Brands have largely improved their mobile ad quality, and it’s now converging with that of desktop. Last year, the average mobile display ad quality score was just 1% lower than desktop among brands studied in Gartner L2’s mobile marketing report, compared to 6% lower in 2016.
The purchasing methods of mobile versus desktop ads are also converging. Mobile and desktop both saw a drop in their indirect impressions share, declining from 21% in 2016 to 13% in 2017.
The decreasing reliance on programmatic purchase channels signals a greater desire for brand safety. Programmatic buying, while less costly, can sometimes place ads on sites out of alignment with the brand mission. Therefore, many successful brands with high-quality mobile ads work directly with publishers.
However, best-in-class brands also find ways to achieve high-quality placements programmatically. For example, 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 Who What Wear, Purse Blog, and Hollywood Reporter, which accounted for half of the brand’s mobile ad impressions. The brand’s indirect ads were similarly placed on those sites, while the remaining ads were distributed across top-tier fashion-related publishers like Vogue, Esquire, and Harper’s Bazaar, helping the brand retain its prestigious image.