Mobile Programmatic: Brand Builder or Brand Buster?

Three Things Advertisers Should Know Before Jumping Into Mobile Programmatic

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The still nascent mobile programmatic space has the power to be the most efficient brand builder -- or the most effective brand buster.

Being on the right side of that divide will not be easy for brands. Mobile phones are all but an appendage for most consumers at this point. They are part of us in ways that TVs or computers could never be -- a dynamic that represents immense opportunity, and risk, for advertisers. The phone is an intimate device -- neither a computer sitting on a desk at the office or a tablet left in the car. It goes everywhere with consumers, who are very protective of their time and experience interacting with the device.

As a result, marketers are placing their bets. According to eMarketer, mobile programmatic display ad spending will account for over 60% of total U.S. programmatic display ad spending this year. Yet, for many marketers, this is largely uncharted territory.

To make sure those dollars don't go to waste, here are three key facts advertisers should know before they jump into mobile programmatic. There's no silver bullet, but understanding these concepts will go a long way toward ensuring that all the dollars that advertisers are diverting to this burgeoning channel ultimately build, rather than bust, their brands.

1. Mobile data goes from valuable to useless in minutes. A fundamental axiom of programmatic advertising is that data needs to be aggregated, processed and acted upon as quickly as possible. Send a discount for a pizza within minutes to a hungry user, and you're a welcome visitor who adds value to their experience. Send the same ad even 20 minutes later -- when the purchase has been made elsewhere and your products or services are no longer needed -- and you're an uninvited intruder. Through geolocation, beacon, recent payment and search data, mobile is the most effective channel to act accurately and quickly to capitalize on the first few minutes of consumer activity -- when it's most valuable. Mobile is programmatic on steroids.

2. Efficiency is not the enemy of creativity. With publishers increasingly making premium inventory accessible over the exchanges, the opportunity for advertisers to merge the power of mobile data with the impact of rich creative can be a game-changer. That said, brands must proceed with caution. In a recent study from Millward Brown, consumers reported that they received video ads delivered on their smartphone more negatively than on tablets, computers, on-demand TV or live TV. Essentially, before the ad is even served up, it's perceived negatively. As a result, the recent fervor about ad blocking may actually be a good thing for all parties; it forces brands to develop the sort of creative content that users will not want to block. In mobile, as in life, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

3. Weave in "dark social." The vast majority of social sharing occurs in private communication (emails, instant messages, texts, etc.) that often is beyond the grasp of marketers -- thus the term "dark" social. This data is incredibly powerful -- friends share content with one another based on an intimate knowledge of what matters most to those close to them. Integrating these valuable insights into your broader mobile campaign will make your efforts exponentially more targeted and impactful.

Bringing all of these elements into your mobile strategy will go a long way toward making sure that every dollar works in your favor -- not only in the short-term world of programmatic, but in the long-term health of your brand.

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