Mobile Marketing & Digital Advertising Feelings

There’s plenty of content and research papers that highlight the shifting landscape of the digital advertising industry. 

From ad spend to formats to fraud, research almost always focuses on insider issues as they pertain to us, the professionals. 

All very useful. But in the new era of privacy awareness and digital integrity, consumer attitudes towards digital advertising are changing just as fast, if not faster, than the industry itself. 

If the consumer really is the most important constituent in all our business and marketing activity, don’t we need to get a better understanding of how they feel about our industry, and all the advertising they’re subject too on their mobile devices? 

Yes! We definitely do. 

Therefore, to get a better understanding of the shifting consumer mindset, we conducted the world’s largest research piece of its kind. 

‘The Reality Report’ 2019 surveyed 287,000 consumers from around the world about their attitudes towards mobile marketing, digital advertising, privacy and data. 

In this blog specifically, we’re going to uncover how consumers really feel about mobile marketing and advertising.

Question #1:

“Targeted digital advertising messages that are designed to show products or services that appeal to me are…?”

Key Finding: A combined 90% of all respondents agree that targeted digital advertising is ‘annoying’.

The long-held promise of mobile marketing is to leave behind the spray-and-pray tactics of the past and deliver ads and messages aligned to what consumers really want. Unfortunately, that promise isn’t being delivered.

The global survey results reveal that 9 out of 10 consumers still consider targeted mobile marketing to be categorically ‘annoying’. Despite the best efforts of marketers, consumers generally still don’t feel they receive any value from targeted ads; with only 1 in 10 deeming them to be exclusively ‘useful’ (and not annoying)

To overcome this, consumers need to make an informed choice regarding the data they share and the marketing experience they receive. When consumers choose to share their data in exchange for free content, the usefulness of ads will be recognized above their annoyance based on the cognitive bias known as choice-supportive. This is when a person post-rationalizes a decision, ascribing positive attributes to the outcome, to justify it to themselves.

Question #2:

“What is the most annoying part of using your mobile device every day?”

Key Finding: Irrelevant mobile advertising messages cause more frustration than slow apps and websites.

More than half of all consumers said that irrelevant marketing messages are the single most annoying part of using their mobile devices every day. Far outweighing the frustration caused by slow apps and websites. 

A lot of work goes into increasing the speed and overall user experience of apps and websites. People are busy, they have endless options on mobile, and a slow app or website can deter them temporarily, or even repel them permanently from your product. So speed and experience are considered to be a business priority. 

But no matter the reactivity or intuitiveness of your app or website; from a consumer perspective, irrelevant ads are almost twice as annoying as a poor experience.

Question #3:

“How would you prefer to receive advertising messages?”

Key Finding: Consumers prefer mobile ads and email over phone alerts.

There is no shortage of channels available for marketers to attract, reach and engage consumers. Each channel is typically selected based on the results it generates dependent on business objectives, campaign goals or persona dynamics. 

Regardless of the effectiveness of each channel, consumers themselves hold an opinion as to how they prefer to receive marketing messages. 

And from a macro perspective, it’s important for marketers to be aware of them. Somewhat surprisingly, at a global level, consumers have no dominant preference towards email or mobile ads, with both channels receiving exactly 41% of the total vote. Phone alerts, such as push notifications and texts, were the least popular method amongst respondents. Just 18% stated that they preferred receiving marketing messages this way.

Question #4:

“Annoying, intrusive or irrelevant advertising messages give me a  poor opinion of the website or app that hosts them.”

Key Finding: Half of your business is at risk with irrelevant digital advertising.

Consumers are spoilt for choice when it comes to apps and websites on mobile. With infinite options available, there’s far more supply than there is demand. And as anyone in publishing can attest, it’s not easy to gain a commercial foothold in such a competitive space.

As such, most apps and websites offer content for ‘free,’ and design a business model that either in part or exclusively relies on advertising. For this model to work, publishers need a user base to whom advertisers can market to.

Quality content and user experience play a big part in ensuring these users are engaged. And when a consumer visits an app or a website for free, the advertising they are subject to forms a fundamental part of both the content and the experience they associate with the publisher. It stands to reason therefore, that 52% of consumers agree that irrelevant or annoying advertising gives them a poor opinion of the app or website that hosts them.

Question #5:

“The number of  irrelevant advertising messages shown to me on mobile has…?”

Key Finding: Nearly 1 in 2 consumers find the problem with digital advertising to be worsening.

Mobile advertising spend is expected to exceed all traditional media types combined by 2020. Does this mean the volume of campaigns that consumers are exposed to will only increase over time? Probably not. But if their relevance doesn’t improve, all results from previous questions will not either; consumers will continue to be disappointed. 

The global survey results reveal that a combined 84% of consumers feel that the number of marketing messages shown to them that they deem ‘irrelevant’ has either increased or at least stayed the same, in their view.

Despite promises of AI revolutions, technology wars and feature battles from tech giants; the numbers suggest that marketers have their work cut out to counter any negative perceptions amongst users, and prove that mobile marketing can offer users real value in exchange for their data.

Want to learn more?

Unless we understand exactly how real people – our existing customers, our potential customers – feel about mobile advertising and the way their data is used, our marketing efforts could actually be damaging our relationship with consumers.

If you want to dig deeper you can learn more by watching my talk at Advertising Week NY, where I shared the top three macro conclusions from The Reality Report, and had an in depth fireside chat about the findings. 

View the full presentation here, or take a deep dive through all 35 pages to see breakdowns per country, age group and sex, you can get your free copy of the full report here. 

If you’d like to continue reading up on report, check out the multiple publications where the findings were featured, including AdAge, The Financial Times and  MarTech Advisor.

This month’s edition of ‘Humans of Ogury’ profiles Business Intelligence (BI) Director, Dimitar Kostadinov, affectionately known as ‘Dimi’ in the London office.

Since joining the company in 2016, his personal progress has been as meteoric as Ogury’s itself. Having started out as an intern, a little over three years later he was recently promoted to director level in the BI team.

We caught up with Dimi to find our what’s changed at the company during that time, how best to work with his team, and what makes Ogury a special place to work.

For the benefit of those that might not know, how would you sum up what the BI team does?

Normally when you hear the name ‘Business Intelligence’ you might imagine a lot of data visualization. That analytics part is maybe 20-30% of our work. 

The majority of our time is allocated to ad operations. In other words, setting up the campaigns, optimizing them, and making sure they perform towards the clients’ KPIs.

How much of that work is done manually, and how much is down to Ogury’s tech?

Optimization is a mixture between the machine learning (Ogury’s AI engine) and our team’s expertise. It’s about 50/50.

The algorithm learns with every campaign to uncover the users that clients are trying to reach. Let’s take an example: imagine we set up a campaign that’s designed for users who love cats. As we look over the results, of those cat lovers who clicked on the campaign, a significant chunk of them also showed an interest in lions. So the next day, the algorithm will serve to people who like cats AND lions. And if the results are successful, we can push more ads to those users.

In terms of identifying types of users, that’s the algorithm. Everything else – where we serve ads, and how we serve them – is manually done by our team. For example, if certain apps didn’t perform well in a campaign, then we won’t push there again. There’s a lot more to it, obviously. But that’s our secret sauce. 

So you’re not scared about being replaced by robots just yet?

No, not just yet. Sure, parts of what we do can be automated, and a lot of it is highly automated. But you need a degree of human oversight. Someone still has to pull the levers.

It sounds like it. How did you end up working in BI, and then at Ogury?

I’ve always had an affinity towards technology, analytics in particular. I’ve always been a bit of a… geek… if I can say that?

In high school and university, I started experimenting and setting up web pages. For example, I learned HTML on my own, picking it up on the go for the most part. This continued while I studied for my degree in Birmingham (UK) for four years, during which I also took a year out working at PwC.

A friend of mine recommended Ogury to me. He was also doing an internship here and tipped me off that they needed one more. He sold me on how it was a new company doing exciting things in an emerging field, and when I looked into it myself, I realized he was right. It did look pretty cool. 

I started out in the publisher team, as an intern, straight after uni. I liked it a lot. I was mostly analyzing data and improving the way the team handled reporting. But then an opportunity came up for a role in BI that I felt suited my skill set even more so I made the transition.

And three years later, now you’re a Director of BI?

Yes! We had a few transitions internally, and I was able to take on more and more responsibility. I progressed to a Senior BI Manager role. Then, of course, we kept growing, meaning we needed to hire more people. And now with the new structure of the team put in place, I was given my latest promotion. 

You won't find Dimi without a smile on his face.

What are your top tips for anyone looking to get into your line of work?

Have an open mind, and be ready to learn. 

I’ll be honest; what we do has a steep learning curve. There’s a lot to take on board, and always a lot of new tech to get on top of. The landscape changes quickly. Another player might introduce a new feature that suddenly all of your clients also start demanding. And while that can be initially stressful, it’s an opportunity. If you can master new processes, you can be ahead of the competition.

Today we take many more things into account than when I first started. New KPIs, new measurement tools, new stats. So be prepared to embrace change.

What’s your favorite part of working for Ogury?

First, the people. We have a great bunch here who I’m happy to call my friends. Especially in my team, but also in the wider company. People here are driven. They want to grow and learn, to be part of the journey. That sounds like a cliché, but it has been a journey for me. 

When I joined we were about 20 in the UK and 70 internationally. Now we have that many in London alone, with hundreds worldwide. That growth is a challenge, but it’s exciting to be part of it. Looking at the campaigns we book today, some have budgets that I would never have dreamed of back when I started. It’s been exciting to see, and to be a part of.

Finally, you’re from Bulgaria. Is there anything from Bulgaria that you miss in the UK?

Hmm… [pauses for a long time, seemingly deep in thought]

My family and the food. The food’s better there. The drinks are also stronger. Here, a small measure is 25ml, a large is 50ml. Back home, the small is 50ml and a large is 100ml. We’re getting short changed in London.

Keep up with Dimi and the rest of the ogury crew by following us on Instagram: @weareogury

Consent Management Platform for Digital Advertising

You may be surprised to discover, this blog has nothing to do with AI. 

No doubt, technology is incrementally transforming the digital marketing industry. 

But there’s a far more significant shift occurring. 

The causes of which have been bubbling under the surface for years.

A Story Of Misdirection

Since the beginning, consumers have been lied to. 

Made to believe the internet is free, when in reality, it’s not. 

They’re actually paying for it with their data, unknowingly. 

This data is taken without permission, and without the use of a consent management platform, to serve ads they didn’t choose to see, and monetize content perceived as free. Consumers are the product of the internet.

Brands and publishers have become the accidental perpetrators in this piece, led to believe there are no viable alternatives when it comes to advertising online. 

And it’s not hard to understand why.

A Dense Industry Built On Short Term Gains

As the digital advertising ecosystem has evolved over the years it’s been built by adding layer-upon-layer of new technologies and platforms on both the advertiser and the publisher side.

Thousands of disjointed products and non-transparent operating practices have created unprecedented levels of complexity and a blindingly opaque ecosystem.

This impenetrable landscape of third-party intermediaries – who control the transactional relationship between brands, publishers and consumers – has become fertile ground for mass fraud, at a scale never seen before in this industry.

Advertisers and publishers are trapped. With such forceful market pressure to grow quickly, demonstrate ROI on every digital advertising dollar, and generate maximum revenue from apps and websites while delivering impeccable user experience. They’re lured in by the promise of short-term business results. 

Promises that come from eager vendors caught up in the opaque amber of the digital marketing lumascape. Each offering magic solutions, powered by cutting-edge technology, fueled by MASSES of data. 

But there’s a catch.

More often than not, technology is fed with data that no traceable consumer ever consented to share. Data that has been collected and obtained using dubious, untoward, or completely unknown methods. 

And it’s no longer a secret.

Data Abuse and Crooked Digital Advertising Practices, Exposed

Over the last 18 months, high profile data scandals have hit the headlines. Some of the biggest household names in technology and business have been tarnished for the way they knowingly or unknowingly use black hat methods to obtain and use consumer data for marketing purposes. 

Then in summer 2019, Netflix, with its 154 million daily subscribers in 190 countries, released a prime-time documentary – “The Great Hack” – exposing the mass data abuse and rogue techniques that power the digital marketing industry.

The curtain has been lifted. Consumers understand the value of their data. They know it’s being used without permission to target them with ads and monetize content. And they know they have virtually no control. 

The net result is that consumers are cynical. Highly skeptical about how their data is taken and used by digital marketers, publishers, and digital marketing technology. Trust is at an all-time low. More than half now don’t believe that companies ‘have their best interests at heart’. And after this avalanche of negative publicity, 59% now believe that their personal information is vulnerable to a security breach.

As the internet, consumers, and governments grow in digital maturity however, digital marketing is not only being exposed, it’s also being regulated.

Hello Privacy Laws, Hello Huge Fines

GDPR came into effect in May 2018, carrying fines of up to $20m or more for use of non-compliant data. CCPA is effective from January 2020 in the USA, and similar laws are being passed all around the world. 

It’s not sensationalized scaremongering either. The FTC dropped a $5bn fine on Facebook following the Cambridge Analytica affair. British Airways and Marriott Hotels have both been fined a collective $300m for data misuse in marketing. And 89,000 data breaches have been logged since GDPR came into effect.

Sanctions are falling. Fines are being handed out. And the industry is scared. 

This month, yet another Ad-Tech vendor (Sharethorough) has closed European operations, citing GDPR as the reason. And certain players are even being accused of faking GDPR consent strings to try to make toxic data appear as if traceable and consented. Eek.

The foundations upon which digital marketing used to be built are crumbling. 

We are now entering the Era of Digital Integrity, and an imperative transformation within digital marketing is upon us.

The Shift From Data-Driven to Choice-First

Beyond the very real threat of receiving huge fines, dubious data practices are having a negative effect on consumers, and their perception of brands and publishers.

In The Reality Report, we found that 77% of consumers find targeted ads to be exclusively annoying, providing no value at all. And 55% feel that ads are so intrusive and irrelevant, it gives them a negative opinion of both the brand being advertised and the publisher serving the ad.

Why? Because consumers today expect choice and control over their digital life; and as it stands today, they have virtually no control over their data or digital marketing experience.

Unless consumers are given an explicit choice – to share data or not – to receive ads or not – there will always be an underlying resentment to the ads they are shown. Because if they haven’t chosen to see them, those ads act as a constant reminder that their data is being taken without permission to make money.

With the law itself now supporting them, consumers require control.

The good news?

71% of consumers are willing to share their data with marketers when they understand the value-exchange (i.e. access content for free), and when they are given a clear and fair choice (i.e. share data and receive ads, or pay with money and receive no ads).

All the AI and targeting advances in the world cannot help consumers understand and trust the value-exchange that comes from digital marketing. That will require something decidedly more human; to stop treating consumers as mere sources of data, and instead respect their data choices as individuals.

The only way to build trust with consumers via digital advertising, and thrive in a trusted digital economy, is to shift our approach from ‘data-driven’ to ‘choice-first’. 

AI is changing our industry incrementally. Choice and consent will change our industry exponentially. And having a Consent and Preference Management Platform in place to facilitate this change is a great place to start.

The shift is real. And the future belongs to those who respond. 

If you would like to know more about consent, choice, the future of digital advertising or our consent management platform, please feel free to reach out.

Max Pepe, VP Marketing

If you want to know more about this imperative shift, take a look at what our CEO Thomas Pasquet had to say to Forbes about it here

Or, if you’d rather watch than read, here’s a video of the talk I gave at AdWeek New York 2019.

A user’s time on their mobile device isn’t unlimited. And acquiring new users to your app is extremely costly. After seeing how much time, money, and energy goes into acquiring users, I’m left confused as to why publishers choose to display ads for competitor apps. Think about the last time you played a game on your phone. Did you receive an ad for another game? Chances are, you did. 

These ads direct users away from the environment they’re in, and towards a competitor’s app. This is counterproductive and can cause user churn. 

Having realized that publishers suffer self-sabotaging monetization strategies, Ogury wanted to offer something different. We choose to bring demand exclusively from premium brands, ensuring that publishers not only avoid the revenue-leak caused by churn to competitors, they also access top CPMs and sustained LTV.

With 100 percent of demand from premium brands, the ads that are served by Ogury don’t compete with other publishers, and in turn, are less likely to result in user churn. 

But we don’t believe publishers should only take our word for it. We wanted to prove the effectiveness of our approach. To validate our churn metrics, we sought the help of SOOMLA, the number one leader in mobile monetization measurement.

SOOMLA analyzed Ogury’s data by ad types (rewarded video and interstitials) and GEOs for Android users and compared it to the average churn metrics of all other networks. You can find the results of this analysis in SOOMLA’s case study, and below is a summary.

Case study: Churn metrics verification

US Drilldown

Non-US Drilldown

In three of the four churn rate charts, it is clear that Ogury displays traffic with a low probability to cause user churn. And all of the charts show Ogury’s ability to increase churn yield. This is due to the fact that we partner with premium brands, and only serve users premium content. 

Premium brands only work with ad partners who leverage privacy-compliant data

It’s clear that working with premium brands reduces user churn and increases churn yield. So how can publishers attract these premium brands, and provide users premium experiences? 

Brands can only work with partners who guarantee compliance with regulations such as GDPR. And are thoroughly prepared for impending regulations such as CCPA. Therefore, if you want to display premium brand ads in your apps, you need to partner with companies that ensure data compliance, and that exclusively partner with premium brands.

Ogury Marketing Engine for Publishers is the only demand source that delivers ads exclusively from premium brands, and are privacy compliant by design. This enables publishers to maximize revenue through the lowest user churn rates and top CPMs.

Want to learn more about how this approach could work for you? Reach out at 

Christophe Bize, Chief Publishers, and Strategic Data Partnerships Officer