The Mobile Series – Coull are interviewed by PubNative

To start our series on mobile video advertising, we were interviewed by PubNative. Michelle talks about the current mobile landscape and its opportunities.

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To kick-start our series on mobile video advertising, we were interviewed by native mobile advertising SSP PubNative. Michelle talks about the current mobile landscape and its opportunities. She also addresses industry issues and where Coull fits into the future of mobile video advertising. In our follow up, you’ll learn all about native mobile advertising from PubNative themselves.

Thanks to the team at PubNative for this story.

PubNative and Coull - mobile advertising










Following Native Insights #4 in which we spoke to digital marketers Cyberclick, this time we are tackling the video ad space with Michelle Bommer from Coull.

The British company are a video ad platform for advertisers and media companies. For more info on video, you can also read our guide on what you need to know about native video on mobile.

Can you introduce Coull and what you do?

We’re a young, talented team building the next generation video advertising platform. We work with publishers to classify, filter and monetize their video inventory. Advertisers work with us for a direct route to our unique video inventory, used for engaging ad campaigns.

We have some awesome, unique propositions. Such as, our exclusive in-video overlay ad format which is really powerful, especially when combined with our pre-roll. This gives advertisers the opportunity for deeper engagement, brand uplift and audience data.

The really exciting thing about Coull right now is that we are cleaning up the programmatic marketplace. By being more transparent, it’s becoming a safer, more efficient and profitable digital ecosystem. We’re building a sustainable digital exchange from within our own technology stack.

We’re redefining what ‘quality’ inventory is. For our partners, quality means being able to buy video inventory that’s brand safe, viewable and human. We also provide RTB feedback and have a dedicated team to optimize campaigns.

How much of a difference is there between desktop and mobile video advertising?

There’s a big difference between the way audiences interact with video content depending on device. Metrics like Click-Through Rate (CTR) don’t work the same way on desktop and mobile. Also, audience behaviour across those interfaces is very different. For example, View-Through Rate would be more suitable for a mobile video ad campaign, because the video takes up most of the screen. However, on desktop, the video may only take up a portion of the screen, therefore, they’re competing for attention.

The big difference we’re seeing is that mobile is where desktop was 1 or 2 years ago. Programmatically it’s exploding, but in terms of measurement optimization, the industry isn’t there yet. There’s a lot of work to be done, but the potential for massive growth is undeniable. In terms of mobile’s capacity in programmatic – 2016 is the year of mobile!

What kind of demand are you seeing across the three formats of desktop, mobile and in-app for video ads? And how do you expect this to change?

Our network receives around 54 bn ad requests a month and it’s growing rapidly, mainly due to mobile. OverStream, our unique ad format combines pre-roll with branded in-video overlay in many devices, so we’re seeing demand across the spectrum.

The issue at the moment is that the majority of publishers still have VAST. It’s not until they adopt VPAID inventory that the scale is going to grow immensely.

For publishers, it’s a matter of investing in development work to make their content VAST compatible. Then once this investment is made, they’ll see a huge increase in CPMs. Mobile traffic is much easier and more effective to monetize.

How have you seen the mobile video landscape developing in recent years?

Mobile video used to be a big unknown for advertisers. They wanted to be in it but saw it as a black hole of spending without metrics. Now supply partners, such as ourselves, have provided support for brand and verification vendors. This allows advertisers to work out their campaign costs and buy with confidence.

In which circumstances do you think mobile video advertising is best suited?

Mobile video is another form of publisher inventory and it’s incredibly popular with audiences, especially millennials. There are plenty of statistics that show the massive growth and popularity in video. It’s only natural that advertising spend should shift with that trajectory.

According to a study from IAB last year, video is on the rise with 35% of respondents viewing content on mobile devices. Consumption was even higher in countries such as the US (50%), Canada (42%) and the UK (40%).

Video is the new storytelling medium. The only way mobile advertising wouldn’t be suited is if the inventory wasn’t brand safe, or was coming from a fraudulent source. That’s why, at Coull, we’re hot on transparency. Our dedicated compliance team detect viewability and fraud to ensure our inventory is brand safe. We believe publishers deserve to be paid for content and advertisers should buy quality inventory, so that’s what we facilitate with our platform.

We’re seeing fantastic performance in-app but, suitability wise, both in-app and mobile web have the potential to take video to that next level. It’s not a matter of mobile advertising not being suitable, it’s a matter of ensuring the format doesn’t disrupt the content. And that’s where we will see big changes in the coming months, with the development of new and engaging ad formats.

What kind of metrics are available for measuring user engagement with videos? What are the main mobile video KPIs?

Being able to measure engagement and campaign ROI requires data. There’s a reason data scientists are in high demand. It’s no longer acceptable to use the same metrics for standard digital and video advertising or to assume a floor price. The inventory is different and the user engages with it very differently. We now have metrics for mobile video such as View-Through Rate (VTR). VTR is much more indicative that CTR because it can report whether the content was watched all the way through, not just if it was clicked on.

It’s also important for advertisers to choose whether they buy click-to-play inventory. This inventory type gives a much better chance to measure engagement and viewability.

What kind of role is data playing in mobile video advertising?

Data enables advertisers to buy with confidence – confidence in user-targeting, category segmentation, and ensuring a brand safe and fraud-free environment.

When we’re talking specifically about mobile, there’s location data which can enable better targeting. But whilst it’s great that data is playing a big part in improving programmatic, we need to keep a high standard of this data. We need to ensure transparency and only collect non-identifiable data.

How do you expect the mobile video space to develop in the next few years?

Mobile video is only going to get more and more popular with people consuming video on the move, and while interacting with ‘omniscreens’. You no longer watch the TV without a second screen close at hand. So we expect to see full-length TV commercials purposed for mobile and more engaging formats to enter the space as the industry gets more creative in competing with ad blockers.

Ad fraud, transparency, viewability and brand safety, the big buzzwords in desktop advertising now will quickly need to be addressed on mobile as well. Native advertising will be one area that grows rapidly because, as a format, it’s already ahead of the game in regards to these issues.

Michelle Bommer from Coull

Michelle, Coull's Head of Adops








Michelle Bommer leads the Coull Ad Ops team from beautiful San Francisco, California. She delivers in-video overlay and pre-roll advertising campaigns across mobile and desktop inventory. She’s been an integral part of Coull’s growth due to her knowledge and experience with programmatic campaigns, yield optimization, and account management. She heads up a talented team of people who deliver the benefits of Coull’s proprietary tech.

Read the follow-up interview with PubNative here.

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Posted by simonholliday