Programmatic Mobile Video Getting Its Legs

Marketers are in the process of learning and perfecting mobile advertising, video advertising, and the art of using programmatic technologies -- all independent of one another. But there is also overlap between the three -- i.e., mobile video ads traded programmatically -- and it’s a corner of the industry that appears to be getting its legs.

Mobile video advertising, regardless of the method used to buy it, is growing on its own. A BrightRoll survey from earlier this year highlighted mobile video, with most agencies surveyed saying they expect mobile video to be the fastest-growing category in terms of digital media spend this year, followed by desktop video.

But buying mobile video programmatically is also on the rise. For example, Beachfront Media, a video ad tech company, recently launched an RTB platform for mobile video, and claims it saw available inventory on that platform rise from 2 billion impressions in November 2014 to 15 billion in January 2015. In addition, SourceKnowledge, a video ad demand-side platform (DSP) based in Canada, claims it has seen available mobile ad inventory spike by nearly 1000% year-over-year.



Earlier this year, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released its first ever mobile programmatic “playbook.” It contained no hard-hitting news items, but the simple fact the IAB felt the need to publish a mobile programmatic-focused document was newsworthy and telling in and of itself.

“Within the mobile category, video is becoming one of the strongest drivers of traffic,” the IAB wrote in the document. “Due to growth in video in the next five years, mobile video will likely make up a major piece of the mobile programmatic landscape.” 

And now mobile video advertising is getting literal support -- not just white papers and forecasts -- from some of the industry’s largest ad groups, namely the IAB, which recently issued an addendum to the MRAID video standard format for video.

“Industry experts say the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s recent video addendum to rich media standard MRAID could be one of the keys to unlocking more programmatic mobile video dollars,” wrote AdExchanger in a post outlining the benefits of the updated MRAID spec.

“This latest addendum to the MRAID spec allows mobile app publishers to include VPAID [Video Player-Ad Interface Definitions] video app support within their environment, which is a more detailed and involved method than VAST,” Jennifer Lum, co-founder of Adelphic Mobile, explained to AdExchanger.

Just over one month after its introduction, the new MRAID spec is already making waves. One of the biggest programmatic video ad platforms in the market -- Yahoo’s BrightRoll -- announced that it now supports the new spec as part of a larger effort to double down on programatic mobile video advertising.

However, mobile remains an imperfect landscape. At last week’s Publishing Insider Summit in Key Largo, FL, a panel of publishers conceded that the revenue generated via mobile is not in concordance with the page views mobile drives.

One publishing exec -- Jeff Clark, PostMedia’s VP of audience and analytics -- told the crowd there’s actually an inverse relationship currently happening in mobile between eyeballs and revenue. He said about 70% of PostMedia’s page views come from mobile devices and 30% from desktop, but the revenue split is exactly the opposite: 30% comes from mobile and 70% from desktop.

It’s clear that the ad industry has a ways to go before it solves the mobile puzzle, but it’s also clear that video (and programmatic) will act as corner pieces.

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