Publishers, Ad Networks Scramble to Monetize Mobile

Along with the growing excitement about the cool factor of mobile advertising comes a dose of reality. The monetization of the platform for media providers is challenging. Recent surveys show the performance statistics for mobile and can help guide advertisers and media companies in their strategies for this platform.

According to the State of Mobile Advertising by Opera, understanding the mobile ad ecosystem means accounting for devices, publishers, networks and advertisers.

With respect to devices, a campaign run on iPhones costs $2.85 for eCPM (effective Cost Per Thousand) while Android devices are at $2.10. Other devices which have similar features but lower adoption (i.e. traffic) cost much less. For example, the Windows phone is pegged at $0.20 for each eCPM.  In general, the U.S. has an e CPM price of $1.98. Currently, business and finance is the publishing sector with the most revenue per impression by category.

Advertisers are also realizing that in addition to running their campaigns on sophisticated feature-​rich smartphones, they need to engage consumers with rich media content. So far this year, Opera has seen a big change in the types of ads being run in the mobile space. HTML5 Rich media now accounts for 51% of executions (up from 28%) and video accounts for 13% (up from 6%). Advertisers dropped the number of standard mobile campaigns and those that have expandable banners. These trends are likely based on user interaction with mobile campaigns. The average dwell time on a photo is 1.25 minutes and 48% of users who engage with photos will complete their interaction. Similarly, the average video dwell time is 52 seconds and 66% of users complete the interaction. For now, business and finance sites are commanding the highest rates. However, the highest number of impressions on mobile comes from social sites.

Another big challenge for advertisers is selecting a network on which to run their ads. In some cases, such as premium, the network is the publisher – think AOL. In these cases, advertisers get plenty of customer service and pay high CPM rates in order to have their ads run on specific destination sites. At the other end of the spectrum are the blind networks where advertisers do the leg work themselves, pay on a cost per click basis and can choose from the kind of content they want to appear with – such as sports – but not the specific site. For publishers looking to maximize return on their content, Opera recommends a strategy that includes connecting to multiple ad sources such as networks that “pay high eCPM and networks with high fill rates.”

With platforms and technology rapidly changing and lack of a clear leader in the mobile network market, both publishers and advertisers are increasingly seeking the help of experts to get the most out of their mobile strategy.

[Source: The State of Mobile Advertising. 2012. Opera​.com. Web. 2 Aug. 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.