InMobi's On A VAST Adoption Mission

At least 90% of mobile video is consumed in-app, making viewability, attribution, and measurement hot topics for in-app video.

Arun Pattabhiraman, global head of marketing at InMobi, spoke with Digital News Daily about viewability and fraud challenges for mobile video.

Digital News Daily: Mobile video is a big driver of growth for mobile advertising. What might be holding up growth around in-app mobile video?

Arun Pattabhiraman: There’s still a gap in the market in terms of how buyers execute video advertising in apps. The standards around in-app video advertising are VPAID [Video Player-Ad Interface Definition] which is the most commonly used standard, but  the reality is VPAID was made for the desktop world and it isn’t optimized for mobile. Ads take a much longer time to load and that lead to a drop in interaction rates.

We advocate using VAST [Video Ad Serving Template] for in-app for mobile ad campaigns.

DND: Why do you make this recommendation?

Pattabhiraman: Using VAST is better for mobile in-app video advertising. There’s a lot of noise about how to measure mobile video viewability, but the real challenge to doing that in-app is that you need to integrate SDKs [Software Development Kits] with the publishers, then you can start measuring viewability in-app in an effective way.

Most publishers don’t want to add additional SDKs.

InMobi works with both IAS [Integral Ad Science] on SDK integration and to provide viewability metrics. Publishers don’t have to have any extra effort.

Right now, there is a lack of awareness and education around the differences and benefits of VPAID and VAST, and which one marketers should leverage for mobile ad campaigns. VPAID has been more popular, primarily because it was built for the desktop world, and could theoretically also extend to mobile, offering both interactivity and support for viewability measurements.

However, VPAID presents unique challenges for advertisers and publishers, especially when leveraged on mobile. Built for the desktops, VPAID can lead to slower load times when used inside apps, resulting in a poor experience for users, lower render rates and fill rates for publishers, and poor viewability and completion rates for advertisers. 

With VAST, app developers and in-app video specialists can pre-cache video ads, which creates a seamless experience for users and delivers smooth, buffer-free video ads instantaneously. VAST also supports Media Rating Council accredited in-app viewability standards that can be measured through SDK-level integrations with the publisher or ad partner.

By using VAST on in-app mobile video, advertisers can use third-party viewability solutions, giving them a concrete way to measure whether their ads are being seen by real people. Also, by combining VAST based video ads with rich interactive end cards, advertisers can also engage users more effectively and efficiently.

DND: What are the key issues with respect to mobile tracking and attribution?

Pattabhiraman:  One of the biggest challenges that the entire ecosystem is facing is ad fraud -- specifically, click- and install fraud. Either the clicks that have been generated are not really coming from a valid user and could be created by a bot or script instead --or, an ad network may be trying to game the attribution of ads to falsely take credit for an install/click event that they didn’t drive. 

While advertisers are the obvious victims, other players in the media value chain, including agencies and networks, are also impacted. What marketers need to understand is that malicious fraudsters don’t discriminate between an advertiser and a network. In order to truly eradicate fraud, advertisers, ad networks, and attribution partners must work together to turn ad fraud detection into ad fraud prevention.

To achieve this, many tracking and attribution platforms are building solutions that help advertisers independently detect fraudulent clicks, invalid installs, or any other type of fraud that might enter the equation.

We’re working closely with partners to establish the right framework for fraud prevention. We’re also building advanced fraud detection and prevention algorithms ourselves that can identify fraudulent behavior on our network on the back of publisher on-boarding checks, real-time campaign checks, and post-campaign verification through third-party partners.

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