Google Moves Aggressively Into In-App Ads, Launches Open Bidding

Google on Thursday will announce plans to aggressively move into in-app advertising with the launch of new strategies to monetize mobile gaming apps through video and rewards, as well as an innovative bidding strategy for in-app ad inventory,

For starters, Open Bidding in AdMob will allow network partners of app developers to bid for every impression of advertising inventory simultaneously and in real-time.

As more partners compete in the auction, the developers should get the best price for the inventory on an impression-by-impression basis, said Sissie Hsiao, self-proclaimed gamer and vice president of product for Google App ads.

Open Bidding is running live today with bids from Smaato, Index Exchange and OpenX, with plans to add AdColony and Vungle and others within the next few months.

The idea is to rid the industry of using a historical average monetization model, which requires integration with lots of SDKs and adapters. It should simplify the billing and reporting processes by supporting different interfaces from partners of different networks.

The push into in-app mobile advertising by Google will include the introduction of new strategies to monetize apps such as similar audiences and a continuing focus on combining rewards-based gaming with video. The placements are only available through Universal App Campaigns (UAC), which launched in 2015 to help developers find and acquire players across all Google properties.

Google has driven more than 10 billion app installs through the app ads as of March 2018, with help from UAC, according to company data. UAC relies on Google’s machine-learning technology to find loyal fans across, Google Play, YouTube, and more than 3 million sites and apps in the Google Display Network.

AdMob, which Google acquired in 2010, has since helped to double ad requests year-over-year across the platform and DoubleClick.

The company introduced what Hsiao called a “hybrid monetization model,” which combines video and rewardable in-app ads. Gamers are willing to pay to play with their time by watching ads. Rewardable ads, for example, have a completion rate that is six times higher in mobile apps.

Now Google will add more rewarded options such as Playables and Multi-Option features to AdMob. 

Within the rewardable ad, Google added portrait video ads and the 6-second video ads. The ad unit initially launched on YouTube, and now advertisers will find these ads in the Google app network, AdMob.

Google also introduced Playables, an ad unit that allows people to try a mini version of the game before downloading the full game -- as well as Multi-Option video ads that let players choose which advertisement to watch. Both will become available to AdMob partners in the second quarter of 2018.

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