The rise of premium programmatic with social and gaming publishers

April 21, 2016

Tags: Industry Perspectives, 2016

Colin Jacobsen
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Premium programmatic is rapidly growing , and it’s making a particular impact in social and gaming verticals. At the close of 2015, we saw a strong uptick in performance metrics for inventory in these verticals. Let’s explore how three aspects of premium programmatic — private marketplaces, video ads, and native ads — drove advertiser success and helped social and gaming publishers yield greater returns.

Private marketplaces enable premium inventory transactions

Private marketplaces (PMPs) allow publishers to connect with buyers and forge premium, direct-style deals. This is often an opportunity for DSPs to reach more valuable, unique users, while for publishers it can mean increased revenue thanks to higher eCPMs. Across MoPub, publishers using PMPs saw a 165% increase in revenue from Q3 to Q4 2015. Gaming publishers in particular saw PMP eCPMs increase 200% from Q3 to Q4 2015 while social publishers saw a 139% increase during that same period.* As a further benefit, in addition to increased performance metrics, publishers can also implement PMPs without additional integrations beyond the MoPub SDK; it’s simply a matter of setting up a line item in the UI once the PMP deal is negotiated.

Video ads drove strong performance for gaming and social apps

Advertisers have also capitalized on engaging formats such as video ads, both through PMPs and across MoPub Marketplace. Video ads can take the form of a 15 second non-skippable or 30 second skippable unit; both offer potential for strong user engagement, which has driven advertiser interest. In fact, MoPub saw a 100% increase in DSPs buying video from Q4 2014 to Q4 2015. This demand growth created a more competitive market, helping eCPMs and publisher revenue increase 52% and 125% respectively, year over year.

Gaming publishers have seen success with video ads, as the ad unit naturally fits in between levels and at the beginning or end of games. In December 2015, some of MoPub’s top gaming publishers saw eCPMs almost double for video ads compared to static full-screen interstitials, while CTRs were upwards of 50% higher. These performance increases indicate that video ads can successfully engage users and lead to stronger conversion rates.

Native supply and demand continue to grow

The use of native ad formats grew substantially in the latter half of 2015. On MoPub Marketplace in Q4 2015, we saw a 124% increase in overall native revenue for publishers and a 76% increase in DSPs buying native, compared to Q4 of the previous year. Native units initially gained popularity with social apps as they naturally fit into the in-stream scrolling experience. In the past year, several of MoPub’s top social apps have seen strong native performance, likely due to the seamless integration into the user experience.

Meanwhile, early adopting gaming publishers have begun integrating innovative new native units that match the look and feel of their games in placements other than in-stream. These ads are often static at the bottom of the page or appear between levels. The use of native ads in this way may help improve the user experience of ads in a gaming environment.

colin blog image

Gamebasics BV leveraging a native ad unit at the bottom of their game, Online Soccer Manager

The growing diversity of native supply provides more options to advertisers who are increasingly interested in adopting native ad formats. For example, MoPub also recently launched native video support , which allows publishers to monetize in-stream video through direct ad serving, mediation, and Marketplace.

Gaming, social, and other publishers may want to consider taking advantage of the trends we’re seeing with PMPs, video, and native. For more information about social and gaming publishers, as well as other Q4 trends from our MoPub Marketplace, read our latest Global Programmatic Trends report .

* Global Mobile Programmatic Trends Report , February 2016

(c) 2016 MoPub, Inc.
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