Some companies claiming to be "mobile demand-side platforms" are veiled mobile ad networks, or at least they're mobile ad network-like. Which is to say they may be taking margin without disclosing price paid to the client.
Others may be more transparent, buying on a per-impression basis and charging licensing fees as a standard DSP would do. These companies may bring bidding and optimization features, and data sources, geared to capturing impression opportunities among the confusing array of smartphones and tablets.
We asked a few people for their take on this frequently applied label.
- Jennifer Lum, Co-Founder, Adelphic Media
- Paul Dolan, Managing Director, North America at Xaxis
- Elizabeth Zalman, CEO, Media Armor
"Mobile DSPs need to unlock the marketing potential of the largely anonymous mobile inventory available in market today. Mobile DSPs require advanced technology that enables faster and more complex processing on a much larger data set. Mobile DSPs need to collect, combine, analyze and process massive amounts of real-time data in order to execute successful campaigns. Decisions must be made based on real-time analysis of over 100 mobile data points.
There are factors unique to mobile that DSPs must be able to handle across operating systems, browsers, apps, locations, and thousands of devices. An effective mobile DSP must offer robust solutions for each of these fundamental challenges:
- Variability in data availability
- User identification
- Audience intelligence and segmentation
Of course bidding, targeting, and optimization tools are also required. However they must be designed to consider mobile-specific data to drive real-time consumer behavior and positive ROI."
"Mobile demand-side platforms essentially should not exist as a standalone entity. Rather, the buying and optimizing of mobile media should be a part of any robust DSP.
Mobile does present several unique opportunities and challenges that need to be addressed, including:
- Inventory. In the absence of a privacy-compliant identifier, much inventory is still siloed in mobile networks.
- Creative ad units. Size, vendors and device capabilities need to be considered.
- Tracking. Whether it’s an IFA in iOS, a cookie in a non-Safari browser or some other persistent identifier, frequency capping needs to be used.
- Mis-taps. Click/Tap rates tend to be sky-high in mobile, especially in-app, but much of this tends to be mis-taps and not legitimate traffic.
- Targeting. Location can be a powerful tool and is carefully used.
Much like Facebook’s Ad Exchange, just because something is different doesn’t always warrant a separate platform for programmatic buying. All of the above items can easily be built into existing solutions. Otherwise, you would have disjointed media planning and execution resulting in little opportunities for scale."
"I like to think of a demand-side platform as one place in which a marketer or agency can implement and execute all display advertising initiatives. What is a mobile DSP, then? If we follow the definition above, it would be a place to go to source mobile display. Two questions then arise: Mobile? And why?
What is mobile? It’s not a channel, and it’s certainly not a device. The channel should instead be defined as digital, and the devices within digital are desktops (including laptops), tablets, and smartphones. Our industry is confusing devices with channels. If mobile isn’t a device, and it isn’t a channel, then how can we create a specialized technology which enables us to source display for it?
This leads us back to the question of 'Why?' I believe we would agree that there is an incredible amount of fragmentation in digital marketing initiatives. Given that, why would a marketer want a place where they can only buy one type of (mislabeled) display? Ultimately, if pure mobile DSPs do exist, they do not solve for the reason that willed them into existence. They instead exacerbate a pain point for the demand side."
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