An Interview With The Man Who Is Trying To Bring Big, Native Ads To Mobile

chris cunningham (jan. 2013)

Photo: appssavvy

Mobile advertising has an image problem: Its many critics say the industry is addicted to ugly banner ads that annoy consumers. 

A new crop of companies that we lumped together as “the natives” in our Mobile Advertising Ecosystem report, are trying to fight through this perception and deliver a new kind of advertising native to the mobile environment. 

To get a fuller take on the role of native ads in the mobile ecosystem, BI Intelligence recently interviewed Chris Cunningham, CEO of appssavvy. Appssavvy delivers relevant ads during natural breaks in consumers’ mobile content consumption, with a belief that big, beautiful advertisements delivered in the right context are the key to drawing major brand dollars into mobile. BI Intelligence has separately produced multiple reports on the Mobile Advertising, breaking down the entire mobile advertising ecosystem, and analysing what is currently holding mobile advertising back.

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Here are some excerpts from our interview:

  • Cunningham believes traditional mobile ad performance measurements are inadequate: Appssavvy does not just measure the performance in respect to how many people view, interact, or click. “We think that’s great, but not the full story. Activity in mobile can actually give the publisher and the advertiser an understanding of what activities drive ad performance and value. Is it between level two or three of the game, after you complete the mission, or after you share a view,” says Cunningham. “We track all that… The value of that is we can empower  publishers to fine-tune their mobile strategy and, for advertisers, we give them the ability to better target those activities that are actually driving results.” 
  • Activity is the right metric to look at: “We don’t think impressions is the right metric,” argued Cunningham. “We think there’s an infinite amount of supply, which drives down their value. We want publishers to look at our tech stack, our data, our insights as a next-generation solution that helps them better monetise their inventory, tied to activity.”
  • Real-time feedback is therefore the Holy Grail: “The Holy Grail for us — and we are not there yet — is a portal that both publishers and advertisers can essentially go into and adjust creative. In order for us to scale — significantly scale — we are going to need to put more control in their hands so they can optimise in real-time, and change the copy or their messaging based on the data that is coming in.”
  • Big, beautiful creative within the right context is key: Cunningham’s vision of native mobile advertising boils down to “beautiful, creative messaging within the right context and with the right data to drive it — data that’s based on activity behaviour — the ‘when’ versus the ‘who.'” This, he argues, is what will lead to better inventory and higher CPMs. 

In full, BI Intelligence’s reports on Mobile Advertising:

  • Explain how the mobile ad ecosystem is fractured and complex
  • analyse how mobile ad networks play a central role that is coming under threat
  • Examine how demand side platforms and mobile ad exchanges are streamlining the market
  • Break down how real-time bidding will play a growing role
  • Detail how agencies are coming around to mobile and are trying to bring big brands along
  • Explain how new companies are emerging with native ad formats that are hoping to upend the traditional banner ad
  • Explore the “monetization problem,” in terms of both the challenges to revenue growth and the trends working in the industry’s favour.
  • Outlines what is being done, and what needs to be done, for the mobile advertising industry to grow more quickly

To access BI Intelligence’s full interview and reports on Mobile Advertising, sign up for a free trial subscription here.

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