PubNative talks about the initiatives promoting programmatic transparency

Insights Feb 04, 2020

Last year, Jampp went 100% programmatic for both User Acquisition and Retargeting to provide our clients with improved technology and transparency. To this end, we work with a number of select supply partners to secure higher visibility and control over campaign performance. With Jampp’s Supply Takeover series, we hope to shed some light on the technologies that make our partners a great fit, as well as insights about existing challenges and upcoming trends in programmatic.

Supply Takeover #2 — Meet PubNative

We interviewed Eka Rabe (VP, Programmatic) to get PubNative’s PoV on the state of programmatic, the impact of industry regulations and other hot topics in the mobile advertising space.

Tell us a little about PubNative. What sets your solution apart from other SSPs? What are some of your main differentiators?

PubNative is a mobile SSP and also a programmatic ad exchange. We provide true transparency to all of our publishers and buyers in our open exchange, and we’re upfront about our fees from the beginning. We operate various layers of optimization on top of a highly scaled and efficient architecture. Our ad verification setup comprises multiple layers of 3rd party tools as well as internal monitoring and controls.
We offer multiple integration options, including API, Adapters, Ad Tags & our lightweight SDK, and we also support all major ad formats.

We’re one of the first companies providing an advanced in-app header bidding solution, contributing to the Prebid Organization (Prebid.org) to solve common challenges faced by publishers.

Can you tell us a bit more about Prebid.org and your role in the committee?

Prebid is an open source collection of free products designed to promote transparent and efficient header bidding across the industry by helping web and mobile publishers to implement header bidding on their websites and apps.

Since we joined the Prebid Mobile committee, our biggest contribution release has been the Dr. Prebid demo app for Android. Developers can use this app to validate and troubleshoot their implementation of Prebid Mobile. It can also be used to validate settings for ad server setup, Prebid Server configuration, and end-to-end Prebid Mobile SDK implementation. Additionally, the Dr. Prebid demo app can be used to troubleshoot cases where bid responses are not being received as expected. The Android version currently supports MoPub as a client Ad Server, as well as Rubicon, AppNexus, and custom Prebid Servers solutions. The next release will also support Google Ad Manager (ex-DFP) Ad Server.

App Store Screenshot of Dr. Prebid App 

As advocates for universal in-app header bidding tools and the widespread expansion of mobile header bidding in the programmatic sphere, we’re very excited to be part of the Prebid Mobile committee and eager to continue contributing to Prebid’s open source community.

Given your active participation in Prebid.org, what do you consider to be the new challenges header bidding brings? How do you think it will change the future of the app industry?

Header bidding was originally created to tackle the programmatic trading issue of ineffectively evaluating bids within the desktop environment. While header bidding became a very common practice for desktop publishers worldwide, in-app bidding is being adopted at a slower rate due to mobile being a completely different environment than web. One of the current challenges is that publishers and app owners are less inclined to implement more SDKs to their apps as user experience can be affected.

On the bright side, increased testing and mobile-first approaches from solution providers have resulted in a growing adoption of in-app bidding and hybrid approaches whereby publishers are using in-app header bidding solutions in combination with traditional waterfall setups. Ideally in the future, mobile header bidding will replace the inefficient process of waterfalling altogether, but until then, publishers can avail of alternative hybrid solutions.

How do you choose the publishers you work with? What makes them a good fit?

We split publishers into two categories—apps and games. We traditionally work with messaging and social apps, as well as entertainment, but also with casual games that are brand-safe (Easybrain, Mobilityware, etc). Each category has specific needs regarding formats, ad-server setup, and even countries.

What makes them a good fit is that brands are looking for these kinds of audiences and the way they execute their campaigns is through programmatic pipes.

When it comes to working with DSPs, how do you select your partners?

We are looking at partners that have scale, and have a good reputation in terms of ad quality (we're very mindful about self-serve and advertiser types). Last but not least, we're always looking for partners we can learn from, partners that innovate either in terms of campaign execution, formats, platforms, etc.

Overall, it is noticeable that mobile device usage is steadily increasing in APAC and we see the growth of in-app impressions, especially in Japan and China. China is expected to hit 119.5 billion downloads and $62.4 billion in consumer spend by 2022.

Chart showing consumer spend growht | Source: AppAnnie in TechCrunch

Another trend worth highlighting is that of an increase in ad spend in Europe. While after GDPR there was an obvious decrease in ad spend across the region, we are seeing ad spend on the rise once again, especially with the implementation of Consent Management Platforms (CMPs) by different providers.

Since you bring up GDPR, what are your thoughts on CCPA? How do you think it’ll affect mobile advertising? Do you think we’ll see the American market react as EMEA did?

The CCPA certainly contains many similarities to the EU regulation, such as similar data breach reporting, data portability, as well as consumer rights like deletion and disclosure of data.

There are also some differences: the CCPA doesn’t make it mandatory to appoint a Data Protection Officer, so accountability rules differ from the GDPR. The California bill also introduces “the right not to be subject to discrimination for the exercise of rights under the CCPA”, which is not specifically included in the EU legislation.

There’s a cool infographic by Termly comparing the two regulations, for those interested in learning more.

Click here to see the full infographic‌‌

Although the GDPR has both a broader scope and stronger penalties, the CCPA is still expected to make quite an impact on the digital advertising industry. Ultimately, both laws encourage transparency and strive to give people control over their personal data.

Aside from updates to privacy and data consent settings, we can probably expect marketing strategies to be a lot more consumer-oriented, and businesses will seriously need to improve transparency.

Moreover, it’s important to note that over ten other US states have also proposed similar legislation.

Moving on to fraud, a topic that comes up a lot in mobile advertising. Are there any myths regarding ad fraud you’d like to debunk?

One common misconception is that by using fraud detection tools available on the market, players are fully protected, especially if using MRC accredited solutions. However, these tools cannot fully guarantee a fraud-free advertising environment.

In order to stay ahead of the fraud epidemic in mobile advertising, anti-fraud tools need to be combined with internal tools that are unavailable to fraudsters.

Which types of ad fraud are the most common?

Mobile ad fraud is becoming a rising concern and some of the most common types include Invalid Traffic, or IVT, which refers to any traffic that is not coming from a real user such as a bot or crawler. It can cover accidental clicks as well as intentional fraudulent activity.

Another is App Spoofing, whereby fraudsters intentionally misinterpret app information sent in bid requests. Hidden ads known as Ad Stacking constitute an intentional method of fraud carried out by publishers which obscures ads behind other ads in order to get paid for both. These are only some of the many types of in-app fraud present in today’s ecosystem.

How does PubNative combat ad fraud?

Every app which is traded on our exchange is evaluated during the integration process by our quality team. They validate various metrics and closely track the behavior of certain traffic.

Furthermore, we have our own internal automated tools implemented to prevent any suspicious activity and, of course, on top of this, we use MRC certified tools as the first step to filter fraudulent traffic.

We have a dedicated quality team to ensure our traffic is fraud-free and we are continuously advocating for full transparency in the industry with the measures we have in place.

Wrapping Up

With our new Supply Takeover Q&A series we hope to bring more transparency to the inner workings of mobile programmatic advertising. We believe programmatic is the best channel for apps looking to scale past Facebook and Google, leveraging everything this technology enables: better performance, higher transparency, and far more granular insights 📊. If you have any questions about real-time bidding or how programmatic advertising can drive incremental revenue for your app, get in touch with us!