Why Mobile Programmatic Will Become An Advertising Necessity

Programmatic ad buying continues to transform the marketing ecosystem as it expands into mobile ad campaigns.

We have seen mobile budgets for programmatic grow exponentially over the past year. But it’s more than a shift in resources from traditional digital ad buys that defines this revolution. What’s really exciting is how brands are putting more of their first-party consumer data on programmatic platforms to enable highly sophisticated targeting and measurement.

This shift has been made possible by the fact that the unique data that's made mobile audiences so compelling to marketers on direct media buys, is now available programmatically. Mobile provides an understanding of physical-world behavior, and marketers are leveraging this to drive success in their campaigns. Who visited my store? Who visited my competitor’s store? Who frequents coffee shops as opposed to quick-serve restaurants? 

The leading DSPs and programmatic platforms have been rolling out their mobile offerings with these types of unique audience segments. And it’s not just for mobile. Mobile-derived audiences are available via cross-device and for desktop campaigns as well. Marketers are responding; in the second half of last year, we saw consumer packaged good brands emerge as the leading vertical using mobile programmatic, with almost a third of all buying, followed by automotive and retail brands. 

In this environment, brands are extending their CRM or first-party data in new ways. Many have used the phrase “mobile is the glue,” highlighting the fact that mobile is more than just a media channel. Mobile also provides new ways to connect disparate data sets, particularly bridging online and offline data. As a result, brands now have new ways to unlock their unique data and make it actionable.

For example, they leverage mobile as a bridge to extend their own data segments onto the leading programmatic platforms to more readily connect with their own customers. In addition, marketers are combining their data with other unique data sets to create an even more dynamic understanding of their customers.

The shift to mobile programmatic is not just fueled by richer audiences, but by the introduction of new forms of measurement as well. The same physical-world behavior that mobile offers to define audiences can be leveraged to understand how effective these campaigns are. Brands can track highly sophisticated ROI metrics, such as the incremental rise of foot traffic in stores, bridging the gap between digital engagement and offline attribution for programmatic campaigns. That combination of rich audience and sophisticated attribution has made programmatic highly compelling for mobile.

The growing importance and availability of mobile audiences will make mobile programmatic buying a critical aspect of the marketing strategy for many brands. Mobile has become the first screen for today’s consumer, with the average U.S. consumer spending 220 minutes daily on mobile, compared to 168 minutes watching TV.  Marketers are clamoring for new ways to reach consumers on the devices where they spend the majority of their time.

They’re also eager to tap into the highly valuable signal of consumer behavior that only mobile can deliver -- that is, where consumers go in the physical world. Unlocking those capabilities programmatically is set to create a win-win for brands in 2016.  In this new marketing ecosystem where programmatic platforms play an increasingly dominant role, buying mobile programmatic will become a necessity, not an option.

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5 comments about "Why Mobile Programmatic Will Become An Advertising Necessity".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, March 21, 2016 at 10:03 a.m.

    David, just out of curiosity, where did you come up with the data to support this claim in your opinion piece, "the average U.S. consumer spending 220 minutes daily on mobile, compared to 168 minutes watching TV"? the accepted figure for TV is around 300 or so minutes. Is your reference to mobile about  any usage or only watching videos?

  2. David Staas from NinthDecimal, March 21, 2016 at 2:23 p.m.

    Thanks for your comment Ed. My reference is about mobile device usage overall, and the article has now been updated with a link to my data source: 


  3. John Grono from GAP Research, March 21, 2016 at 6:24 p.m.

    Thanks David.

    Flurry is ALWAYS my first port of call for audience measurement research.   Ed, you would have room after room full of their data and reports wouldn't you?

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 21, 2016 at 6:44 p.m.

    John, I believe that they used Bureau Of Labor Statistics data for TV. These show much, much lower levels of claimed daily viewing per adult than Nielsen, which is not surprising since they rely on people's recollections or subjective assessments and, I believe, ask the question in a manner which discounts "casual" viewing. Interestingly, the 2014 annual averages for the BLS studies show that men spend more time watching TV than women---how's that for a departure from what you normally see in TV "viewing" studies. Food for thought, indeed. I hope they include SVOD in future studies...don't you?

  5. John Grono from GAP Research, March 22, 2016 at 6:34 p.m.

    Ed, thanks for the backgrounder on the BLS.

    The SVOD will be interesting.   What's the bet that "I ONLY watch Netflix" response rate is astronomical!