Top 5 reasons programmatic advertising is replacing traditional ad-space sells for mobile websites and mobile apps

By Paul Francis | March 10th, 2016

Anyone and everyone knows technology has gone mobile. Every day 10 bloggers publish articles titled something like “250 reasons you need a mobile app” or “your website is obsolete unless it is mobile-first!” But what does this mean for advertisers? If businesses have to go mobile to compete, you obviously should as well! But is this enough? Does being more mobile-focused change the advertising game? The answer to that question is a resounding “yes!”

Advertising in mobile apps and websites can be difficult and advertisers need to utilize every possible technology available. In most cases programmatic advertising is the best approach. This article will discuss 5 reasons why programmatic advertising is replacing traditional ad-space sells for mobile websites and mobile apps.

Programmatic Ads are Simpler for Developers

I have developed and managed several mobile app projects. Based on that experience, I can promise that if a quick and easy solution exists, programmers and product owners will seize on it. Creators of programmatic advertising solutions understand this and go out of their way to make adding their framework as “drop in place” as possible. Traditional ads are often more time-consuming to include and update. This process is often manual, which does not work well for mobile apps that can require updated deployments just to update ads. This means that the majority of apps end up using one of the major ad-networks and rely heavily on programmatic advertising to survive.

If the majority of apps take this approach, that means the majority of ads served are the result of programmatic advertising. As an advertiser, your objective is to get your ads to the highest number of possibly interested individuals. Programmatic advertising provides advertisers the largest possible audience.

Ability to be Heavily Tailored

The more specialized your service or product is, the more difficult it is to advertise. If your product is primarily used by 30 year-old men, then your ads are possibly wasted on 14 year old girls. With traditional advertising, you had to assume based on the mobile website or app what the user demographics were. Even if the site provided their user demographics, some portion of your ads will always be wasted because they are not conditionally served based on the user. Programmatic advertising enables advertisers to make decisions regarding when and how much they are willing to pay to serve their ads.

Programmatic advertising can even take this a step farther by allowing advertisers to display one of many ads, based on which they believe best fits the mobile user. These slight advantages really add up and lead to higher click through rates and conversions.

Real-Time Bidding

The previous point alluded to the advantages of real-time bidding for ad-space, but, as it is one of the greatest tools available to programmatic advertisers, it warrants its own point. Real-time bidding works in the following way. Each time a page is loaded, the programmatic advertising algorithm polls to see which ad-buyers are interested in the ad-space for that particular user. Each buyer considers what is known about the user and then indicates how much they are willing to pay for the ad. The largest bid is accepted and gets the ad space. This process takes just milliseconds and is invisible to mobile app users and website visitors. But what this effectively does is optimize every single transaction. If one user, or one page, is more valuable than others, programmatic advertising enables you to bid more for that ad space. It also allows advertisers to ignore certain users entirely and not waste their money.

Results Tracking & Refinement

Tracking the success of an advertising campaign can be extremely difficult. On top of that, it is increasingly complicated to understand how a campaign could be improved and what its inefficiencies were. With programmatic advertising, advertisers are able to monitor their campaigns successes and failures. Rather than giving up entirely on a mobile app or website if an ad only worked well with a certain demographic, programmatic advertising enables a sort of a la carte approach. With programmatic advertising, you are always monitoring and refining. There are countless ways to look at your results and metrics to consider. With this wealth of information comes a fantastic opportunity to excel in the mobile app and mobile website advertising space.

Utilize Big Data

In the last few years, much has been made about “big data.” Big data can help inform decisions by finding correlation in complex datasets. With this large amount of knowledge, much more intelligent ad-sells can be found. Programmatic advertising enables advertisers to find market inefficiencies that others have missed. If you are able to realize that a certain demographic is cheaper to advertise to and is more likely to interact with an ad, you can use programmatic techniques to capitalize on this information. By combining real-time bidding and results tracking, advertisers can begin to understand the ROI of ads based on user demographics and continually make more informed and financially sound decisions.


Users and developers are becoming increasingly mobile. Advertisers are rushing to keep pace and capitalize on this new and growing opportunity. With new platforms come new approaches. For the reasons described above, and many others, programmatic advertising is becoming the clear winner for mobile app and website advertising. It has and will continue to rapidly replace traditional ad sells.

Paul Francis
Paul is a Developer Advocate at The BHW Group. He works with clients on custom mobile apps and web-based solutions. He assists his clients in the marketing and the monetization process of mobile apps and mobile websites. He frequently writes about mobile development, technology, and business-related topics.