When Planning Mobile Strategies, Publishers Must First Consider Technology

Mobile First reportAdding a different advertising partner on desktop can be as easy as adding a tag. But for the mobile web and apps, assuming such flexibility is a recipe for disaster.

Since mobile is so complex, publishers must think about a slew of factors at the very beginning, when they are formulating their mobile strategy. The critical elements to consider include the user experience, advertising experience and, in particular, tech partners, according to Rob Rasko, CEO and founder of 614 Group.

The consulting group on Thursday released “A Journey Into Mobile Monetization,” a report that evaluates the basic technology choices publishers must make to figure out mobile, including ad serving, software development kits (SDKs) and mediation layers.

“When you compare the significant amount of user growth they’ve been having to their apps and their mobile web strategies, there’s a ton of infrastructure work to do,” Rasko said.

Many publishers who started out in desktop or TV lag in figuring out how to monetize mobile and find the array of options confusing, Rasko said. Monetizing mobile doesn’t mean just transferring existing desktop practices to mobile, but hand-selecting and optimizing two sets of monetization tools, including one for mobile web and others for mobile apps, though there can be overlap.

Apps are especially tricky. One major reason: SDKs. It’s hard to swap out and change options on mobile apps because SDKs, which bring in advertising demand, require the user to update the app every time it’s revised. That’s a tall ask for users and impacts their app experience. It’s one reason many developers shy away from implementing new SDKs once their existing ones are in place.

Although monetizing on mobile web is a tad more flexible than apps, both face many challenges. The vendors profiled by Rasko had different capabilities around viewability, the types of rich media and creative they could support and how they could target and use data. Add in the fact that mobile devices broadcast different details about users and the complications publishers face multiply.

Although mobile web is growing fast for content-focused publishers, Rasko predicts that growth will taper off in a few years and time spent will shift to apps.

Apps also engage a publisher’s most loyal users. Rasko called out Union Square Ventures partner Fred Wilson, who has publicly described mobile web as the top of the funnel and apps as the bottom.

“Publishers need to double down their investment in apps,” Rasko said, “because that’s where things are heading.”

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1 Comment

  1. Couldn’t agree more and we need only to learn how we leveraged technology to better understand consumer behaviors online via things like cookies on desktop. That same paradigm can now be applied to mobile and in particular user location and attendances to events and key points of interest is the next frontier of truly understanding (and monetizing) consumers on mobile.