The Ultimate Mobile Advertising Guide for Advertisers 2016


A recent survey from ClickZ found that 56% of marketers, particularly advertisers and agencies, consider themselves beginners when it comes to mobile advertising. Quite worrying, especially considering that an increasing amount of budget is being allocated to mobile advertising every year.

With this in mind, it seems the right time to publish another comprehensive mobile advertising guide, which we hope will be as useful and popular as our 2014 Advertising and Marketing guide proved to be. With so many industry developments over the past couple of years, this guide will help you distinguish your instream from your outstream, discuss programmatic and look in-depth at campaign measurement metrics, plus much more. Let’s get started…

Ad Industry Terms and Buzzwords

We all know that the industry is inundated with buzzwords and terminology which are enough to give you a headache. We’ve selected terms that are relatively new to the industry mixed in some older terms (just in case you need a refresh).

  • Acquisition Campaign – An advertising campaign with the aim of acquiring new customers.  On mobile, this would usually mean new users for an App or website.
  • Ad Unit – This is the ad itself, which has the brand’s creative and marketing message, plus any interactive options.
  • Ad Impression – Every instance that the user is exposed to an ad.
  • Ad Space – The space on a mobile website where a mobile advert appears.
  • Attribute – Anonymous information about the user which can include location, age, gender and lifestyle habits.
  • ARPU – This stands for Average Revenue per Customer which is used to determine the average income generated per user.
  • Conversion Rate – The percentage of visitors to a website who sign up for the advertising or offers promoted there.
  • Conversion Tracking – This gives advertisers visibility into how users are interacting with the brand, for example, what the user did after clicking on the ad.
  • Click Fraud – A type of internet crime that occurs in mobile advertising. It occurs where a person, script or computer imitates a legitimate user clicking on an ad for the purpose of being paid for clicks without any genuine engagement.
  • DMP – This stand for Data Management Platform, which is a system which allows for better ad targeting of campaigns.
  • Dynamic End Card – Used alongside mobile ads to drive users to any point of action through displaying various click-throughs.
  • Frequency Capping – This is used to limit the amount an ad is shown.
  • Fill Rate – This is the percentage of ad requests filled with ads
  • Impressions – The number of times an ad is displayed
  • M-Commerce – Commerce for an internet enabled mobile device
  • MRAID – An acronym for “Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definitions”, coming from the IAB. It is a standardised set of commands that are designed to work with HTML5 and Javascript that developers use.
  • Point of Interest Targeting – Targeting based on a specific location, for example, a supermarket, football stadium etc.
  • Rich Media – Interactive and engaging ad formats, spanning from pre-roll, banners, interstitial etc.
  • RTB – The process of booking, flying and optimizing advertising campaigns via software interfaces and computer algorithms. Programmatic Buying allows advertisers to automatically monitor and analyse several data points and information sources and adjust their ad campaign settings in order to improve ad effectiveness.
  • SSP – This stands for Supply Side Platform. This is a platform which enables publishers to manage and sell their inventory to advertisers.
  • Target Segment – A specific parameter used to define the group of people an advertiser wants to watch.
  • Viewability – A method to determine whether an ad unit is actually viewable by the advertisers target audience.  

Campaign Metrics

Campaign metrics (Data and statistics) are extremely important in measuring the effectiveness and success of all mobile campaigns. More and more metrics have emerged the last few years due to new ad formats.

  • CPA – Cost per acquisition. The advertiser pays for a specified action from the user on the campaign.
  • CPC – Cost per click. Another payment structure for which brands and advertisers pay a fee every time their advertisement is clicked.
  • CPD – Cost per download. This normally relates to the downloading of an application or file.
  • CPE – Cost per engagement. The advertiser will pay for when the user has engaged with the campaign
  • CPI – Cost per install. This is a metric to calculate how many users have installed something linked to the advert, typically a mobile app.
  • CPM – Cost per thousand or cost per mille. Ad campaigns can be bought and measured by the number of impressions (or in the case of video – plays) that the advert has had. Prior to starting a campaign advertisers and publishers will agree on the number of impressions to deliver and price them based on an agreed CPM rate.
  • CPV – Cost Per View. The cost per view is normally calculated when a user reaches the 2nd or 3rd quartile of a video ad.

  • CPCV – Cost per completed view. This metric measures users who have watched the mobile video ad till completion. There is a lot of uncertainty within the industry as to what constitutes a ‘complete’ view.
  • CTR – Click-through-rate. The percentage of users who have clicked on an advert after viewing it. CTR is a useful metrics for measuring how effective an ad campaign is.
  • CR – This stands for Conversion Rate. This measures how many users take action after viewing the ad such as how many users sign up to receive more information or how many users make a purchase.
  • eCPM – Effective cost per mille (thousand). It is commonly used for publishers to determine their revenue opportunities. The eCPM formula is (monthly revenue / monthly impressions) * 1000 = eCPM
  • PPC – Pay per call. The advertiser will pay for how many people phone after viewing the ad.
  • PPD –  Pay per download. The advertiser is charged based on how many downloads the advert achieved.

Mobile Advertising Formats

As mobile advertising has grown and technology improved over the years, a need has developed for much more advanced and sophisticated advertising, especially in light of issues such as ad-blocking and viewability. Advertisers want high-quality ads that drive brand awareness and users do not want to be bombarded with unattractive, intrusive ads. The past couple of years has seen more innovative mobile video ads be developed.

Outstream allows for a video advert to be placed within the content of a web page, e.g. in between paragraphs of text on text-heavy websites. Outstream ads aim to promote increased viewability, only playing when the ad is between 50% to 100% in view, depending on the ad network. The choice is up to the user whether or not they continue to watch the ad, which ultimately leads to valuable eyeballs if the advert is watched. If the user does not engage with the ad and continues scrolling, the ad will stop playing and slide out of view. Outstream advertising is one of the newest mobile ad formats which aims to create a more seamless experience for users and publishers whilst at the same time providing genuine viewability for advertisers. Outstream ads do not act as a barrier to access like many other ad formats, therefore, they are viewed more positively than other the more intrusive ad formats.


Instream video ads play within a video player, meaning that there needs to be video content on a web page or app for the ad to essentially be attached to. Instream ads normally follow under one of the following types; pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll. These are pretty self-explanatory – your ad will either be shown before, during or after video content on a publisher’s web page. Each has differing levels of effectiveness. Mid-roll can be said to be the most effective in terms of completion rate as the viewer is already engaged in the content, therefore, more likely to sit through a 30-second ad. Post-roll can be considered the least intrusive, but there is no guarantee that the user will reach the end of the content to be shown the ad.

Pre-roll is the most popular instream format  typically enabled with VAST tracking which enables advertisers and agencies to track the play events of an ad campaign including the number of click-throughs and the number of views which reached the first, second, third or fourth quartile. Having this data enables brands to have consistent metrics across different ad networks and also make more informed decisions about their brand.

Banners have come a long way from the garish, online display banners that people normally associate the word ‘banner’ with. Mobile video banners now offer more high-impact advertising which includes rich-media, interactive options. Typically video banners are enabled with click-through interactivity, giving the user the option to play the banner full-screen and then on completion offering the user the ability to share the video ad to their social networks or taking them to find out more about the product or a landing page.

Mobile Advertising Developments

  • Programmatic Advertising 

Programmatic is simply the use of technology, namely computers, to buy and sell ads, in comparison to human interactions. The programmatic system of ad buying simply takes away the need for humans to carry out menial tasks. We are still extremely important for campaign management, optimising campaigns and planning strategies, however, programmatic makes the process  of buying and selling ads that much easier.

Programmatic advertising is advantageous due to targeting abilities. Rather than blanket advertising to a large group of untargeted consumers, through using mobile programmatic advertising brands can gather data and intelligence on consumers a lot more efficiently, enabling the correct consumers to be targeted and therefore improving brand performance and KPIs. Essentially, programmatic allows brands to automatically reach very focused and selective audiences.

  • Viewability 

Viewability concerns many people within the advertising industry. First, there are no formal industry guidelines set by the IAB or Media Rating Council (MRC) meaning there is ambiguity surrounding how mobile ad viewability should be measured. Second, brands are unsure whether their mobile ads are viewed at all and thirdly, brands are also unsure whether they are paying for ads that aren’t actually visible. The Media Ratings Council are aware of the problems and have stated that 2016 is the year that they will focus their attention on mobile ad viewability measurement, rather than desktop, where behaviours are said to be different to those on mobile. It’s worth keeping note of developments this year to see whether any formal guidelines are eventually made. This will have a huge effect on the whole industry, forcing all players to dramatically rethink how mobile campaign results are tracked and reported.

Need-to-Know Mobile Advertising Facts 

We’ll end our Mobile Advertising Guide 2016 with some interesting, need-to-know facts and figures which could come in useful for your marketing efforts.

  • Asia Pacific is becoming a big player in the mobile advertising market due to the huge increase in smartphone sales and advancing mobile connections. India has the fastest growing smartphone market in the APAC regions.
  • 2016 will be the year that mobile overtakes all other forms of media consumption, according to eMarketer. Mobile makes up for nearly 29% of the 51% of our digital media consumption.
  • Over 50% of people grab their smartphone to check straight after waking up.
  • Mobile ad spend is set to top $100 billion worldwide in 2016, making up 51% of the digital market.
  • The average time users spend with mobile is increasing vastly year-on-year
time -spent-on-smartphone

Source: eMarketer

  • Outstream video ads provide a 10% lift in brand awareness and are visible for 25% longer than instream ad formats.
  • Programmatic is huge. Mobile programmatic is predicted to reach $15.45 billion in 2016, representing 69% of all programmatic ad spend in the US.
  • 6 out of 10 marketers believe that programmatic provides a greater return on investment than traditional media spending.
  • 81% of Facebook’s 2015 Q4 ad revenue was attributable to mobile.

AdSpruce prides itself on being a leading mobile video ad tech platform, delivering native video, outstream video, full-page interstitial, pre-roll and video in-page mobile adverts. To find out more about how AdSpruce can help you, visit the website

We hope you found the AdSpruce mobile advertising guide useful. If you have any comments the let us know through our Facebook, Twitter or Google+ pages.

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