AOL Survey: Mobile Traffic, Inventory and Revenue Are Up, Up and Up

There’s lots of interesting stuff within AOL’s 2016 Publisher Outlook, including the top-level highlight that the 300 pubs surveyed said that video will be the number 1 revenue driver this year. Here are some other tidbits I picked out for you, but I suggest you give the whole report a lookover.

  • In keeping with the trends of the last several years, 70% of pubs surveyed saw up to 50% growth in mobile traffic over the last year, while 30% saw 50%-100%. No surprise then that 73% increased their amount of mobile inventory available and 75% are bumping up investment in the platform. Video and display revenue growth were primarily in mobile.
  • Ad blockers (49%) was the most cited mobile challenge, which is odd for because ad blocking is currently unavailable within mobile apps and reports show mobile browser ad-blocker adoption to be rather low. Quality of consumer experience (44%) and content/creative (42%) were next on the list of course, but the ones we should keep our eyes on are platform and service cost and off-platform monetization (both at 30%). My money says concern over those two will jump in the next year.
  • Speak of the devil (Facebook?), more than 90% of the surveyed claimed off-platform monetization had a positive effect, with 53% deigning it “extremely positive.” A “majority” (no numbers included) said syndication was essential to their strategy and that they receive 25%-50% of traffic via syndication referral. But as noted above, pubs are quite wary about the monetization control, as well as audience data, transparency and lower CPMs.
  • About half of the publishers surveyed have jumped on the header bidding train, with the majority using partner solutions. Three-quarters of that group are working with have five or more partners – is that what we call polyamorous?
  • Finally, a section on the “ad tech tax” – my vote for top ad tech cliché of 2016! – reiterates data found in last year’s State of Ad Ops that publishers are sacked with tons of service providers, many of which are point solutions. It’s kind of depressing to see no change from year to year, but I think it’s going to be a long time and a lot of consolidation before those numbers go down.