Creatives and other pros who hold media jobs in mobile advertising agencies don’t need any lectures on the crucial role of ad-buying tools and analytics in this complex market; which is why they might like to know a little more about New York-based startup Run, which supplies both on a uniquely mobile-specific basis.
Mobile first, not mobile only
Founded in July 2010, the company secured its first outside investment last month: the princely sum of $1.5 million, courtesy of Verizon Ventures (the strategic investment wing of Verizon). In the space of two short years, it’s established itself as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to mobile-focused programmatic advertising technology. And that’s largely because, unlike many of its competitors, it doesn’t apply traditional, desk-top designed demand-side platforms (DSPs) to mobile and neither does it swing completely in the other direction and focus exclusively on mobile.
Dan Schwartz, the startup’s co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, says that, instead, Run is an example of “the first crop of ad-tech 2.0 companies.” It adopts a “mobile-first” approach when it comes to ad buying but it continues to run campaigns on other devices. This is smart mobile advertising, not desktop with a mobile tweak.
His colleague, CEO and fellow founder Seth Hittman, exudes confidence about his product. Run’s programmatic ad buying opens big opportunities for mobile advertising. As he puts it, “It’s no secret that there’s a whole lot of unsold inventory.”
The advent of cookie-less tracking
Schwartz sought investment two years down the line largely because Run had a good product which yielded revenue early on (and for the first 20 months of its existence, he and Hittman refrained from paying themselves a cent). In that time, the company has changed its approach from an exclusive focus on ad buying to one that now includes tracking and analytics, too. With all three technologies available to advertisers, Hittman says that Run can “connect all those dots” for them.
Anyone with any experience of media jobs in mobile advertising knows that the task of tracking users is vastly more complex than it is with desk-bound devices, where you can just drop a cookie. But Run can track without cookies and, by working with the Internet Advertising Bureau, is contributing to the creation of industry-wide standards for cookie-less tracking.