectrum of topics. With so much to cover, I wanted to share with you five key considerations which came out of the debate.

1. Choice

Agencies want choice; choice to buy on a guaranteed basis, or within biddable programmatic environments. For those vendors that try to couple inventory with execution, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to secure deals with agencies. This is because agencies still want to deal with sales reps that can help to educate and guide, but ultimately, they also want the freedom to independently choose execution model.

2. Education

There are still some that find themselves confused by the ecosystem and what it offers. Also, in other hot topics like viewability, where the MRC and IAB are yet to issue official guidelines, what does that means in programmatic mobile? Our focus for both sides of the ecosystem needs to consider how we communicate the benefits of mobile programmatic in tracking, data, and inventory quality/transparency.

3. Art and science

There is a lot of interest in programmatic creative, with strong belief in these formats for helping to bring branding budgets to the ecosystem. The consensus in the room was that to succeed advertisers must move beyond the static banner, be dynamic in creation, and capture both engagement and attribution metrics.

4. Closed versus open

Who will win in the battle of the closed versus the open ecosystems? Will we see advertisers sacrifice scale for a deterministic view of their customer? Or will brands prioritise access to valuable data that doesn’t lock them into running campaigns in one place? This will be a conversation we expect to continue for many more months to come.

5. Premium Liquidity

Part of programmatic mobile’s success is being driven by the growth of premium inventory in mobile, which is why Private Marketplaces (PMPs) are in such great demand. In order to continue that growth, we need to identify the new breed of premium publishers in mobile, working in partnership to ascertain the types of data they have and how they are exposing it to the buy side.

Whether you’re out at Dmexco discussing these very things, or back in the office trying to make it work, the fact is we’re all in this together.

Ultimately, programmatic mobile advertising is the use of complex technology to achieve a simple goal: reaching people in more accurate, relevant, and measurable ways.

Paul Gubbins, Head of Programmatic Sales, EMEA, Millennial Media

Tel: +44 (0)20 7151 3320



Twitter: @MillennialMedia

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