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Adfonic CEO explains why mobile advertising must have specialists

Vic­tor Malachard, the CEO and founder of the huge­ly suc­cess­ful mobile adver­tis­ing start­up Adfon­ic, has been explain­ing why this cor­ner of Adland needs spe­cial­iza­tion, not generalization.

Respond­ing in Ven­ture­Beat to a recent guest post by Turn’s CEO Jonathan Gard­ner, Malachard takes issue with Gardner’s view that mobile adver­tis­ing agen­cies that remain “siloed” in mobile-only tech­nol­o­gy (and he men­tioned Adfon­ic) will become “obso­lete.”

Why spe­cial­ize?

Not so, coun­ters Malachard: mobile adver­tis­ing is rad­i­cal­ly dif­fer­ent to online. He con­cedes that mar­keters would cer­tain­ly pre­fer not to sep­a­rate mobile and desk­top cam­paigns and he accepts that they should sim­ply be seen as dif­fer­ent ways of reach­ing audi­ences. But there’s a “but”.

Malachard states, “But right now, the means by which you reach those audi­ences are going to be dif­fer­ent, and for mobile this means deep exper­tise in how mobile works. We sim­ply do not believe that online spe­cial­ists under­stand the com­plex­i­ty and nuances of mobile.”

Mar­keters, he argues, can be “more effec­tive if they treat mobile dif­fer­ent­ly.” For exam­ple, there’s no way an over­ar­ch­ing desk­top friend­ly tech­nol­o­gy like the hum­ble cook­ie can be used on mobile plat­forms to track ads and audi­ences. Not only that, but “the vast major­i­ty of mobile adver­tis­ing is done in-app,” he observes. Even if cook­ies could be dropped, track­ing them across that kalei­do­scope of soft­ware would be well-nigh impossible.


Adfon­ic has a solu­tion which has clear­ly worked well. It uses a real-time data­base that gauges audi­ence behav­ior through a mix of device recog­ni­tion, exchange-lev­el data and plat­form iden­ti­fiers. This makes Real Time Bid­ding a more ratio­nal­ly cal­cu­la­ble affair. Adfon­ic access­es RTD exchanges using a Demand Side Plat­form (DSP). As Malachard can’t resist point­ing out, “Again, this requires spe­cial­ist inte­gra­tions that require deep knowl­edge of how to devel­op for mobile.”

The spe­cial­iza­tion argu­ment, in Malachard’s hands, is deft­ly and per­sua­sive­ly put. He cites research from his company’s own “Tablets AdSnap” study, which por­trays that mobile users show dif­fer­ent behav­iors on their gad­gets at dif­fer­ent times of the day. Tablet users send more ad requests by click­throughs in the evening, while smart­phone users are more like­ly to do so very late at night or in the ear­ly morn­ing. And both dif­fer from desk­top usage.

Mobile spe­cial­ism, it seems, is here to stay for the duration.

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