Tech Talk with MoPub: The evolving mobile landscape

01/07 By Joe Ranzenbach

People are obsessed with their phones. With mobile device usage on the rise, and content creation increasing at unprecedented rates, the mobile advertising ecosystem must also evolve to continue capturing user attention and minimize waste. MoPub, a Twitter company, is a full-stack mobile monetization platform that powers revenue for app publishers around the world and provides buyers with access to high quality mobile supply across more than 1.4 billion devices. As one of the first major SSPs to adopt IAS’s proprietary verification SDK (AVID), we have been lucky to work closely with the MoPub team over the last few years as they continue to support an ecosystem of trust and transparency. IAS sat down with Meagan Ralston, Manager of Strategic Partners at MoPub, to discuss their perspectives on the evolving mobile landscape. 

What are some of the misperceptions you see marketers have about mobile in-app advertising?

Some think mobile in-app advertising is best used for driving performance, specifically app install campaigns. However, that’s only part of the story. Many marketers are using mobile advertising as an effective branding channel, especially since it offers very engaging full-screen formats like video. Another common misconception is that mobile in-app is an ineffective channel because it’s mostly gaming, and most gamers are teenagers lacking purchasing power. The reality is, people across a diverse range of demographics (including both men and women, across a broad spectrum of ages) are playing games on their phones. Advertisers should be thinking about how to leverage the right creatives, context, and channel to deliver engaging messages to users along their mobile journey whether they are reading a NYT article, checking the forecast on the Weather Channel, or playing Candy Crush. In addition, there is a perception that mobile in-app advertising is low quality or risky; the reality is that there is a lot of high quality brand-safe mobile app inventory available for advertisers to access. With the right partnerships and processes in place, advertisers are able to identify, monitor, and minimize potential risks and instances of invalid traffic.

[The Ripple Effect: How ad environments impact consumer perception and behavior]

What are some of the ways mobile in-app advertising is differentiated from desktop?

Many of the high impact formats in mobile are full screen, which means that advertisers can grab the entirety of users’ attention, ensuring exposure. Because of that, marketers need to leverage creatives that are specifically optimized for mobile. This is extremely important since mobile ads are often more prominent than ads on desktop. If you are running a bad creative, users will feel it. Second, it’s important to know the context of where the mobile user is spending their time. Understanding that context enables you to create ads that are highly optimized for the mobile environment the user is in. Third, it’s important to optimize for downstream actions. When you are serving an ad in mobile, you are not going to have the same experience as desktop, so your landing page has to be mobile-optimized to ensure the best user experience, which may lead to the right conversion action.

How have you made it easier for brand advertisers to use mobile in-app?

Knowing that viewability is very important, we’ve been working with IAS on the best way to help brand advertisers and agencies identify highly viewable inventory. Initially, we packaged publisher ad units identified as ‘measurable’, and let our DSP partners leverage their own IAS measurement solution to determine an ad unit’s viewability. Recently, we’ve created inventory packages of highly viewable display and video ad units at different thresholds as measured by IAS, and we are passing this information directly to our DSP partners through deal IDs. This approach increases efficiency and scale for our buyers who require an ad inventory that meets their campaigns’ viewability thresholds. Furthermore, knowing that inventory quality is important, we created new inventory packages with App Annie to help buyers target high quality inventory efficiently and at scale; those are only available through MoPub at this time. 

Transparency has been a big industry buzzword as of late, and industry initiatives have been created in an effort to improve quality and transparency across the ecosystem. As a major SSP, how are you approaching these initiatives? 

When it comes to quality, MoPub is integrated with two major industry bodies and we leverage a multi-step approach to detect and manage invalid traffic (IVT), including a publisher onboarding vetting process, pre-bid IVT blocking, post-bid IVT detection, and monitoring and actioning against IVT violators. Based on industry data, we observed significant results that help demonstrate the successful effects of these efforts. 

Furthermore, in order to prevent unauthorized reselling and app spoofing, we started supporting the IAB’s most recent version of the app-ads.txt specification back in May, which is an extension of the original ads.txt specification but for in-app inventory. As we have seen with the widespread adoption of its desktop counterpart, we believe app-ads.txt will help create a trusted environment for in-app ad buying and selling. We’ve seen a 90% adoption rate from managed publishers and 60% across all publishers (managed and self-service.) We believe that publisher adoption will keep growing as DSPs continue to enforce the use of app-ads.txt. Because we have a direct relationship with publishers, we play a big role when it comes to educating them on the importance of these industry initiatives and why they matter to advertisers, especially brand marketers, to drive adoption. 

Where can publishers and advertisers learn more about your solutions? 

They can start by visiting our website at We also have many useful resources and best practices on our blog

Want more from IAS? 

Click here to check out our resources for mobile environments, and stay tuned for our upcoming piece on OM SDK adoption across the industry.