At yesterday’s M1 (Mobile-First) Summit, two influential leaders in mobile video and programmatic advertising talked about the changing industry and their roles in it.
One was our CEO Zain Jaffer, who’s led an exciting year at Vungle with the launch of the Vungle Exchange and expansion into China. The other, Brightroll CEO Tod Sacerdoti, joined the session hot off the heels of the company’s announcement of acquisition by Yahoo.
“We’re obviously really excited about the transaction,” said Sacerdoti. “It was a phenomenal outcome for the company, for our two most important businesses. The demand-side platform part of our business has been about demographics and user data, and there’s a lot of synergies with Yahoo around better data for targeting. And then, mobile. Mobile has been a big focus area for years – a growing area where we’ll benefit from Yahoo.”
Bringing the Tech – and Attribution – to AdTech
Brightroll’s acquisition is just another sign of the transformative weight video and programmatic hold for the advertising industry.
“I started Vungle in 2011 because I hated ads and wanted to make the industry better,” Jaffer said, kicking off the chat. “I think today there’s too much ‘ad’ and not enough ‘tech.’”
As more consumers migrate their media consumption from desktop to mobile, companies like Vungle and Brightroll look to not only make mobile advertising more relevant to end users, but to build in attribution and targeting that creates better value for brands.
“Looking into the future, attribution is going to be a huge piece of the puzzle,” said Jaffer. “TV advertising today is a $200 billion plus industry, but every time someone sees an ad for Coca-Cola, how does the brand know it works? Soon, data will be everywhere and we’ll be able to better track attribution. When we can do this, what is now a $200 billion industry will be a multi-trillion dollar industry.”
Mind the Gap…in Supply
“I think today a huge barrier of mobile is…there’s not enough branded supply with high performance metrics comparable to what’s online,” said Sacerdoti.
As it stands games and music apps create a large portion of the inventory available on mobile, but there’s value in this inventory that brands may not always realize.
“Everyone uses games, not just kids,” said Jaffer. “When it comes to the user experience, I think the ad experience inside of games can be superior than any other out there. At Vungle, we always think, how can we make video ads a natural part of the ad experience? We allow developers to provide incentives to the user.”
Though, as Sacerdoti points out, incented views can be a tough push for brand advertisers. The impetus is on companies and publishers to continually prove the value of that inventory to brands.
CPI, CPCV, and CPM…Oh My!
Plenty of different buying models proliferate in adtech right now. Many brands pay based on views or clicks, while app publishers have shifted towards the cost-per-install model.
Ultimately, Sacerdoti says, it’s important to understand the metric valuable to the advertiser.
“I think the right metric is the one that advertisers care about,” he says. “A big mistake companies make is saying ‘We have the one metric that matters.’ Figure out what the metric it is that matters to your customer and deliver incredible value on that metric.”
Grabbing Attention in a Distracted World
Earlier in the summit, Sundeep Madra, CTO of Mobile at Pivotal Labs, shared a few tips for developing a great app. One rings true for advertising as well: Rethink behaviors.
People don’t consume media the same way on mobile as they do on desktop. Brands will need need to shift their thinking on what works in this new environment. 30-second advertising placements, for example, are often too long for the mobile user.
So, what’s the right length for a mobile video ad? “This is something we’ve tested a lot,” said Jaffer. “We live in an attention-deprived society. It’s important for formats to be a short as possible. 15 seconds or less is the best user experience. “
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