Rubicon: Brand-Direct Media Buyers Buy More Native Ads Than Any Other Mobile Format

Brand-direct media buyers buy more native ads than any other mobile ad format, according to Rubicon Project’s fourth annual Global Mobile Survey. The research, released on Thursday, found that 50% of brand-direct buyers prefer native advertising formats vs. 42% of agency-based media buyers.

In other findings, 100% of the buyers surveyed in North America, APAC and Latin America, and 90% in EMEA, plan to increase their spend on mobile video in 2016.

In a separate study, ZenithOptimedia forecast that mobile video will grow at an average of 32% year-over-year between 2015-2018, to account for 87% of ad spending in the global market.

Overall, the Rubicon research found that video formats, private marketplaces and location-enabled media buying will dominate mobile advertising in 2016.

Other key findings:

  • Three-quarters of brand-direct media buyers say that between 81% and 100% of their mobile buys will be location-enabled, compared to 27% of media agency buyers.
  • Half of brand-direct media buyers say they plan to spend 81% to 100% of their mobile ad budgets in automated mobile private marketplaces (PMPs) in 2016.  
  • Globally, advertising buyers (brands, ad agencies and programmatic buyers such as DSPs and agency trading desks) indicated that they would boost spending in programmatic mobile private marketplaces (PMPs) 27% in aggregate this year.

The study was conducted with ExchangeWire and surveyed 300 global digital marketing professionals. Qualitative interviews were also conducted as part of the project.

"Without a doubt, the most important global finding is the continued and dramatic forecast growth of automated private marketplaces, which we call 'orders' across all regions," Joe Prusz, SVP and global head of mobile for Rubicon Project, told Real-Time Dailyvia email.

"One of the challenges in mobile is the sheer number of apps (millions in both the Apple App Store and Google Play) that marketers have to wade through. Private marketplaces allow buyers and sellers to easily package and transact the highest quality audiences, at scale. No wonder, taken in aggregate, the buyers we surveyed around the world are predicting a 27% increase in spend in these channels."

Another interesting finding is the shift of some dollars formerly spent in private marketplaces to guaranteed orders (so-called “automated guaranteed"). This, he said, reflects the U.S. and Canadian markets’ desire to automate the "laborious and painstaking process of sourcing, negotiating and buying media, executing guaranteed campaigns in real time, and then manually reconciling everything from performance and attribution to billing and reconciliation."

Most surprising of the findings, according to Prusz: Sitting at the intersection of "two tsunamis of change -- consumer adoption of mobile and the rise of automated and programmatic advertising -- the shift to PMPs, or what we call 'the flight to quality,' is now being led by a new breed of brand-direct buyer that now reflects about half of the brand buyers we surveyed."

On the seller front, the survey shows that, more so that in EMEA and LatAm, but not nearly as much as in APAC, sellers are successfully monetizing mobile app inventory. Sellers in North America say their revenue is derived 18% from in-app inventory vs. 84% mobile-optimized web and tablet (standard Web) inventory, Prusz explained.

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