Commentary

Prospects For In-App Programmatic Ads Depend OnTargeting Improvements

The programmatic marketplace is a chaotic and constantly changing landscape, including the mobile Web space. The prospects for programmatic advertising in-app and on the mobile Web are top of mind for Janis Zech, founder and COO of Fyber, a mobile monetization company based in Berlin.

Real-Time Daily recently noted some of the obstacles holding spending back in both arenas. For starters, both of these ecosystems behave very differently, and there’s a divide. While the majority of consumers’ time spent and usage is in-app, the majority of brand marketers’ budgets is directed to the mobile Web where programmatic is concerned, Zech noted. “When you look at programmatic brand budgets traded via AppNexus, TubeMogul, DoubleClick for Publishers and others, they’re invested in mobile Web inventory because it’s easier to do target audiences,” he said.

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Targeting is easier on the mobile Web because the data used is very similar to that for the desktop Web: both use cookies. The challenge for in-app is that cookie data doesn’t apply there. Google’s advertising IDs and cookies need to match up. “In-app targeting is really hard. That’s the reason brand budgets aren’t spent programmatically in-app,” Zech said.

What needs to happen in order to make such a shift?

First, agencies need to appropriately value the inventory of in-app ads, according to Zech. In-app inventory can be very valuable because it shows longitudinal and latitudinal data that’s not available via the mobile Web. Companies like Krux, a data management platform (DMP) and AdSquare are trying to solve the problem of making data available to buyers via demand-side platforms (DSPs).

Secondly, cross-device targeting technology needs to improve. “It’s fair to say most solutions are not yet ideal. There will be companies that solve that problem maybe two to three years down the line,” Zech said. Cross-device targeting capabilities will enable all cookie data to be applicable to in-app advertising. Currently, marketers are buying traffic for apps via mobile-specific DSPs. They use CRM data to target users, but that data isn’t cookie data. Currently, the vast majority of spending on in-app mobile programmatic is purchased by performance marketing-focused advertisers in sectors such as retail, gaming and travel. They’re using CRM data to do acquisition targeting.

Tapad and others are working on how to match cookie data with Google data and get reliable insights. Facebook and Google have mobile log-in data and desktop log-in data, and they’re trying to do the matching to determine whether the data from a smartphone and a laptop are actually the same person. Improvements in accuracy need to be made in that arena.

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