Saddle Up: Mobile Publisher Forum Live Blog

Attendees dive into measurement, yield, video and more

Morning pardners – despite chatting with our sponsors till late in the night at the YuMe-hosted opening reception, the crew here at the Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio seems bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, enjoying a little Southwestern-style breakfast and preparing for the admittedly packed first day of our first ever mobile-focused Publisher Forum.

In addition to a keynote from David Gill of Nielsen and a myth-busting exhibition from Sabrina Almi of the IAB, the attendees will be branching out into breakout presentations on mobile video, yield management, ad ops teaming up with product, m-commerce… And, believe it or not, more. We’re also going to dive into the insight derived from very productive workgroups last night – obviously, we’re going to have a lot to talk about over the next few days, and while some of the conversations will be attendee-only, we’ll share what we can over here on the Live Blog. First up –

David Gill, Nielsen: Crunching Numbers: Simplifying Measurement in Our Mobile World

9:15 AdMonsters Content Czar Rob Beeler introduces Gill by suggesting that measurement really underlies everything we’re taking about this week in San Antonio.

9:17 Gill mentions that he runs the emerging media department, which works with a lot of pubs. A lot of the lexicon from the online environement has been transfered to mobile – possibly not in the most deliberate or organic way. Mobile is about people, measurement should be about people. We spend a lot of time trying to force mobile behavior on consumers when it’s really consumer behavior – mobile is just an aspect.

9:19 Figuring out resonance and reaction on mobile is still in its infancy – really in the left quandrant of “reach.”

9:21 Do you trust a trend? Taking a look at Nate Silver’s polling algorithm. “You can look at trending data and pull out relevant insight.”

9:23 50% penetration of smartphone doesn’t make advertisers want to shift budget; bigger trand underneath; Smartphone penetration is not 50% – have to look at age and income, socioeconomic factors. Trends toward younger, but there is stratafiaction among higher incomes. 

9:26 Press is obsessed over who’s winning: Google vs. Apple. Google up, Apple down! Look under the covers: What OS would you prefer for your next smartphone? Google is not matching its popularity. Still just stealing subs from BlackBerry, not competing against each other.

9:28 40 million people joined the app circus oin the last year – Gill has never seen such platform adoption. However, most app usage is more with the top 25, not much in the long-tail. Time spent is highest in the top 10 apps. YoY, 70% time spent in top 50 in 2011; 65% in 2012, which Gill believes is trending the right way. Social networking is still the top time usage. Time spent on mobile is up 46% YoY; desktop down 8%.

9:30 Mobile gaming and social activity are mainly mutually exclusive at the moment as mobile gaming is at this point solitary.

9:34 People don’t think about media channels – don’t think about whether they will watch something on this device or that; we make those decisions naturally.

9:38 Elephant in the room is television. Viewage down (a little), but TV is entrenched, but why? Warm winter, more outdoor time. A lot of discussion over why people are watching six minutes less of TV. 36 million watch video on their mobile phones, but 97.6% of 5 hours of video watched a day is on TV.

9:40 88% of tablet users, 87% of smartphone users engage while watching TV – bigger trend is how media companies can make complementary content for mobile devices.

9:42 Tablet cutting into desktop and notebook/laptop – 28% and 25% less use, respectively, by tablet owners.

9:45 People are choosing best platform for what they already do – e.g., watching sports on TV but finding scores on mobile device.

9:46 Magical meeting place for mobile is intersection time, location and intent. First two are physical entities that have technological accompaniaments; intent is a whole other beast.

9:48 51% of restaurant sessions in car; 15% of travel at work.

9:50 Deep dive into mobile travel shoopers, overindex young and lower household income; four different usage segment within: Price Hunter, Frequent Traveler, Researcher and Local Traveler. Price Hunter is typically on Twitter; purchase funnel about 1 week to convert – value-driven consumer.

9:52 People-based approach to mobile measurement is the ONLY way to get ahead. It’s not about following “established media patterns”; “it’s established lifestyle patterns” – we’re not fundamentally changing people’s behavior.

10:05 Consumer perception of tablet is entertainment device – not content creation.

Marcel Gordon, Product Manager at Google, discusses, “The Future of Mobile”

10:20 We’ve come to this place where we work on “screens” from our history of trying to work on the smallest screen – mobile (smarphone).

10:23 Tablet penetration is growing, but everyone has a smartphone. Mobile remains a special and critical part of the device landscape. More than 1 billion people use mobile devices as their primary window to the web.

10:26 Many activities people start on a smartphone and finish on another device, such as laptop or tablet.

10:28 How do we grow ad spend to match time spent?

10:29 Mobile ARPU is nowhere near deasktop ARPU. People aren’t able to sell mobile inventory as effectively as desktop inventory.

10:30 Mobile has moved to a second phase over the last 12-20 months. The first phase was very much awareness and penetration. People became aware that so much of their traffic was becoming mobile. As a consequence, the rush two years ago was “How do we get into the market?” Publishers pushed out a lot of these things. The emphasis was simply to acquire users as quickly as possible. 

10:31 The big shift has been that hte focus has gone from user acquisition to revenue generation. How do we make a substantial amount of money from applications? How do you actually run a business across multiple devices. This is tactical, long-term thinking.

10:34 A hallmark of this change has been the move to responsive design; how to make content work across all platforms?

10:35 As we build more and more functionality into DFP, it’s applicable to more and more devices. 

10:38 If ad spend grew from 1% to 10% tomorrow, would you all (publishers) be able to cope? Would you be able to scale? How do we make sure that when this demand comes in (which we believe it will), how do we make sure you’ll be able to deal with it?

10:44 Four points: 

  1. How do you unite mobile and desktop?
  2. How do you handle the diversity of screens?
  3. How do you work with 3rd parties?
  4. How do you manage HTML5 and Rich Media?

10:47 DoubleClick’s goals:

  1. Unitfy desktop and mobile
  2. Radically simplify core use
  3. Simplify working with partners
  4. DoubleClick HTML5 Rich Media

10:49 Quick demo – brought out the WolfVision.

10:55 DoubleClick will be rolling out super cool new products (in beta) early next year. 

After an afternoon packed with breakout sessions from AllRecipes, Thrillist, NBCUniversal, NASCAR, Trulia and Photobucket (covering topics from yield management to the ops-product relationship), we’ve come to our first day wrap up: a presentation by the IAB’s Sabrina Alimi. Sabrina will be covering the metrics and standards we need to develop to really make mobile work.

4:33 Mobile is different because of its incredible rate of adoption and the ways that it is used in addition to other media consumption.

4:34 Different 3G and 4G experiences for users across different networks; also varies by location. Can’t simply characterize users by just their specific network or location or type of connection.

4:34 Rob asks the audience – do you segment by carrier or type of connection. Audience: no, we don’t do that.

4:35 We are moving toward faster wireless speeds.

4:36 52% of wifi traffic comes from mobile (Jiwire stat). Mojiva: 80% of mobile impressions served via wifi.

4:36 Great increase in the amount of rich media coming through on mobile devices. Mobile Rising Stars ad units try to create standards for rich media on ad units (MRAID as well, of course). 

4:38 These differences and discrepancies mean that you have to consider more than just file weight. 

4:39 People’s expectations for their mobile devices are very high, and we expect expectations only to grow.

4:40 We can’t look at mobile file weight the same way we do on the web. 

4:41 Sabrina’s advice

  1. Run creative and use http analyzer tools to calculate total ad weight
  2. Distinguish the difference between “inital” and “total” file weight
  3. Target by connection when appropriate, specifically wifi vs network

4:41 HTML5 vs Flash

4:44 A lot of hard coding goes on – a lot of room for error.

4:44 Different functionalities per device & app vs. web make it even more complicated. We also don’t have a lot of QA tools. Some people are using custom/in-house tools.

4:45 Rob: What are people using for QA’ing? Audiences: QA’ing using our IP address; we target ourselves.”Prayer” is also popular. Other companies have purchased a lot of popular devices to use to test.

4:50 HTML5 is the key to cross platform.

4:51 There are many different levels of precision when it comes to location on mobile. Carrier IP, user-entered/enabled, geo-search, location-based content, caller ID…etc.

4:52 Be clear on how you receive user location. Remember also that hyperlocal isn’t for everyone. Make sure you know what you’re trying to achieve with that data.

4:57 Share knowledge, work together.

Tuesday – It begins again. We’re kicking off the day with a presentation by the FTC’s Jim Elliott, an attorney focused on privacy, particularly privacy on websites and on mobile. 

9:06 Jim explains the FTC’s jurisdiction – damn, that’s a lot of coverage.

9:07 If an ad or representation makes an express or implied claim likely to mislead without certain qualifying information, that information must be disclosed clearly and conspicuously. 

9:08 Required disclosures should be displayed clearly and conspicuously. Marketers have to consider how to do this effectively. Content matters. So does context. 

9:08 Whether a disclosure is clear and conspicuous is determined by its real world performance.

9:09 Think like a reasonable consumer. You have to understand what a consumer would expect and app to do and how a consumer would expect an app to behave.

9:14 General Principles

  1. Collect only info you neeed
  2. Tell users exactly what you collect
  3. Secure the data you collect
  4. Limit access to need-to-know basis
  5. Safely dispose of data when you no longer need it.

9:15 Personal information should be collected through a form, not provided by the ad network automatically.

9:17 Give consumers choice about the data they’re required to submit, and make sure they know what kind of identifying data is collected by ad providers and how it is used. 

9:18 Offer tools like opt outs and default settings – as well as better controls to adjust how much information they share.

9:19 Take-it-or-leave-it choice about giving up consumer data raises problems – consumers should be given alternatives.

9:20 Businesses should provide a do-not-track mechanism to give consumers control over the collection of their behavioral data for ALL purposes, except for a few purposes such as preventing click fraud or facilitating transactions.

9:21 FTC does not believe that DNT should be facilitated by the gov’t. We believe that the industry should control how it goes into effect.

9:36 Nexage’s Victor Milligan takes the stage to explain the power and potention of analytics

9:38 Data is data. It is not insight. It is not actionable guidance. It must be converted.

9:41 Analtyics = exploration.

9:42 Analtyics – what can I do to make next week better?

9:43 Liquidity – the predictable ability to generate value in a marketplace.

10:16 Paul Gelb, newly of MoPub (formerly of Razorfish) takes the stage to talk about mobile from his very interesting perspective.

10:18 Addressing agency disfunction requires a deeper understanding of its causes.

10:18 Many problems fully entwined with organizational DNA

10:21 Agencies want to preserve golden age model – they control relationship with publishers; they control the data. They want to retain this.

10:23 Agencies really want to succeed in mobile.

10:26 IFA – small step that’s a giant leap forward

Day 3: After a night of cowboys, chili and cattle on the Rio Cibolo Ranch, Monsters survived a convoluted drive back to San Antonio’s Riverwalk and have woken up to a keynote by Joanna Bloor of Pandora. Joanna’s spent the past few days in conversations with attendees and will be breaking down Pandora’s path into mobile and explaining what problems should be giving everyone grey hair.

9:26 When Joanna was interviewing, she was told she’d have to figure out advertising on a refrigerator. Pandora had just inked a deal with a fridge company to stream music into the kitchen.

9:31 Right around 2008, Pandora launched on the iPhone and life changed dramatically. Since 2008, Pandora has been in the 1, 2, or 3 slot on iTunes, and continues to be one of the fastest-downloaded applications on iOS and Android devices – and beyond to fridges and other things.

9:32 Pandora users have dramatically migrated to mobile. “Mobile” means anything that’s not desktop/pc. Listenership continues to shift away from the web.

9:33 Increased mobile adoption in Middle America, where they are also more price-conscious and more frequently choose non-Apple devices.

9:40 We are the Saturn factory floor. All of our products are teeny tiny pieces that we build and put together. You have to customize your package, and we have different packages from basic to tricked-out.

9:42 What I charge for SF Bay Area is different from what I charge in LA Bay Area in terms of broadcast dollars. When we think about how we set up our products, we think very carefully about the pricing. Different pricing based on different verticals. For example, Pandora is one of the premium advertisers on mobile for political advertising this week. If you lived in a swing state, you got a lot of political ads. A week before the elections, the CPM went up 10x. 

9:44 You have to start thinking about monetization strategy mathematically. You have to bring in new perspectives, whether that means hiring someone who’d previously used algorithms to study brain waves or not.

9:45 Target your audience anytime, anywhere. Think about your data scheme and data architecture to make this successful. 

9:49 If you haven’t gone to a sales training class, Joanna highly recommends it. The definition of “ad operations” is shifting because you’re really considered magicians. You’re not just fix-it people anymore; you’re strategists.

9:56 Yes, the President has his own Pandora station. No, we won’t tell you anything about it. Closely-guarded company secret.

9:57 You have an opportunity to put all the parts and pieces together ahead of time so you can really leverage the power of mobile to shift your brand.

9:59 Pandora best practices for ad effectiveness:

  1. Creative should be customized to fit platform
  2. Clear call to action
  3. Rotate creative for lengthier campaigs – avoid consumer burnout.
  4. On Pandora, display + audio lifts brand engagment. +34% CTR 

10:00 Pandora is on over 400 different mobile devices

10:01 Five minutes after we announced our connected cars plan, we had sales people asking to target to automotive brands. But you have to consider, is there enough reach & is there enough potential revenue? You sometimes have to push back on a logical rather than technical level. Would we & should we, not can we. Because you probably can.

10:03 No longer worried about the Android/iOS thing. I am, however, very worried about tablets.

10:04 This is a data-driven business. It’s all about the parts and pieces. Data is your core product. 

10:05 Scalability. This is the thing that really hurts at Pandora. We are 56% up in revenue from last year to this year. Creative ID’s are up 231%. Think about how you implement systems, your order management, your forecasting (and how these connect) so you can continue to grow.

10:07 Take other people’s money. Broadcast radio, broadcast TV. Long tail, local, SMB, direct. Learn it all.

10:08 Manage your sales team – Have the conversation they want to have. Think with your ad product team and sales team together about what they want to accomplish. Sales is given a higher kicker on mobile than on web; this gives the results you want at the end of the day. Drive change and provide education.

That’s a wrap folks! We’ve finished with our full-group sessions, and we’re now headed into breakouts. Thanks so much for watching!