Updated MRAID Spec Could Be A Mobile Video Demand Driver

TodJenSpecs and standards aren’t that sexy, but industry experts say the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s recent video addendum to rich media standard MRAID could be one of the keys to unlocking more programmatic mobile video dollars.

MRAID is a mobile standard, used by many publishers and app developers, to render and serve mobile rich media programmatically. However, there is no common standard for mobile video.

Most mobile publishers support VAST [Video Ad-Serving Template] standards for video, which Jennifer Lum, co-founder and chief strategy officer for Adelphic Mobile, called a “template-based way of dealing with video.”

There are alternatives, however, notably a VAST overlay called VPAID [Video Player-Ad Interface Definitions] that gives advertisers more visibility into how their videos perform.

“This latest addendum to the MRAID spec allows mobile app publishers to include VPAID [Video Player-Ad Interface Definitions] video app support within their environment, which is a more detailed and involved method than VAST,” said Lum.

Providing VPAID support within MRAID diversifies measurement to include things like completion rate, views or plays within interstitial units. In addition, it could help decipher whether an impression was video or rich media-based, which could improve publishers’ overall executions, she said.

Adelphic’s platform historically saw four times more MRAID-compatible inventory than video-compatible inventory, and Lum said a “hybrid” mobile/video spec of sorts could help even out that mix.  

During the BrightRoll Video Summit on Thursday in New York, company CEO and founder Tod Sacerdoti said he’s seen a significant gap between mobile video ad requests and number of impressions served, which still indicates insufficient measurement.

A big issue with mobile is that it mostly has unique, non-standard formats, which makes standardization and consistent measurement challenging, he said. BrightRoll along with other mobile and interactive video ad platforms like Opera MediaWorks and Innovid were part of the MRAID Working Group to push for greater simplification in mobile support of VPAID events.

“Our supply growth massively outpaces the demand to the point where we’re saying, ‘There’s something wrong here and I think that that something is consistent measurement,’” added Bruce Falck, COO for BrightRoll and former head of Google Display Network.

He said it’s an industrywide problem.

“I saw this lag in mobile demand with DBM [DoubleClick Bid Manager] and AdX [DoubleClick Exchange] too when I was at Google,” he added. “People spent years learning to buy on cookies and then mobile just leaves them wondering what to do, but I do think we will see explosive growth for mobile video in 2016.”

Lum said she’s encouraged by maturation in mobile video measurement on the buy side. While a marketer’s initial objective may be ensuring the video content they’ve invested in actually gets views, gradually they wish to augment mobile video into their broader media mix to determine ROI impact.

“In the first wave of testing in mobile video, completion rate was the key metric, but we’ve found higher percentages of marketers moving away from only being focused on completion rate to conversions and post-click actions,” she said. “Once we get more of that attribution in place, it will drive more dollars.”

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