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Publishers should not be intimidated by mobile advertising

June 7, 2012

Matt Young is senior manager of mobile business development at BrightRoll

Matt Young is senior manager of mobile business development at BrightRoll

By Matt Young

According to a recent report from Forrester Research, 1 billion consumers are projected to have smartphones by 2016.

For publishers, this presents an unprecedented opportunity to reach their readers, viewers, listeners or gamers across digital platforms. However, since mobile is a relatively new medium, figuring out how to successfully manage and monetize ad inventory can be challenging.

It is easy to get bogged down with the influx of information about mobile technology. Here are a few simple dos and don’ts to start publishers off on the right foot when developing a mobile strategy:

• Do make sure your applications and mobile Web sites are built to support a variety of ad placements and formats. Monetize more areas of your content with different ad placement opportunities for advertisers including full screen interstitial ads.

Consider using a mix of display ads and much higher paying video ads. Keep in mind you do not need video content in your app or on your mobile Web site to run video ads.

You can run video ads as interstitials on app load or in between sections or game levels of your apps or mobile Web site. However, if your apps or mobile Web sites do have video content, make sure your mobile video player can accept a video ad serving template (VAST) tag.

• Do choose your networks wisely. Many publishers are currently working with a lot of different networks to fill their ad space. However, in the mobile space the vast majority of fill and revenue will come from less than five networks.

Ask yourself, how big is their sales force and how savvy is their technology? Do they have the ability to run both mobile and online ad campaigns from the same platform? How is their customer service? Take the time to fully evaluate the quality of your options.

• Do consider blocking ad content that may be inappropriate for your users. The decision to block certain ad content depends completely on the publisher and varies from company to company.

For example, an app geared toward young children will probably want to block specific categories of inappropriate ads, such as alcohol or risqué content. Keep in mind that extensive block lists will hurt your demand.

• Don’t forget about the mediation layer. Consider working with a mobile ad server or a mediation layer that supports video if you have tens of millions of video impressions each month, direct-sold campaigns or if you do not have the resources to build your own mediation layer.

Mediation layers manage the connection between publishers and ad networks, enabling publishers to connect to multiple networks and manage how they allocate their ads in their app or on their mobile Web site.

Before choosing a mediation layer, research its technology, the networks it works with and their level of client service.

• Don’t overlook the user experience. Evaluate how often your mobile Web site or app is hitting a user with ads. How frequently a user sees an ad while accessing articles or playing a game is completely dependent on the publisher and is flexible.

Be smart about where and how often ads appear by planning every placement and using frequency capping, or how often a unique user views an ad.

When using video interstitials, find the natural breaking points within your apps or mobile Web site where the user is moving to a new page or up levels within a game.

Also, consider running ad units that do not include having the “close” option appear as soon as the video plays, since most people will close it.

Removing the close button or having the close button pop up 5-10 seconds after the ad starts will give viewers time to become engaged with the ad and makes them less likely to skip it, resulting in higher view to completion metrics and eCPM.

MOBILE ADVERTISING does not have to be an intricate maze of tedious details for publishers. Following these simple tips will empower publishers to earn maximum revenue and keep their users happy.

Matt Young is senior manager of mobile business development at BrightRoll, San Francisco. Reach him at

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