Beyond the gilded G’s, Gucci boasts an equally golden mobile ad strategy. While a brand might tout superb ad quality, ad placement matters just as much. Though some brands have been able to increase both the quality of their ad placements and the overall reach of their mobile campaigns, others have seen quality downgrade as they seek scale with programmatic buying. Here’s how Gucci outclassed Coach in the mobile ad game.

Overall mobile ad quality increased 4% and desktop quality dropped 1% overall in 2017, according to Gartner L2’s recent report on mobile marketing, meaning that brands take no additional risk in advertising on mobile devices. In the fashion sector, Gucci and Coach illustrate diverging paths: Gucci managed to programmatically place its mobile ads on highly relevant fashion sites, while Coach saw mixed results, with a chunk of its indirect mobile ads placed on a sports site.

As such, Gucci more than doubled its share of mobile display impressions purchased programmatically in 2017 while increasing its mobile quality score by 4%. Direct purchase sites included fashion-centric hubs such as Who What Wear, Purse Blog, and Hollywood Reporter, which accounted for half of the brand’s mobile ad impressions. Indirect ads were also placed on those sites, while remaining ads were distributed across top-tier fashion-related publishers such as Vogue, Esquire, and Harper’s Bazaar.

In contrast, Coach increased the share of its impressions purchased programmatically by 62% in 2017—but failed to choose strategic publishers to target appropriate demographics. For example, the second largest publishing site for Coach’s mobile display ads in terms of indirect impressions was 247Sports, a sports enthusiast site that proved quite out of step with the fashion brand’s audience. As a result of programmatic placements, Coach’s mobile advertising quality score dropped 18% in 2017.

Finding the right balance of scale and quality is a must for any brand hoping to bag the most bang for its buck when it comes to mobile ad efforts. Though it may be tempting to try alternate audiences, the reward is not always worth the risk.

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