Why Mobile Programmatic Is The Future

In an era where mobile ad formats are repeatedly credited as the saviour of the advertising industry, Andy Mitchell, Brightroll, managing director, Europe, shares his opinion that its is now driving the programatic sector. 

According to the IAB UK’s recently released digital ad spend report mobile video advertising has grown 196% over the past two years to hit £63.9m. This makes it the fastest growing digital ad format, accounting for £1 in every £5 spent on Internet and mobile display ads.

This was further underlined in the more recent eMarketer report that forecast that ads served on wireless devices would spur the US programmatic advertising industry to almost double in size between 2014 and 2016 when it will be valued at $20.41bn.

As automated buying also grows to keep pace with the explosion of ads on the format, there are two key benefits that mobile programmatic can bring for brands: The ability to keep pace with change; plus a real-time understanding of audiences.

Keeping pace with change

The pace of change in consumer behaviour does not wait for the advertising community to catch up with it. As brands’ target audiences moving en masse towards mobile devices, every advertiser’s programmatic campaign must include a strong mobile element.

They simply cannot afford to ignore the areas where their audiences are paying increasing amounts of attention. This attention is now split across multiple screens and a single programmatic campaign can target and optimise against desired audiences in a holistic and unified fashion.

Real-time understanding

The combination of speed and decision-making intelligence across the programmatic value chain are critical. A missed bid equals a missed opportunity and missed profit – that’s fact on any trading exchange. For a programmatic execution to be successful, it’s crucial that every trade happens as quickly as possible, and that they are based on intelligent decisions.

The intelligence that can be gained from mobile – for example knowing exactly where a customer is and what sites they have visited – can arm brands and advertisers with far greater insight into their target audiences. Real-time advertising across mobile means that brands can trade across connected exchanges and immediately understand if their message is resonating.

This is, of course, not to say that programmatic on mobile is without its challenges.

Brand advertisers face many barriers that make it difficult to act with speed and intelligence. One of the key issues being the continuous need to be as close as possible to the original source of the customer’s transactional data. Programmatic trading platforms place advertisers at this point.

Programmatic (and other media disciplines) succeed best when married with the right partners, the right company culture and the right people. If all these ducks aren’t aligned, then the execution can suffer. The challenge for those involved in RTB for mobile is ensuring advertisers have a framework that delivers the freedom they need to take maximum advantage of the medium.

A recent piece of research we commissioned, conducted by Nielsen in the US, shows mobile is now only second in importance to TV and that brands need to be working closely with their media agencies to ensure that their TV campaigns are supported fully by their mobile activity. Programmatic is key to this.

If done effectively there are huge benefits to be had, including increased campaign efficiency, and the ability to cost effectively reach consumers where they are consuming media. If brand marketers haven’t yet got to grips with programmatic for mobile they are missing out on one of the biggest emerging opportunities in the media space.