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The Mobile-First Perspective: A mobile ad ecosystem for all

by on November 30, 2013 in Advertising, Apps, Apps & Software, Ecommerce, Email Marketing, FaceBook, Gadgets, Google, iPhone, Lead story, LinkedIn, Metrics, Mobile, Mobile Marketing, Mobile/Tablet, Online Advertising, Online Video, Pinterest, Research, Retail, Retail News, Small Business, Twitter

Carrie Coffee, who is VP Sales at Mojiva, Inc writes ...  Mobile Advertising is scaling. Some would say we are there. Most would say there are key limitations that are holding back budget, and therefore making it challenging to see the ecosystem thrive. One perspective to argue is that mobile ad technology has yet to scale to the level needed for the ecosystem to generate real revenue.

Mojiva, Inc, a leading global advertising display company with two successful brands – Mojiva and Mocean Mobile. Mojiva, the mobile ad network, reaches more monthly mobile devices than any other network. Mocean Mobile, the mobile ad-serving platform, powers mobile revenue opportunities for publishers, developers, app stores, brand marketers, and ad agency trading desks by giving them the ability to serve display ads to all mobile devices including smartphones and tablets.

David Macaulay’s book, “The Way Things Work,” imparts that one should pursue a deeper understanding of what’s really going on behind the scenes. Innovation cannot be driven without knowing the ‘why’ and the ‘how’. Mobile advertising will not be successful without truly understanding the core of the technology that can drive the industry to scale. Fortunately there are some intelligent folks pursuing this quest who will shepherd us into this next phase of growth.

There are already plenty solutions available. We have found ways to track, ways to target, and the means to provide solid evidence that mobile ads are effective. However the ecosystem has yet to fully connect these parts and therefore fragmentation exists. This has created more frustration among the supply and demand players in the space. We see what we want, but we can’t have it at the scale we need.

Taking a look at this by category provides a better sense of what’s holding us back from maximizing opportunity in this ecosystem.

App vs. Mobile Web

Does it still matter? Is one winning? Traffic to apps and mobile web is arguably still pretty even. That said, when it comes to advertising the media experience is drastically different from one environment to the next. There are limitations when you evaluate a creative execution, targeting technology, tracking technology, and want to do it in one format. Just ask ad operations specialists. The format for advertising can vary from one environment to the next, so it’s important to ensure that proper expectations have been set with clients, partners and vendors. This may appear to be seamless, but true mobile ad serving technology adapts for this.

Tablet vs. Smartphone

Technically speaking, there is little difference when serving into a tablet versus a smartphone. The operating systems are consistent so that while there still might be a need to build different sites and apps for the two different devices, from an ad tech and ad ecosystem perspective, there won’t be much of a difference from the build and serve of smartphones. Android is Android and iOS is iOS. User behavior, however, is different on both a smartphone and a tablet. It’s important to consider tablet strategy separate from smartphone messaging.

The biggest disconnect with tablet is the question of “Is it a mobile screen or is it a PC extension?” The answer has to be mobile due to the technical backbone of the tablet. Some marketers are diving into tablet headfirst even before mobile because of the creativity the canvas enables.

Audience vs. Context

The mobile device is personal. Therefore, we must think beyond the standard audience and contextual targeting methodologies that of online. In mobile, we can find an audience in one environment, and track them in another environment that is relevant to them. Some decide an audience by where they go at certain times of day; others by what they purchase, where and when. The key is to be open, willing to try different approaches, and be surprised by what the target audience is doing on their mobile device. It may be different than their online behavior.

While these technologies are effective when implemented correctly, ad tech is still preventing scale. Integrating these third party technologies requires an ad server that is truly mobile. Ask questions and discover which ad server the publisher or network has chosen to use. When evaluating the various vendors, understand which ad servers they are certified with. This will tell you how far you can scale to your target.

The Inventory

Premium inventory continues to become more premium. When we desire to have the front page, with rich media and advanced targeting, we run out. There is a price to pay for this inventory. There are tons of impressions that still go unsold or sold at a very low price. In order to connect them, we must know more about the user and have auto-optimization tools in the ecosystem.

What about programmatic? It is and will be the conversation for years to come. Some might say that it’s already here in mobile. This is where technology must enable the nodes of the industry to start making things work. Networks and publishers need a bidder, and we all must begin to automate the process of transacting. When creative and targeting technologies can truly scale through the mobile ad server, with the ability to track and optimize, there is effective programmatic in mobile. The premium supply must be able to take the long tail demand without switching to a different platform. As a marketer, you should be able to buy an impression at the best price you can get for the exact need that you have.


Finally, and most importantly, the ecosystem will not thrive without acceptable measurement. The ad technologies that will win will be built through a cookie-free approach. Today we have alternatives, but their scale and validity is often questionable. We must obtain approval on these alternative methods of tracking and measurement and adopt it fully. Without a universal measurement method, we will never prove the value of mobile advertising.

The bottom line: it’s getting complicated, but it’s also a whole lot more exciting than where we were a couple of years ago talking about CTR and CPC vs. CPM on a run of channel basis. It got us to where we are today, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Ask questions, know the way things work, and don’t be afraid to test and learn. Decide what you want the ecosystem to look like for your property or your brand. Technology is present and enabling us to thrive.

Carrie Coffee is currently the VP National Sales at Mojiva where she and her team partner with marketers and their agencies to create mobile advertising programs that scale to audiences across the Mojiva network.

Carrie has been a part of the mobile advertising community since 2006 and has worked with advertisers to realize their potential with mobile search, SMS, mobile display, mobile rich media and video technologies. She has worked with brands such as Toyota, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures, Microsoft, HP, P&G, Levi’s and more to introduce and enhance their mobile marketing experiences for consumers.

Carrie was recognized in 2010 as one of Mobile Marketers ‘2011 Mobile Women to Watch’. Prior to her tenure at Mojiva, Carrie was a Mobile Specialist at Microsoft Advertising in LA where she successfully launched the first branded mobile application for Microsoft Windows Phone with Saatchi Saatchi LA and Toyota. In addition to her contributions to the mobile community with Microsoft, she worked for 4INFO in San Mateo, CA and Medio in Seattle, WA.

She began her career in advertising and her passion for the digital media space with HL2 and Real Networks in Seattle, WA. Carrie has a BA in Communications from the University of Washington in Seattle and now resides in New York


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