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How publishers in Japan can optimize their mobile inventory

Globally, ad spend is predicted to hit $589.5 billion this year and Japan is one of the countries that will see a sizeable increase in activity. Mobile is a driving force in Japan, already accounting for nearly half of overall digital ad spend, and it is set to make up three quarters of spend within two years. At such scale, it’s easy to see why brands are hungry for mobile inventory to reach consumers. Publishers need to ensure they’re equipped to take advantage of the rich opportunity this surge in mobile advertising interest will bring.

Here are three ways publishers can make the most of their valuable mobile inventory and maximize yields in a highly competitive market:

Leverage mobile-specific ad units
To maximize the potential of their mobile inventory, publishers should employ a variety of ad formats, including banners, rich media ads, interstitials, and video, making sure these ad units are lightweight and specifically designed for mobile – whether that’s the in-app environment or the mobile web.

There is a fine line between engaging the user with captivating messaging and being intrusive – particularly given the personal nature of mobile phones – so publishers should incorporate ad units that will be profitable without disrupting their audience’s mobile experience. Video is a particularly lucrative format, thought to deliver around a third of mobile ad revenue, so publishers should consider new video formats such as vertical video that work naturally with mobile screens.

Optimise use of audience data
In 2017, 59.49 per cent of the Japanese population accessed the internet from their mobile device. This figure is expected to grow to 62.02% in 2022, meaning publishers have access to a treasure trove of first-party data relating to their mobile visitors. This is highly valuable to advertisers trying to piece together the purchase journey and gain a complete 360-degree view of consumers as they move between screens and devices. In addition to information relating to user behavior, mobile also provides other valuable data insights such as location and connection type. And consumers, as well as advertisers, reap the rewards. These data insights empower advertisers to deliver timely, targeted, and personalized ads. This feels more like a partnership, and engagement levels are likely to be high. Examples could include retailers collaborating with fashion publishers for targeted campaigns or to offer loyalty programs or discounts.

By working with mobile-minded partners and technology companies, publishers can enrich their precious first-party data. This provides advertisers with a valuable asset while publishers can enhance their relationship with consumers through offering added value or content relevant to them, all while protecting user privacy. For customers, the advantages of personalized advertisements are invaluable, with 71% preferring ads tailored to their interests and needs, highlighting the importance of optimizing audience data.

Assure inventory quality
Challenges around ad fraud, ad quality and brand safety exist in mobile advertising as they do across the whole digital ecosystem. But there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk, including keeping an updated list of whitelisted and blacklisted apps (from third parties and clients, as well as your own), setting standards for critical metrics, and monitoring for any suspicious activity, from fake apps to attribution fraud.

It may be worth considering setting up a private marketplace or PMP; an invite-only marketplace where the publisher offers its mobile inventory to a select group of advertisers. The direct nature of PMPs puts a personal touch back into advertising partnerships and guarantees genuine, premium inventory for the advertiser, and appropriate, brand safe advertising with high CPMs for the publisher.

The rapid growth of mobile advertising offers enormous potential for Japanese publishers to monetize their inventory. To make the most of this opportunity, publishers need to identify the right mix of mobile-specific ad formats, leverage their first-party data to increase the value of their inventory, and take action to combat fraud and maintain brand safety. Mobile advertising is escalating, and Japanese publishers need to keep pace with its advance.

Maggie Mesa

Maggie Mesa is the VP Business Development for OpenX.
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