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Solid technology and new standards pave the way to monetizing mobile apps

Everywhere from mobile mail to the proliferation of apps, the mobile internet has become an essential part of modern life – it’s getting to the point where it doesn’t seem possible to get through the day without it. As smartphone penetration and mobile internet usage continue to grow dramatically, advertising on mobile devices becomes more and more important to businesses, ad networks and publishers.

The number of mobile apps has grown exponentially alongside the smartphone boom. There are currently an estimated 700,000 apps in the Apple App Store and about 675,000 apps in the Google Play Store[1]. As a consequence, in-app advertising is an opportunity not to be ignored.

Until recently, you could say this was easier said than done. Monetizing mobile ad space on mobile devices and in apps requires the right architecture. This must include two main components: new standards, such as MRAID 2.0 recently introduced by the IAB, and well-engineered ad server technology. Why are these framework conditions important? The mobile market is highly complex and mobile advertising involves incredible coordination of effort. So choosing the appropriate ad technology comes with enormous cost savings potential, as the right technology shortens time and reduces effort required to deliver ads into apps.

MRAID: Standards for success

MRAID (Mobile Rich Ad Interface Definitions) is the IAB’s standard that defines the behaviour of rich media ads within mobile apps and makes it possible to integrate these ads within apps without any outlay for modifications. MRAID 1.0 supports the expand-and-collapse function, where users click an in-app ad to expand it, either filling the smartphone screen or a predefined space within it. Anything created in HTML5 and JavaScript can be displayed in the ad. Once the ad “show” is finished, users can click it again to collapse the ad back to its original banner format. But that’s only the beginning. MRAID 2.0 will standardize the possibilities presented in mobile end devices, for example by rotating, shaking, turning or tilting the smartphone, and it will incorporate compass and GPS functions too.

Standards like MRAID are vital, because they enable the incredible interactive opportunities within smartphones to be used effectively. MRAID helps the industry increase the speed of ad delivery, with the added benefit of saving money during the creation process. The MRAID standard makes publishers’ lives easier because it allows flexibility in the coding of mobile ads, enables easier workflows and paves the way for even more engaging ad formats.

SDKs: Integration made easy

While MRAID is one part of the equation, excellent ad server technology is the second component required in successfully monetizing in-app mobile ads. Mobile SDKs (software development kits) are the key business driver here. In short, these are the solutions that enable companies to deliver adverts through mobile apps. How it works is that when an MRAID-compliant SDK sits within an app, it functions as an interpreter between the smartphone’s operating system and the HTML5 and JavaScript code of rich media ads.

The benefits of this approach are clear. If advertisements and SDKs are based on the MRAID standard, publishers can supply rich media ads without having to modify their apps, eliminating the need for third-party or agency SDKs. Supplying higher-priced rich media campaigns generates new sales as well as an improved fills rate in mobile inventory. What’s more, it simplifies the booking process – instead of booking every operating system separately, now one booking is all that’s needed. Rich media advertisements from third parties can be easily displayed too.

By offering a cohesive and comprehensive standard, MRAID helps the online industry to save money and shortens time-to-market of new engaging ad formats. Looking forward, it’s easy to see that the more companies that follow the standard, the better for all key players in the industry, from agencies to publishers to ad servers. Through using the very newest standards in the market, we can harness the extraordinary power of the native features in users’ phones.

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Tags: Mobile, SDK, MRAID, In-app advertising

Who am I?

Mark Thielen
Mark Thielen
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With eight years as a technology leader in the ad serving industry, my work has centred around leading local and remote sites in Europe and North America to drive product and technology innovation. Covering engineering, architectural and operational aspects of scalable performance system environments, I've been fortunate enough to serve as a business and technology executive since 2007.