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Adblocking Mobile World Congress

A telling year for mobile advertising



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February 10, 2016 | 4 min read

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It’s been interesting to observe a change in the positivity of headlines surrounding mobile advertising since MWC 2015. At the beginning of the year, the advertising world was generally optimistic about the opportunities that mobile offered; the industry seemed to be basking in the warm glow of high growth (mobile display grew by 64.6 per cent from H1 2014 to H1 2015). Life was good.

Then in May, the topic that would rise to the forefront of the industry this year reared its head for the first time – ad-blocking. An article in the Financial Times introduced us to Shine, who announced they would be working directly with operators to block all ads (mobile web and in-app) at a network level. In June, Apple announced that it would be introducing content blocking extensions which would allow ad-blocking in Safari on Apple’s mobile devices. Shortly after, we read about apps that could also block ads within apps. General consensus on the amount of UK adults using adblockers seems to be around 20 per cent, with under 10 per cent ad-blocking on their mobile phones.

Of course this points to improvements that the industry can make to add more value to consumers from the ads they see. But it’s worth noting that, even with decades of experience, TV still experiences skip rates of up to 30 per cent due to the many distractions at home such as making a quick cup of tea, in addition to technology advancements like Sky+ which have made skipping ads simpler. The same basic principles are applicable to both TV and mobile – well targeted and engaging creative is generally welcomed by consumers. The culprit here is bad practices, typically poorly designed creatives or a lack of intelligent targeting. These encourage blocking and skipping, and it’s only natural that mobile has suffered more here due to comparably lower levels of investment, as this, relatively, new channel has become more mainstream over the last few years.

Fraud has also filled our LinkedIn feeds and conference debates this year. And particularly the high levels of fraud that have been observed on mobile devices. Some claimed that over 50 per cent of mobile traffic is fraudulent, with more recent reports suggesting lower levels of fraud at around 15 per cent. These percentages are often impacted by the calculations on the value of impressions, with the most aggressive projections assuming unrealistically high CPMs. Again, the feeling around the discussion was that this would be catastrophic for the industry, when in fact it’s a very manageable problem. One that can be pretty much eradicated at a comparably low cost and with some good common sense practices.

At MWC this year, Voluum will be launching its DSP to the market. By plugging into reputable exchanges and partnering with leading anti-fraud solutions, as well as our own proprietary anti-fraud solution to filter all our supply pre-bid, we address quality concerns head-on. And by providing transparency to our buying partners, we are providing a comprehensive toolset to the market that enables advertisers to invest confidently in mobile. It’s enough to look at the amazing advancements in mobile technology and wireless connectivity over recent years. The trends are clear: increasing consumer usage means bigger budgets and increasing ad spend. There is no doubt the industry will continue to grow aggressively, particularly in the programmatic space.

2015 has been a telling year for mobile advertising, and it’s with great excitement we and everyone in the industry wait to see what opportunity both MWC 2016 and the rest of this year holds.

Gavin Stirrat, Managing Director, Voluum



Twitter: @voluumdsp

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