Mobile Marketing February 2019 Edition

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ISSUE 31 FEB 2019


IT’S ALL ABOUT TRANSPARENCY Dynata’s Christian Dubreuil on the art, and value, of accurate media measurement based on robust data




What does the rise and rise of voice mean for advertisers?

Will Rich Communication Services be the end of apps?

All you need to know about the new star of social media

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TIKTOK 101 Tara Ellis, strategist at digital creative agency Waste, takes a closer look at the next big thing in social


SPEAKING UP Hello and welcome to the latest print edition of Mobile Marketing. 2018 was a challenging year for many in the mobile and wider digital marketing industries, with issues around ad fraud, brand safety, ad blocking and data privacy keeping executives awake at night, not to mention GDPR. But alongside the problems, there are also opportunities. On p6, Tyrone Stewart explores one of these, voice, looking at the options for brands as the world falls in love with smart speakers and other voicecontrolled personal assistants. Then, on p41, Tim Green lifts the lid on the world of Rich Communication Services (RCS). Someone once asked me to describe RCS in five words. I said: “An app in a message”. But some people think RCS could be the death of apps, so in Tim’s piece, he explores this hypothesis to see how much truth there is in it. Elsewhere, we look at the rise and fall – and rise again – of Blippar. In our cover story on p12, research firm Dynata looks at the art, and importance, of accurate measurement. And, starting on p17, we have a 24-page supplement dedicated to programmatic advertising. As ever, enjoy the issue! David Murphy Editorial Director

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TTyrone Stewart looks at the rise and rise of voice


BACK FROM THE DEAD The rise and fall, and rise again, of Blippar




Join us as we take a deep dive into the world of programmatic in this special supplement


THE NEW MEASUREMENT Dynata’s Christian Dubreuil on the art of accurate measurement

Tim Green looks at Rich Communication Services and the threat they pose to apps – could they one day kill the app ecosystem?


GROWING YOUR APP BUSINESS Moburst’s Lior Eldan offers advice on driving app downloads





We look at Dynata’s work with PHD Global

Smadex’s Jordi de los Pinos on building a mobile-first app marketing platform





Adjust CEO Paul H. Müller on the company’s new weapon in the fight against ad fraud

Tamoco’s Daniel Angel on what location can do for app marketers

Forrester analyst Brigitte Majewski considers the impact regulation could have on Facebook’s ability to innovate



Editorial director: David Murphy – +44 (0)7976 927062 Managing director: John Owen – +44 (0)7769 674824 Commercial director: James McGowan – Reporter: Tyrone Stewart – Marketing manager: Trish Pencarska – Design: Konstruct Studios Ltd – Contributors: Tara Ellis, Adam Kaplan, Tim Green, Brigitte Majewski Print: Monster Media Management – Photo credits: Cover and pp12–13: Graham Fudger Mobile Marketing is published by Masterclassing Ltd., 57–61 Charterhouse Street, London, EC1M 6HA





Tara Ellis, strategist at digital creative agency Waste, takes a closer look at the social platform that has come from nowhere but looks set to be the next big thing


nless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably caught wind of a new app called TikTok that’s captured the imagination of content creators around the world. In 2018, TikTok was the one of the most downloaded apps in the world, boasting 680m monthly active users (MAUs). That makes it bigger than Snapchat and Twitter, and we know you’ve heard of them.


What’s really interesting about TikTok is the audience: 60 per cent of the app’s users are Gen Z – true digital natives born since c.1997, who’ve only ever known a web-powered, mobile-first world. They’re drawn to the 15-second bursts of creative content, (a perfect fit for their short attention spans) and the unique tools on offer to make their own videos.


Here at Waste, we’ve been working with our friends at Supercell to explore the potential of this app for engaging the mobile gaming community. (Watch this space.) In the meantime – after countless hours playing around with TikTok – here are a few things we think you should know:


Unlike Instagram, where most users filter their world to seem picture perfect, TikTok encourages users to “make social fun again”, with a community where the raw, real and bizarre comes out. Want to show your fans that you can sing and dance underwater while dressed like a banana? Then TikTok is your goto. It’s good to be weird. Weird is real.

and ‘Comments’, through unique new features. The ‘Duet’ option allows users to occupy a split screen with any original video, a celeb, a random or even with themselves. These ‘Duets’ often result in users mirroring an original piece of content – which can be mesmerising! ‘Reacts’, on the other hand, encourage users to respond to original content in a little superimposed video screen, mirroring the way most YouTubers respond to other videos. Smart.

Unlike its spiritual predecessor Vine, people using TikTok don’t need to have a genius idea before they go onto the platform. Rather, with the thousands of backing tracks, filters, stickers and editing options available, the content inspiration is endless. Although this results in a lot of both poor- and high-quality content, it does force celebs and influencers to create genuinely original videos to cut through. #TumbleweedChallenge from Jimmy Fallon is a hoot.




TikTok has made it extremely simple for users to engage with other content beyond ‘Likes’

Sure, our Instagram feeds are inundated with cute images of dogs and cats – but they’re all

For a digital generation who’ve been exposed to everyone else from day one, the idea of becoming an internet sensation is a massive incentive (and potential career), and you can see this passionate drive just by scrolling down the app’s home page. TikTok has noticed how far its users will go to create content and have inserted warnings into some backing tracks. (Essentially the new version of ‘don’t try this at home’.)


beginning to look the same, aren’t they? (Has anyone else experienced beagle blindness?) Well, tapping into the Gen Z and Millennial trend for having pets over having children, TikTok has created filters just for cats and dogs, allowing animal owners to humanise their furry friends. This is obviously adorable but also… who knew poodles suited glasses so well?

IT FEELS LIKE AN ALL-GIRL SLUMBER PARTY The top four TikTok influencers are young women under 20, and they have over 20m followers each. 70 per cent of the app’s user base is female, and the majority of the videos you’ll encounter feature 16-year-olds in their PJs singing along to their favourite songs. Keep looking though, and there’s incredible creativity to be discovered too.

users to film predefined content in their own creative way. They create a collective experience, the ability to be unique within the crowd. Funny thing is, when we spoke to Gen Zers about Instagram last year, they told us they found hashtags deeply uncool, but over here, they’re the catalyst for creativity, and they’re bleeding back into other channels. #LevelUpChallenge is worth a look.



Unlike Vine, which arguably died because talented users had to shift their content into other channels to find an audience, TikTok is putting user-generated content front and centre in every aspect of its marketing. It is also pushing ahead with a regular cycle of community-driven updates and creative tools, and keeping the #challenges fresh and rewarding too.

On TikTok, ‘hashtag challenges’ make up a large portion of the content. They’re community-driven tasks that encourage

If you hadn’t heard of TikTok before, you have now, and you can’t afford to ignore it any longer.





SPEAKING UP Speaking to devices and instructing them to complete tasks may not be a completely new phenomenon, but the last year or so has seen the use of voice explode. It’s become a legitimate avenue we’re exploring to make our lives easier. Why is this the case? Tyrone Stewart investigates




he last year or so has seen the way we search for things change dramatically – with voice rapidly becoming the primary way that we find information online. Research from comScore suggests that 50 per cent of all searches will be conducted using voice by 2020, while Gartner estimates that around 30 per cent of all searches will be done without a screen by the same year. Moreover, the adoption of voice assistants and smart speakers is moving at a pace quicker than the adoption of smartphones and tablets – further

evidence that consumers are embracing the technology and of the opportunity this presents for marketers to reach them. “I see this as the beginning of a new phase of the internet: an internet where voice is the key interface,” says Professor Steven Van Belleghem, an expert in customer focus in the digital world, and author of Customers The Day After Tomorrow. “Future growth of voice in the short run will be based on new language capabilities and relevant applications. It’s a bit like with our mobile phone. When the iPhone came out, we mainly used it for communication and funny gimmicks. Today, the iPhone is part of our daily lives. Usage of voice today is also centred on some basic applications and gimmicks; 10 years from now, it will be part of our day-to-day lives.”

DO AS I SAY The main driving forces behind the rapid uptake of voice are the convenience it offers and the relatively low cost of the technology. Consumers are now using voice as a utility and looking to make their lives easier by doing so. Older consumers are turning to AIpowered devices and features because of this ease of use, while the younger generations are embracing the technology in the way that younger people tend to do with all revolutionary tech. “Ease of use is the biggest thing. Let’s face it, who wants to be – particularly on a mobile device – keying, if there’s an easier way of

doing this?” asks Jon Buss, managing director for Northern Europe at Yext. “It’s that whole convenience of being able to use voice. That’s how we’ve seen the adoption occur and the rate of change. It’s all about convenience. “There’s a very big percentage of users over the age of 45 using voice assistants. It’s that whole thing of if you’re in the home, do you really want to be keying in ‘What time does the Post Office open?’ or ‘What’s the temperature today?’ or ‘What’s on my schedule?’ It’s a lot easier using voice to do that. And then there’s the younger demographic, who are just embracing this as the norm.” At the same time, the fairly low cost of smart speakers and the fact that millions of people have access to voice assistants through their smartphones – whether that’s Google Assistant on Android devices, Siri on iPhones or Alexa through its dedicated app – makes the technology far more accessible than many inventions before it. “Another one of the reasons why there’s been such a high adoption, particularly of home speakers, has been this low cost of entry,” adds Buss. “They’ve brought the costs down and made them really easily accessible, because voice has been adopted as a utility thing.” One of the biggest names, if not the biggest name, making voice technology accessible is Amazon. Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant can be found in the company’s Echo devices, through







the Alexa app and in a huge number of other products, ranging from cars to microwaves.

which these technology platforms are pulling information from, is wrong.”

“Voice is the most natural and convenient user interface and can make the complex simple by removing a lot of barriers and friction. What we’ve found is that removing the tiniest amounts of friction from everyday activities improves our customers’ lives,” an Amazon spokesperson told us.

This poor data and the incorrect information being provided by digital assistants is purely down to the brands not placing the correct information on the internet for the technology to pick up on, according to Buss. And brands risk being “left behind” if they don’t have all of their information in check – whether that’s opening times and locations or more in-depth details such as product information or menu items.

“We’re in a golden age of machine learning and AI, and really at a tipping point for so many elements of the technology. As we evolve to a world of ambient computing — where we are surrounded at home, work and on the go by devices with internet connectivity and the ability to interact with cloud-based services via natural language understanding — our goal is to enable more natural interaction with all of these devices. But we’re not developing technology for technology’s sake; every move we make in this vein is to improve the experience for our customers and our partners.”

NOT BEING HEARD Despite the rapidly increasing number of people embracing voice technology, it seems that many consumers don’t trust the information being provided to them by AI assistants. Research conducted by Yext showed that 70 per cent of voice search users are yet to act on the information they’ve been provided, while 52 per cent of them check multiple online sources to confirm what they’ve been told. “This is the big thing. There’s this disconnect at the moment,” says Buss. “You’ve got all these people adopting these intelligent services, home speakers and voice, but they don’t have confidence. And the reason they don’t have confidence is because the underlying data,


I’M LISTENING NOW Though consumers are still uncertain about how far they can trust digital assistants, the adoption rate of the technology and the continued increased use of voice search shows that the opportunity that exists for brand marketers is a significant one. Furthermore, as machine learning continues to improve, it will become easier for both voice and text-based bots to “adapt to the user” and become a bespoke assistant for each individual, according to Sharon Dickie, commercial director at Waracle, a mobile app developer. “That is the direction voice technology is moving towards, and one of the reasons why companies could benefit from starting to familiarise themselves with it,” she says. “As voice assistants become more human-like and improve their ability to adapt to the user’s needs and behaviours – and learn from them – they start to gain more and more popularity within the contexts in which this technology is especially required: at home, while in the car and in all those situations in which the users cannot use their phone, or they’re busy doing something else, but need to access information or perform a certain task online.”

From an advertiser perspective, the good news is that voice ads coming through a device can’t be ad-blocked or skipped, meaning marketers can be sure their message is being received. The down side of this became evident last March, however, when Google experienced a backlash for inserting an ad promoting the new Beauty and the Beast movie into its Daily Briefing. But, as voice assistants continue to be normalised, it’s safe to say that consumers will become more receptive to ads coming from them. And, at the end of the day, people don’t complain about the ads on the radio or podcasts. “The role of voice in marketing continues to grow and evolve as the associated technology becomes smarter and more intuitive,” says Tom Deering, creative strategist at Teads Studio. “The huge increase in the use of AI personal assistants such as those produced by Amazon and Google means that users are quickly becoming comfortable with the notion of device interaction – and in turn, the ad experience – becoming more conversational.” A company that has been at the forefront of the voice revolution is UK radio group Global. Through its digital audio ad platform, DAX, it teamed up with the British Heart Foundation, a UK charity, to launch a campaign targeting Amazon Echo devices with a message to encourage users to install the charity’s new skill. This skill enables people to arrange the collection of donated furniture and electrical items via Alexa. Global’s audio ad platform also linked up with Virgin Trains to encourage Alexa users to buy tickets using a single voice transaction when the train operator began selling tickets through Alexa last year.


“We’ve always recognised the power of sound, being home to the UK’s most loved radio brands. With the rise in streaming audio, including radio, music and podcasts, we saw opportunities for brands, and so we launched DAX, to connect advertisers with millions of people worldwide listening to digital audio content,” says Ollie Deane, director of commercial digital at Global. “Mass adoption of smart speakers worldwide has made it increasingly important for advertisers to consider how their brand sounds. In response, most companies have now made their sonic branding a much bigger part of their marketing strategies,” Deane continues. “While sonic branding is not a new concept, if, as comScore predicts, 50 per cent of all searches will be done by voice by 2020, the sound of a brand has never been more important. As voice search becomes a larger part of our routines at home and in our cars, screenless devices will be a major gateway to the internet, and

brands that have a distinct sonic identity will be the most successful.”

THE VOICES ARE EVERYWHERE Looking ahead, it’s very likely that voice will continue to roll along at this rapid pace throughout this year and beyond. And you can expect to see the big players, like Amazon and Google, continue to find new ways to revolutionise the voice space. “This is only going to continue to grow at a phenomenal rate,” says Yext’s Buss. “The more users who adopt the technology, the more people that talk about it, the more people who try it, the more success they get – because clearly with skills and apps and better data and better utilities, we’re adopting this more and more. This isn’t going away, this is going to continue growing at this rate.” At the same time, we can expect tech companies to look towards ways of making

advertising on voice a truly viable option for brands, while we see an increase in marketing to machines. “Marketing people are experts in influencing the buying behaviour of humans,” says Professor Van Belleghem. “The more algorithms are involved in decision making, the more marketing to machines will increase in importance. This will fundamentally change branding and purchasing.” The opportunity that voice presents is clear – whether that’s through advertising or just a brand making sure that all the information about it is correct and in-depth, to ensure it is returned at the top of voice search results. Voice, powered by AI and machine learning, is transforming the way we live and shows no signs of slowing down for anybody or anything. At the very least, the tech companies certainly won’t be slowing down anyway.






BACK FROM THE DEAD Adam Kaplan, CEO and co-founder of Edgybees, considers what the rise, fall and resurrection of Blippar means for the future of AR

B 10

lippar’s collapse in December 2018 marked the capstone to a year replete with shifts and shutdowns in the AR space. Buyers acquired 31 AR-focused startups last year, according to Crunchbase. But in light of Blippar’s rapid resurrection, it’s not so much the past as the future that’s sparking the most buzz.

AR company, created for the sole purpose of mobile entertainment, might well be dubbed a unicorn, but would struggle for longevity, in the absence of real solutions that serve a larger social or economic purpose, whether that be rectifying basic inefficiencies or alleviating human suffering.

Among the biggest questions to emerge from Blippar’s eyebrow-raising revival in January: is the consumer play enough for an AR company to succeed in 2019? As recently as December, the very question seemed unnecessary. Blippar’s burnout underscored that a consumer-driven

This hardly counts as breaking news. Other consumer-focused AR companies, including Dreambit, have encountered the same headwinds that seemed to have swept Blippar away. Facebook’s acquisition of Dreambit illustrated the shift from pure consumer plays


to commercial applications. Tech giants like Facebook know that AR’s true value lies in the commercial space – whether it’s applied to advertising, defence, manufacturing or any of the countless other industries looking to capitalise on the technology. This trend is perhaps most salient in healthcare, where AR’s literally life-saving benefits are being brought to bear. A growing number of AR-driven healthtech companies have burst onto the scene in recent years, enabling doctors and patients to simulate organ functions, aiding the cognitive development and training of children with


FOR AR COMPANIES, STAYING WITHIN THE COMFORT ZONE OF GAMING CONSOLES AND B2C MODELS WILL ULTIMATELY ONLY CREATE PROBLEMS autism, and modelling tumours. Notably, some of the most prevalent AR solutions were initially purely consumer-oriented, including Google Glass, which largely flopped as a consumer product but has gained popularity among doctors as a means of generating realtime, accurate medical records, allowing for higher-quality doctor/patient interactions. Given more and more companies’ pivot to enterprise solutions – and coming on the heels of Blippar’s widely-publicised collapse – many observers were some combination of surprised, impressed and confused when Candy Ventures breathed new life into the company in January, acquiring its IP assets and announcing plans for a new and improved

Blippar. The big new idea? An AR platform targeting – in Candy Ventures’ words – “everybody”. Unfazed by its very recent history, Blippar seems set to go all in on B2C.


Take the $480m contract which the US Army recently awarded to Microsoft for the use of the company’s HoloLens AR headsets. The big money is going towards use cases designed to equip entities with what Microsoft calls “more and better information to make decisions”.

Sticking to a consumer-focused strategy is a dubious gamble in the current climate, with much more money being funnelled into commercial use. According to a research report from Markets and Markets, the global AR market is slated to reach $61.4bn (£47.3bn) by 2023. If recent deals and strategic pivots are any indication, the vast bulk of that money will be directed to solutions geared towards improving organisations’ operations, generating new efficiencies and promoting public welfare.

Across industries, end users are sending clear signals that they crave AR solutions. But for AR companies, staying within the comfort zone of gaming consoles and B2C models will ultimately only create problems. To unlock the technology’s transformative potential, AR companies should realise that doing well for themselves begins with doing well for others, be they clinicians, military generals or marketing chiefs.

Google Glass may have failed as a consumer offering, but it lives on in the industrial world





THE NEW MEASUREMENT Christian Dubreuil, MD EMEA, ad and audience at Dynata, explains how rigorous measurement, based on extensive data sets, can help marketers in their quest for transparency and provable return on investment


crutiny around the return on investment (ROI) from advertising has never been higher. With investment in online spend continuing to grow and channel diversification resulting from the proliferation of online, marketers and advertisers need to be able to validate their spend and truly understand the impact it has had on KPIs, as the calls for transparency continue to grow. Traditionally, online media is measured using impressions and clicks, which has worked for many years. However, the publicity around the Association of National Advertisers study into pervasive, non-transparent business practices in the media-buying ecosystem, as well as international publications from McKinsey, Ebiquity and Accenture on the subject, made online advertisers more aware of the need to find a transparent measurement strategy which gives real insight into the business impact of spend.


These traditional measurement tactics only tell part of the story and can lead to ineffective evaluation of campaigns and inefficient allocation of budget.

Marketers and advertisers can leverage this high-quality data to identify their audience and assess the impact of their campaigns on that target audience to prove ROI.



Businesses are constantly looking to find better, more effective ways of working that keep up with new technologies. Viewability, cross-device measurement and audience validation all deliver real value in terms of actionable insights against KPIs. The foundation of all these metrics and insights is quality, reliable data.

Using innovative technology to identify exposed consumers, dropping tags into digital ads and cookies onto opted-in consumers, as well as tracking mobile IDs, Dynata provides a true advertising feedback loop, which enables marketers and advertisers to use our firstparty data for targeting, to validate the reach of campaigns, identify non-human traffic, provide brand safety and measure viewability, as well as quantify the uplift of the campaign across each media channel and device.

With access to first-party data from real consumers, marketers are able to dig deeper than impressions and clicks to understand the true impact of their campaign on their intended target audience. Dynata’s extensive array of data, which is available on a single platform, enables programmatic access to the industry’s most deeply profiled data. The combination of permissioned data with an independent platform gives marketers singular assurances of trustworthy, transparent, accurate and unbiased results for better marketing optimisation and ROI, whether in terms of audience validation or viewability. With a reach that encompasses 60m people globally and a library of over 2,700 profile attributes collected directly from individuals through survey data – the largest data set of its kind — users can benefit from a trustworthy data resource that is designed and actively managed to deliver a variety of advantages.

Ultimately, these new measurements put the metrics that are important to each individual marketer at the heart of the analysis, whether it is engagement, brand awareness, purchase intent or another KPI – that is what quality first-party data allows you to measure. Technology is driving the advertising industry forward, and marketers and advertisers who don’t want to get left behind need to adopt these true measurement standards to stay relevant. It’s never been more important to demonstrate the impact of advertising on the wider business, and looking beyond traditional measurement tactics will help marketing and advertising achieve their goals, optimise their spend and realise the ROI of their investment.


A WORD ON OUR REBRAND Research Now SSI is now Dynata. The new brand speaks to the company’s unique value proposition: Dynata offers one of the world’s largest collections of first-party data, contributed by people – consumers and business professionals – who opt in to participate in surveys and market research. The current opinions, reactions and data that they provide are critical to

organisations’ decision-making, particularly to business investment in marketing services spanning from product development and brand tracking to advertising. The new brand reflects the company’s strategy to provide precise, accurate data, based on real people across the marketing spectrum, from research to advertising, to achieve new

standards of marketing performance, and to close the learning and knowledge loop across marketing disciplines. Dynata understands that marketers have evolved beyond big data and are now seeking reliable, connected information that will give them game-changing insights, more relevant engagement with their customers and prospects, and significant competitive advantage.





We look at Dynata’s work on measuring campaign success with PHD Global Business, helping the agency to maximise the effectiveness of their client’s marketing spend




ynata has been a key partner for PHD over the past 12 months, helping the company to evaluate the effectiveness of a top client’s advertising campaign across Europe. Dynata used its unique Cross-Media Measurement methodology, which incorporates validating audience reach, viewability, the tagging of all online ad exposures and capturing the offline exposures through opportunities to see (OTS) surveys.

long, and monitor key brand metrics such as recommendation and consideration. As a result of the partnership with Dynata, PHD and its client were able to demonstrate campaign success on key KPIs. The analysis showed programmatic to be one of the top-performing channels. This channel was optimised during the campaign, delivering a 9 per cent cost saving for the business.

This single-source, cross-media approach allowed PHD to measure the impact of the campaign at both a total and an individual channel level. PHD and its client, a wellknown tech company, were able to access detailed analysis through a bespoke dashboard for all channels used in the campaign, including programmatic.

The campaign gave the client a new perspective on the opportunities of programmatic in its cross-media campaigns. The results against key KPIs and the optimised budget have led to further investment in this channel for 2019 planning. This insight would not have been possible without the new approach to cross-media campaign measurement that the project delivered.

The dashboard allowed PHD to optimise the online campaign in-flight, understand the total reach of the campaign, determine how much of the campaign was in-view and for how

Ultimately, measuring the campaign performance and impact at a channel level helped PHD’s client to make even better marketing decisions and, in return, they are one happy client!





CLICK VALIDATION Paul H. Müller, co-founder and CTO at mobile measurement and fraud prevention company Adjust, explains why every click needs an impression and how the company’s new standard delivers against this ideal



hile ad fraud is one of the most discussed topics in mobile these days, it’s Adjust that has led the charge to fight it, with industry-leading measures that stop fraud before it reaches campaign budgets – rather than detecting it after the funds have gone. Click Validation is Adjust’s new standard in the fight against fraud, taking the next logical step in cleaning up our industry and protecting our clients. Our system works thanks to one simple rule: for every click, there must be an impression.​

THE STATUS QUO Common sense dictates that users can only click on ads if they’ve actually been served them and have seen them. However, ad channels are free to claim the click for an ad without telling attribution partners about any prior impressions. This creates a real issue where fraudulent clicks are delivered which could otherwise be validated with impression data. Our clients are often stunned to learn that many partners won’t provide us with proof that an ad was delivered before a user clicks on it. This is heightened by the fact that network partners must, for their own systems to work, track impressions and ad delivery anyway. The technology to share this crucial data with attribution partners already exists, but it isn’t shared with us. With Adjust’s new standard for Click Validation, we require ad partners to share this data with us, so we can answer a very simple question: was there a matching


impression for a click? With this data, we can end several pervasive forms of fraud for good.

THE NUMBERS DON’T ADD UP To give some perspective: Adjust receives over 1bn clicks per day. This is an incredible amount of activity. However, this figure doesn’t include major self-attributing networks, and only represents Adjust’s share of the market. Given that it’s clicks that we’re looking at, there are simply not enough people on earth to actually produce this number of legitimate engagements.

RAISING THE BAR With Click Validation, we’re able to filter through this number immediately, and we’re able to deliver accurate data to our customers. Our approach allows us to confirm whether a click is logically possible, as we’re able to check if there is a matching impression within a reasonable timeframe made by the same device. This seemingly trivial requirement dramatically increases the workload for fraudsters: given a normal click-through rate of 1 per cent, an attacker would have to create 100 times more data to spoof properly, which makes click spamming much more expensive and easier to spot. Click injection is rendered impossible to perform, as an attacker could not generate any previous impressions. And while there are still some ways to steal attribution and spoof engagements, the cost of doing so will increase significantly. It’s just common sense, and it’s at the heart of our new system: for every click, there must be an impression.


I n d u s t r y I n s i d e r s Ta k e A L o o k A t T h e Y e a r A h e a d

The Most Inclusive Conversation in Digital Trading




elcome to this special edition of The Programmatic Handbook. You only need to look at some of the numbers you’ll find over the following pages to see why there’s so much excitement in the industry right now.

An estimated 82.5 per cent of US digital display ads will be bought programmatically in 2018, rising to 86.2 per cent by 2020. Globally, 55 per cent of digital advertising is now traded programmatically. But the numbers don’t always tell the whole story, so over the following pages of this sponsored supplement, you’ll find some of the leading lights in the programmatic business tackling some of the key issues facing the industry head on. From Celtra, we have a call for higher-quality programmatic ads, plus advice on how to scale across millions of devices. Nexd takes a deep dive into the issues surrounding rich media in programmatic, and how they can be overcome. For Rezonence, 2018 has been about building a platform to enable it to trade engagement programmatically, while Rubicon Project celebrates the success, and growth, of mobile video. Oath turns the spotlight on machine learning, offering advice on what to look for in your DSP’s machine learning systems, while Seedtag calls for more creativity in programmatic, and Fyber shares the results of a survey of brands and agencies to gauge attitudes towards in-app advertising. To round off our in-depth exploration of the topic, Ryan Skeggs, general manager of, looks at how programmatic is playing out in the sports business. We hope you enjoy this edition of The Programmatic Handbook.

David Murphy Editorial Director

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SCALING CREATIVITY, REIMAGINING PROGRAMMATIC Celtra’s Nick Fitzsimmons explains how to scale big brand ideas across mobile programmatic, while his colleague Andrew Slater calls for a new quality standard

MACHINE LEARNING 101 Oath’s Lewis Sherlock offers advice on what to look for when assessing the merits of competing DSPs’ machine learning platforms

CHARTING IN-APP ADVERTISING Fyber’s Welby Chen reveals the results of a comprehensive survey gauging brand and agency attitudes to in-app advertising

WHY WE BUILT AN ENGAGEMENT EXCHANGE Prash Naidu of Rezonence explains why the company created a platform enabling engagements, rather than impressions, to be traded programmatically, and how it works

PERFECT PARTNERS Rubicon Project’s Steve Wing explains why mobile and video work so well together

MAKING RICH MEDIA SING Nexd’s Alex Rahaman considers some of the issues around rich media in programmatic, and offers advice on how to overcome them

CREATIVITY PLEASE Seedtag’s Dal Gill calls for more creativity in programmatic

BACK OF THE NET’s Ryan Skeggs offers a sporting industry slant on programmatic




SCALING CREATIVITY CROSS-PLATFORM Nick Fitzsimmons, director, sales solutions at Celtra, explains how to scale big brand ideas across millions of tiny digital channels


s marketers continue to find more and more channels through which they can communicate with consumers, a creative challenge increasingly presents itself: how do you translate a big brand idea into dozens of tiny digital channels? In the ‘olden days’, you might have engaged with your creative and media agencies to come up with a big advertising idea, and then purchased a few premium placements – say TV and a newspaper or magazine ad – to reach a wide target audience. The creative output from your agencies was a few static assets that may have included a TV spot and a fit-for-purpose design for the campaign. Nowadays, marketers are tasked with taking these static assets and translating them across a variety of digital formats, sizes and devices. They have to reimagine what that big advertising idea looks like in a meaningful, contextualised way across all platforms, at scale.

MARKETERS HAVE TO REIMAGINE WHAT THAT BIG ADVERTISING IDEA LOOKS LIKE IN A MEANINGFUL, CONTEXTUALISED WAY ACROSS ALL PLATFORMS, AT SCALE” Scaling creative should be simple. But the perception that intelligent, personalised creative is not scalable has persisted, often compounded by the tedious requirements that today’s media plans can bring. Activities like adding media partners and


channels across various types of inventory typically require so much creative adaptation that brands rely on a ‘one creative fits all’ approach that leads to ineffective, static, one-dimensional creative in every placement across platforms. Today’s consumers expect to be able to engage with brands on the channels and devices they’re already using every day. Whether it’s mobile or tablet, Facebook or Twitter, marketers need to ensure that they are compelling action with relevant creative using tactics such as precision marketing, without losing the brand’s big idea. As the most adopted creative management platform (CMP) across the enterprise, Celtra has helped hundreds of brands and media partners scale their big ideas without compromising the quality of creative. Over the years we’ve learned that the first step forward is to incorporate the following three priorities into your digital marketing plan: 1. Strategy – Bring your media and creative teams closer together, earlier. Gone are the days when creative and media strategy could be accomplished in silos. Whether you’re embarking on new in-housing initiatives or leveraging external agencies, to achieve meaningful scale, it’s imperative that we unify the big creative idea, media plan and data, during initial strategy planning. 2. Process – Streamline the end-to-end creative process for digital advertising. This starts by clearly defining the creative process as an efficient workflow with clear roles, responsibilities and timelines. Defining the process will ensure that everyone can work together to deliver on the strategy, while realising operational and cost efficiencies. 3. Execution – Select a technology partner that supports the execution of both your strategy and process with creative management capabilities. A CMP enables brands and media partners to manage the entire creative life cycle of digital


advertising – improving advertising effectiveness while reducing operational costs. The right CMP will support: •

The entire life cycle of your digital creative, not just the building. From strategy to reporting, your CMP should empower you to build, manage and measure the success of your digital advertising from one central platform.

Enterprise creative management workflows. Your CMP should help you to break down silos, enabling all contributors in the creative life cycle to collaborate, with purpose-built tools and flexible workflows that align with your creative process.

Your future personalisation initiatives. While your focus today may be building the foundation required to scale the big idea across channels, tomorrow it will likely be dynamic creative optimisation (DCO). It’s important to select a partner that understands why precision marketing matters and who is investing in the future, including automated versioning and creative adaptation (to the extent that it is possible without Don Draper’s involvement).

By prioritising strategy, process and execution in your digital marketing plan, you will be better prepared to take those big ideas and scale them to create better experiences for consumers who, in turn, will have better experiences with brands.



Andrew Slater, vice president, media partnerships at Celtra, says it’s time to set a new quality standard for programmatic advertising

t seems like everywhere you turn in the advertising industry, people are talking about programmatic. And for good reason. The numbers are worth talking about. An estimated 82.5 per cent of US digital display ads will be bought programmatically in 2018, according to eMarketer’s 2018 programmatic forecast. That’s more than $46bn (£36.2bn). And that’s about $10bn more than in 2017. That same forecast shows that by 2020, 86.2 per cent of US digital display ads will be bought programmatically. That’s a spend of more than $65bn. Over the last 10 years, as more than 60 per cent of the US digital advertising market has moved to Facebook and Google, publishers have continued to open more and more inventory up to programmatic channels in order to capture as much of the remaining 40 per cent of ad spend as possible. As open auctions became more prevalent in the industry, the onslaught of banners with seemingly zero targeting or contextual relevance became commonplace. So while this push to programmatic brought efficiency and reach for publishers and brands alike, it introduced a couple of major challenges for publishers and publisher sell-side platforms: ad quality control and commoditisation of valuable inventory. But this is where Celtra believes the game can be changed. It’s time to reimagine what programmatic advertising looks like across digital and bring life back to advertising.

PREMIUM ADVERTISING EXPERIENCES If programmatic is the new standard in today’s digital advertising, we have an obligation to create premium advertising experiences for consumers within programmatic environments. We should no longer see standard banner placements as the norm. It’s time to open our eyes to much bigger and more innovative programmatic strategies and create captivating experiences that will reach people. And creative is at the centre of this, of course. We know that an advertiser has less time than ever to reach a consumer in a creative way and take market share back. This means it’s even more important to combine the benefits of programmatic (think efficiency and reach) with quality creative advertising experiences. In a study Celtra carried out with Digiday in 2015 on the State of the Industry, we found that 92 per cent of marketers said creative messaging is more important than ever, even within digital display ads. So imagine that number going into 2019. Out with the basic JPEG, in with the technology-enabled premium placements. We believe that beautiful and innovative creative can be delivered in a programmatic way, without losing any of its impactful messaging – ultimately unlocking better monetisation of what was once a commoditised spot on the page. Every advertiser is in the user experience business, and creating quality programmatic experiences for consumers will be a huge step forward for the consumer and the industry as a whole.






Lewis Sherlock, head of demand platforms, international at Verizon Media Group/Oath, explains what to look for in your DSP’s machine learning systems





ight now, every major DSP is talking about machine learning. Marketers are looking at machine learning as a way to make smarter buys and exceed campaign expectations. Machine learning can dynamically deliver relevant brand messages to the right people, in the right context and at the right moment. So in an industry where everyone is vying to tell their story as to how and why their machine learning is better or different, it is hard to determine how to cut through the marketing to investigate exactly how machine learning can benefit a marketer. Here are four key questions to consider when evaluating how a DSP is using machine learning.

HOW ACCURATE AND DIVERSE ARE THE DATA POINTS? In a DSP, machine learning effectiveness is all about the data. Highly accurate data points and a diversity of data sources – whether it be email, search, apps, user registration, content consumption or others – are what make the engine run. And it shouldn’t come only from audience data, as is common in the RTB world. Instead, a DSP should also leverage deep-site segmentation data from both supply and demand. Only with a large amount of accurate and diverse data can a DSP create the best view of an advertiser’s most relevant audiences and reach them. Fortunately, in the last year, data accuracy and diversity questions have become focus areas for marketers. 84 per cent of marketers say data accuracy is a critical concern, according to a recent Lotame study.

WHERE AND HOW IS MACHINE LEARNING USED? In assessing DSPs and their use of machine learning, it’s important to understand the areas and functions where it’s deployed. Every DSP does things differently. One might use machine learning in campaign optimisation and forecasting. Others might use it in their modelling of predictive audiences, where deep learning using neural networks analyses and scores relevant data sets to predict an audience’s probability to perform a specific action. And others do both. We are also using machine learning to build a recommendation planning engine into the DSP (powered by AdLearn) and enhancing our forecasting tool. Foundational machine learning use cases in a DSP can include:

Performance Prediction – Estimate the KPI rates (CTR, CVR, IVR etc.) per impression.

Control System – Maximise ROI while meeting pacing and performance constraints by computing campaign-level bid adjustments.

Forecasting – Predict properties of a campaign’s price– volume curve, which is then used to turbo-charge the control system to maximise efficiency.

Bidding – Combine performance predictions and information from the forecasting system to enable optimal bidding.

Given its complexity, it’s important for marketers to understand how machine learning is activated across a DSP. By demystifying use cases and gaining clarity, they can make smarter decisions and more targeted plans.

HOW FLEXIBLE IS THE SYSTEM? How flexible are the DSP’s machine learning capabilities? Flexibility is key, because it speaks to the quality of the technology. For example, can the system optimise bidding for both first-price and second-price auction dynamics? Keep in mind, bidding for first-price inventory demands flexibility. It requires sophisticated prediction and forecasting of competing bids. Also, can the machine learning system optimise to brand, performance and multi-level goals? The rubric here can vary dramatically. For these reasons, a DSP with malleable machine learning capabilities is increasingly important today.

IS EVERYTHING WORKING TOGETHER? It’s not enough for a DSP to feature the right algorithms. It needs the right algorithms that are working together. There are standard machine learning algorithms out there which any DSP can leverage, but what really makes a machine learning engine stand apart is the ability to work in concert with other customised proprietary algorithms. This enables it to determine the best strategy and optimal bidding tactics to deliver against campaign goals. There must be connective tissue among systems so they can collaborate, learn from a campaign and create better performance. Believe it or not, many DSPs fail to deliver here. Every DSP features machine learning technology today, but each one has different capabilities and degrees of sophistication. For advertisers to understand the best tools for their purposes, they need to ask questions and determine from the answers whether that DSP meets their needs. These four use cases are a good place to start and will help them move beyond the buzzwords.







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CHARTING IN-APP ADVERTISING To gauge attitudes towards in-app advertising, Fyber conducted a survey of brands and agencies. Here, Welby Chen, Fyber’s president and chief business officer, looks at the results. The survey was first published on the Fyber Blog. View the complete survey results at


hy don’t brands and media agencies increase ad spend through in-app advertising and mobile games? That’s the million-dollar – or rather, billiondollar – question everyone in the mobile app industry wants answered. Despite countless reports from top market research firms, all of which are forecasting mobile ad spend to surpass other media channels such as TV, the collective mobile app industry, including mobile gaming, hasn’t felt the effects.

Rather than panic, maybe patience is all the mobile app industry needs to hear. “Advertising in games is in the first inning of opportunity,” wrote Activision Blizzard president and CEO Bobby Kotick and chairman of the board Brian Kelly in the company’s 2017 annual report. For those unfamiliar with baseball, Kotick and Kelly were making an analogy between the slow-moving nature of a baseball game and the state of in-app advertising in mobile games. To truly understand why brand ad spend isn’t flowing into in-app as much as expected, we surveyed brand advertisers and agency media planners from the US, UK, Germany and France, gathering over 500 responses, to find out what they think about advertising in-app and in mobile games. What follows are the top five highlights from the survey as well as a complete list of our findings.



SURVEY HIGHLIGHT 1: BUY, BUY, BUY Brand advertisers are increasingly aware of the exceptional growth of app usage and greater campaign success, which is requiring in-app to get the spending it deserves. Over twothirds (68 per cent) of brand advertisers primarily use in-app ads to build brand awareness and 52 per cent have used in-app ads to generate sales. This is why 77 per cent of brand advertisers surveyed have asked their agency to start buying in-app. But brand advertisers need to move fast to win this newly accessible premium inventory.

SURVEY HIGHLIGHT 2: THE VALUE OF IN-APP ADVERTISING According to brand advertisers, in-app ads can improve ROI by an average of 41 per cent. While in-app is already competitive and prices for premium inventory are high, there is still plenty of inventory that is under-monetised, and the fact that fewer brand buyers focus on mobile app advertising gives early movers the opportunity to win more premium inventory for lower prices.

SURVEY HIGHLIGHT 3: REACH YOUR TARGETED AUDIENCE The top benefit for agency media planners of in-app advertising is better user engagement (32 per cent), while the greatest gain for brand advertisers is targeting capabilities (27 per cent). Because apps can collect first-party data with a user’s consent, app publishers use advanced audience filters to send buyers the exact impressions they are looking for, making it easier for advertisers to reach their targeted audience segment.

SURVEY HIGHLIGHT 4: ENGAGEMENT, SCALE AND REACH. OH MY! A user’s attention may seem impenetrable when they are trying to raise their score, conquer the world, manage resources or complete a mission, but user engagement is stronger in mobile games, according to 51 per cent of brand advertisers surveyed. Another reason to invest in mobile gaming, according to 49 per cent of respondents, is scale and reach.

SURVEY HIGHLIGHT 5: DON’T DELIVER AN AD, DELIVER AN EXPERIENCE When playable ads were introduced to the market, many wondered if they were merely a trend or would prove to be an effective way for app developers to acquire new users. Two years later, 28 per cent of agency media buyers surveyed said that playables were the most impactful for in-app advertising. Rewarded video came in a close second, with 26 per cent of media buyers surveyed considering it to be the most effective in-app ad format.





ENGAGEMENT EXCHANGE Prash Naidu, CEO and founder of Rezonence, explains how and why the company built a platform enabling engagements, as opposed to impressions, to be traded programmatically





efore we answer the question in the title of the article, let’s run through a brief history of why we chose engagement as the currency for human attention. Advertising is essentially a transaction for a person’s attention; a media owner captures attention, which is then sold on to the advertiser. In the pre-digital era, it was impossible to precisely quantify how much attention was captured, and therefore a multitude of methods were invented as a proxy for measuring human attention.

However, even with the advent of the digital age, human attention is still transacted in a manner that is essentially no different to how print or billboard space is transacted – on an impression basis. Even if we can now work out whether the banner was in view and on the screen, we can’t determine if somebody actually saw the ad and, most importantly, paid attention – which is what the advertiser is really after. Engagement, by definition, means that the user engaged with the ad, and if the engagement is well constructed, it also means that the user paid attention. This simple fact means that we can finally use engagement to transact human attention in a precise and attributable manner.


It’s great if you have a commodity that people want to buy, but it’s not much use if you can’t sell it into the marketplace in a manner that they want. This is the position we found ourselves in; we had a great product, but the market was increasingly moving towards programmatic trading – and programmatic systems that were available in the market only effectively operated on a CPM (cost per thousand) basis. We therefore had a choice to make: go programmatic but transact on a CPM basis, or stay in an IO world, because trading on a CPE (cost per engagement) basis was more important to us. Neither option was satisfactory; we wanted to be able to trade on a CPE basis programmatically. So we decided to back our ability and give ourselves a challenge – to build a programmatic engagement exchange.

CPM-TO-CPE CONVERTER The problem we faced was that most DSPs in the market could only transact on a CPM basis and we couldn’t ask our clients to change their DSP purely on our account. We therefore had to find a way to deliver CPE through a CPM platform. To achieve this, we built what we call M2E – a CPMto-CPE converter – meaning we can now set up a PMP with any DSP. For example: If we’ve agreed a 20p CPE and £1,000 is spent on a CPM basis, our system will ensure you get 5,000 engagements, thus backing out to the agreed 20p CPE; the floor price of the PMP is set to an arbitrary amount.

The benefits of being able to do so are immense, not just for advertisers, but for publishers and readers too. Engagementbased advertising can lead to higher revenues for publishers, but only if their content is of sufficient quality to generate an engagement from the user. This has a beneficial impact on the whole ecosystem, because high-quality content will derive more revenue, while poor-quality content will be starved of revenue. This will put an end to the proliferation of clickbait and fake news, while funding quality journalism. Furthermore, engagement-based advertising is more impactful than simple banners, which means fewer impressions are required, ultimately leading to users getting a less ad-cluttered web experience.

This has been a hugely important step in our development, meaning that we can continue to trade in engagement as the currency of human attention – but at scale, and most importantly, with the simplicity that the market demanded.

We designed FreeWall® to capture human attention in a clear and well-defined manner: a user is deemed to have engaged when they answer a simple quiz or survey. Since the reader has to pay attention to answer the question, we know that an engagement has captured the required amount of human attention.

So as programmatic continues to gather steam, we hope to see more and more of you trading through our engagement exchange. You’ll benefit from the clear advantages of trading in human engagement – while at the same benefiting the whole ecosystem.

It took about six months of hard work and many iterations, but we were eventually successful. Now, nearly a year after going live, we’re glad to report that our clients are increasingly buying FreeWall® programmatically on an engagement basis.




PERFECT PARTNERS Steve Wing, managing director of UK, Ireland and Nordics at Rubicon Project, says mobile video is driving global ad spend


ideo and mobile have hit a milestone. For the first time, the two have collectively won more programmatic ad dollars than desktop and banner ads this year. The explosion of mobile video consumption has undoubtedly contributed to this benchmark. More people are watching video content on their mobile devices, and more marketers are opting for mobile placements over desktop in media buying.

Smartphones have made watching digital video more accessible than ever before, and eyeballs are turning away from computers and traditional television and refocusing on mobile screens. According to Statista, the number of monthly active smartphone users in the UK will reach 53.96m individuals by 2022. Recent reports from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK and PwC indicate that smartphone video is the fastest-growing advertising format. Last year, 45 per cent of all digital ad spend went on smartphones, compared to a mere 9 per cent five years ago. Meanwhile, the way audiences are consuming content is changing significantly. Viewers are now watching digital video on their smartphone screens in social media platforms and increasingly in gaming apps. Each day, 500m people watch video on Facebook, and worldwide, people watch 1bn hours of YouTube per day. According to Bloomberg, more than 25 per


cent of UK smartphone users are on Snapchat, and its ‘User Stories’ fuel 10bn video views daily. Audiences are also now toggling between platforms as they consume content: a viewer may start watching a film at home on their Apple TV and then switch over to their iPhone screen on their daily train commute. Be it over-the-top (OTT) long-form content, or short-form video on social channels, more audiences are consuming video across multiple digital devices – including television and movies. This move away from linear TV towards digital video is driven by users. By 2022, 204m people will watch connected TV at least once a month in the US alone. With OTT devices, there’s a lower barrier of entry for viewers to access premium entertainment, and the ease and accessibility of an OTT device like Roku offers an appealing alternative to traditional cable. There’s the expression ‘content is king’, and linear TV juggernauts must now compete with the competitive content of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other subscription-based companies. Recently, Netflix revealed that close to 25 per cent of streaming globally happens over mobile networks, and in international markets like Finland, mobile consumption accounts for 75 per cent of total streaming. With more people watching video on mobile devices, media companies are now more open to programming for smaller screens. To optimise and propagate the video-buying ecosystem, collaborative efforts are being made across media companies in the UK. Even rival media companies have come together to offer video inventory through programmatic pipes via the Unruly platform. As TV has become smarter and more digitalised, the line between OTT and mobile video has consequently become more blurred. Millennials in the US aren’t just ‘cord-cutters’ – many are ‘cordnevers’ – and advertisers and media companies are changing


SMARTPHONES HAVE MADE WATCHING DIGITAL VIDEO MORE ACCESSIBLE THAN EVER BEFORE, AND EYEBALLS ARE TURNING AWAY FROM COMPUTERS AND TRADITIONAL TELEVISION AND REFOCUSING ON MOBILE SCREENS” how they buy and sell inventory to meet their heightened expectations. ‘Digital native’ audiences expect relevant ads that are unobtrusively integrated with premium content across screens and devices. As a result, the challenge for today’s media providers is to deliver and monetise high-quality, long-form content across devices with efficiency and scale. The pressure on media providers and marketers to deliver a seamless viewing experience will only continue to mount: 40 per cent of the world’s ad spend is expected to take place online in 2018, according to new forecasts from Zenith. As reported by the agency’s Online Video Forecasts, average daily digital video consumption will hit 101 minutes by 2020 in the UK alone. Cisco reports that by 2019, video traffic will account for 80 per cent of all consumer internet traffic. Meanwhile, digital video ad revenue in the UK is expected to grow by 21.7 per cent in 2018 compared to the previous year. This explosion of digital video, particularly mobile video, is reflected in Rubicon Project’s earnings reports. In the first half of this year, video was a significant growth driver for revenue at Rubicon Project, growing over 70 per cent on a year-over-year (YoY) basis, outpacing industry growth rates and growth share. On the buy side, DSPs and marketers are heavily focused on scaling video audiences – which accounts for the 105bn new video ad requests on Rubicon Project’s platform last year. Mobile is explicitly driving this growth: more than half of all video viewing now occurs on mobile devices, and that number is steadily rising. Meanwhile, the continued rise of programmatic is fuelling digital advertising growth on all fronts. Programmatic now

accounts for 55 per cent of global digital media buying, and is positioned to continue to soar. According to Magna’s Programmatic 2018 report, the global programmatic market will reach over €30bn (£26.7bn) this year and grow to €53bn by 2022. This growth is reflected in ad spend in our own earnings report, where video and audio continue to be our fastest-growing areas, generating significant market share gains. As shared in Rubicon Project’s Q3 earnings, ad spend increased 24 per cent YoY to €214.5m, driven by a 45 per cent increase in mobile ad spend and a 6 per cent increase in desktop spend. Of course, explosive growth has created its own set of challenges. These include ad fraud, poor ad experience and fragmentation. And while initiatives like Ads.txt are steps in the right direction, we still have work to do to prevent fraudulent activity and to optimise the user experience. With all of this change, a significant pain point for marketers is a dependence on multiple-point solutions. What’s needed now more than ever is consolidation: a comprehensive approach to buying and selling in a transparent, streamlined way across platforms and devices. Ultimately, there’s no denying that programmatic advertising is part of the future, and that future is being shaped by a hunger for mobile video content. Rubicon Project’s focus on transparency and inventory quality, along with our strong value proposition as a leading diversified independent exchange, uniquely positions us to help serve the increasing demand for programmatic advertising solutions across platforms.




MAKING RICH MEDIA SING NEXD CEO Alex Rahaman shines a light on some of the common issues with rich media in programmatic and how they can be overcome


oday, more than ever, advertisers are looking to deploy rich media ads for higher engagement and better performance, and to combine that with programmatic in order to reach the right consumers at the right price. This is understandable: rich media ads offer huge creative potential for advertisers. They look better than their static counterparts and, when used properly, can be far more engaging through storytelling or interactivity. Often, however, rich media and programmatic don’t work together as well as they could. So let’s consider some of the reasons why, and look at how to get around them.

LOAD TIMES Here’s the thing: all this creative potential (not to mention dollars spent) gets squandered if the rich media ads themselves don’t load in time. Web users, particularly on mobile, have little patience for anything that isn’t lightning-fast. They’re just going to move on and continue consuming all that delicious content.



WHY NOT GIVE YOURSELF THE EDGE, AND CONSUMERS A BETTER OVERALL EXPERIENCE, BY TAPPING INTO THE TECHNOLOGY THAT IS AT OUR DISPOSAL AS AN INDUSTRY, FOR A RICHER EXPERIENCE?” Poor load rates have become almost a ‘hidden tax’ on rich media ads in the programmatic space, because although the ads may be called and billed, the creative never gets a chance to appear on screen. We have heard from customers that heavy rich ads can mean that more than 30 per cent of paid ads never load before the audience moves on. So, what to do? Go back to static images? GIFs? Flash (RIP)? Well, no. First, we need to make rich media ads lighter and ensure they load faster. This means that the ad pack being delivered needs to be lightweight, sub-1MB, ideally. To accelerate the actual rendering of the ad, we can harness the power of the GPU (graphics processing unit), rather than the CPU. The GPU was designed with the express purpose of rendering graphics after all, so why not let it do exactly that?

We’re in an era of data-backed decision-making and digitalsavvy chief growth officers who care about marginal gains and conversion rate optimisation. They care about what small changes can, at scale, deliver massive results. Through improved analytics, we can empower those that care to really get down to the details of what’s working and what isn’t. For example, which specific element within a creative that contains multiple elements is driving dwell time or resulting in more clicks?



To put it bluntly, do you really think an ad that looks and feels like a corporate PowerPoint presentation from the mid-2000s is going to give your (or your client’s) brand the wow factor? In this day and age, when consumers are being practically bombarded with ads, standing out is more challenging than ever.

Many rich media ads are still traded as separate files that need to be uploaded to a programmatic platform, then trafficked. All’s well and good if you can be sure of 100 per cent perfection in all those zip files that need to be uploaded and managed. But it all starts becoming a major headache as soon as any changes need to be made to those ads.

Getting creative right is always about having the right strategy first, reaching the right audience with the right message, at the right time. But why not give yourself the edge, and consumers a better overall experience, by tapping into the technology that is at our disposal as an industry, for a richer experience?

Want to update a line of copy? Now, think of all the people in the production chain that need to get involved every time that, or any other, change needs to be made: designers, developers, project managers, media people. The list goes on. But by using a tag-based system, where the creatives themselves don’t need to be uploaded, but are pulled from an ad server, any necessary changes can be made without the headache of sharing multiple files across many different platforms. When using tags, you should always aim to work with a provider that offers a clear, well-structured tag, which has understandable elements like click trackers, for example. Too often, I’ve seen tags that seem to be needlessly complex and which leave open a little too much room for human error when working with them.

BETTER ANALYTICS Getting the very best from a rich media ad, programmatic or otherwise, often means testing and experimentation. But doing this reliably requires dependable, granular, easy-to-access analytical data. This is particularly the case with anything that offers interactivity. CTRs, engagement rates, VTR, viewability – it’s great to have these things, but they only really give you a kind of ‘macro’ view of what’s going on inside an ad. To really understand how audiences are interacting with ads, we need to be able to see what specific elements or assets within the creative drive interactions.

For example, modern smartphones are packed with all kinds of sensors that easily be tapped into (without needing to be creepy about it). Gyroscopes and accelerometers can allow consumers to interact with a rich media ad by moving their phone, giving the double benefit of a longer dwell time as they play around with it and a better experience for them because, when done right, it is fun.

WHAT IS NEXD DOING ABOUT THIS? NEXD offers a self-service, drag-and-drop ad builder that allows our customers to quickly build fast, lightweight, tag-based ads that offer rich analytics and engaging, playful interactivity. The ads themselves are based on WebGL, rather than HTML5. WebGL leverages the power of the GPU, resulting in ad packs that are 10 times lighter than HTML5 and render in a fraction of the time. Combined, this results in an average load rate of 95 per cent. WebGL also offers more scope for creativity, thanks to its extensive graphical capabilities. Interactive 3D objects that react smoothly to user input, shader and particle effects, and more, make it easy to create ads that really wow audiences, with engagement rates of 40 per cent. And for those interested in getting into the details of how their ads perform, we’ve made it super simple to access and analyse ultra-granular interaction data.



Beyond Managing Creative.

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Celtra makes it easy for marketers to improve the quality and relevancy of their digital advertising at scale.

Grow your brand with the #1 enterprise solution for global creative management.

A powerful enterprise solution built to help you gain creative control, drive better customer engagement and improve business outcomes.

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CREATIVITY PLEASE Dal Gill, global head of programmatic at seedtag, asks if the programmatic industry lacks creativity


ccording to Attitudes to Programmatic Advertising, a report released by the IAB in September 2018, digital advertising budgets keep growing, and for some advertisers it is becoming their biggest spend: 29 per cent of those surveyed said they had invested more than 61 per cent of their total budget in digital. In light of the above, there is a huge growth potential in programmatic, since it provides strategic competitive advantage on both the buy side and the sell side of the digital advertising industry. While some native advertising solutions can bring a breath of fresh air into programmatic by boosting creativity, the nonstandard nature of programmatic has prevented them from spreading themselves widely, and most agencies would rather stick to the classic formats they feel more comfortable with. Here’s what some programmatic experts think about creativity in programmatic buying: Sam Yu-Hsuan Lin, head of programmatic at Zenith, states: “Possibly due to resource constraint, we often see brands stick to the usual creative formats they are most familiar with. This might provide the best reach; however, brands might be missing out on opportunities that can best maximise the impact of their creative message.” Olumide Gomes programmatic director at MC&C, says: “The promise of programmatic and buying based on audiences was meant to bring us closer to 1:1 messaging and creativity; however, it seems to be heading the other way. Rather than creating ads based around a consumer’s experience with the brand and creative, it seems to be more about an obsession with looking for what is deemed good metrics. Ultimately, in


the front of every marketer’s mind should always be how their audience will be receiving their brand.” In the words of Shaaf Tauqeer, Cadreon campaign engineer: “Programmatic can be utilised to drive so much more creativity than we actually are at this moment. If utilised properly, the automated element (AI algorithms) associated with the tech provides us time to concentrate on developing interesting insights, and therefore more useful campaigns. From a trader’s perspective, time is everything, so if data is analysed properly we can look into building audience insights to generate dynamic campaigns which are specifically directed towards the users’ needs. What we are lacking is not the ability to use data correctly to build those insights and then use those data segments all the way to mould creatives that drive sales or engagements for a brand, which is the ultimate goal of any advertiser.” Fern Potter, Neo Media World UK managing partner, thinks that Dynamic Creative Optimisation (DCO) and other data-based technologies are a plaster for a lack of process around creative and media integration. Potter states: “Consideration of target audience, delivery platform and the audience’s consumption of said platform needs to be considered throughout the process of creative ideation, production and media distribution. Finally, measurement and success metrics for creative should be as robust and accountable as they are for media placement. A combined KPI delivers better accountability and a better consumer experience.”

WHY SEEDTAG IN-IMAGE PROGRAMMATIC? The planning and execution of programmatic ads are crying out for more innovation and creativity from their agency and publisher partners. This has led to the rise of ad tech companies, and their place in the ecosystem is more important than ever.


THERE IS NO POINT TALKING ABOUT AD FRAUD, BRAND SAFETY, BLOCKCHAIN AND AI IN 2019 IF THE END ADS ARE ALL GOING TO LOOK THE SAME AS THEY DID IN 2018” In-image display creative for the Renault Kadjar Spanish campaign, featured in

Seedtag was founded in 2014 with the mission to offer impactful, non-intrusive and compelling in-image solutions. Over the years, the company has evolved by developing its own technology, which provides a wealth of data used for accurate campaign delivery. My own view as global head of programmatic at seedtag is that too many programmatic ads lack creativity. We have got really good at the data targeting aspect and improving KPIs, but the same creatives are used by buyers across all publishers. First it was standard banners, then video, and not much has changed. There is no point talking about ad fraud, brand safety, blockchain and AI in 2019 if the end ads are all going to look the same as they did in 2018. Marketeers need new, innovative suggestions from their agencies. This may be a reason why many agency and publisher folk don’t make that jump into programmatic buying and selling, because, quite frankly, it is boring. You just need to look at the people in attendance at the numerous programmatic events throughout the year and you’ll see the same faces year after year. The industry needs a shake-up, with more creativity and innovation. Programmatic access to in-image inventory is of great importance to seedtag and all five disruptive video and display solutions are now available to be bought. This allows brands to be flexible in targeting their message to highly relevant users. Plus, our in-house design team have a wide expertise in their field after creating more than 3,000 campaigns, which have been delivered across both the European and the Latam markets.

TECHNOLOGY POWERING CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION Seedtag’s in-house Cognitive Content Analysis technology, combined with the power of machine learning, provides humanlike understanding of the content and an unmatched contextual targeting accuracy. It identifies thousands of features within text and images and provides three key targeting capabilities: Brand

Safety (analyses whether the article is safe or not for brands to display in their campaigns); Context Categories (provides different targeting categories so that brands can reach their audience in the most relevant environments); and Custom Categories (like Context Categories, but built upon strategic keywords provided by the brand). Once collected, seedtag leverages all this data to find the optimum campaign context and to shape creatives accordingly, maximising campaign impact.

FINAL THOUGHTS Native advertising is, by definition, non-standard. However, when selling these solutions programmatically, most suppliers have come up with ways to standardise creative components, so that they can be easily integrated into the programmatic buying ecosystem. The problem appears when standardisation kills creativity and makes every ad look the same. In order to avoid this, every player in the market should keep in mind the basics of creativity. Style, tone, copy and images should be designed according to the media placement where the ads are shown and, of course, the audience that will see them. For this purpose, the most powerful data and insights should be leveraged, right from the start. Boosting creativity will lead to better results and provide users with a positive brand experience.

Seedtag was founded in 2014 when two former Googlers saw great advertising potential in editorial images. In its first year, the company exceeded its break-even point, and in the second year, seedtag multiplied its turnover by a factor of five. 2018 was the year in which the company achieved its largest growth and international expansion, with offices in Spain, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Benelux, Mexico and Brazil.





018 was another amazing year in sport. There was a plethora of events offering advertisers opportunities to engage with fans, such as the Winter Olympics, the Fifa World Cup, the Ryder Cup, Wimbledon, the Masters and F1, to name a few. What we noticed as the year progressed was an increased appetite from our advertisers to buy event packages and execute utilising programmatic guarantee (PG) deals. To give some context, in 2017, 5–10 per cent of our inventory was bought via PG around events, versus 73 per cent of our event inventory shifting to PG in 2018. This demonstrated what we already knew: that sport is a fantastic area to work in. It has a highly engaged, emotive audience that advertisers can reach in a brand-safe environment. Add to that a rise in contextual targeting, which it’s my firm belief came about due to GDPR, and it’s clear that sport was – and will continue to be – a real winner.

A WHOLE NEW BALL GAME From an industry point of view, there were two marquee events that come around every four years which grabbed my interest in 2018. Both the Winter Olympics and the Fifa World Cup were broadcast via virtual reality (VR) for the first time. Modern sports fans were excited and salivating at the prospect of getting closer than ever before to the action, teams, stars and stats. Both events gave us a glimpse into the future fan experience and perhaps the advertising opportunities that could come about with this new viewing platform. VR has the potential to offer an unparalleled fan experience. However, it was evident this year that we are not quite ready to switch from screen-based 2D viewing just yet! With all its promises of being more immersive and offering unique viewing options, it didn’t quite live up to expectations. However, the various VR activations this year did give us fans and industry bods an inkling as to what we can expect in the future from this embryotic tech.

A NOVEL PROGRAMMATIC OFFERING? For VR and programmatic to work in live sport and on demand requires speed, scale, simplicity, data and technology. There is


Ryan Skeggs, general manager of GiveMeSport, reflects on the past year, and explains how programmatic and VR are offering advertisers new ways to engage with sports fans a major development which will assist with speed of delivery and of processing data: the introduction of 5G across 16 major UK cities in 2019. 5G will enable broadcasters to offer a minimum standard for speed, and to cover more camera angles, matches and players. This will reduce the lethargic viewing experiences we sometimes saw with both the Winter Olympics and the World Cup. To scale VR and drum up interest among advertisers, broadcasters and franchises need to ensure the experience is far superior to the 2D alternative. Advertisers must be hoping this nascent form of media consumption becomes more mainstream, as the potential to interact and engage with consumers will be taken to a whole new level. There are obvious programmatic media buys, such as CTV, which I can see slipping into VR seamlessly. What is really exciting is the raft of new potential programmatic executions. In the virtual world we could have the capability to sell programmatic placements from shirt sponsorship positions, advertising hoardings, camera views, social placements, clock, replay and seats – all of which could be bought via programmatic channels. We’d have the data and the scale across live events and on demand, the speed from 5G, the technology enhancements, and hopefully, with the latter, a simple execution model.

FROM GIMMICK TO GAME-CHANGER For all the excitement around VR, brands should approach this area with caution. Despite the investment, experimentation and buzz around this undoubtedly progressive tech, there are a few challenges blocking fan adoption. First, the accessibility of VR, which is mainly driven by price. Second the design: we all want to look good, but it’s hard with a lunchbox attached to your head. Last, the amount of quality content built for this platform and the network infrastructure to enable it are still limited. Having said all of this, it is my firm belief that VR in sport will move from being a gimmick to mainstream over the next three to five years. It is inevitable that the hardware for VR will become less clunky and more accessible, hopefully meaning there’ll be a new programmatic medium on the block. 2019 will be another highly anticipated year on and off the pitch, court or circuit. I, for one, can’t wait!


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Some experts believe RCS rich messaging could eventually replace the native app. Has anyone told the people who downloaded 113bn apps in 2018? Tim Green explores this existential mobile marketing question


f you’re a mobile marketer, chances are you’ve been to a conference session about RCS (Rich Communication Services). These events are everywhere. RCS is the ‘new new’ thing. And marketers are very interested in the tech, the rollout and the overall potential of rich media messaging. But have you ever actually received an RCS message? Probably not. In the UK, only

Vodafone supports the ‘next-gen SMS’ channel. Unsurprisingly, Apple doesn’t support it at all. And, let’s face it, mobile marketers are the kind of people who use iPhones. So RCS is – for now at least – classic ‘vapourware’. It’s something that might take off… at some point in the future… we’re not sure when. Still, uncertainty never stopped the hype cycle before. People are making big

claims for RCS. And one of the boldest is this: RCS will be the death of apps. The argument expounded is that RCS is rich media messaging. As such, it lets people send messages that include photos, videos, maps and more inside a chat session. This is great for end users – but potentially even better for enterprises. Think about what RCS could do for A2P (application-to-person) messaging. A brand

Uber has already run three RCS trials




could deliver all kinds of useful information to customers in a rich chat session. Add in vouchers and payment forms, and the proposition grows even more compelling. In fact, a brand could achieve in a chat session what was previously only possible when a person downloaded a native app. This gets to the core of that ‘death of apps’ argument. Here’s an example: Virgin Trains is running a service to provide journey information to London Euston-bound passengers. 10 minutes before arriving, Virgin sends an RCS update to customers, who can tap it to reveal an array of rich travel information. For the user, it’s similar to the ‘browse and click’ in-app experience. But it happens entirely inside a chat session – with no need to download anything. For RCS believers, this ‘no download’ factor is hugely significant. Nick Millward, VP Europe at messaging specialist mGage, says: “If we can get to the point where most people have a native RCS app on their phones, it will offer a simplified process of engaging. It will be so much easier than downloading an app. I think brands get that. They’re excited about the fact that RCS can be a universal channel.” And there’s another important RCS feature: it’s two-way. Unlike SMS, RCS can support conversation. A user can start a dialogue with an AI-powered bot – or a live human agent – entirely inside the chat session. This has the potential to transform customer care. That could work even for brands that already have popular native apps argues Željko Bak, program manager at message provider Infobip. “Take banking apps,” he says. “Most people use them, and they are great for things like checking a balance or sending a payment. But when you want to do something more complex, you generally need to have a conversation about it. You can’t really do this inside an app. So I can see banks using RCS sessions for these kinds of use cases.” Even those who don’t entirely buy in to the RCS hype agree with this argument. Paul Swaddle is co-founder of Pocket App, whose business is centred on native app development. He says: “There are obviously some very good use cases for RCS. If a brand wants to reschedule a delivery, for example, it would make perfect sense to send a rich message with all the options inside it. That would be a better choice than using plain SMS or expecting someone to download a native app.”



Similarly, there’s a strong case for using RCS to support one-off events. “Rich messaging could work very well for a charity like Red Nose Day, where it might be a push to get people to download an app,” says Nick Millward. “These types of charities typically use SMS at the moment. With RCS, they could use images and videos to improve donations, which they could offer by carrier billing inside the message session.” It sounds good. But, as Pocket App’s Swaddle makes clear, these are mostly hypothetical scenarios. “People talk about the ubiquity of RCS,” he says. “But it’s not ubiquitous. The mobile network operators (MNOs) don’t seem to be able to agree on a business model for it, which is why the rollout has been so patchy. Apple’s nonparticipation is a big barrier too, of course.” These are familiar arguments. And they are hard to refute – though the mobile operators’ trade body, the GSMA, does its best. It confidently predicts that 86 per cent of smartphones will be RCS-enabled by 2020. It says 65 operators had launched RCS in 46 countries by the end of 2018, with 40 more planned this year. Still, the scepticism remains. Doubters refer to the fact that the world’s MNOs first proposed RCS in 2007, and then spent many years failing to launch it. It took the participation of Google (which acquired and relaunched the underlying RCS tech in 2015) to reboot the whole process. Infobip’s Bak understands the reservations, but believes that, second time around, RCS will deliver. “I have worked inside those telcos,” he says. “I’ve seen the obstacles, and I honestly believe they don’t exist any more. The MNOs want this to happen. Yes, they could move faster, but I think they will get there in the end.” All this presupposes that people are tiring of apps, and the faff of downloading them. Is this true? Well, yes and no. On one level, the app economy has never been in such rude health. App market watcher App Annie says downloads across iOS and Google Play hit 113bn in 2018, up 10 per cent on 2017. People are spending more time than ever before using them, too. In 2018, the average smartphone user in the US spent nearly three hours each day in apps – 20 per cent more than in 2016.


I JUST THINK APPS CAN DELIVER A RICH BRAND EXPERIENCE THAT THE WEB AND RCS CAN’T MATCH On the flip side, people might be downloading more and more apps, but they only ever use a handful. App Annie reckons they use around 30 on a monthly basis, and just nine on a typical day. Self evidently, only a few brands can hope to make it into this select group. This, say RCS supporters, is where rich messaging can score. In short, it can give every brand a shot at engagement, not just those with huge existing audiences. This might explain why Cabify, a Mexican ride-sharing company, teamed up with Infobip and Google for an RCS experiment. Its service lets Cabify drivers send a video confirmation, a Google Map, a high-resolution photo of the car and a discount QR code inside an RCS message. They can also interact directly with the passenger in the session. Time will tell how successful this is, but there’s a strong argument that removing the ‘friction’ of the app download can make it easier for challengers like Cabify to compete with monolithic incumbents such as Uber. That said, even Uber is exploring the potential of RCS. It may have the advantage of millions of regular app users, but it has run three trials with Infobip. Bak says: “Uber might have a successful app, but it just wants to know what works best for its users. If it’s rich messaging, it needs to know that.”

Instant Apps. These let users click a link and run an app immediately with no need to download or even visit the Play Store. Instant Apps have yet to change the app world, but there are a growing family of them: New York Times Crossword, Red Bull TV and Skyscanner, to name three. Clearly, there are a lot to channels for brands to choose from. Ultimately, of course, they will follow their customers. Will that lead them towards RCS? It’s far too early to say. The questions around operator support, Apple participation and A2P pricing models have yet to be ironed out. But even when they are, the app habit will be hard to break. “I just think apps can deliver a rich brand experience that the web and RCS can’t match,” says Pocket App’s Swaddle. “It’s like books. There’s more to a book than its contents. There’s the cover and the paper stock and so on. History shows that new channels usually coexist with the old ones. Cinema didn’t kill theatre and TV didn’t kill cinema. In the end, I think there has to be a mix. Apps aren’t going away.”

Virgin Trains is the first company to use RCS messaging in the UK, to communicate with passengers at London’s Euston station

These experiments might make it sound as though there’s a binary choice for mobile marketers between expensive native apps and unproven RCS messaging – not so. There are still options such as QR codes and wallet. And in the last two years Google has rolled out two products designed to blur the line between web and app. First came progressive web apps (PWAs). These let users pin a URL to their home screen and open it in a browser. But PWAs comprise an ‘app shell’, so they behave more like native apps than websites. Then came Android





MISSING A TRICK Mobile Marketing Magazine talks to Daniel Angel, chief commercial officer at Tamoco, about the role that location can play in helping publishers to grow their apps


he app world is hugely competitive, and app developers of all shapes and sizes use every trick in the book both to drive new app downloads, and then to engage and re-engage their app users post install. Well, almost every trick, because according to Daniel Angel, chief commercial officer at Tamoco, there’s one tool that many app developers overlook: location. So how can location help the app developer? “There are a couple of ways,” says Angel. “If you look at engagement and retention, there’s a lot you can do to personalise the user experience, based on where they are right now, or the places they have previously visited, and the behaviours they have exhibited.” As a simple example of how this can work, Angel settles on a travel app, and a user in New York who visited the Empire State Building yesterday. “Based on the observed, anonymised behaviour of all the users of that app who have visited New York, we may know that there’s a high propensity for people who visit the Empire State Building to also visit the Museum of Modern Art, so the


app can put that forward as a suggestion,” he explains. “There are lots more subtle ways this can work, but this example serves to illustrate the point.” Another example is of a fashion brand that has an app and identifies that a user of that app is currently in one of its physical stores. “This could trigger a push notification to remind the app user that they were shopping in the app a few days ago and left a few items in an abandoned cart. Now they’re in store, why not complete the purchase and take them home today?”

UNDERSTANDING YOUR USERS Location is unique in that it can provide key insights into how users behave in the offline world. Understanding real-world user behaviour can have positive effects across the user life cycle. One example is when it comes to driving downloads. Overlaying existing user data such as usage or lifetime value with location-based behaviour can help to identify valuable user segments. Once understood, these segments can be used to identify the users that are more

valuable to your app business. For example, knowing that your highest-paying users tend to visit gyms. This knowledge can be used to encourage other gym users to download the app, optimising the acquisition process.

A BETTER KIND OF MONETISATION As Angel explains it, this type of intelligent location targeting opens the door to a smarter kind of monetisation, one that is more respectful of the app users and less reliant on serving them ads to make money. “The way we operate, the data monetisation happens in the background,” he says. “For the publisher, that means there’s no detrimental effect on the app experience. I think we’ve all experienced using apps that have tapped into some plug-and-play monetisation service that hasn’t been properly integrated and, as a result, you get pop-ups you can’t close and a very unsatisfactory experience overall. It’s a sure-fire way to lose users quickly.” Not that Tamoco is anti-advertising per se. “On the contrary,” says Angel. “We aggregate and anonymise the data we see and provide trends to our publisher partners around how


people are behaving on a macro level. This sort of information is extremely valuable to our partners, and if they want to monetise that way, they get much higher CPMs than they would through traditional in-app advertising.”

PRIVACY TOOLKIT Underpinning all this activity is a commitment to data privacy. “Our Privacy SDK ensures that our data monetisation offering complies with all existing regulations,” says Angel. “In fact, we go a lot further than we need to in order to improve the experience, both for our publishers and for the people who use their apps. “We have created an SDK that gives the publishers an easy way to manage user preferences, so at the point of data collection we go beyond simply asking the user if they will allow their location to be shared or not. We provide an interface where the user is shown what the data is used for, so that they can opt in and out of different preferences, such as research, ad personalisation or data analysis. “This level of functionality enables our publisher partners to be completely transparent with their users in a way that allows them to manage the consent options,


he app world is a hugely competitive, and app developers of all shapes and sizes use every trick in the book to both drive new app downloads, and then to engage and re-engage their app users post-install.

and it also gives the users much greater control of their data and preferences.” In addition to this more granular approach to consent, Tamoco also matches the information in the Privacy SDK with the brand’s identifiers in their own systems, so that if a user opts out of emails in the app, but subsequently opts back in to them on the brand’s website, the preference can be synched across the brand’s multiple digital touchpoints. “Publishers can access this data any time,” explains Angel. “So if a user enquires about

the publisher using their data without their permission, the brand can run an audit to simply identify when the consumer opted in.” On top of all this, integration is quick and easy, typically taking place within a day. “We have two SDKs, one to add location intelligence and one to enable privacy,” says Angel. “The location SDK is four lines of code and our team will help with the integration to get the publisher up and running quickly. Once you add location into the publisher toolkit, more often than not, the results speak for themselves.”


Well, almost every trick, because according to Daniel Angel, chief commercial officer at Tamoco, there’s one toolkit that many app developers overlook: location. So how can location help the app developer?

As a simple example of how this can work, Angel settles on a travel app, and a user in New York who visited the Empire State Building yesterday. “Based on the observed, anonymised behaviour of all the users of that app who have visited New York, we may know that there’s a high propensity for people who visit the Empire State Building to also visit the Museum of Modern Art, so the app can put that forward as a suggestion,” he explains. “There are lots more subtle ways this can work, but this example serves to illustrate the point.”

“There are a couple of ways,” says Angel. “If you look at engagement and retention, there’s a lot you can do to personalise the user experience, based on where they are right now, or the places they have previously visited, and the behaviours they have exhibited.”

Another example is of a fashion brand that has an app and identifies that a user of that app is currently in one of its physical stores. “This could trigger a push notification to remind the app user that they went shopping in the app a few days ago and left a few items in an abandoned

cart. Now they’re in store, why not complete the purchase and take them home today?”

UNDERSTANDING YOUR USERS Location is unique in that it can provide key insights into how users behave in the offline world. Understanding real-world user behaviour can have positive effects across the user lifecycle. One example is when it comes to driving downloads. Overlaying existing user data such usage or lifetime value with location based behaviour can help to identify valuable user segments. Once understood, these segments can be used to identify the users that are more valuable to your app business. For example, knowing that, your highest paying users tend to visit gyms This can be used to encourage




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GROWING YOUR APP BUSINESS Lior Eldan, COO and co-founder of Moburst, looks at the issues around app discoverability and growth in a crowded marketplace


ith over 4m apps available in the Apple App Store and Google Play, the app marketplace is becoming overcrowded and dominated by the larger publishers. This makes it very hard for new players to make any sorts of inroads.

start by using their existing assets to promote their app. As an example, look at Reddit, which was late to the mobile app game, but caught up thanks to smart cross-promotion, so it won’t start from scratch. In the interests of full disclosure, I should say that we helped Reddit grow its app by an additional 90 per cent year

So is it even worth trying to develop and launch an app any more? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Statistics show that over 90 per cent of users’ time on mobile is spent in-app, and the app economy is thriving. You only need to look at the revenue that goes to Google Play and Apple App Store app developers for proof of that.

on year through app store optimisation alone.

So how do you stand out in this crowded marketplace? According to Apple, 65 per cent of App Store downloads come from search, which means that app discoverability is more important than ever. Both major app stores are providing more and more data points, enabling developers to understand how users search for apps and to optimise accordingly.

SEARCH BEHAVIOUR But users’ search behaviour changes over time. In fact, Google estimates that 15 per cent of all search queries are completely new. Trends change too – Slime apps didn’t exist two years ago, for example, but the most popular Slime app now has 10m downloads to its name. So how do you cope with this changing user behaviour? At Moburst, we monitor app store trends on a daily basis and collect and analyse data from many different verticals. For example, we have developed our own technology that enables us to see what Apple suggests when people start to type a search query and through that glean insight on what users are actually searching for, and where opportunities lie for our clients. We know that app users are on mobile, so publishers who have web traffic can get a head

OPTIMISE YOUR APP LISTING Another simple way to grow your download numbers is to convert more of the traffic coming to your app by optimising your app listing, especially the visual assets. We’ve had cases where we doubled an app’s conversion rate just by creating a new set of screenshots optimised for conversion. This means the app developer can cut their CPI (cost per install) by half and also get a boost from their organic listings. The average user makes a decision as to whether or not to download an app within three to six seconds of arriving on the app page, and since Apple upgraded to a new App Store in iOS 11, most users actually download from the search results page. So having an optimised listing can make an app stand out from the crowd and achieve a higher CVR (conversion rate to install), which will equate to more downloads, higher rankings and a growing snowball of ever more downloads.

CONTENT MARKETING We are also seeing some successful apps starting to use content marketing. Blinkist is a good example of this. When you’re dealing with an app where the user needs to understand a complex value proposition, you can seed some longer-form articles and market those through the likes of Outbrain and Taboola to get the user started on a journey of discovery. Deciding whether you can do all this in-house or whether you need outside help is a question not only of budget, but of expertise and focus. We’ve helped clients such as Google, Samsung, Reddit, Philips, Robinhood, Uber, Deezer and many more with their apps’ growth. The right technology, coupled with the right expertise, can lead to sustainable growth, even for apps in very competitive environments or apps that come from a well-known brand, which you might think would need no additional marketing. In fact, the way the app stores work calls for consistent, data-oriented optimisation, which yields results and creates opportunities for newcomers and well-established behemoths alike.

Google Maps screenshots were designed by Moburst to grab the user’s attention and tell a creative story about the app’s features and benefits, in order to maximise its conversion rate within the App store

You should also consider new growth channels. While most developers give up most of their marketing budgets to Google and Facebook without thinking too much about it, there are new, relatively underutilised growth channels such as Pinterest, Apple Search Ads and Snap, which are well priced and enable early adopters to reap the rewards. Platforms like Snap may not be right for every brand, but it’s certainly worth investigating. And don’t believe everything you hear about Snap’s teen demographic. Half its user base is aged 25 and above.





MOBILE PROGRAMMATIC EVOLUTION Jordi de los Pinos, CEO at Smadex by Headway, explains the advantages of niche specialised tech through his experience of building a mobile-first app marketing platform


rogrammatic has been around since 2007, when the first RTB desktop ad exchanges came on the scene, but the term has re-emerged with a vengeance and become the buzz word of nearly every ad tech conference in 2018/19… and I have to confess, I am slightly to blame. Programmatic hysteria is back because advertisers are excited that programmatic has at last matured in the mobile industry, and they are finally seeing the capabilities the performance-driven app crowd was waiting for.

PROGRAMMATIC REVOLUTION You see, during the first big programmatic revolution, programmatic technology improved transparency, scaled inventory access, and opened up a world of data for desktop advertisers. But mobile advertisers were a little left out of the party, because of the technological complexities of connecting mobile devices to the exchanges.


In 2011, I was designing chips for mobile phones and planes, for companies like Qualcomm and Telefonica. Working at the forefront of smartphone technology, I spotted the need for a platform that would prioritise the key elements of the emerging mobile advertising ecosystem. So I left my job and founded Smadex, with the mission of developing a mobile-first demand-side platform (DSP) that would be the core technology of the perfect mobile app marketing platform. Our first step was to integrate with all mobile ad exchanges. We needed to work with existing technologies to connect the demand (advertisers) with the supply (apps/websites). Integrating with the OpenRTB API allowed us to define dynamic pricing for each impression in real time. From there, we needed to add the additional complex functionalities, such as data targeting, inventory control and creative management. We quickly found there were both many challenges and many advantages to focusing on mobile. To start, integrating with the many

MMPs, SSPs and ecosystems was costly. It required substantial development, relationship management and infrastructure. Every interaction with each ad exchange had its price, and scaling up required a lot of investment. But building a programmatic platform for mobile devices also meant we were able to leverage mobile-specific characteristics to improve the entire media-buying process. For instance, targeting could be executed based on a users’ carrier, GPS signal, device ID, OS version or device brand. We could optimise for mobile-only ad formats, and create deeper relationships with mobile-first SSPs such as MoPub and Smaato.

MACHINE LEARNING The next big breakthrough for the platform came with the introduction of machine learning. Programmatic buying generates massive amounts of data with each impression. The data scientists at Smadex were able to utilise first- and third-party data


to optimise campaign targeting and achieve desired performance KPIs at scale. Most amazingly, every improvement we introduced to our algorithms quickly translated into increased revenues, something which continues to happen today– at an exponential level. To make a platform worthy of the performancedriven mobile industry, in addition to using the data insights to improve Smadex’s internal functionality, we also wanted the marketers themselves to have direct access to the data

they need to guide and optimise advertising spend in real time. So we added an easy-to-use, super-powerful, multidimensional reporting interface, and pushed the boundaries of transparency by making it accessible to clients. I would honestly say that nothing is ever perfect, and we are constantly improving and optimising our platform to improve quality. I am grateful that our efforts and commitment to performance have recently been recognised by the mobile measurement platform Kochava

and its Traffic Index, in which we ranked second for quality traffic. In 2017 Smadex was acquired by Headway, a company that has specialised in mobile marketing and programmatic for the last seven years – and knows just how powerful both worlds can be when joined together. We have benefited from Headway’s experience and successfully combined our technologies to provide even better solutions for the business challenges faced by growth marketers.




FACEBOOK’S REGULATION CHALLENGE With Facebook turning 15 in February, Forrester analyst Brigitte Majewski argues that as regulators pay more attention to the company, its ability to innovate could suffer


ompare how much marketing on Facebook has changed in 15 years to how much TV advertising changed in 80 years. A TV ad remains a TV ad by any other name. But in the lifespan of a high school sophomore, brands have flip-flopped from seeking Facebook followers, to praying for a viral video, to orchestrating sophisticated social advertising. Facebook’s Q4 2018 earnings call revealed that marketers drove precious holiday direct response advertising through Facebook to the tune of $16.6bn (£12.7bn) in Q4 of 2018, compared to $12.8bn in Q4 of 2017. Today’s Facebook is all grown up by advertising standards.

REACH AND TARGETING Facebook delivers 186m daily active users (DAU) in the US and Canada. Where else can marketers get this kind of reach, plus superlative targeting? And yet, the relationship between marketers and Facebook is strained. The network is infamous for pushing platform changes with little notice that send brands scurrying to rejig social marketing strategies. Facebook also limits access to advertising performance data, asking ad clients to trust its own reporting. These challenges are small compared to brand safety issues posed by fake news and toxic content, ad fraud issues stemming from fake accounts and bots, and the threat of guilty-by-


association posed by Facebook’s lax data privacy policies. But when the chief growth office of Publicis tells the New York Times that Facebook has “no morals”, surely Facebook is at risk of being massively unfriended by its 7m advertisers. And yet, Q4 ARPU is up year over year in every geography. Marketers just can’t quit Facebook. What will it take? We’re still waiting for a dramatic change in user base, but as we’ve reported before, user behaviour changes slowly. Demographic changes will eventually catch up with Facebook, though it has time to buy up competitors who appeal to younger demographics not interested in Facebook. Cracking new user behaviours is a challenge. Right now, North America carries Facebook’s advertising revenue. Volume wise, most new DAUs between Q3 and Q4 came from Asia Pacific, which makes sense given the region’s size. But APAC digital behaviours vary dramatically from North America, and Facebook is struggling to figure out how to monetise where its user growth is. Marketers choose Facebook because little else delivers the audience for the price. Few competitors can deliver Facebook’s reach, but competition could appear with ads that are better branding vehicles. Brands need a balance of DR and brand-building activity over the course of their life.

While many new direct-to-consumer brands (think Casper) make their start on social platforms like Facebook, scale for these digital disruptors often requires them to add television, as the emotionally rich, scalable perception-builder. Disney could pose a threat here. But even these forms fail to reflect the rich engagement of Facebook’s platform built on its network effect. For these we are keeping an eye on radically new engagement platforms like Fortnite and Twitch, which bring people together in totally new scenarios.

HINDERED AGILITY Because it seems users and advertisers need to be saved from themselves, the biggest buzz among marketers regarding Facebook is regulation. Whatever regulation gets Facebook in the end, it will end up costing the platform, not just in term of dollars spent to comply (e.g., systems, resources) but also in terms of hindered agility. Facebook already admitted in its earnings call that dealing with security and privacy meant it took its eye off the ball in terms of innovation and increased costs. (Does anything signal Facebook’s adulthood more than how often it referenced cost in this last earnings call?) Facebook’s challenge with regulation is not that it will hinder what it does today, but that it will cause it to miss what is next.

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