On Tuesday, January 21 at The InterContinental Hotel in San Francisco, we gathered together dozens of the brightest minds in the programmatic world for our first ever InMobi Exchange Customer Advisory Board. Through discussion and debate, we were able to get a firm grasp on where the industry is headed, and determine what our key demand-side and supply-side partners want from us in the future.
Last year, InMobi Exchange grew on the back of our strong efforts around transparency, our unparalleled audiences and brand demand. We scaled our exchange multi-fold using cloud native technologies alongside smart trafficking systems to optimize supply and demand matching.
What about 2020? Here are our major areas of focus for InMobi Exchange this year, as part of our goal of doubling our Exchange business in 2020:
- Continuing to prioritize mobile app monetization
- Strong focus on scaling in-app header bidding with a goal to move towards a clean first-price marketplace
- Improving identity and measurement to convince more marquee brands to embrace mobile
- Helping brands and publishers scale in the CTV world
- More effectively connecting demand/DSPs with the right supply
In particular, here are the five core areas we will be focusing on based on the feedback and inputs we received:
1) Working to Solve Identity and Measurement Challenges
During this CAB session, we as a group identified a number of core issues around measurement and identity today:
- Many brands and DSPs are heavily dependent on the walled gardens and are continually giving them their first-party data, as they don’t feel like they have safe, secure and scaled advertising options.
- Outside of the walled gardens, advertisers sometimes lack even basic data like age and gender. However, it can be exceedingly difficult for app publishers to collect these kinds of insights.
- New laws and privacy initiatives like GDPR and CCPA are making everyone think twice both about their own data collection methods and how they’re sharing data, if at all. These laws will likely end up strengthening the position that current leaders have in the market.
- The likely demise of browser cookies makes in-app environments more appealing, but how long until Apple and Google depreciate standard mobile device identifiers?
- There is no standard, universally accepted and accurate identifier for new and emerging channels like connected TV.
There is no easy fix to these issues. But, we think that we can be key contributors to industry-wide initiatives to help resolve these issues. In the coming months, we will be working closely both with all of our partners to steer the industry towards sustainable and effective identity, measurement and audience solutions that work for end users, publishers and advertisers alike.
2) Making Emerging Channels Available through InMobi Exchange
CTV is an emerging channel for just about everyone, but it is one that we are keenly interested in. We have our alpha product out in the market, and the initial results are quite astonishing to say the least. Over the next few months, we will be convening separate focus groups to better understand the space and its nuances from both the demand and supply sides.
CTV is a product focus area for us, as it will help InMobi Exchange to acquire quality supply and offer the same to our buyers. Within the realm of CTV, we will be focusing on programmatic CTV, VAST video support, direct publisher integrations and partnering with top content apps as well as SSPs to get access to supply in various forms (tags, SDKs, header bidding and more).
3) Standardizing Header Bidding for DSPs
On the publisher side, in-app header bidding is slowly becoming the norm. In fact, many publishers are now using header bidding to A/B test partners to see which ones will bring them more money for their supply.
But, on the demand side, there is a lack of understanding on such inventory and toolsets to bid into such inventory. This is especially the case for performance-first DSPs that are looking at pricing at scale as an important aspect in their bidding algorithms. In the immediate future, we will be convening a meeting with different DSPs and even some publishers to better understand their thoughts and opinions on in-app header bidding, and to determine how to best incorporate related information into InMobi Exchange.
4) Strengthening Mobile Video Advertising
InMobi video solutions will continue to help brands achieve their goals. We will keep working on doing mobile video right, especially for brands.
We are closely looking at bringing video pods further into the in-app advertising space. In a video pod, multiple mobile video ads run during a 30-second or 60-second ad slot. This type of bunching is common in television advertising, but it isn’t very common in the programmatic in-app ad world.
We plan on holding further discussions with various partners to see if issues around ideal ad length, price, monetization, brand safety and more can be adequately addressed in order to make this more appealing across the programmatic ecosystem.
5) Improving Advertising Monetization for App Publishers
In our first InMobi Exchange CAB, we learned a great deal from the publishers themselves about what they value in both in-app header bidding and full-stack mediation, and why they see both as beneficial. And, open exchange buying has proven to be lucrative for many publishers, especially in comparison to deals the direct sales team is bringing to the table.
But, outside of major app publishers or those with well-established brands, many app publishers are not seeing private marketplace or programmatic direct dollars being directed their way. In the future, we will be working with app publishers to figure out how their premium demand can be further exposed to brand advertisers who prefer more direct buying.
Publishers are looking at tools to make programmatic direct and PMP deals more usable. Currently there is too much work that needs to be done to do this, and hence they look at open exchange buying. InMobi will be working with pubs to bring in the best-in-class direct buying tools for both pubs and advertisers, so the operational headache can be solved.
A big thanks to everyone who attended! We’re looking forward to the next CAB meetings already, and to all of the forthcoming improvements to InMobi Exchange.