Since mobile, at least when it comes to Apple's iOS, is cookie-less, the idea of using programmatic in a larger way is more appealing to publishers, since they hold the keys when it comes to targeting users. Or rather, they share the keys with Apple, which tends to keep a tight rein on user data. However, users tend to publicly share certain location and marketing information with publishers, so there are certain advantages there that don't necessarily exist as readily in the PC content realm.
"Having premium inventory at scale is really important in a cookie-less environment like mobile," Tavoularis added. "That has been one of the great hesitations in the marketplace. There are certain things that marketers can do on the desktop that they can't do in mobile. It also opens up a lot of opportunities in rich media and ad executions that have a one-on-one connection between users and marketers in a way that the desktop doesn't."
Furthermore, she sees working with Rubicon on the mobile ad business as a way to expand the kinds of controls that the direct sales teams have, not give it up to greater automation.
"We can make more strategic decisions about... using programmatic methods when it comes to mobile ad sales," Tavoularis said. "We work very closely with the national sales organization and sometimes have dual calls going on. So someone goes and talks to the agency trading desk and someone talks to the media buyer to try to capture more of that budget. For example, we'd like access to marketers' search budgets. Using programmatic on mobile and to some extent on the PC side is our way of working towards that holistic ad sales approach that everyone is talking about. And in just a short amount of time, it's making a lot of sense."