Australia is leading the world in mobile programmatic growth

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 27 October 2014

Programmatic has firmly established itself as a popular and effective way of buying and selling inventory, but have enough advertisers in Australia cottoned-on the opportunity it presents within mobile.

Speaking to AdNews on a trip to Sydney last week, TubeMogul’s global head of mobile product, Antoine Barbier, said there is a lot of “untouched opportunity” in Australia and the country is “leading the world in programmatic mobile video growth”.

According to TubeMogul figures from its demand side video ad buying platform, which has access to most mobile programmatic inventory in the Australian market, since January, registered available programmatic mobile video auctions have increased by 248%, Barbier told AdNews.

He stressed that it has never been more important to understand the growing programmatic mobile area of the market and that while some argue that Australia lags in this space, actually, it is ahead of the UK and is only a year behind the US.

Catching-up with the US

The US programmatic mobile video market has seen exponential growth in the past nine months and this is set to happen in Australia. The US is roughly one year ahead of Australia, in terms of the trends around spend,” Barbier said.

When comparing against the UK I would say that the Australian market is much more into programmatic than the UK market. The media sales portion is smaller but there are less barriers to take down.”

You can really feel that it’s picking up here, particularly in the last three months and I think the key development has been verification. This is about where users spend their time on mobile, and making the brand marketers comfortable about what they need to spend to reach users.” 

Barbier said the challenges in the market have been around audience targeting and audience tracking – which echoes the points raised by the IAB's State of the Video Industry Report.

Mobile targeting is all about trying to target segments of users. We do that by partnering with data providers, such as our partnership with AdMobius and we are going through testing with them in Australia,” Barbier explained.

The second piece is audience measurement - we simply need third-party auditing here in Australia. Nielsen seems to have the most advanced offering and they launched Nielsen Mobile OCR in the US earlier this year.”

Mobile measurement was a pivotal point in the recent IAB tender for its digital measurement. As reported earlier this month on AdNews, it was Nielsen that managed to retain the IAB digital measurement contract following a tender process.

New senior hire to aid growth

Barbier stressed that audience measurement is the next step and that this is not currently up to scratch in Australia, but hopefully this will change in 2015. He said this will then pave the way for full cross-device measurement and the next phase from there is contextual targeting.

Due to market growth, the Sydney TubeMogul office has moved former partner manager in San Francisco, Calvin Johnson, over to Australia in order to spearhead business development as global mobile programmatic business leader.

In terms of some of the main top performing mobile properties in Australia, Barbier counts multi-player word game Words With Friends, video-sharing website Dailymotion, live streaming video platform Twitch.tv, mobile app Draw Something, Android Video Player, Solebon Solitaire, Music Download Paradise and the official game for the TV show The Voice, The Voice: On Stage, as some of the most successful.

Barbier said while some agencies and networks are advanced in Australia, others still have introductory questions about what mobile within programmatic means - suggesting there is still vast and varying knowledge gaps across the industry on the subject.

The secret is to educate brand marketers about the capabilities of mobile video. People spend their time on games and social and video apps and that is what will drive opportunities for brand advertisers which is what people need to realise,” he added.

The majority of users spend time on mobile devices in games, social applications and video-focused applications. The TubeMogul platform numbers show that 85% of mobile video programmatic ads are placed inside these apps and that 10% of time is spent watching videos on the mobile web.”

He added that the cross-device approach will increasingly resonate with advertisers and if you are not on mobile, “you will lose half your audience”.

Barbier sees programmatic mobile video spend particularly increasing in Australia next year and that by 2017, mobile will overtake the desktop. 

Today, in Australia, about 2% of brand advertiser digital spend is going to mobile and in the US it’s about 6%. The US spend has doubled in a quarter, from 2.9% in the first quarter to 5.3% in the second quarter - showing spend doubled in one quarter.

It will happen quickly in Australia too. As a brand marketer you don't have a choice about advertising on mobile devices if you want to reach these audiences.,” he said.

While the programmatic mobile video ad spend is not yet following, we think that programmatic mobile can help brands and agencies making the move to spend more on mobile. The key is to provide cross-device offerings to those brands.”

Myth-busting - no need for inventory woes

Barbier reckons the scarcity of programmatic mobile video inventory is a myth.

It may be true in-stream mobile video inventory lacks scale here - this comes back to where people spend time on mobile devices.” 

Barbier also added that mobile TV will be a “layer inside programmatic TV”, and that it is coming. But first, challenges around audience identification, measurement and executing tracking need to be addressed.

While nascent in some areas, Barbier said there is a huge amount of potential in Australia, incredible growth rates and a vast amount of intrigue and enthusiasm from advertisers and brands.

Transparency and advertisers knowing where ads are is still key however.

Do you agree with Barbier's points? Are you poised or programmatic growth or still confused by its meaning? Comment below and let us know.

For more on programmatic see here:

Foxtel confirms in house programmatic buying

Programmatic trading: The rise of the brand side platform?

Private deals drive Australia's programmatic video ad boom

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