2014 was a big year for mobile, and a big year for Smaato.
Rather than quoting endless statistics, everything was up. A lot. All the graphs and charts we could draw here are the type that make the financial guys very happy. This of course was true not only for Smaato but for most of the industry as a whole.
From a Product point of view, we spent the year building a completely new (I do mean COMPLETELY new) self-serve mobile publisher ad server, The Smaato Publisher Platform (SPX). Much has already been said, and will continue to be said, about SPX. We’re very proud of it and genuinely believe it’s a game changer for Smaato and for app developers and mobile web publishers around the world, of all sizes.
SPX was introduced to the world on January 21. With that milestone behind us, and a very short sigh of relief, the question is naturally, what’s next?
A more macro view really asks, what isn’t next? Not only for Smaato but for the mobile publishing and monetization universe at large. Leading up to 2014, for about six years, every year was going to be the Year Of Mobile. It kept not happening. But then last year something did happen: 2014 could be called the First Year of Mobile. Our industry has matured to a level where the money is real, the threat to desktop is real (or that race is already over), and the momentum is very, very real. Have you got a new iPhone? What can’t you do on it?
So in 2015 we turn our attention to three things: Control, Scale, and Revenue. In short, time to grow up. Fast.
Marketers are often perceived as running the world. They are a vital part of the equation. They generate the advertising that pays the bills. But the reality is that without content, without publishers, there is no world. Without quality, engaging content, there are no users. No hearts, no minds and no eyeballs, which is what marketers ultimately seek and are paying for.
Enabling publishers, who create the lifeblood of the industry, to be economically healthy keeps the entire ecosystem healthy. The industry needs platforms and systems that empower the publisher to take control of their business and take control of it in a manner that is both intuitive and powerful. Systems that provide an understanding of their audience that previously has been only available to the buy side. And they need monetization systems built expressly for mobile, but extensible to any environment, any screen.
In terms of mobile monetization, scale is not about how many devices are out there. Nor is it about the number of apps or users. The critical need with respect to scale for mobile publishers has to do with being able to reach the exploding number of devices and users around the world.
A fairly obvious statement. But how do you actually do it? Integrated, independent systems.
The walled gardens of Facebook, Twitter, etc. will no doubt stand and continue their vertical dominance. However, pull out your phone and take a look at your home screen: we’ve just described two little icons. You may have somewhere between ten and fifty or more to choose from. The mobile world, and especially the app ecosystem, completely democratizes this universe. Remember Flappy Birds? Taken down because the attention was too great. An almost unfathomable move for any desktop publisher, ever.
The next Flappy Birds is continuously around the corner. The only way to keep up with the rising tide is with global, independent, mobile-first integrated platforms that easily connect these publishers to the seemingly endless budgets trying to find them.
Closely aligned with scale, in 2015 we will see “real” money spent specifically mobile-first. Real means advertising budgets start to consider mobile as a primary channel.
But more importantly, an acceptance of the fact that mobile is truly a global phenomenon: upload Flappy Birds 2 to the app stores and instantly you have users in all corners of the world. How in the, erm, world do you take advantage of this? Google would like you to believe they have this covered but in reality they are still focused on search and display. Their mobile offerings are disjointed and complicated.
The bottom line in mobile monetization for 2015 starts with a global, mobile-first, publisher-first platform like Smaato’s powerful combination of ad server + RTB exchange + mature network mediation. We may not be the only game in town, but the game is changing at the speed of mobile. A truly exciting time.
Want to learn more about ads for your apps or mobile sites? Please visit www.smaato.com !