What Is ‘Premium’ In Mobile?

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bobwalczaksellsiderThe Sell-Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Bob Walczak, general manager of mobile and video at PubMatic.

When it comes to publishers, premium is the operative word, a designation that, like VIP access to any major event, opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

We know what premium inventory is when it comes to desktop, but as you’re likely aware, we’re living in an increasingly mobile-driven world. How many times have we all heard the eMarketer prediction that by 2017 mobile display advertising will hit $31.1 billion in the United States alone?

As with any segment that is scaling so quickly, this growth begs the question of what “premium” means for mobile. Regardless of whether the inventory is mobile-only or multiscreen, there are five key characteristics that I believe define premium inventory among publishers in the mobile arena.

First, premium mobile publishers need to offer mobile application inventory — not necessarily in place of mobile Web, but additionally as well. Then their mobile inventory must be transparent, geo-enabled and rich media-enabled and pass either Apple IDFA or Android IDs. If you meet these five basic criteria, pour yourself a drink: You’re as premium as they come.

Do you have to be premium to compete in mobile? No, but being premium certainly has its perks. First among them is the fact that mobile app inventory is typically monetized as much as 30% to 50% better than mobile Web inventory. If that’s not reason enough, consider that mobile IDs serve to take the place of cookies for targeting and attribution.

Because third-party cookies don’t work the same way on mobile devices as they do in desktop, mobile inventory that helps to solve this problem by passing back IDs is considerably more valuable — more so even than inventory that passes back mere URLs, as with desktop. And because contextualization is the name of our game, application IDs allow media buyers to determine the app category, providing even better context and transparency.

Location, of course, is the ultimate context. Rather than using inaccurate IP addresses to determine general location, as we do with desktop, premium mobile publishers’ inventory can be geo-enabled, which means that it can take advantage of hyperlocal targeting, passing back precise latitude and longitude data. Media buyers pay much higher CPMs for such precise inventory.

Finally, premium mobile publishers’ inventory is rich media-enabled, which allows for scale across a publisher or SSP. Unlike standard display, rich media-enabled mobile inventory is more valuable because it is more engaging and provides greater interaction than standard units.

Thus far, the picture I’ve painted is rather rosy. Who, after all, wouldn’t want to take advantage of these obvious opportunities for growth?

But we’re not quite there yet as an industry, largely because we take a piecemeal approach to defining just what constitutes premium publisher standards: For the advertising technology industry to continue its dynamic growth, it has no choice but to standardize technology across SSPs, DSPs, ad networks and ad exchanges.

We must realize that being a premium publisher in desktop doesn’t automatically make a publisher premium in the mobile space. And we must understand that having a firm grasp and a common language to define mobile’s challenges and advantages is necessary to propel the industry forward.

Follow PubMatic (@PubMatic) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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