Mobile marketers recognise importance of programmatic buying, but few are using it


Despite 76% of marketers enthusiastic about programmatic buying in mobile advertising, only a small amount of them are actually using it, according to a new study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence and conducted by Ovum. The 2015 “Marketer Perceptions of Mobile Advertising” report is based on the answers of 200 marketing executives.

Key developments in mobile advertising

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Whilst 41% of advertisers admitted that mobile programmatic advertising could help them in reaching their target audiences, only 27% of them have actually bought mobile ads programmatically. Aimed at smartphones, 18% use private exchanges and 17% use open exchanges.

Anna Bager, Senior Vice President, Mobile and Video, IAB, says:


“It is clear that programmatic advertising is strongly embedded in the minds of many mobile marketers. However, there is still much work to be done before mobile programmatic can reach its full potential. IAB is committed to educating mobile marketers about the benefits of this growing format and, towards that end, recently released a Mobile Programmatic Playbook. Our efforts on the mobile programmatic front have only just begun, and we look forward to increased adoption as familiarity improves.”

The research also finds that marketers are aware of new opportunities in connected devices. 73% of marketers were enthused about connected TV, followed by connected cars at 69% and wearables (66%). The high interest in connected TV may be due to the medium’s history in ad success, with devices readily available from major brands such as Samsung.

New opportunities in mobile advertising

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IAB found that 9% of advertisers have increased their mobile ad budget by over 50% over the last two years and 65% have spent more on mobile over the same period. Interestingly, marketers are expecting budgets to increase further, with 14% anticipating another 50% rise. Only 5% of respondents believe their ad budgets may decrease over the next two years.

Mobile ad budget predictions 

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Among the key challenges in the space respondents suggested privacy issues. The report highlights that privacy has grown in importance from 22% to 37% between 2013 to 2015. Other challenges include OS fragmentation (77%), lack of standardised metrics to measure mobile ads (74%), lack of agency expertise (72%) and confusion over too many sources to buy inventory (67%).

Key challenges for mobile advertisers

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Mike Zaneis, Executive Vice President, Public Policy, and General Counsel, IAB, adds:


“With mobile taking a more prominent role in consumers’ lives each year, an uptick in marketers’ potential concerns surrounding mobile privacy is no surprise. The IAB is in full support of the Digital Advertising Alliance’s work on this front. Its recent release of new user-friendly tools for mobile choice and transparency brings new level of consumer control to the fast-growing mobile medium.”

There’s cause for optimism in the future though. The majority of advertisers were satisfied with the performance of their mobile ads (87%). You can find the full report here.