It was heartening to see Allison Schiff shed a much-needed light on the ongoing challenges of in-app viewability measurement in her recent Ad-Exchanger editorial. To compete with Facebook and Google’s ever-growing market share, it’s essential that the in-app supply chain be as aggressive to adopt new and transparent solutions as those giants. While Allison’s article nicely covered the various discussions between Moat, IAS, DoubleVerify, etc. it left aside the frustrations facing those of us on the Demand side.
In-app supply has fallen behind when it comes to viewability
Somehow, in the last year, in-app supply has fallen behind when it comes to viewability. For publishers, the frustrations of implementing and regularly updating an SDK are understandable – to adoption cycles from required updates, the development cost and overhead. However, slow adoption on the supply side, aggressive sales and over-promising from viewability vendors has left those of us on the premium demand side holding the bag. The result in a severely mismatched set of expectations between what advertisers expect and what suppliers can deliver.
For many premium advertisers running on non-viewable inventory it’s a non-starter. This is a fair demand, but it’s impossible to rectify when publishers, exchanges, and vendors all have differing agendas resulting in a lack of transparency to their sources of demand. Vendors sell their own proprietary SDK solution, neglecting to mention the lack of coverage in the in-app marketplace; Exchanges won’t disclose their partners who do have certified SDKs to sell premium packages; Publishers often aren’t even aware of the budgets they are losing due to lack of adoption.
Jonah Goodhart’s quoted concerns are valid:
“…the code also isn’t a silver bullet for in-app measurement…because developers need more than just in-app viewability measurement, including the ability to measure invalid traffic, to handle tricky issues, like viewability for server-side ad insertion and pre-cached content, and to support transactions through custom metrics, like attention and time spent.”
DoubleVerify’s MRC accreditation has been validating
It’s validating, then, to see the MRC’s decision this week accrediting DoubleVerify’s MRAID solution, on which Ubimo was an R&D Partner. For Brands and their DSP partners, a scalable solution that can be implemented quickly and solves even the most basic of problems — Measuring Viewability — is a tremendous step forward and brings the in-app ecosystem closer to parity with the rest of the ad tech space.
The MRC accreditation removes any remaining stigma around MRAID vs. SDK – they are both excellent solutions that solve different problems. Vendors can now confidently educate advertisers, and suggest using an MRAID solution for in-app (which to-date covers approximately 50-70% of in-app inventory, vs. the under 20% of SDK coverage to-date). This will require partners on all sides of the in-app ad-tech ecosystem to educate advertisers and publishers, understand for themselves the respective problems MRAID and SDK solutions present and solve, and generally work together to push a combined MRAID and SDK viewability product to the industry at large.
The good news is, SDK adoption is continuing to creep up, and as demand partners, we can do our part to advocate multiple solutions. However, without further education, accreditation, and adoption, the in-app ecosystem as a whole will continue to lose out major advertising budgets to players like Google and Facebook who can move quickly on their own terms. While conversations are great, it’s ever more urgent that we put our ideas into action.
How Ubimo is bridging the current gap
At Ubimo, we’ve always believed in viewability, releasing the first in-platform DV-powered viewability solution for an in-app DSP back in 2015. Now we’re taking things even further – using our AI-powered algorithms to use our data to optimize towards viewability (again, powered by our partners at DV). This, combined with Whitelists of SDKS and gaining more transparency from the exchanges on SDK adoption, are some of the many steps Ubimo is taking this year to make the world of in-app buying the best it can possibly be.