mobile automation

Automation + mobile native advertising: a match made in heaven

Q&A with Mari Kim Novak, CMO, Rubicon Project and Anne Frisbie, VP and GM Global Alliances, InMobi

Marketers say that among the main reasons they don’t spend more money on mobile is that the formats available to them are too limited. They also say it is too hard to buy mobile audiences at scale — despite the fact that there are 1.75 Billion global smartphone users on the planet right now.

Meanwhile, the advertising formats available to Marketers today are more flexible, creative, and transferable across screens than ever. Consider native ads, the “advertorial” units which — like Twitter’s Promoted Tweets and Facebook’s Promoted Posts — mirror the organic look and feel of a given mobile app, site, or service.

Some 70% of Ad agencies say they are very likely or somewhat likely to buy native ad units, and 81% of Marketers say they are looking to use native ads to increase audience engagement and promote brand visibility. Meanwhile, three quarters of US publishers say they are already offering them on desktop with great engagement.

While in Cannes for Cannes Lions, I sat down with our new partner Anne Frisbie of InMobi to dig a little deeper into the automated mobile-native opportunity:

MKN: Why are Marketers so excited about native advertising?

AF: Native advertising units are integrated, organic experiences that drive unprecedented consumer engagement.  In fact, research on native advertising overall shows that:

Consumers are 25% more likely to look at a native ad, and they look at them 53% more frequently. They check-out native ads 4.1 times per session on average, versus 2.7 times for banners.

Consumers also spend 40% more time interacting with native ads, and are more likely to share a native ad with others (32% vs. 19%) and showed 18% more purchase intent after viewing them.

For example, a native campaign from GE resulted in 416,000 click-throughs — a CTR of 8%. A native campaign from by Mini Cooper resulted in a 33% brand lift.

MKN: Why is it that you feel mobile specifically is suited to native advertising?

AF: Given the limitations on screen size and the engrossing nature of mobile apps, native ad units prove both less disruptive and more engaging to consumers.

In fact, native units have been found to drive 14% consumer engagement rates in mobile. They are also proving to be by far the best performers among all rich media ads, with expansion rates of 1.84% and engagement rate at 18% — more than 2 times higher that of standard ads.

MKN: What kind of performance did you see in your initial beta testing of the InMobi Exchange?

AF: In our initial beta testing for the InMobi Exchange, they netted five times the yield of standard ad units for Publishers and four-and-one-half times the ROI for Marketers.

That’s why we were eager to work with Rubicon Project to power the InMobi Exchange. When you bring the speed, reach and efficiency of automation together with the performance and engagement of native advertising, you bring an entirely new and scalable creative opportunity to Marketers everywhere.

By solving the issue of scale, and making it easy to create compelling native units unique to your mobile property, automated mobile native unlocks value for buyers, sellers, and consumers alike.

AF: Let me ask you a question, Mari Kim. How do you think the Programmatic Advertising industry will see this new storytelling opportunity?

MKN: Contrary to what you might expect, the growth of automation in advertising and the increasing influence of “Math Men” is something that is entirely complementary to creativity and storytelling – the cornerstones of our industry.

The first years of automated advertising were largely based on direct response, data-driven campaigns and standard banners. We are now seeing rapid change as publishers and agencies alike look for ways to improve the efficiency of their media trading efforts to include richer, high impact formats, native advertising and more engaging executions.

The industry is now looking at what can be done to automate the entire advertising stack. Much of the movement is around recent forecasts showing programmatic ballooning from a few hundred million to more than $9BN in the U.S. alone by 2018. The ability to deliver rich, interactive ad formats is a critical prerequisite for this growth.

AF: So you see the programmatic advertising industry embracing the opportunity in mobile native as part of the larger movement to automation?

MKN: Absolutely. And — just for a frame of reference on mobile — 68% of the mobile display budget has already moved to automated advertising ($1.4 Billion in US in 2013).

In our daily interactions and conversations with customers, it is clear that Marketers are eager to bring automation to all creative formats and all screens.

American Express is gravitating more towards programmatic buying with the company stating that the bulk of their advertising buys would be automated. And AdAge reported that Procter & Gamble wants to buy 70% to 75% of its U.S. digital media programmatically by the end of this year.

Automation promises to reignite mobile advertising as a whole, and — when combined with native units — deliver on the long-awaited “Year of Mobile.”

See Mari Kim Novak, CMO of Rubicon Project at #AWXI as she participates in the star-studded WIRED CMOs panel, 9/30 at noon, NASDAQ.


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