Mobile advertising’s next frontier: In-app video to overtake mobile web

SpotX country manager ANZ, Christopher Blok
By SpotX country manager ANZ, Christopher Blok | 16 June 2016
SpotX country manager ANZ, Christopher Blok

In-app mobile video ads are about to experience a rapid ascent. In the past six months, in-app inventory has risen from 10% to 35% of mobile inventory traded through our marketplace in Asia Pacific (APAC). We expect it to continue to skyrocket, to the point where it is likely to overtake mobile web by the end of the year.

The shift to mobile isn’t new news. Naturally, as eyeballs have shifted from desktop, advertisers have followed. But a number of barriers have hampered the growth of mobile video ads to date. The two most prohibitive of these have been a shortage of targeted, premium inventory across the APAC region and a perceived lack of transparency. In the in-app space, the means for gaining this transparency is now readily available, with Bundle IDs available across all inventory in our marketplace and VPAID available across a significant portion of the market, allowing advertisers to optimise ad delivery across devices.

Add to this the improvements to mobile video players, the launch of SDKs to enable publishers to design ad opportunities into their apps, and ad-serving tools developed specifically for mobile, and advertisers can now target specific, valuable audiences at scale. If they know where to look.

Using Bundle IDs to target premium audiences

In the cookieless world of mobile, a Bundle ID is a way to identify individual apps from a publisher. Gameloft, for example, has hundreds of different gaming apps, some played more by women and others more popular among men. In the past, buyers have relied on app name, which can change regularly, or iOS store IDs to base their spend on. Instead they should be basing the buy on the Bundle ID, which will ensure the advertiser can target the right app and audience every time.

Essentially, the Bundle ID gives buyers the granularity needed to decide whether it fits within their campaign's targeting requirements. It’s the best way to determine the correct app name and other details in a way that doesn't change. Buyers still primarily use app names on site lists to best understand the context of the buy, but it is the Bundle ID that always unlocks this and other data points accurately.

For standardisation purposes, SpotX encourages its partners to transact on bundle IDs to align all inventory transparently. It’s not uncommon for buyers to confuse bundle ID for app store IDs. For DSPs that have it coded in their system incorrectly, SpotX can automatically translate into bundle IDs in real time.

Using VPAID to understand behaviour

SpotX has been an early advocate of the VPAID 2.0 standard, which enables smart and interactive video advertising on mobile devices. Essentially, the more advanced interface allows the display of rich media creative with the interactivity to facilitate calls to action. It also allows users to be tracked across devices. This means agencies can design once and deploy across mobile web, app and desktop, giving the freedom to deploy everywhere once by audience, rather than by device.

These capabilities will be a big trend in 2016 and are already a top request from large brand advertisers. With the decline of Flash set to accelerate (Google Chrome will completely disable it in quarter four), and the introduction of VPAID 2.0 as a HTML5 replacement for Flash, the issue with designing for Flash to take advantage of VPAID features is becoming less of an problem. This means agencies can now design once and deploy across devices, an important move as Flash inventory continues to disappear.

To build a sustainable, healthy industry, forward-thinking players are taking the steps necessary to adopt VPAID. It’s crucial that more ad tech companies follow suit to build trust with advertisers, as they venture into emerging areas, like in-app video. It’s the direction users are gravitating towards, with apps offering an enhanced and often faster experience, and proving stickier thanks to alerts or notifications. Like they have from desktop to mobile, ad dollars are poised to follow eyeballs into apps en masse in 2016.

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