At Mobile World Congress this week, Rubicon Project released an infographic overviewing the European market for mobile RTB. Josh Wexler, Rubicon's GM, mobile, and Jay Stevens, Rubicon's GM, International, both attended Mobile World Congress, and the two shed some light on the state of mobile RTB in conjunction with the infographic with RTM Daily. The infographic can be found here or at the bottom of the page.
Rubicon gathered information from 25 of Europe's top trading desks, including 12 from the UK, to create the infographic. Wexler said that their findings are similar to feedback they've received on mobile RTB globally. It may be data strictly from a pool of European trading desks, but Wexler and Stevens believe the data is in-line with the rest of the world's views.
"It shows that marketers are starting to recognize the adoption of mobile by consumers," Wexler said. "[And] marketers need to reach their target audiences wherever they may be."
In Wexler's opinion, the most surprising information gathered was that only 22% of the trading desks responded saying that they currently access mobile inventory direct with publishers.
"That underscores the sense of urgency publishers should have with regards to packaging their inventory [in mobile]," said Wexler, adding that he believes publishers need to do a better job.
Another striking figure from the infographic is the fact that for 83% of the trading desks asked, less then 5% of their 2012 spend went towards mobile ads. In 2013, the trading desks plan on spending more, as just 17% said they plan on spending less than 5% in 2012. Many more desks plan to move up to the 5-10% spend range in mobile this year (57% in 2013 compared to 13% in 2012). There are a lot of percentage numbers in there, but it highlights one thing: mobile is moving up the list of priorities.
Wexler and Stevens also touched on how attending Mobile World Congress gave them a sense of where the industry stands as a whole. Wexler said, "Being here in Barcelona, you get a feel for the energy of the industry, and how much of the world is focused on delivering great experience across mobile devices, not just online advertising."
Stevens believes that everyone in the industry needs to shift towards programmatic buying for mobile. Speaking on what he observed at Mobile World Congress, Stevens said, "One thing that's interesting to see [is] all of the challenges that are in the way. What really needs to happen is a migration to programmatic buying to resolve some of the hurdles, and to overcome them."
Stevens stressed that if the industry truly wants to see the mobile market grow, "programmatic is the methodology to making that happen." If Wexler and Stevens' accounts of Mobile World Congress - and the infographic from European trading desks - are any indication, there is much more buzz surrounding programmatic in 2013 than there was in 2012, and that's saying something.
That "energy" surrounding mobile RTB, as Wexler described it, is what is needed to make a breakthrough. With the entire industry craving more programmatic answers in mobile, the general feeling is that it's bound to happen sooner rather than later.