Majority of in-app ad budgets now allocated toward programmatic

Anne Freier | February 5, 2019

Mobile Advertising

Buyers are now allocating almost half (45%) of their digital ad expenditure to mobile, despite concerns over fraud and measurability. According to new research commissioned by PubMatic, the publisher-focussed sell-side platform, budgets tend to be fairly evenly distributed between mobile app and web.

Programmatic is a clearly preferred option among media buyers with 68% of respondents saying they always included programmatic direct in-app ads whilst 59% included open exchange in-app ads.

On average, 66% of in-app budgets were allocated toward programmatic direct compared to 34% to direct buys.

The top in-app formats included social media (26%), video (26%), display (25%) and native (23%). However, video and in particular short-form video is on the rise with 90% of media professionals expecting their in-app video budgets to increase.

Interestingly, the majority of respondents (86%) consider in-app video inventory to be of high quality. Similarly, 72% consider in-app native ads to be of high quality.

“As buyers increasingly embrace programmatic in-app opportunities, transparency and quality are critically important,” said Paulina Klimenko, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development & General Manager of Mobile at PubMatic. “Brands are leveraging their buying power to make smarter investments in programmatic, and it is imperative that publishers and ad tech providers alike understand buyers’ needs and challenges with regard to in-app environments. By focusing and innovating around data capabilities and inventory quality, supply providers can capitalize on the growing opportunities available in-app.”

Fraud continues to be a major concern for brand advertisers (52%), whilst viewability tops the list of concerns for agencies (48%). Meanwhile, media buyers expect more help from publishers and tech providers in order to address fraud verification (50%) and viewability (47%).

73% of respondents said targeting was an important criteria for selecting an in-app publisher whilst another 58% identified inventory quality as important and 56% consider brand safety a major issue.