Mobile Programmatic

Five predictions for mobile programmatic in 2018

With mobile being the key place for advertisers to spend money in 2017, Filippo Gramigna, VP Global Sales at Widespace, looks to the year ahead and what we can expect to see from mobile programmatic in 2018.

The gloves came off in the world of programmatic in 2017, as advertisers became more demanding and publishers responded by taking every opportunity they could to engage with customers. 2018 will continue to be all about mobile, as advertising spend on smart devices extends its lead over desktop. Here are five key trends publishers must be aware of as mobile dominates advertisers’ minds.

The growth in header bidding

Header bidding is one of the more sophisticated and advanced forms of programmatic advertising, and for publishers it offers the opportunity to boost their yield and revenues. They can offer inventory simultaneously to a number of ad exchanges who bid at the same time. There have been issues around usability and accessibility but header bidding is likely to have a massive impact in 2018, particularly on mobile video.

The demand for quality

Advertisers and their agencies have been getting tough on publishers and they want more done to eradicate ad fraud around programmatic buying on mobile.  Mobile will be included in the IAB’s new Gold Standard in 2018 and this should go some way to reassuring clients.  Publishers will need to show advertisers that human eyes rather than machines are actually seeing their ads. There is an industry standard of 50% of pixels in screen for at least 1 second which is not satisfactory for some clients. The publishers that can demonstrate much higher levels of viewability will be in advertisers’ good books, but there is still a lot of work to do.

Machine learning will also be used to improve transparency.

Ads.txt, for example, is part of the IAB initiative and is an industry-wide idea to get rid of fraud and the perception of fraud. More publishers will add a txt file on their web service listing all the companies allowed to sell its inventory. Some big players, including Google’s DoubleClick bid manager, are threatening not to buy from sellers that fail to add a text file. Of course, this idea does not yet apply to apps where we predict that much of the growth will come from in 2018.

The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May will also see publishers having to demonstrate clearly the quality of their own and third party data. Machine learning technologies will pay a significant part in ensuring and identifying companies that are GDPR compliant.

Reassurances around Brand safety

Brands have always worried about the context in which their ads appear, whether that is alongside premium content or something fundamentally quite dodgy. Publishers can use tools to help brands avoid subjects they might not want to be associated with, while  helping them to appear alongside popular content such as sport or entertainment. There will be more investment in this technology to reassure advertisers.

With both Facebook and Google going from strength to strength, brand safety being the front of all advertiser’s minds and organisations like the IAB doing all that they can to clean up the industry, 2018 looks to be a challenging year ahead for the industry. However, everyone from publishers to tech vendors have a responsibility to make a difference and we believe that 2018 will be the year that we really start to see a more transparent and cleaner supply chain.

The ongoing threat from Ad blocking

More consumers will want to block ads if they feel overrun with commercial messages. News that Facebook is planning to introduce six-second pre-rolls on original Watch tab videos that people purposely view (not those in their News Feed) has set alarm bells ringing. The best way to make ad blocking a thing of the past is to tackle the source of the problem itself and create a better advertising experience. Publishers need to ensure they are considering targeting, delivering and tracking their messaging.

Filippo Gramigna, VP Global Sales, Widespace





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