Programmatic predictions: the mobile advertising landscape in 2016

The end of 2015 saw a plethora of figures highlighting the strength of mobile in Europe. 53% of all online video plays are now on mobile (Ooyala), while the most important device in the UK for getting online is the smartphone (Ofcom). Meanwhile, display ads on mobile outperformed their desktop equivalent for the first time (Marin Software).

With these endorsements, what trends are we likely to see in programmatic mobile advertising in 2016, as brands look to make their campaigns as effective as possible?

Location-based targeting

Today’s technology allows specific places where the target audience is likely to be more responsive to advertising to be pinpointed, and a relevant ad served. In other words mobile has the unique benefit of letting advertisers target people based on location and context. Someone shopping in the high street on a Saturday will have different motivators to the same person shopping at an airport before they go on holiday. Retailers now have the ability to show the ad that is best suited to the situation.

This will see advertisers become increasingly demanding over data. How much does a publisher make available to them? How scalable is it? Can they use their own, first party data, to drive the required personalisation of the ad?

No more ‘blind networks’

It will become the norm for serious trust issues to be raised – large enough to be a deterrent to working with the partner in question - if the advertiser can’t see where they are buying inventory. This is fuelled by the rise in third parties that provide advertising intelligence data, with whom advertisers can work directly if necessary.

DSPs (Demand Side Platforms) will also be expected to be transparent about how they buy their inventory - direct from the publisher or via an ad network for example.

Increased fraud squad

Viewability and brand safety will continue to be key issues for the industry, regardless of the digital advertising channel. Mobile advertisers will want to know that the DSP has adequate measures in place to guard against unseen, unsafe or fraudulent inventory.

It seems likely therefore that there will be a rise in demand for supply side platforms (SSPs) to adopt, pre-bid solutions. These block potentially fraudulent traffic before it reaches the inventory that is available and are clearly a better prospect than post-impression options which only report back on the percentage of impressions that have been fraudulent.

Creative drive

2015 saw increased focus on creativity, as marketers recognised that, not only could it co-exist with programmatic, it had a key role to play. This is all the more so with mobile because precise, location-based targeting is to no avail if the creative does not match the context. Revisiting the high street versus airport example above, with location determining both mindset and need, the same retailer will need to serve a different creative depending on the consumer’s location. Going hand-in-hand with the creative drive is the increasing demand for programmatic mobile ad platforms to have the capability to support the targeting decisions and auto-optimisations it makes with the right creative.

Commitment to mobile

The importance of mobile means that it can no longer be regarded as an ‘add on’ or a channel to be tested (with budgets limited to match). Instead it will increasingly be seen as an integral part of the overall advertising campaign. The result will be that significant budgets will be committed to mobile advertising, while marketers will see the importance of selecting the right programmatic partner.

TV ads do not equal mobile ads

The 30-second TV commercial is rarely appropriate if placed before a short piece of mobile video content and marketers will become more vigilant about the format of their mobile ads. This includes selecting the programmatic platform carefully; it should be able to adapt the creative for the mobile screen, including converting it from TV’s landscape format to portrait style in order to offer the best viewing experience on mobile.

Lessons learned from ad blocking

No predictions piece would be complete without reference to 2015’s ‘problem child’. Ad blocking took on a more powerful persona last year with new apps making it easy for consumers to turn off something they perceived as intrusive. But it seems unlikely that the ‘adblockalypse’ initially forecast will happen. While some publishers will continue to ban ad blocker users, other media players have taken a more holistic stance, recognising that the industry itself is a great deal to blame.

This perspective offers a huge incentive to make advertising better – less disruptive, more relevant, more targeted and more intelligent – in other words, useful to the consumer. The technology is there to make this a reality in 2016.

Chris Childs, Managing Director, UK, TabMo

Tel: 07432 640 324



Twitter: @TabMo

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