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.”
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.