On track to grow 96 per cent this year, mobile advertising is thriving and it is expected that UK advertisers will funnel over £2billion into mobile advertising in 2014. For a couple of years now, the choice between in-app and mobile browser advertising has been heavily debated, but according to the smart phone users themselves, they are more likely to interact with mobile browser display ads than those served in-app.

However, jumping on board the mobile-browser express is not enough to ensure your ads have an impact. Rather than just throwing money at mobile advertising, brands need to be smart and savvy about where their ads are being seen in the mobile sphere to ensure this lucrative opportunity isn’t just money down the drain.

As it stands, many advertisers still have no way of monitoring where their adverts are appearing or if their mobile content is even being seen. Subsequently, they are left in the dark about the thousands of ad impressions that are wasted every day due to poor placement. To make a significant change in the effectiveness of mobile advertising, brands should first be looking at whether their ads are actually getting in front of the right people, and alongside the right content.

Programmatic pitfalls apply to mobile

Real-time bidding (RTB) and programmatic have had great success on mobile. But it is undeniably come at the cost of quality and consistency. Advertisers are struggling to maintain control in the heady world of RTB on mobile, resulting in brands appearing next to damaging content without the marketing director having the slightest knowledge of this.

Equally, there’s nothing to suggest that an audience is actually seeing the advert because, frankly, it is just not being tracked. So while everyone might be patting themselves on the back for launching a great ad campaign onto mobile, the reality might be that there has been very little return on investment, or worse, reputational damage.  So before the back slapping can occur, brands need to take a much more proactive approach to understanding where their ads appear and who’s viewing them.

Better to be safe than sorry

Industry initiatives, such as JICWEBS’ brand safety seal, show that the digital advertising industry has taken steps to increase transparency in the sector and reduce the risk of ads being served next to inappropriate or illegal online content. But to say that these standards alone can tidy up the chaotic mobile advertising landscape is stretching the truth too far.

The key to success for advertisers is to be proactive and take full ownership of their brand’s presence across mobile advertising platforms. They should be demanding to know where their advertising budgets are being spent and be in a position to have real-time visibility of their brands’ mobile footprint, monitoring their campaigns throughout the advertising lifecycle.

Taking control of mobile advertising

Content verification tools give the power back to advertisers and can reintroduce confidence in the buying process as a whole. Poor placements can be identified and blocked in real-time if there is a risk of content appearing in an undesirable location. This means brands are protected at all times and advertisers can have peace of mind, knowing their ads are being delivered to safe and appropriate destinations.

Only the most proactive and forward thinking advertising strategies will succeed on mobile. Advertisers need to adapt to the mobile browser environment by enhancing their ability to monitor their ads across multiple devices, ensuring that their ROI isn’t being hindered by wasting budget on ads that aren’t being seen, or are in fact damaging their brand.

The growth in mobile advertising creates a wealth of opportunities for brands. But to navigate safely and make the most of this journey, advertisers need to take the bull by the horns and dictate where adverts appear and in front of whom.