How to Streamline the Selling of In-App Video Advertising Inventory

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This past January, mobile apps overtook PC Internet usage in the U.S. for the first time in history. Now more than ever, consumers are on their mobile devices and advertisers are eager to reach them where they are most engaged.

Why Video?
The trend of mobile in-app advertising was validated by the number of attendees at this year’s Game Developers Conference, particularly, the vocal crowd of advertising attendees in the exhibit hall. In-app mobile video inventory is growing at the rapid rate of 60 percent year-over-year, making it clear that mobile video inventory is in high demand and in-turn, commanding high CPMs. So, how can app developers quickly set themselves up to capitalize on this growth?

Getting Started
When app developers look to monetize their app with video ads, they may first look to ad networks who have direct brand advertiser relationships. Most ad networks require app publishers to integrate their proprietary SDK for access to video ads to serve. The issue is that integrating multiple SDKs can be a tedious and time-consuming task and also cause increased complexity and fragmentation. A better course of action would be to use one SDK from a publisher monetization platform that has yield management capabilities, which are often found in supply-side platforms (SSP). A supply side platform is specifically designed to help publishers maximize the prices their impressions are sold at, which they are able to do based on their close proximity to the inventory. These platforms provide access to multiple buyers in one centralized location, making inventory management much easier.

What About Direct Relationships?
A common concern among app developers is how they can begin working with a platform without disturbing the direct relationships they already have established with third party ad providers. However, just because an app’s parent company decides to work with a monetization platform, doesn’t mean their current ecosystem of ad network vendors will be left in the dust. Quite the contrary: a good platform is agnostic, meaning publishers can work with any third party ad networks they choose in order to achieve maximum yield. This way any current direct relationships are not affected.

So, Then What Happens?
By plugging in all demand partners to one central marketplace, they’re forced to compete for each impression instead of individual ad calls going out to each ad network. Simply put, an SSP will take one ad call and split it into hundreds which go out to the various ad networks and exchanges simultaneously. This is done through a method known as real-time bidding (RTB), where advertisers bid on your available inventory and the winner gets to serve their ad to your users.

As surprising as it may seem based on the number of smartphone users globally and their video consumption habits, there is actually a shortage of in-app mobile video inventory, and thus advertisers are looking to other placements to advertise. This creates an opportunity for app developers to monetize interstitial inventory with high grossing video advertising. While the task of preparing and getting set up technologically to begin selling mobile video advertising inventory can seem daunting, heeding the above advice can help streamline the process for app developers.

Michael Wright, the author of this post, is in Mobile Publisher Development at LiveRail.