Cracking the code on in-app programmatic: 3 best practices for publishers and buyers

Monday, November 06, 2017
By: Natalie Breitbach

Half of all digital media usage time in the U.S. is now spent in mobile apps.1 That’s a staggering percentage, and one that digital buyers and sellers certainly can’t ignore. MoPub’s Director of Professional Services Casie Jordan recently took the stage at AdExchanger’s Programmatic I/O conference in New York City to share three key best practices for mobile app programmatic advertising for both buyers and sellers; read on for highlights, and catch the full video of Casie’s session below.

1. Use app-friendly ad formats like rewarded video.

Rewarded video (also called opt-in video) ads, designed specifically for the mobile app experience, are a win-win-win: they can lead to high engagement and completion rates for advertisers, high eCPMs for publishers, and are perceived positively by users. To best take advantage of this format, it’s important for publishers to choose the right ad placement and ensure a healthy integration, while buyers should adjust buying habits and operations to the unique nature of the ad format. Publishers should consider what type of reward will be best-received by their users, and where this reward can be best placed in their app flow; segmenting users and monetizing those who are not otherwise being monetized is also key to maximize success. On the buy side, best practices include accounting for user-level impression frequency in order to find the right balance between price and scale; paying close attention to creative specs (and potentially adding a companion banner); and testing for scale in regions with lower connectivity. For greater detail on each of these points, check out the first section of the video below. 

2. Implement viewability measurement.

Viewability remains a hot topic across the digital advertising ecosystem, including the mobile app world. To capture viewability-dependent digital budgets, mobile publishers should look to work with monetization partners that support trusted viewability measurement vendors; avoid custom placements and make sure the entire ad container is on the screen; place any in-app overlays in areas that won’t cover ad placements; consider adhesive or “sticky” ad units; and of course, test and iterate based on the viewability reporting received from partners. On the demand side, buyers can target viewable inventory in a few different ways, typically either through PMPs or a flag in the bid request. (The next version of the IAB OpenRTB spec will bring a standardized viewability flag for programmatic exchanges.) For greater detail on all of these recommendations, see the second section of the video below. 

3. Make strides towards flattening the app waterfall.

The waterfall has been the de facto mechanism by which publishers and demand sources have transacted media for years — but its chronological set-up limits publishers’ ability to get a higher price in real time for a given impression. Header bidding, which allows publishers to offer inventory to multiple demand sources at once, has gained traction on the desktop side and dominates the ad tech conversation; however, it isn’t able to directly address the needs of mobile app publishers. A true mobile app bidding solution will need to acknowledge that the mobile app world is unique and can’t be a copy/paste of the desktop solution; preserve demand inclusivity by allowing networks to participate in bidding; and enable ad format innovation. For more details, see the third section of the video below as well as this article. 

For a deeper dive into each of these best practices, the full video of Casie’s Programmatic I/O presentation is available below. 

1comScore Media Metrix Multi-Platform & Mobile Metrix, US, Total Audience, June 2017

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