Thomas Bienias, director of mobile publisher development EMEA at PubMatic, chats with Mobile Marketing about the state of mobile header bidding and what we can expect to see in 2020.
Mobile Marketing: Why have we seen a shift toward mobile header bidding over the past six months?
Thomas Bienias: The seismic shift towards mobile header bidding hasn’t yet been fully realised. But there are signs this is changing.
Although the real-time buy/sell infrastructure has been in place for a number of years the lack of mass adoption amongst publishers is due aversion to risk publishers have had with implementing something new. This is because traditional Waterfall or hybrid solutions drive significant CPM prices and revenues. Furthermore, mobile first formats such as rewarded / interstitial video are more ubiquitous across the performance space and as result a whole host of apps solely rely on this sector to monetise. The shift over the past 6 months has seen these pure mobile formats become more commonplace in brand and agency conversations and is no part to header bidding allowing ‘access’ to these formats.
Q3 2019 saw the app-ads.txt finally gain adoption amongst apps that transact programmatically; a recent Pixalate report points to a 1,122% increase in adoption over the quarter. This has served to clean up the supply chain by ensuring exchanges have a relationship (either direct or indirect) to their supply partners. Alongside this in-app bidding spend grew 20% quarter on quarter in Q3 of 2019, according to our latest Quarterly mobile index. This is predicted to increase more further into 2020 with leading app developers looking to further increase and diversify their revenue streams.
MM: What are the biggest benefits of mobile header bidding?
TB: The benefits are largely twofold and fall into two distinct camps. Brands benefit as they now have access to brand safe, highly viewable apps environments If you look at time spent versus ad revenue mobile in-app still under indexes and this increase in availability of impressions should serve to level this out. Brands also can access new audiences on a global scale.
For app publisher’s implementation of a header bidding solution allows increased competition for ad impressions and can increase fill rate and CPM. It also allows for publishers to begin to deprecate existing network SDKs in turn decrease app file size and latency. Allowing new sources of demand to compete in your auction also reduces ad fatigue allowing brand ads to disrupt the often repetitive ‘Install now’ campaigns.
MM: What do you expect to see from mobile header bidding in 2020?
TB: Consolidation; 2019 was about launching a solution, 2020 well see a number of solutions gain significant market traction. The winners will be solutions that provide access to incremental demand, access to highly viewable ‘multi format publishers’ and have the resource to provide access to troubleshooting and tech support. Expect to see even wider pools of inventory become available programmatically across emerging verticals such as Hyper Casual gaming. Hyper Casual brings a new type of environment and value proposition which for larger brands demanding scale will appeal. Increased transparency into ad-decisioning will be another discussion point into 2020, publishers should begin to question how partners place their own demand into their header bidding solution whilst looking at the auction mechanics that are taking place.
Finally, into 2020 mobile header bidding will be dominated by video due to its effectiveness as an ad format. CTR rates are 10 times that of banner ads (PubMatic QMR Q319) Already comfortable with pre roll and video interstitials, 2020 will see brands finally begin to take note of the opportunity with rewarded video outside of PMPs.
PubMatic was one of the sponsors at our recent Programmatic Lunch event. Headquartered in California, it is a digital advertising technology company for publishers and app developers, reaching more than 800m monthly unique users, over 64bn daily ad impressions, and in excess of 13 trillion advertiser bids per month. The company operates 13 offices and nine data centres around the world.