Geo-Data Can Raise Publishers’ eCPMs By Over 200 Percent Versus Ads Without Location

Mobile RTB exchange Smaato’s trends report finds that more anonymized data is better, but putting a place pin to an ad can be even better for sellers.

apps imageBoth the mobile web and apps are thriving, as opposed to canceling each other out, according to mobile ad exchange platform Smaato, whose global trends report looked into consumer usage and spending on smartphones during the first half of 2015.

Apart from declaring a truce between browser-based ads and in-app marketing, Smaato also found complements between two other categories often pitted against each other: demographic targeting and ads served based on a users’ location.

“Advertisers will pay nearly 4 times as much to target someone by age and/or gender,” Smaato’s report says. “Publishers who include this information are seeing dramatically higher eCPMs. Don’t be surprised if developers continue to focus on acquiring (either by asking or inferring) this level of consumer understanding, because it’s where the money is.”

Device ID Doesn’t Move Prices

device id mainLooking at the value of eCPMs (aka a pricing mechanism common for most websites) on the Smaato Exchange have proven that advertisers will pay more for targeted ads that reach the right consumer.

Age and gender data drove the highest eCPMs. That traditional demo-based data commands a 385 percent higher price compared to sites that didn’t factor in such information, according to Smaato which manages up to 6 billion ads every day around the world, across over 600 million mobile users each month.

Surprisingly, the role of Device ID didn’t seem to mean much to advertisers in Smaato’s system. It’s surprising, perhaps, because for years, mobile marketers had touted the Device ID as the perfect alternative to the desktop based cookie. Like pixels for desktop targeting, Device ID can record what sites a phone has accessed. At the same time, it doesn’t include the owner’s name — or even their gender, age, income, or other personal information.

Although marketers can often guess the type of person based on their web usage, advertisers aren’t going to pay any more for having to make such assumptions, as Smaato reports that eCPMs that targeted the same device only were just 29 percent higher than ones with no user ID attached.

The reason, Smaato says, is that data based on a Device ID doesn’t differentiate between a smartphone held by “a 22-year-old woman in California or her 49-year-old father in New York.”

Geo-Data Adds Value

Smaato's Jay Hinman
Smaato’s Jay Hinman

Geo-data, however, moves the pricing needle significantly.

Smaato’s report found that eCPMs anchored by location rose “by an impressive” 238 percent.

“What that statistic is essentially saying is how valuable it is for a publisher to pass anonymous data parameters on its users,” Jay Hinman, Smaato’s VP of Marketing, tells GeoMarketing. “Location is a very key one, because as we’ve found, knowing that the user is located in San Francisco or Omaha or Shanghai is far more valuable for the advertiser than knowing simply that the user has an iPhone or a Samsung device, particularly if they’re able to then target based on that location — for localized retail offers or for products/services that would better resonate in those markets.”

As for mobile web versus apps, 41 percent of all the supply Smaato processed in H1 2015 was on the mobile web, while 59 percent were in apps. Part of the explanation is that as advertisers increasingly match spending to consumers’ time spent on mobile, the amount of inventory keeps rising for both sides. But it’s also clear that with a demand for more current information, apps are directing their users outside their walled gardens on occasion.

“Supply has been rising dramatically overall, but these rising mobile web trends can again be pinpointed to the popularity of general browsing among first-time smartphone users and the need for publishers to monetize across their mobile web properties,” Smaato says. “Now that so many news, commerce, and entertainment sites are either mobile-first or mobile-optimized, it’s clear that heightened attention is being placed by publishers on effectively monetizing the places where consumers head first.”