NEW BLOG: The rise of mobile continues to dominate the advertising industry with eMarketer forecasting that mobile ad spend will increase by 169 per cent between 2013 and 2016. A significant proportion of the growth within mobile advertising is due to video advertising – which represents an incredibly valuable branding tool for marketers – and one of the key drivers behind the growth of video is a major increase in tablet usage by consumers.
Tablets are more suited to video ads than other devices. Large, immersive screens, along with the ‘lean-back’ nature of tablet viewing, makes users more likely to consume longer chunks of video content. As a result, this ad space is more valuable to advertisers and app developers can benefit by monetising their apps with a variety of ads including pre-rolls, mid-rolls, and interstitials.
But while there is great potential for app developers to benefit from this increase in mobile engagement, there are also challenges that need to be overcome. Forbes recently reported that while app use grew by 115 per cent in 2013, less than 0.01 per cent of apps will be considered a financial success by the end of 2018, which paints a discouraging picture for the industry.
So, with competition between apps intensifying, how can developers ensure the best possible return on their investment given the huge potential at their fingertips?
The answer lies in technology, which is largely hindering the adoption of app-based video ads. Many developers are unaware that video ad serving template (VAST) tags – the go-to tags predominantly adopted in the UK – limit the options available for advertisers. Brands are seeking to leverage the increasingly interactive experience offered by mobile and tablet devices – where users can tap, swipe, and touch to intuitively explore content – as this makes advertising more effective. But VAST tags do not offer these benefits and, as a result, advertisers cannot invite their audiences to interact with an ad and learn more about the brand or product – actions that ultimately result in increased brand awareness, favourability, and purchase intent.
VAST tags also prohibit the targeting of specific audiences. Mobile devices are by their nature often very personal to the user, so it is paramount that advertisers deliver contextually- or behaviourally-targeted ads to reach receptive consumers. Moreover, app developers that can segment their users and sell advertisers an audience rather than just inventory will drive more revenue. As an extension of this, the ability to target specific players – based on size, location or visibility – will also increase the value of an app’s offering.
With VAST tags failing to offer interactivity or targeting, and diminishing the value of app inventory as a result, what are the alternatives?
In the UK, many developers are now embedding software development kits (SDKs) into their apps to improve their offering to advertisers. SDKs offer marketers the audience and player targeting they desire, along with the capability to serve rich, interactive content that makes the most of the intuitive nature of touchscreen devices.
Other benefits include the ability for ads to run seamlessly across all apps and devices so that brands are not required to produce different iterations of the same ad, which greatly reduces costs. Load time is also decreased, presenting a significant benefit to both the app developer and the brand advertiser. However, not all SDKs are of the same quality, so developers need to ensure that the one they embed has the video playing capabilities required to maximise their offering to advertisers.
With a growing demand for quality tablet app inventory and a continued growth in mobile advertising spend, now is the time for developers to better monetise their apps. Embedding a high quality SDK into an app provides advertisers with the tools they require to reach their audiences in the most effective way, while offering enhanced engagement at the same time.
This technology can transform mobile and tablet apps into a lucrative source of advertising inventory, securing a strong future return for developers.
Paul Lyonette is UK country manager for multiscreen video advertising firm YuMe.