With a recent study by research company Berg suggesting that mobile advertising accounts for a mere one per cent of the global advertising outlay, it’s a fair bet that mobile advertising agencies are all asking “How can we expand this market?”
A mobile device farrago
Despite the massive uptake of mobile devices, mobile phones advertising is no stroll in the park. There’s a proliferating farrago of different handsets to contend with, sporting different screen sizes, operating systems and capabilities.
To complicate matters further, Apple has been setting its Safari browser to reject third-party cookies (the staple of online advertising) from its iOS products (iPhone and iPad). There’s a little more flexibility with Android devices, but there’s also a lot of fragmentation: different devices use different versions of the OS.
A new path through the mobile jungle
But some up-and-coming agencies are forging a promising path through this technological jungle. It hinges on the use of a DSP – demand side platform. This allows business to purchase advertising space in a tightly targeted way – and measure the success of each campaign. In the online ad world, it connects advertisers with ad exchanges; the mobile version – like that deployed by the two-year-old startup StrikeAd – lets advertisers pinpoint their audiences according to several key characteristics. These include the type of OS, the type of device, the user’s mobile carrier, the time of day and, more and more, the user’s location.
As soon as the DSP receives an advertiser’s uploaded targeting criteria, it scours the ad exchanges which buy and sell mobile inventory and bids on a suitable space as soon as it becomes available – a process which takes milliseconds.
As StrikeAd’s CEO and founder Alex Rahman puts it:
“The DSP learns to answer the important questions for itself: Did the ad work? Did the audience engage with it? Did they purchase a product, watch a video or download an app? Then we stop buying space in all the places a campaign doesn’t work and hone in with laser-focus on the best places to buy ads for a particular advertiser.”
And the platform appears to be catching on: Adfonic launched its own DSP, Madison, in October 2012 and already, its mainstream customers – including McDonalds’s, Peugeot and Warner Brothers – are running campaigns on it.