Native ads, Android phones, and more: 5 mobile programmatic trends to watch in 2018

January 31, 2018

Tags: 2018, Industry Perspectives

Kira Roytburg
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One month into the new year, 2017 may already feel like it’s long behind us. Before we fully turn the page on the calendar, though, it’s worth a look back on the top mobile programmatic trends we saw on MoPub Marketplace, our in-app programmatic exchange, in 2017 — and our predictions on what these mean for this year. Our top five observations are below.

1. 2017 saw the rise of native.

Out of all ad formats, native ads saw the highest ad spend growth in 2017 on MoPub Marketplace, our in-app programmatic exchange, with ad spend more than doubling year-over-year. Native’s share of total ad impressions seen on MoPub Marketplace place also grew by 325% in 2017, and more than half of the demand-side platforms (DSPs) we work with bought native ads.

Prediction: We’ll continue to see native growth in 2018 due to the strong performance and user-friendly experience of these ad units. In particular, we’ll start to see native video ads embraced more frequently.


2. Android finally beat iOS in terms of ad spend.

In 2010, Android first beat iOS for number of total devices. By 2017, in terms of total user penetration worldwide, Android had 86.1% while iOS had just 13.7% — but 2017 was the first year that Android also beat iOS in ad spend on MoPub Marketplace. This shift happened in the second quarter of 2017 for MoPub, and by the end of the year, ad spend for inventory in apps on Android devices was 30% greater than iOS devices.

Ad spend on MoPub Marketplace by operating system

Prediction: The gap between Android and iOS will continue to grow globally, and average revenue per user (ARPU) for Android devices will increase. Keep an eye on Japan and Australia, two countries that are in the top 10 for ad spend and where the operating system battle will continue. (In Australia, iPhone and Android usage fluctuate but hover around fairly equal market share; in Japan, the iPhone was traditionally dominant, but is decreasing to a more even split with Android.)


3. APAC publishers increasingly embraced programmatic.

More and more, mobile publishers in Asia-Pacific are seeing the value of programmatic to monetize their inventory. Ad spend on MoPub Marketplace coming from APAC-based publishers tripled in 2017, thanks to both performance and brand spend. Innovative ad formats are also helping to drive this growth: banners now make up just 44% of APAC supply on MoPub Marketplace (down from 77% two years ago).

Prediction: As programmatic adoption grows in Japan and Korea, programmatic platforms will see new mobile publishers emerge. Across the region, we’ll also see continued growth in engaging ad formats as well diversification of app categories monetizing through programmatic.


4. Rewarded video ads became a key part of the app economy.

Thanks to high CPMs and ARPUs, rewarded video ads were embraced by app publishers across verticals and monetization models. Even publishers who primarily monetize through in-app purchases (IAP) found that rewarded video ads could be complementary to their strategy, due to this format’s positive user experience as well as revenue potential. On MoPub Marketplace, rewarded videos had the highest completion rates (averaging over 94% in Q4) and highest CPMs of all ad formats.

Prediction: The market for rewarded video will continue to grow on both the supply and demand sides. This ad format’s user-friendly experience, high engagement rates, and strong CPMs will make it an attractive investment for many players across the ecosystem, and we’ll start seeing new demand as advertisers realize the benefits.


5. Competition intensified among ad networks.

MoPub’s flexible network mediation solution allows publishers to work with the networks of their choice — but we’ve noticed that large network players are dominating, making up over 75% of revenue. However, one area where new players are entering the market in a significant way is rewarded video.

Prediction: To stay competitive, networks will move toward a bidding model. At MoPub, this will take the form of our Advanced Bidding solution — one of the things we’re most excited about for 2018.


Agree with these predictions? Have some of your own? Tweet to us @mopub and let us know!

©2018 MoPub, Inc.
This data is provided "AS IS" and for information purposes only, and while efforts are made to ensure accuracy, errors may arise.

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