The mobile industry is still nascent, but it is surprising to see how often advertisers expect things from desktop to be able to translate over to mobile. These assumptions are stunting the mobile ad industry growth rate and slowing the movement of advertising dollars to mobile.
Some advertisers are very knowledgeable with video on desktop, but it is very different than mobile. One of the biggest differences is the media file type support. Most desktop players can handle flash (flv), shockwave (swf – commonly used for VPAID ad units) and various other file types which mobile does not support. Many times advertisers transition to mobile and begin using the same media file types not realizing that mobile does not support all of them. This results in a very low use rate, where advertisers report sending a large number of filled ads, but a very low percentage, if any of them, turn into impressions.
Another common mishap is sending large media files which desktop can download quickly but can cause problems for mobile devices running on slow connections. Advertisers need to minimize and optimize the size of the mobile ad creatives so they can be quickly downloaded and do not cause timeouts or users to have to wait unnecessarily long.
Auto play videos are easy to implement on desktop but are restricted by default on mobile. You have to use a work around to make them auto play on mobile, so video ads may get delivered to a mobile site or app but if the user does not click to start it then an advertiser may never receive credit for the impression.
Lastly, tracking is done differently on mobile than desktop. On desktop cookies are the modus operandi for tracking users while on mobile they may work on some mobile devices, but when it comes to in app, device Id is utilized. If advertisers do not modify their systems to support device Ids they will have a much harder time retargeting and identifying users.
Many of the issues listed above, which are unique to mobile, may seem obvious at first glance, but they are often overlooked. It is imperative though that advertisers increase their level of knowledge within the mobile ad space. Many times it is the publisher who suffers by awarding an ad opportunity to an advertiser, but then never capturing revenue for it because they cannot display it due to some of these reasons. If advertisers expect the mobile ad industry to grow they need to improve their technology and knowledge and stop making these trivial mistakes.