What Publishers Must Consider When Planning Their Mobile Strategies
Do you have a solid mobile strategy in place? Columnist Rob Rasko tells marketers what to consider when choosing a technology vendor to help monetize mobile content.
Mobile traffic on most publishers’ sites has been soaring in recent months, sparking them to consider fundamental and strategic issues about the future of their businesses. The underlying question: what’s the optimal way to respond to internet users who are increasingly doing their browsing on mobile devices?
However, understanding the unique technology and opportunities and evaluating dozens of potential vendors has become increasingly challenging in today’s multi-screen, multi-platform environment. All publishers need to partner with technology vendors in order to monetize their mobile content and maintain their brand experiences.
The best way to address this complex problem is to break down the process into manageable parts, which helps publishers build a smart mobile strategy.
Infrastructure, Creative and Monetization
The three categories I recommend are Infrastructure (including ad serving and SDKs), Creative and Monetization.
Publishers — regardless of the format of their mobile content — all share the same basic concerns: managing the user experience, traffic, content and advertising. Their approach to managing and monetizing the mobile experience will have an effect on just about every aspect of their business going forward.
As Wouter Vermeulen, senior director of Platform Sales & Product Marketing at Opera Mediaworks, told me, “One of the most critical operational challenges that our industry is facing today is selecting the best mobile infrastructure technology partner. Critical decisions made today will have an impact tomorrow and in the years going forward.”
Understanding Consumer Intent
When thinking about mobile monetization, it’s helpful to start by considering the consumer’s intent when arriving on the mobile platform. Specifically, what is the experience that the user is expecting?
Users who engage with content-first publishers via mobile devices are seeking to access relevant content as easily as possible. Users of app-first publishers (e.g., Google Maps, Yelp) tend to be more task- or activity-driven. They expect a highly interactive experience that quickly provides them with utility and results.
It’s critical for publishers to consider how those differences in user experience impact their vendor evaluation process.
It is surprising that there is actually a debate about whether or not ad servers matter in today’s mobile ecosystem.
Some say that ad servers are simply dumb boxes that point to an ad, especially when compared to robust data management platforms that use multiple data points to determine which ads to show to which users on which devices at any particular time or location.
However, ad serving is still at the core for publishers who rely on direct sales to sell most or all of their mobile ad campaigns.
Given that your decision on how to approach mobile monetization will have long-term consequences, all of your vendor selection processes must be in the context of that decision. Here are a few key considerations.
What To Consider When Choosing Your Vendor
For mobile app publishing, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each potential SDK (software development kit) is one of the most important considerations for a mobile publisher.
When you choose to insert code into your app, you are at the mercy of that SDK. When SDKs are updated, your entire app must be re-tested and potentially resubmitted to your respective app stores for approval.
Mobile monetization can also be driven by offering richer, more engaging ad formats that can be sold at higher CPMs based on engagement with the user. While a publisher may not be selling native advertising today, choosing a vendor that doesn’t support native ad formats can cut a publisher off from significant revenue down the road.
Ensuring that your technology partners support video, MRAID and IAB’s Mobile Rising Stars ad units provides the flexibility to create truly impactful mobile ad experiences.
Cross-device targeting is another major consideration for publishers to contemplate as they decide which technology vendors to work with. Having the ability to identify and sell specific audiences, whether they are viewing your content on the desktop or mobile device, can mean the difference between pennies and dollars on your eCPMs.
Being able to leverage your own first-party data or marry it with other third-party data drives tremendous value when combined with mobile-first data, such as device, operating system, carrier and bandwidth.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.