Eight New Year’s resolutions for DSP success

January 22, 2019

Tags: 2019, DSPs

Tarika Soni
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DSPs, are you on track to maximize your mobile programmatic ad buys in 2019? It’s not too late to make your New Year’s resolutions, and we have eight of them to help put you on the path to a successful year.

1. Get ready for in-app header bidding. As we head deeper into 2019, we believe that the most important trend impacting the mobile ecosystem is going to be the true arrival of in-app header bidding at scale. As recently explained by MoPub’s Noam Yasour in The Drum, in-app header bidding is poised to have major impacts on both the buy-side and sell-side of the mobile industry, which we believe will include:

  • In-app header bidding will lead to simpler and broader access to valuable supply.

  • The flatter auction style will increase transparency, simplicity, and competition in the market — which we believe will reduce the need for negotiating side deals that carve out highly-performing supply away from programmatic buyers.

  • DSP will need to review their supply partners as duplication of ad requests increases leads to increased server costs.

  • Increased pricing efficiency as networks will be able to transmit a real-time price into the auction, as opposed to using historic averages.

2. Understand the hyper(casual) gaming audience. Casual and hyper-casual gaming publishers are growing supply exponentially (and in November of last year, seven of the top 10 free gaming apps worldwide had the MoPub SDK installed). We expect to see larger and more experienced gaming companies from other genres get into the hyper-casual space, either independently or by acquiring smaller competitors. To take advantage of this expected increase in supply, demand partners should look to better understand the type of users that this vertical attracts and target them accordingly. As noted by MoPub’s Vincent Pagnard-Jourdan, “Because the barrier to entry for players is so low, these types of apps have given a huge opportunity for app developers to reach an audience that until now was not necessarily into gaming. Think about worldwide hits like Candy Crush, which are predominantly played by an older, female audience — which is the opposite of the stereotypical young, male ‘gamer’ persona.”

3. Bridge the gap between user acquisition and ad monetization. Connecting user acquisition (UA) to ad monetization is becoming more crucial than ever, especially as publishers who have predominantly monetized via in-app purchases (IAP) are now increasingly turning to ad monetization to gain incremental revenue. As we’ve learned, not only do in-app purchase whales exist, but ad whales exist too; more than 80% of mobile app ad revenue comes from just 20% of app users, according to Soomla. DSPs should aim to build reporting tools and targeting capabilities to gain incremental UA budgets from IAP-first publishers, as much of these publishers’ budgets are going to networks today.

4. Don’t rule out banners. Despite the rise of richer formats, banners are here to stay. In particular, banners have become a go-to ad monetization strategy for the fast-growing hyper-casual category. They’re an easy addition to any app and don’t disrupt gameplay, which is crucial for the hyper-casual vertical.

5. Embrace rewarded video ads. Rewarded video ads have long been associated with best serving performance marketers buying inventory in gaming apps. But that’s changing as marketers realize the high engagement levels that rewarded video ads offer. Consumers have also shown a willingness to trade their attention for things like free content or discounts offered by brands and retailers. The IAB’s recent report on opt-in value exchange advertising noted that on MoPub’s programmatic exchange, 54% of the top 50 advertisers buying rewarded video in August 2018 were non-gaming advertisers. (Interested in more rewarded video stats? Don’t miss these six insights.)

6. Go vertical. The world is moving into vertical video, and this format is expected to continue to grow in 2019. We’ve seen the success of vertical video ads reflected on MoPub’s platform as well as with major players across the industry. For example, in September 2018, YouTube announced that it was launching vertical video ads "to provide a more seamless mobile experience for viewers,” a nod to the idea that mobile video is increasingly viewed vertically. Per eMarketer, 73% of surveyed marketers and agencies worldwide thought vertical video was either effective or very effective in 2018.

7. One more video tip: try short-form. Shorter formats such as 6-second video ads are growing in popularity across the industry. On MoPub, VAST video ads with a duration of six seconds are currently the fourth-largest format in terms of spend on our exchange so far this month.

8. Protect yourself (and your advertisers). Ad fraud and invalid traffic (IVT) are ongoing concerns for demand-side platforms — but the tools to fight fraud are improving. Choose your supply sources carefully, and make sure they’re taking responsibility and doing their part to safeguard traffic quality. At MoPub, we recently announced partnerships with Pixalate and DoubleVerify that enable us to vet traffic quality through direct integrations with these leading IVT-management vendors.

Agree with these resolutions? Have some different ones in mind for your business? Send us a tweet and let us know!

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