The value of Android app inventory has risen nearly 150 per cent year-on-year, as advertisers seek to target the majority of global mobile consumers, according to new figures from Pubmatic's quarterly mobile index.
The report, which looked at Q1 2016, identified a number of trends, including the rise in Android app value, the growth in average mobile CPMs in mature markets, and the power of sporting events to drive spending in mobile private marketplaces.
While Apple app inventory still garners a higher price than Android, prices for apps using Google's OS are growing faster than for Apple, up 147 per cent year-on-year compared to 62 per cent for Apple. This growth is attributed to Android users outnumbering iPhone by nearly six to one globally, as well as high-end Android manufacturers competing with Apple for affluent consumers that were once loyal to Apple.
Across both Android and iOS, mobile app inventory attracted higher CPMs compared to mobile web and desktop, primarily due to higher engagement and better targeting capabilities on mobile apps. However, with many publishers lacking large-scale mobile app inventory, premium publishers are still seeing the majority of their mobile traffic arrive through the mobile web, meaning it is imperative for marketers to adopt cross-channel tactics to ensure their campaign is effective at scale.
The report recommended that publishers add device ID or geolocation to their mobile web inventory to improve targeting via mobile browsers, as well as bundling their mobile inventory into private marketplace packages to attract media buyers and garner higher prices that single-platform deals.
Mobile private marketplaces (PMPs) were also identified as a key element in attracting significant spending during major sporting events. During this year's Super Bowl and NCAA College Basketball Tournament (aka 'March Madness') advertisers focused on targeting increasingly mobile-fixated consumers who were following events on their smartphones.
As a result, mobile PMP volume in the sports category grew nearly 300 per cent during the buildup to the Super Bowl, and saw a similar spike during March Madness, as advertisers and agencies bought mobile PMP packages to gain access to high-quality inventory and deliver large-scale campaigns. With the UEFA European Championship and Summer Olympics coming this summer, this trend looks likely to continue.
Average mobile CPMs in the Americas and the EMEA region grew significantly year-on-year, up 30 per cent and 64 per cent respectively, demonstrating the increasing in mobile inventory quality which, in turn, is driving prices up. This growth in quality is important for both publishers and advertisers to understand, especially as more consumers adopt ad blocking software.
By focusing on providing higher-quality media experiences that incorporate premium advertising while also following the IAB's LEAN principles, publishers and advertisers can combat the rise of ad blocking while also delivering great content to consumers.
Meanwhile, in the Asia-Pacific region, monetised impressions grew by an astounding 514 per cent year-on-year, but this triple digit growth was offset by a 25 per cent decline in APAC prices, a typical pattern in emerging regions as prices reach an equilibrium and markets mature.
Finally, the report identified programmatic as a key tool in improving mobile CPMs, as well as driving broader mobile ad growth. The rise of programmatic is seen as crucial to closing the 'mobile gap' between time spent by consumers on mobile devices and ad spending, which still represents a $5.8bn (£4bn) gap in the US despite shifts in the industry.