SAN FRANCISCO/LONDON: Within a couple of years almost all mobile digital display ads will be purchased programmatically, but few marketers have a real understanding of the technology and the key factors involved.

In a WARC Best Practice paper, How to understand and leverage mobile programmatic, Maggie Mesa, Vice President of Mobile Business Development at OpenX, explains the central elements of mobile programmatic and the rules marketers must follow to make the most of it.

“First and foremost,” she advises, “it’s essential for marketers to understand the singularities of mobile and how to incorporate those distinct elements into strategies specific to the medium.”

That means, for example, ditching some approaches, such as the use of cookies, that have worked on PCs: planning where data will be sourced and how ads will be targeted is crucial to manage strategic efficacy, says Mesa.

Beyond that there are many challenges to be aware of, including what constitutes viewability – advertisers must communicate with publishers to gain an understanding of the true viewability of their ads and which measures they are using – and the dangers of relying on last-click attribution to understand effectiveness.

The benefits of programmatic buying in general include efficient audience segmentation and data-driven media buying, but in the context of mobile it also allows real-time, location-based targeting that enables marketers to reach consumers when they are in the best place, and mindset, to receive messages positively.

However, getting a handle on what mobile programmatic is and what it can do is only part of the job marketers face. They also need to choose their technology partner carefully.

The perfect partner, Mesa suggests, will not only take stringent preventative measures against fraud, such as screening impressions before they enter an exchange, but also offer a transparent view of where ads will be placed to ensure brand safety via ongoing campaign optimisation and measurement.

And having done all that, they will then have to address new possibilities, as the advanced behavioural tracking, targeting, and location-based capabilities of apps are acknowledged and exploited in the near future.

“Emerging formats will also gain traction,” Mesa adds, “especially those that leverage new technology, such as augmented reality, and are built to be mobile-first while promising higher engagement.

“In order to scale, these new formats will eventually be transacted programmatically.”

Sourced from WARC