According to a recent comScore report, recent digital growth has been completely mobile. With 70% of digital media time being spent on mobile these days, mobile video content plays a crucial role in driving the digital growth story. By 2020, it’s being projected, 75% of mobile traffic will be driven by video (Cisco study).

Marketingland study

Source: Marketingland

However, video content’s popularity through mobile hasn’t been sudden. Between 2010 and 2015, mobile video consumption grew by a staggering 2084%. By early 2016, almost 46% of all video plays were being watched on mobile devices. This growth has inspired app publishers to take a leap toward mobile videos for in-app monetization purposes, mainly by piggybacking on mobile app programmatic videos.

For the starters, mobile app programmatic videos are a critical in-app marketing tool that could help brands hit the bull’s eye in terms of targeting the right audience, with the right message, at the right time and, most importantly, with the right value. These video ads are designed in keeping with the dual market forces: first being diverse mobile devices, and second being customer requirements. It has an awesome potential to monetize your app.

Before we dive deep into how programmatic app video advertising could be better harnessed by app publishers, let’s start with what programmatic advertising means.

What is programmatic advertising?

Programmatic advertising is algorithm-driven buying of ad units (in websites and apps) that consider socio-demographic and behavioral data to target specific audiences. In layman’s terms, programmatic advertising uses machines to buy space in a website or a mobile app, rather than booking a block of digital space for a specified period of time. More importantly, the ads are targeted at specified audiences.

A big plus of programmatic advertising is that it uses first and third party data, accumulated while the audience visits an app or a site, to nail down the demographics of the users. The ads are then framed depending on the demographic data gathered. However, the data needs to be arranged in a usable format before one starts designing mobile video ads.

How programmatic ads work

As you know, an app or website doesn’t open immediately; there’s some loading time involved. And it’s during these loading times analytics companies come alive, exploring, examining, and extracting critical data in terms of customer demographic data and behavior within the experience. The data gathered is then subsequently forwarded to different ad exchanges, who then invite brand advertisers to bid for in-app ad spaces targeted toward specific audiences. And as it goes, the highest bidder gets to display the ad inside the app.

Last year, over 60% of advertisers invested in mobile for programmatic advertising. This sort of arrangement, in terms of buying in-app space for video ads by means of programmatic advertising, is an attractive proposition for advertisers for they get to reach out to specific audiences as opposed to displaying ads that seem totally irrelevant to the audience. This will automatically cut down a number of wasted ads that gets displayed to the wrong people. Such serving of ads increases the ad’s impact and ROI, along with making way for personalized marketing.

With almost 235.9 million people spending time inside apps, full-screen in-app videos are driving better engagement over banner ads. This means top mobile app developers could easily think of leveraging in-app video ads, highly reputed for higher engagement, media performance, and viewing records.

As per eMarketer’s latest forecast, four out of every five US digital display dollars would be transacted programmatically this year, and the share will rise to 84% in 2019, which should leave no doubt on the publishers and buyers mind on the revenue-generating capabilities of programmatic mobile ads.

eMarketer forecast

According to a recent Adroll survey, more than 50% of respondents invested in programmatic initiatives; for some, it comes to more than half of their budget. More to the point, over two-thirds of marketers revealed that programmatic advertising resulted in a greater return on investment (ROI) than traditional media buying.

Advantages of programmatic video ads for app publishers

App publishers have to leverage supply-side platforms (SSP) to successfully monetize their apps, via the programmatic advertising way. The most vital thing to keep in mind is to make sure that the supply-side platforms you are partnering with supports mediation, cross serving, and most importantly, programmatic RTB.

Here are four ways to monetize your in-app inventory the programmatic mobile video advertising way.

#1. Fill in empty in-app ad space

Your in-app ad space may stay unfilled, despite the fact that you have partnered with several ad networks. You can liken such situations to times when hotels fail to fill in their vacant rooms simply because they failed to advertise at specific times in a year.

Enter programmatic platforms. Such platforms help improve the demand for your in-app inventory given that they are highly connected to tens and thousands of demand-side platforms (DSPs) looking for such inventory. The more exposure you’re in-app inventory gets through DSPs, the greater the chance of relevant ads getting served, which helps fill in in-app ad spaces and in turn, helps you make more money.

#2. Draw in bigger brands

Programmatic ads are one of the best channels to attract a new class of buyers to the app monetization equation. With in-app ads campaigns picking up steam, global brands which deeper-pockets are gunning for them like never before. Not long ago, global brands such as Unilever, Ikea, and more were reluctant to go mobile. This was mainly due to the misgivings associated with the app audiences, specifically with game app audiences. Additionally, brands were not sure about the success rate of app metrics, whether it was rewarded video ads or engagement rates.

But mindsets have changed in a major way based on how consumers use mobile experiences: the small screen has become the main screen. In other words, people are moving away from desktop and TV to mobiles, so in-app inventory appears to be a strong bet for most big brands. Unsurprisingly, programmatic ad agencies are looking forward to cashing in on this change by reaching out and engaging various audiences. This is great news for publishers who want to display a wide variety of ads including those of brands and, particularly, those focussing on app user acquisition campaigns.

#3. Boost eCPMs via real-time bidding

Programmatic advertising is based on real-time-bidding which makes it possible for brands with large advertising budgets to access your inventory in real-time.

Ultimately, this means you will have a good number of brands competing for your limited in-app inventory, leading to rising in bid prices. When the bid prices rise, it turns into better eCPMs and helps you draw more revenue.

#4. Select the right video ad network

There are a good number of video ad networks out there that can help you monetize your in-app inventory. The real challenge lies in collaborating with the right video ad network, given that each ad network is different and produces results that are diametrically different.

To ensure you select the right video ad network for you app, be sure to understand similarities and differences between your options. From there, you’ll have a better understanding of how to select your network of choice.

Looking ahead

Programmatic ads depend on demographic customer data to reach the specified audience. It’s important for app publishers to supply as much relevant customer data as possible to make programmatic deals work for both sides. DSPs will be interested in micro-analyzing your customer data before they enter into any sort of collaboration with you, so your top priority should be to build a sizeable, engaged audience before you could even start thinking of pursuing your programmatic video ad dreams.

Have you been flexing programmatic mobile video muscles for app monetization purposes? What other tips have you leveraged? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.