Mobile inventory rockets 250%, but supply remains lumpy

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 8 May 2015

A bidding war broke out for mobile inventory during the latest quarter on the back of a massive step up in inventory, demonstrating that if you make inventory available, the traders will come.

Demand-side platform TubeMogul released its latest numbers on the state of the market today, with the average amount of mobile video inventory growing by more than 250% quarter on quarter.

It found that the amount of mobile inventory in the market reached an average of 133.8 million, with a peak of 267.9 million and a low of 43.7 million.

This is up from an average of 50.6 million during the fourth quarter of 2014.

TubeMogul Australia and New Zealand managing director Sam Smith said the data shows that mobile video is quickly maturing, and that marketers are eager to centralise cross-screen video buys through programmatic software.

“We are seeing increased attention and willingness by brands to move their digital advertising budgets into mobile and as a result publishers are making more inventory available,” Smith said.

“Programmatic mobile video has moved beyond the test and learn phase to become a viable brand engagement opportunity for marketers.”

Interestingly, while the mobile inventory rose astronomically, it could be said that the market remains somewhat lumpy for traders with CPMs not necessarily following the trend.

The average mobile CPM fell from $19.65 during the last quarter to $17.60 during the latest quarter, but the peak price reached $25.13 for the quarter, up from the previous quarter's high of $23.31.

The data suggests that traders were quick to snap up the available inventory, with a downward spike in available inventory at the end of the quarter suggesting a bidding war breaking out in the market after a quiet start to the quarter.

As a by-product of the bidding war for mobile inventory, the cost of mobile inventory on a cost-per-minute metric is now the most expensive at 10c per minute viewed.

Traders also bought up big in pre-roll advertising during the quarter with both supply and price creeping up, although supply remains 'lumpy' rather than a steady supply.

The average number of auctions for pre-roll inventory was 1.85 million for the quarter, against 1.53 million during the last quarter. The increase in inventory was accompanied by an increase in demand, with the weekly average CPM climbing from $18.87 to $20.91.

Brands dumped skippable inventory in droves however, with its price dropping from 14c per minute viewed to 7c per minute viewed.

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