Much of Mobile Inventory is Still Unmeasurable When it Comes to Viewability


Nick Reid

As mobile video advertising moves out of the mobile silo to become part of the cross-screen world, the need to address mobile viewability – often something of an industry blind-spot – has become increasingly pressing. TubeMogul have recently launched their own solution and here Nick Reid, MD for UK at TubeMogul, discusses the differences between mobile and deskop viewability and how standardisation across screens will help boost mobile spend further still.

Does mobile video advertising present different challenges to desktop video advertising?  How do viewability rates compare between the two?

The biggest challenge to mobile video advertising as opposed to desktop is the lack of standardised measurement. The MRC only issued interim guidance in May of this year, recommending that 50 percent of the video pixels must be in-view for at least two consecutive seconds. While there has been some adoption of mobile viewability measurement technologies, other highly viewable mobile inventory from top-tier publishers remains unmeasurable. At present, mobile viewability rates are significantly higher than desktop, however, desktop is trending higher long-term. Despite the higher overall rates, advertisers are still unsure about putting money into mobile because of the lack of measurability for some inventory.

TubeMogul recently launched a viewability product and joined the list of vendors now deploying their own in-house solutions. How do advertisers know which ones they can trust? 

TubeMogul aren’t competing with other solutions and always take an open approach in terms of third-party measurement and verification. We are integrated with IAS and other leading companies to measure mobile viewability. This is about expanding the pool of what’s measurable — previously, there was a segment of mostly premium, broadcast-quality inventory where measurement wasn’t measurable for viewability. Additionally, the fact that we are an independent DSP that doesn’t own any media means that we have no advantage in doing any misleading reporting. Our goal is to ensure that our clients secure the best viewability from the widest range of inventory sources possible.

Are certain video formats safer than others when it comes to viewability?

The best option for advertisers is in-app where the bulk of time is spent by users. In-app video ads largely default to full-screen, ensuring higher engagement and more eyeballs. Viewers don’t have an option to scroll away from the ad or tab away, meaning that they are more likely to watch the ad to completion. Whether or not they enjoy the ad is – however – subject to the power of the creative and relevancy (as it always will be).

Many publishers are concerned that spending on mobile video advertising isn’t necessarily keeping up with the audience migration to mobile. Do you think it’s just a question of advertisers needing to move with the times, or is mobile advertising simply less attractive to advertisers?

TubeMogul are seeing a large shift to mobile. Mobile spend through our software increased over 50 percent from Q1 to Q2 of 2015. Collectively, spend across non-desktop pre-roll formats (linear TV, connected TV, smartphones and tablets) represented about 20 percent of the total ad spend on our platform in Q2, making them our fastest-growing formats. 

Challenges remain in mobile, but the gap between time spent and spend is rapidly closing if it hasn’t already (in the U.S., eMarketer projects that it will this year).


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