Mobile Programmatic Advertising: How to Plan for 2016

By Jonah-Kai Hancock | January 21st, 2016

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As mobile marketing and programmatic advertising have grown into effective marketing strategies over the past few years, there are many opportunities for savvy mobile marketers around the corner.

Advertisers will spend nearly $15 billion on programmatic buying in 2015, according to Advertising Age and eMarketer. That’s almost a $5 billion leap from the year before, which accounted for $9.9 billion of overall digital advertising spending.

Programmatic Advertising: A Refresher

For performance marketers, mastering programmatic advertising is going to be the key to unlocking opportunities in 2016.

Indeed, 2015 marked the convergence of mobile and programmatic marketing disciplines; mobile programmatic is now an industry norm, says Kelly Mullins, TUNE's Head of Programmatic Partnerships. This means it's important for digital marketers to understand the opportunities to dramatically improve the ROI of their campaigns.

According to Mullins, programmatic can be defined as the ability to:

1. Precisely target an audience segment

2. Buy that audience at scale across many media properties with a very large audience reach

Programmatic has come of age over the past few years due to improvements in leaps and bounds in data analytics.

It's All About Automation

Programmatic also automates and optimizes the ad buying process in real-time. This tremendous increase in efficiency is rapidly transforming the digital marketing landscape. For example, back in 2008 it took more than 30 steps just to get ad campaigns to go live on Yahoo! And, for the longest time buying digital ads involved using fax machines and negotiating with human agents.

Now, automation allows buyers and sellers to engage in transactions in an online marketplace, or ad exchange in real time. On top of that, automation has made ad buying much more targeted.

More traditional corporations, like Bauer, Kellogg, and Whitepages are moving toward programmatic. Whitepages says programmatic bidding has gone from contributing zero to a majority of their ad revenue in the past two years, expecting that the new approach will improve the experience for Web and ad customers. Mobile Has Been a Major Issue…Until Now.

In the past, programmatic advertising's targeting capabilities relied on tracking cookies. This was a major challenge when it came to mobile, which does not support them. The lack of cookies support on mobile created a roadblock for marketers looking to run campaigns across mobile devices.

However, Mullins notes that 2015 saw the emergence of programmatic apps for mobile (including our own TUNE Marketing Console) that offers specific tracking and segmenting to help reach a desired audience.

What's Next for Programmatic

While programmatic is making advertising more precise than ever before, automation and access to global ad networks present advertisers with tantalizing opportunities in 2016 to integrate their advertising across multiple platforms. This means brands should be thinking about more full-funnel tracking and media buying.

Thanks to programmatic technology, advertisers will soon have the ability to serve a commercial to someone on television and follow up with a display or Facebook ad on that same person's desktop or mobile device. Ad buyers can leverage the power of programmatic to place ads in different locations around the web and then evaluate which ads are working best. Digital marketers can also analyze ad performance by geography, time of day, audience segments, publishers, and so on, and then zero in on their target.

This not only has the potential to radically improve margins, but also provide consumers with a better experience—they're only seeing ads that are of immediate interest to them.

The Key Takeaways for Mobile Marketers

1. Mobile Programmatic is Here for Good

Programmatic has moved beyond being an industry buzzword, and now allows digital marketers to enjoy tremendous precision and efficiency in campaigns, resulting in a higher ROI.

2. Programmatic is Mature on Mobile

While cookies and tracking have been an issue until now, improvements in attribution and online analytics have made programmatic a powerful tool to optimize and track mobile campaigns.

3. Expect Programmatic to Integrate Across Traditional Platforms

The ongoing evolution of adtech means that soon it will be possible to plan and track campaigns across mobile, desktop, television, and other traditional publishing channels.

Top image credit: VLADGRIN / Shutterstock

Jonah-Kai Hancock
As Director of Marketing at TUNE, Jonah-Kai’s main focus is leading a team of marketers with the goal of helping to push the mobile and performance marketing industry forward. Along with his team, Jonah-Kai works on marketing and product strategy, brand development and strives to bring the TUNE story to life for clients and prospects. Jonah-Kai has over 15 years of experience in marketing and has had the pleasure of working for some prestigious companies in the Seattle area, including Weber Shandwick, Tableau Software, AdReady, Razorfish and Concur.

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