It’s Time for Advertisers to Abandon Desktop Buying Technology

mobile advertising

Mobile advertising consumption has been growing exponentially every year. For advertisers to properly engage consumers by using the latest capabilities available, they need to be using the best technology to make that happen. Writing exclusively for ExchangeWire, Renaud Biet (pictured below), CEO and co-founder, TabMo, talks about the differences between mobile and desktop advertising, and the challenges marketers face using outdated desktop technology when wanting to take advantage of the latest in mobile advertising.

To call mobile media a revolution might seem like hyperbole, but it is undeniable at this point. Not only has mobile changed accessibility to the internet, but it has also created a feeling of necessity among consumers. More than one-third of consumers finds themselves having a hard time disconnecting, according to a recent study.

While consumer habits are rewired by mobile, it’s somewhat shocking that the advertising technology side has been slow to catch up. Advertisers always want to go where consumers are; but at this moment the industry appears somewhat stagnant as it tries to import technology designed for the desktop into the mobile landscape.

The trouble is that mobile is vastly different to the desktop. The result is that consumers are flocking to a new channel ripe with exciting capabilities, and marketers can’t take full advantage of those due to outdated technology. Demand-side platforms, and other technology built for the desktop environment, are destined to fail. For advertisers to take advantage of new capabilities like geolocation data, immersive creative, and advanced audience targeting, they’ll have to abandon their legacy technology solutions.

The first place that desktop DSPs will fail is in geolocation. While the desktop has geo capabilities via IP targeting, those don’t quite compare to what’s possible with mobile right now. IP targeting has city precision, allowing an advertiser to possibly target an area a few miles wide or so. That’s not enough to push users relevant geotargeted ads as they pass by a specific store, which is possible in mobile, thanks to the GPS capabilities. Correctly analysing the latitude and longitude coordinates of this GPS data is incredibly complex, and it’s only useful when an advertiser can build targeting segments on top of the data. Desktop platforms were not taking this into account when building their technology, because the capabilities simply didn’t exist yet.

The same goes for the creative functionality of mobile. Desktop DSPs were built to run IAB standard display ads that would only ever appear on a desktop, with a mouse curser and consumer clicking. The tactile functionality of the mobile environment immediately complicates things. Mobile allows users to touch and shake their devices to interact; no one does that on a laptop. On top of that, mobile screens are often aligned vertically, rather than horizontally like a desktop or TV, meaning that video creative needs to be adapted to fit this presentation.

Advertisers have been paralyzed by inertia when it comes to leveraging these kinds of creative capabilities. While mobile presents exciting opportunities, the existing technology can’t catch up. As a result, much of the advertising on the new format still feels boring and stale, and both advertisers and consumers suffer from this lackluster experience.

Renaud Biet, CEO & Co-Founder, TabMo

The final problem area is one that is a cornerstone of digital media – audience targeting. Desktop DSPs helped revolutionise how media was bought, emphasising audience at scale over traditional publisher-direct deals. But, as anyone in advertising knows, that targeting was based on cookies, and the mobile environment does not support cookies.

This is, in no uncertain terms, reshaping the ad tech industry. Suddenly, big cookie pools are less and less valuable. Advertisers looking to target a specific audience, known customer, or prospect on an app can’t rely on a cookie. Device IDs are now the driving force behind mobile targeting. DSPs built solely around desktop cookies can’t add any layers of data value to mobile. If a DSP or DMP is not built around device ID, then it will ultimately fall short, rendering an advertiser’s audience strategy incomplete. This extends to APIs and the ability to grant external access to DSP data. Desktop DSP APIs need to thoroughly review and revise these APIs to fit mobile-specific data sets, such as carriers, latitude/longitude, and device models.

These new capabilities, like geolocation data, creative, and targeting, are paradigm shifting from an advertiser standpoint. As more and more media is consumed via a mobile device, advertisers will be forced to emphasise the medium more. As they fight to differentiate themselves from the competition, better targeting and better creative will become paramount. The only way forward is to rely on technology built specifically for the mobile environment, designed to take advantage of each new capability. The industry will naturally elevate mobile-first technology as advertisers continue to test new methods for delivering their messages, leaving behind the platforms that fail to deliver strong campaign results.

But advertisers can’t wait. Right now, it’s up to them to educate themselves on what’s possible in mobile, and what kinds of creative and targeting capabilities can help their campaigns succeed. They might be happy with their current technology, but they should still research and experiment with other platforms, perhaps running limited to campaigns to gauge the results and ensure they are up to speed on the latest offerings.

For advertisers who are further advanced, and already know that their legacy tech platforms cannot provide mobile-specific creative or device ID-based geolocation targeting, they must find technology that fits their needs.

Fortunately for advertisers, this space is growing and there will be no shortage of competitive offerings and innovations in months to come. But advertisers must push themselves to find technology that works for them today, and will continue to work for them into the future. Those who are stuck using outdated technology will, ultimately, find themselves unable to engage with consumers in a meaningful way.

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