Often derided as too complex, the mobile advertising that marketers complain about may soon be radically simplified, thanks to a new eight-figure deal between New York based mobile ad-server startup Medialets and Publicis Groupe’s Vivaki division.
Three years after it wowed mobile advertising agencies with its rich-media, shakable iPhone ad for Dockers back in 2009, Medialets now has a major new opportunity courtesy of Vivaki. The latter’s technology is used by some of the mastodons in the global media world, including ZenithOptimedia and Starcom Mediavest, along with digital-marketing firms Razorfish and Digitas.
Securing the deal was no walk in the park. Medialets was up against four other companies, but won the final bid round “by a considerable margin”, according to Vivaki’s Senior VP of platforms and ad operations, Grace Liau.
A new gateway to mobile marketing dollars?
The contract – the startup’s biggest so far – makes it Vivaki’s worldwide server for tablet and mobile phones advertising. Having a preferred ad server means that Vivaki can help develop its technology and utilize a product tailored to its client’s needs, Ms. Liau explained. And it’s a win-win arrangement — Medialets benefits from a supplier who will integrate with and add to its technology stack, simplifying the mobile ad process by using one supplier exclusively.
This could prove a gateway to more mobile marketing dollars. More and more people are using smartphones and tablets, but mobile as an ad channel hasn’t really taken off yet, largely because marketers consider it too complex. However, Medialets’ technology enables easy ad delivery across the whole spectrum of display variations – no mean feat, considering that there are an estimated 490 ad sizes distributed across 12,000 devices and three different operating systems. Such nifty streamlining by Medialets will, it hopes, dispel fears about mobile marketing and increase investment.
Rich-media rocks for Vivaki
According to Ms. Liau, Vivaki was especially attracted to the startup’s rich-media mobile advertising capabilities, as well as its expertise in planting them so effortlessly on the whole plethora of tablets and phones. Medialets’ rival bidders, by contrast, tended to view mobile ad-serving “through the lenses of display ad serving and that was a big problem, because mobile is a very different beast,” she added.
Medialets secured $10 million in venture capital funding from Greenspring Associates last week, bringing its total funding to an impressive $28.4 million.