MoPub Adds Native Video Mediation, But Full Twitter Integration Still To Come

fullstackattackMoPub is Twitter’s secret weapon – secret because the mobile exchange rarely comes up during Twitter’s quarterly earnings calls.

On Friday, MoPub introduced native video mediation to enable publishers to filter their ad requests through whichever native ad network SDK they want, including the Facebook Audience Network and the more than 175 DSPs integrated with the MoPub Marketplace.

It’s about giving advertisers and publishers greater transparency and control, said MoPub VP Janae McDonough.

“They can work with our marketplace and they can work with other ad networks to make coordinated video demand available,” McDonough said. “We’re marrying the two into a flexible platform.”

It’s the latest step in MoPub’s journey toward being an “and” platform, rather than an “either/or” solution. In other words, making it into one-stop monetization shop, she said.

“The differentiation point is that we’re a full-stack solution – we have ad serving, a marketplace and mediation to help publishers drive competition and, ultimately, revenue,” McDonough said. “Ad networks and DSPs in the MoPub marketplace compete in a singular platform that helps drive pricing and yield optimization.”

Both are top priorities for French publisher co-op La Place Media, which works with MoPub to monetize its members’ mobile inventory.

La Place was created in 2012 when TF1 Publicité, Figaro Medias, France Television Publicité, Amaury Médias and Lagardere Publicité banded together as a power-in-numbers play to help them compete against the likes of Google and Facebook and their enormous data sets.

“La Place Media operates the interface between our publishers and the buyers,” said Arthur Millet, managing director at La Place. “So, we face challenges with both sides of our activity.”

Native and video formats are particularly appealing to Millet. From a buyer perspective, native is “100% visible and has better performance than standard banners,” he said, and “video is the fastest-growing format” on the French programmatic market.

“Buyers are desperately looking for more premium video inventory,” Millet said. “In this context, we truly believe that the native video ad format is a good answer.”

TwitternativevidMoPub has had native on the brain since it first started testing programmatic-enabled native ads in December 2013, followed in April 2014 with the wider rollout.

At the time, Doug Chavez, SVP of emerging media at Universal McCann, told AdExchanger that rather than native, the “bigger opportunity” will be “when MoPub taps into the massive amount of intent data from Twitter and uses that across more than 3 billion daily ad impressions.”

That is still to come, but it’s not as if MoPub hasn’t thought about it.

“There is, of course, a lot we could do to leverage Twitter’s interest graph and demographics to power the future growth of our business, but anything we do have to be sensitive to our users and sensitive to PII,” McDonough said. “It’s something we’re talking about and something we’ll hopefully explore, but we haven’t done much around product innovation there yet.”

The Privacy Problem

Twitter is “well known for providing [privacy] protections and making it hard to get access to their data,” noted Sam Pfeifle, publications director at the International Association of Privacy Professionals, speaking at an IAPP event in Washington, DC, on Wednesday. And it’s a reputation Twitter is not looking to lose.

Which is why both Twitter and MoPub are treading lightly around privacy and data sharing. But one source AdExchanger spoke with was surprised at the slow pace: “We live in a world of advertising – how can you not take advantage of that great signal to allow people to have ads that are relevant to them? In that case, everyone’s happy: the consumer, the publisher and the advertiser.”

For the moment, MoPub takes advantage of the Twitter firehose and gleans interest-based signals through the Twitter Audience Platform (TAP), which changed its name from the Twitter Publisher Network in April.

JanaeMcDonoughMoPubTAP and MoPub underlie one of Twitter’s trump cards – the prospect of logged-out user monetization. Twitter has around 316 million monthly active users. TAP, which is powered by MoPub, claims to boost that to 700 million, a number that includes users of third-party apps and sites.

Newly appointed Twitter COO Adam Bain noted in passing during the company’s Q3 2015 earnings call that Twitter would be running a pilot throughout the fourth quarter around “monetizing logged-out users across the network.”

MoPub’s Role

MoPub, whose marketplace is used by more than 31,000 apps and sees more than 335 billion monthly ad requests on more than 1 billion unique devices, is “essentially the connection point between Twitter’s owned and operated ads and this platform of publishers,” Ameet Ranadive, Twitter’s senior director of revenue products, told AdExchanger when TAP launched in April.

But although MoPub is “very much in the fold,” it’s purposefully independent from Twitter, said McDonough, since Twitter has two audiences: consumers and advertisers.

“Yes, it’s been two years since the acquisition, but we’re still at a very early stage for the combination of MoPub plus Twitter,” she said, adding that Twitter is starting to look into leveraging the synergies – for instance by extending Twitter demand onto the MoPub exchange.

This is a good move, said Accel Partners’ Richard Wong, an early investor in MoPub before it sold to Twitter in 2013.

“Twitter’s been thoughtful about letting certain key parts of MoPub stay independent enough so it can still be the best of breed for what it does,” Wong said. “The fact that the MoPub brand still exists has helped maintain the momentum they built during their startup years.”

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