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White Nights Conference: Insights and Takeaways

White Nights Conference: Insights and Takeaways

Last week we had the pleasure of attending the 10 year anniversary of the White Nights World Games Conference in St. Petersburg. With many of the world’s top game developers in attendance, it was a great opportunity to hear more about what mobile publishers are interested in and what gives them ‘heartburn’. Here are a few common themes that we heard.

Publishers look to user incentives to increase video ad success

Incentivized video (video ads that reward a user for the completion of an action, such as fully viewing the video) is what many publishers in the gaming space are doing to monetize, as it allows them to increase revenue while minimizing friction with users. With mobile video ad spend expected to exceed $17 Billion in 2020 (source: Cowen and Company), finding a way to increase video viewability is important to publishers. The challenge which remains is that premium brands are still hesitant to adopt the format.

Private Marketplaces are gaining interest

Despite the fact that private marketplaces and deal ID’s are already out in the market, from our discussions at White Nights it seems that not all publishers are aware of the option to create a private, invite-only marketplace. Many premium publishers are interested in selling their premium inventory directly, while still enjoying the benefits of the programmatic auction. Private Pipes may be the solution and the challenge that remains is educating premium publishers on the advantages of using these products.

Transparency is a rising concern

Both advertisers and publishers are struggling with the lack of transparency and ad quality that are a common problem of the industry. Publishers wish to understand and control what is served on their properties, while advertisers want to know where their ads are served and whether they are viewed. This has even greater importance for premium publishers that place high value on preserving the premium status of their properties and user experience.

SDKs are still too heavy

It is common knowledge in our industry that publishers have grown weary of heavy SDK integrations which weigh on their properties and development. SDKs often require more version updates and can increase the size of apps neither of which helps with the high barrier to entry present in app stores. Nevertheless, SDKs have many clear benefits, from 3rd-party measurement that assures advertisers of ad quality to native and rich formats, which ultimately translate into higher revenue for the publisher. It’s important for ad tech companies to develop leaner SDKs that will allow to enjoy the benefits without the burden.