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Mobile ad analytics startup Adelphic gains $10 million investment

Ad tar­get­ing start­up Adel­ph­ic Mobile looks set to enhance the world of mobile phones adver­tis­ing dra­mat­i­cal­ly after secur­ing $10 mil­lion in Series A funding.

Mobile adver­tis­ing agen­cies face par­tic­u­lar dif­fi­cul­ties not shared by their more tra­di­tion­al inter­net ad rel­a­tives; it’s noto­ri­ous­ly dif­fi­cult to col­lect reli­able con­sumer data from mobile devices, unlike web sites which allow brands to tar­get par­tic­u­lar users with rel­a­tive ease. But Adel­ph­ic Mobile was cre­at­ed by for­mer Quat­tro col­leagues Jen­nifer Lum and Changfeng Weng in 2010 to address that very prob­lem (Quat­tro was acquired by Apple recent­ly and is now the tech giant’s iAd program).

Why mobile adver­tis­ing is a tough cookie

Jen­nifer Lum summed up the dif­fi­cul­ties posed by mobile adver­tis­ing like this: “It’s hard for brands to find peo­ple.  It’s hard to describe and pack­age up the mobile indus­try to sell to audiences.”

There have been a num­ber of new mobile tar­get­ing star­tups launch­ing in recent times, includ­ing AdMo­bius. But what’s dif­fer­ent about Adelphic?

The new agency sur­mounts the dif­fi­cul­ty of drop­ping cook­ies onto mobiles (col­lect far few­er of these lit­tle data pack­ets than desk­top devices) by using 30 dif­fer­ent ‘sig­nals’ to mon­i­tor online pat­terns exhib­it­ed by smart­phone users. Although Lum wasn’t let­ting any secrets slip through her lips, she revealed that her’s and Weng’s brain­child uses “infer­ence algo­rithms” (brows­ing his­to­ry, log-ins, loca­tion per­haps?) to col­late an array of data which informs adver­tis­ers about whether a smart­phone cus­tomer has tak­en up any ear­li­er offers.  It also infers user char­ac­ter­is­tics such as age and gender.

A ris­ing star?

Activ­i­ty on the plat­forms has now hit 20 bil­lion trans­ac­tions, Lum says, and the new fund­ing round (which was led by Google Ven­tures) will undoubt­ed­ly help it expand sig­nif­i­cant­ly.  Expect the small, 22-strong mar­ket­ing team to expand appre­cia­bly very shortly.

Adelphic’s unique tech­nol­o­gy, she explains, enables a rad­i­cal switch from car­ri­ers and devices to real con­sumers. It remains to be seen whether the firm’s new tech­nol­o­gy will gen­er­ate more liq­uid­i­ty in the mobile ad mar­ket, although it’s poised to boost adver­tis­ers’ con­fi­dence that they real­ly can at last reach the cus­tomer seg­ments they’re aim­ing for.  It’s also like­ly to help adver­tis­ers mod­i­fy under-per­form­ing ad cam­paigns by pro­vid­ing “live” analytics.

And $10 mil­lion says that there are a lot of peo­ple out there eager­ly seek­ing an effec­tive solu­tion to the mobile adver­tis­ing puzzle.


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