As the media landscape continues to evolve, brands must be at the forefront of the ever-changing advertising ecosystem to stay relevant. Historically, many brands have relied on walled gardens  such as FB/Meta and Google to promote their products and services on mobile channels. However, in the complex world of performance marketing, diversifying one's advertising strategy is paramount. What’s more, amidst recent and upcoming privacy changes, partnering with a mobile programmatic DSP (Demand Side Platform) can be invaluable.

We spoke with Steve Massaro, VP of Partnerships at Headlight, to understand the value of partnering with a mobile programmatic DSP for brands looking to build a loyal customer base in today’s mobile-first marketplace.

Headlight is a New York-based digital marketing agency specializing in full-funnel performance media management, creative services, ads, and integrated analytics for brands in the mobile-first, privacy-first era.

Why partnering with a mobile DSP is more valuable than ever

Partnering with a mobile programmatic DSP can help brands expand their reach, personalize ads, and navigate data privacy changes in today’s complex, multichannel marketplace.

With mobile programmatic, advertisers you can reach more customers

Today, more than 91% of the global population use mobile devices to browse, buy, communicate, and entertain themselves. A data-driven programmatic mobile strategy can activate these audiences across platforms around the world.

As put by Massaro, "A well-diversified media mix is essential for any brand seeking strong performance, especially in the mobile app space. Programmatic advertising, across both web and app platforms, enables brands to reach users through a much wider array of inventory."

Mobile programmatic DSPs can help advertisers tailor their communications to customers

“Programmatic advertising allows for a more targeted approach to reach key audiences,” said Massaro. By leveraging privacy-compliant data, segmentation, and machine learning models, mobile programmatic DSPs can customize mobile ads to fit the preferences of certain customers.

“This helps tailor strategies to specific interests, demographics, and other targeting factors in a beneficial way, leading to relevant touchpoints with consumers throughout the funnel in a way that search and social sometimes cannot provide,” said Massaro.

Mobile programmatic DSPs can help advertisers navigate changing privacy restrictions

Since Apple’s rollout of its ATT Framework in 2021, the collection and use of mobile users’ data has changed drastically. For one, accessing user-level data to target and personalize ads has gotten more complex. This has given rise to advanced data-driven media buying strategies to use privacy-compliant data points more creatively. It has also positioned creative design (versus ad targeting strategies) as a key performance lever in the optimization of successful mobile advertising campaigns.

A competitive mobile programmatic DSP has the experience and technology to navigate these changes without sacrificing scale, performance, or cost. Unless brands have built out a robust in-house programmatic media buying team, partnering with a mobile programmatic DSP is crucial to navigating these changes successfully.

Key considerations when choosing a mobile programmatic DSP

 When it comes to evaluating the strengths of a potential mobile programmatic DSP partner, Headlight recommends taking several criteria into consideration.

Data-Driven Buying Capabilities

Understanding how a DSP approaches data and its impact on their buying capabilities is a first and crucial step in pinpointing the right mobile programmatic DSP partner. As pointed out by Massaro, all players claim to have a strong proprietary algorithm and machine learning capabilities — “but is there proof of [this] performance?”

For advertisers looking for mobile retargeting support, efficiency is especially important. As noted by Massaro, "You should have the identifiers of who you want to reach, so working with a strong partner like YouAppi, with its vast inventory and data-driven capabilities to optimize, is how our team reaches the aggressive conversion goals our clients set forth for us."

Transparency & Reporting

Transparency is a two-way street. Just as agencies like Headlight maintain the highest standards of transparency for their clients, they expect the same from their partners. With that being said, evaluating a mobile programmatic DSP’s ability to provide automated reports and tackle mobile fraud is critical. Moreover, a DSP should seamlessly integrate with your brand's tech stack and measurement solutions to undertake accurate tracking and optimization.

Customer Support

A responsive and insightful customer support team is indispensable. A valuable mobile programmatic DSP will provide actionable insights, recommendations, and clear explanations on optimization strategies. As noted by Massaro, “Having accessible support, proactive suggestions on how we can innovate and continue to evolve what we're doing, and transparency around what optimizations are working or not is necessary for us.”

Privacy Adaptability

In the era of iOS data privacy changes, a DSP's ability to navigate the evolving privacy landscape is crucial. A team that can maintain functionality and compliance amidst these changes should be a non-negotiable for all brands.


For brands looking to compete in the mobile-first era, partnering with a mobile programmatic DSP outside of the walled gardens (FB/Meta and Google) can unlock and reactivate valuable new audiences.

  • Reach and Re-engage Customers: Mobile programmatic advertising enables brands to reach a wider array of audiences.
  • Tailored Communications: Target specific audiences using privacy-compliant data, segmentation, and machine learning.
  • Navigate Privacy Changes: With Apple's ATT Framework and changing data privacy regulations, mobile programmatic DSPs help advertisers navigate complex policy changes.

According to Headlight, when choosing a mobile programmatic DSP partner, brands should consider the following factors:

  • Data-Driven Buying: Evaluate a DSP's approach to data and the proven impact of their algorithm and machine learning capabilities on performance.
  • Transparency and Fraud Prevention: DSPs should provide transparent reporting, automated reports, and strategies to tackle mobile fraud. Integration with a brand's tech stack is vital for accurate tracking and optimization.
  • Responsive Customer Support: A DSP with proactive customer support that offers insights and optimization suggestions is invaluable for success.
  • Privacy Adaptability: Given the evolving privacy landscape, a DSP's ability to stay compliant while maintaining functionality should be a crucial consideration for brands.


Looking to solidify your brand's reach on mobile channels? Reach out to YouAppi’s team of marketing experts to understand how you can activate and re-engage high value mobile customers for long-term growth.