Key Considerations for Mobile Marketers with In-App Targeting & Measurement

Post on June 18, 2019 by Tom Bienias

Thomas Bienias
Tom Bienias Director, Publisher Development

According to Forrester’s recently PubMatic commissioned survey of global marketers, many are now turning to in-app advertising for improved targeting abilities and customer engagement. However, the study sheds light on some of the concerns brands have with in-app environments—namely fraud and viewability. This response is rather ubiquitous so we would like to dive into key considerations for viewability and measurement and discuss how they differ from desktop media buys.

Solving for App Viewability with SDKs

Unlike mobile web environments, in-app environments require SDKs to measure viewability. However, a lack of standardisation across the industry means apps are often not in compliance with regional consumer privacy legislation. Additionally, adding more SDKs to an app increases size while requiring internal development to maintain and update.

The first challenge with measuring in-app viewability is defining the term “viewable.” It is further complicated when considering this singular definition is also used with a multitude of vendors who all have alternate SDKs. The IAB is taking steps to standardise and define viewability in-app. The recently released Open Measurement SDK (OM-SDK) allows viewability vendors to integrate into one SDK allowing publishers to keep their SDK light.

From a marketer’s perspective, it’s worth considering certain formats on mobile devices are more viewable by default. User initiated formats, including rewarded and non-rewarded video, drive higher engagement through full-screen, audio and HD experiences. By focusing specifically on more impactful formats, overall campaign viewability metrics should increase. A recent IAS report from April 2019 found mobile in-app formats are more 33 percent viewable after 15 seconds versus 28 percent on desktop. This finding indeed emphasises the full-screen user engagement available to marketers on mobile devices.

Location Targeting and SDKs

A year has passed since the adoption of the GDPR framework and the regulations have severely restricted the ability to target consumers based on mobile location. With this we’ve seen a new level of privacy enforcement centred around how companies process and store data. With heightened attention comes more scrutiny around how companies use consumer data within the US with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA, January 2020) similarly enabling consumers a view of transparency into their digital footprint.

However, a key nuance is that GDPR requires a legal basis for consent to utilise data whilst CCPA does not restrict the ability to utilize to specific legal basis but merely requires users to either opt-in or the option to opt-out. Put in other words, the individual can control the availability of their location data under the CCPA framework via opt-in. Consent based mobile location targeting in the US shouldn’t be impacted by CCPA.

However, challenges surrounding the accuracy of location data still exist. The mobile programmatic landscape is dominated by bidstream data which Kochava’s Garret McDonald outlines as “over 50% of auction in the bidstream is inaccurate.” He added that cellular IP data, which is the basis for much of the bidstream data, is “only about 30% accurate to the state level in the US.”

Harnessing data ‘direct from source’ via an SDK provides a clear-cut solution to improving the overall accuracy. Mobile advertising SDK functionality can cover a wide range of actions including live in-app analytics and attribution.

In regards to location and geo measurement, having an SDK that can access this data via GPS, when a user opts in to sharing location data, serves to increase data quality. Thus, it is very important for marketers to obtain and adhere to user consent to verify location and work with the SDK to ensure increased accuracy. Currently, the OpenRTB protocol that’s used between ad exchanges and DSP declares whether location information is from a GPS or IP derived. Marketers should consider asking their DSP to only use GPS locations for location critical campaigns.

What’s Next?

Given fragmented technology and data restrictions, mobile can be a complex platform to measure. Viewability, measurement and data privacy are three key buyer challenges with in-app, that can be solved for through standardization of a mobile SDK.

The IAB’s Open Measurement SDK, for example, eliminates the need for multiple SDKs for third party viewability and verification measurement, while protecting consumer privacy.  With better standardization, comes more transparency as well as improved accuracy and performance from measurement services – all of which lend toward building buyer confidence. Learn more about PubMatic’s mobile solutions on our  mobile solutions page or check out our community site