For mobile marketers, achieving Nirvana means that every mobile app session can be accurately tracked and measured at the ad server level, while marketers also gain access to viewability data for every ad placed. This, combined with a brand-safe, fraud-free environment provides marketers with a channel that can deliver significant upside for brand advertising.
The good news is that viewability—consumers ability to actually see an ad on their screen—can now be easily measured without software complexity and IT headaches. The mobile advertising world has suffered from a technical bottleneck that meant advertisers had to use software development kits (SDKs) from multiple measurement providers in order to get that data. SDK’s, originally created to reduce developer workloads and integration times, ended up cluttering the mobile app landscape and hurting user experience on overloaded apps.
Mobile apps offer a captive environment for brands to connect with people. However, there are some drawbacks. In the mobile web universe, publishers can exert a significant level of control over both the in-app content and experience. This, combined with technical challenges around cookie and URL tracking on mobile devices and the headache of working with a menagerie of different signals from multiple SDKs has stifled advertising investment in mobile despite fast-growing audiences.
Eighteen months ago, the IAB Tech Lab launched the Open Measurement SDK (OM SDK), a software development kit that aims to standardise viewability measurement. More than 100 companies, recognising the need for transparency in mobile, have since joined the Open SDK movement, a group that includes publishers, agencies and tech providers.
For the first time, the OM SDK gives marketers the ability measure if their ads are being seen on mobile apps. This breakthrough will enable brands to close the mobile gap between time spent on mobile apps by consumers, and advertising spend.
The OM SDK delivers a uniform approach to measurement regardless of the device or environment—whether it’s desktop or mobile, web or in-app. Every time you introduce a new SDK, you introduce risk for the publisher. The OM SDK eliminates the need for multiple competing or redundant integrations. Those who are using more than one vendor can now expect a consistent approach to how the viewability measurement signal is derived. Brand marketers and agencies will enjoy improved efficiency through consistent measurement across their entire digital buy.
However, the true benefits of the OM SDK are dependent on wide industry adoption. It is believed that within this year, Asia will experience the benefit of the SDK for mobile viewability, as large mobile platforms in the region, such as MoPub and InMobi, roll this out to their publisher partners.
We’re already seeing the benefits of a single, consistent measurement standard being applied at scale. App developers are utilising the OM SDK to apply a single standardised approach to measuring viewability making it much easier to gain consistent viewability metrics on mobile. This means that advertisers and agencies in Asia will have access to accurate viewability measurement and reporting for all of their in-app buys.
We recognise that publishers, agencies and brand advertisers will take some time to ingest the new mobile app opportunity. Agencies still have to deal with the technical soup of mobile apps, brands need to be educated about the opportunity, and technology providers have to help publishers navigate the complexity of the mobile landscape.
Still, despite challenges, the barriers are falling in mobile, and the tipping point will soon arrive, at which the mobile app opportunity will become a core part of a brand’s “all-screen” strategy. The measurement technology is here now, it’s time for the brand dollars to flow.
Niall Hogan is the managing director, Southeast Asia of Integral Ad Science
Niall joined Integral Ad Science in 2013 to lead the rapidly growing U.K. and European team. He grew the team from a single employee to over 65. Since the start of 2017, he has been based in Singapore, responsible for Southeast Asia, and is focused on new business, employee recruitment, and on-going client engagement.
Niall has over 17 years of experience in nurturing digital and technology businesses, especially in the U.K. and European markets. Prior to joining Integral Ad Science, Niall was an instrumental member of the Tribal Fusion UK management team after joining the company as their second employee in 2008. Niall has also held the digital sales director role at EMAP Interactive (Bauer Advertising) and was responsible for launching the first digital sales team at Hearst Digital in 2007.
Niall holds a B.A./B.S. in communication and marketing management from London Guildhall University.