Breaking down programmatic, episode 1: Demystifying the DSP

Monday, November 25, 2019
By: Julia Martin

By now, if you’re a mobile performance marketer, you understand that the programmatic advertising opportunity is huge —  both for new user acquisition as well as retargeting. You also understand that in order to truly scale beyond the duopoly of Facebook and Google, programmatic should be incorporated into your app advertising strategy — but where do you start?  Do you find yourself asking questions such as: What exactly is “programmatic” advertising and how does it differ from traditional network buying? What percentage of my budget should go to programmatic?  More importantly, which demand side platform (DSP) should I work with? How many DSPs should I work with?  

You’ve come to the right place: MoPub is excited to announce the launch of our latest Thought Exchange video series, where you will get answers to all of these questions and many more — directly from top mobile marketers. 

In our premier episode, we sat down with three top performance marketers, representing three key verticals: Communications, Gaming, and FinTech.  These three marketers (Tyler Cooper, Head of User Acquisition, TextNow; Stevie Duffin-Lutgen, User Acquisition Marketing Lead, Mobilityware; and Cole Morris, Growth Marketing Analyst, Root Insurance) are all part of MoPub’s Marketer Program, and each have years of experience in mobile marketing under their belts. Today, we’ll be sharing much of that knowledge with you via takeaways from our latest interview. Read on to learn more about how these mobile marketers approach all things programmatic. 

Transparency, flexibility, and scale

To be successful in mobile user acquisition, you have to test, test, test, and then test some more.  With each test comes new learnings and an overall better understanding of what works for your business and your app.  For Tyler, Stevie, and Cole, programmatic offers a combination of transparency, flexibility, and scale. As Cole puts it, “we have total control over [the users] we are acquiring, where we’re getting them, and the context in which we’re getting them.”  This isn’t necessarily true with social channels or ad networks which can operate in a black box. Furthermore, diversification is key, and programmatic allows for that control and transparency, along with unparalleled reach and scale.

Programmatic budget allocation

So, how much of your marketing budget should be spent on programmatic?  For our marketer interviewees, the range is anywhere from 40-60%. According to Tyler, this percentage continues to grow: “We’re shifting more budgets over time [...] to DSPs.”  Why? Outside of the obvious reasons around improved performance and lower cost, some DSPs offer excellent creative services. Stevie shares, “[DSPs] can be really dynamic in helping you, with small sets of assets, produce hundreds of creative, that would be difficult  to do in-house.”

Absence of fraud

Finally, there’s fraud — or rather, as Tyler and other top marketers have found, the relative absence of fraud in mobile programmatic, compared to other channels.  Tyler says TextNow uses a combination of fraud detection tools and have found programmatic to pose the least amount of risk, primarily due to its inherent transparency.  “We know what we’re buying [...] we’re able to see the impression, the click, the install, and the post install event, matching it all together to know we’re actually driving performance.”

Be sure to tune into Part 1 of this episode to hear more about programmatic best practices from Tyler, Stevie & Cole —  and reach out to our team if you’re interested in working with us. Stay tuned for the next episode.  

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