On the Origin of Mobile Advertising: Evolve or Else

Becky Doles

The mobile ad network industry has evolved dramatically over the past year. Today at Postback, Paul Longhenry of Tapjoy; Paul Cushman of Drawbridge; Fred Hsu of; David Diaz of SponsorPay; and Hanno Fichtner of Applift discussed what worked then, what works now, what challenges remain, who networks can trust and what networks can look out for. During the open discussion, each panelist offered advice around each mobile ad network/platform and unique approaches that drive value for their advertisers.

Each panelist acknowledged that a lot has changed in the past year. Paul Cushman noted that programmatic advertising is beginning to push the human element out of the advertising process, and as a result it is also pushing people out of business. He advised that for those who are just now thinking of starting a business selling ad space to “get the human out of the way and let machines do it all.” David added that the rise of programmatic advertising has also increased competition and the ability for advertisers to directly target ads more effectively than before. On that note, the panelists agreed that it is important to know what to measure in evaluating the effectiveness of campaigns.

Of course, it is also critical when working with mobile advertising to know what SDKs to work with. While the panelists joked that you really don’t need an SDK other than HasOffers, Paul Longhenry explained that he works with other publisher and advertiser SDKs. David said he typically works with server side tracking solutions and only works with SDKs (including HasOffers) for video campaigns.

With mobile, advertisers have the ability to drive engagement in a much different way than with desktop – but every advertiser can and often does take a different approach to driving this engagement. Paul Cushman advised that advertisers should consider driving users (especially users who have not used the app recently) back to a point in the app that is especially functional and useful. He said instead of driving users back to the homepage of the app, advertisers should drive users to a specific sweet spot in the app. David also suggested finding how many times users come back to your app within a certain time period and identifying these loyal users so that you can focus on re-engaging them. As David explained, these users have more long term value than users who don’t use the app as often. Additionally, Paul Longhenry suggested customizing user settings based on cross device behavior (which can be determined by third party data) to determine the right messaging for driving engagement.

Finally, the panelists offered some advice for those coming into the industry. Paul Longhenry laid down the bottom line: “Know what you’re solving for before before you spend the money. If you don’t know what results you want to get, you’re going to waste your money.”

Watch the full “Postback 2013: Mobile Ad Network Evolution” session below:

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she handled content strategy and marketing communications at several tech startups in the Bay Area. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned home to Charleston, SC, where you can find her strolling through Hampton Park with her pup and enjoying the simple things between adventures with friends and family.

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