Ad Networks

Opera Introduces Ad Exchange Aimed Partly at Feature Phones

Most of the ad marketplaces and "exchanges" that have been created to date have been focused on smartphones. However Opera is announcing a new mobile ad exchange, based on its earlier AdMarvel acquisition, that is directed at least partly toward feature phones.

In January Opera bought AdMarvel for an estimated $8 million with a potential $15 million earnout. According to press materials:

The Open Mobile Ad Exchange makes the world's largest mobile audience, 66.5 million Opera Mini users, available to advertisers, publishers, and wireless operators. With this launch, Opera opens the world of feature phones, where Opera Mini is the dominant browser, to mobile advertising.

Called the Open Mobile Exchange, it will offer inventory on all Opera Mini browsers whether they're installed on feature phones or smartphones, such as Android and the iPhone.

When Opera acquired AdMarvel it wasn't entirely certain what it was going to do with the company. This marks a big shift for Opera, into mobile advertising in a serious way. The straddling of feature phones and smartphones offers something somewhat unique in a market that has a growing number of mediators, marketplaces and exchanges. 

Microsoft recently launched a new mobile ad exchange. Yesterday Velti bought exchange Mobclix. Google (through AdMob) has a mobile ad exchange. Smaato and Amobee are also broadly in this category too. So is Nexage.

We're in a period of consolidation and scaling. Winners will be the networks/exchanges with the greatest reach. However, companies such as Millennial and inMobi believe that the value in the ecosystem is created at the network level, with direct advertiser relationships. 

Millennial: Android, RIM Gain Impression Share as Market Becomes More Balanced

Millennial Media put out its Mobile Mix device index report this morning. I'm late getting to it because I'm at the Borrell Local-Mobile event in Dallas. Generally it shows that Apple is still the dominant OS and the iPhone is still the dominant handset on Millennial's network. But clearly the competition is gaining.

While Android gets most of the attention, RIM apparently has also gained, going from 14% of ad impressions in March, 2010 to 19% (immediately below) in August.  

Here's the share of smartphone impressions by operating system: 

Screen shot 2010-09-28 at 11.38.36 AM

Compare March 2010 data, showing Apple with a 70% share: 

Screen shot 2010-09-28 at 11.44.37 AM

 Here are the top handset OEMs for August and March (second below): 

Screen shot 2010-09-28 at 12.04.56 PM

Screen shot 2010-09-28 at 12.04.33 PM
RIM has fallen somewhat and Motorola has ridden the Android express to the third position in the hierarchy on Millennial's network.

Verve Wireless: We Want to Be the Largest Premium Lo-Mo Ad Network

Verve Wireless announced a new $7 million funding round led by BlueRun Ventures, bringing total funding to just under $10 million. Verve hosts newspaper and other publisher mobile sites and builds apps for its publisher partners. The company has built an ad network on top of 750 media company relationships, including AP, McClatchy, Hearst, Belo Interactive and others.

Its objective is, accordingly, to build "the largest premium local advertising network and publisher platform." To that end the company said that it has 14 million users and 150 million monthly page views (July, 2010) on its network. It still has a way to go, however, to rival Where and others in the local space in terms of reach. 

Beyond Verve, other dedicated local-mobile ad networks include: 

  • Local AdXchange
  • CityGrid
  • Chitika
  • Where
  • Marchex (calls)  
  • LSN Mobile
  • Placecast
  • AT&T Interactive

One thing is now for sure: with all these local ad networks in mobile publishers won't lack for ad inventory.

Location Should Be the Default 'Call to Action' in Mobile Advertising

Location is a problem that's now mostly solved on mobile devices. Through network location, triangulation and/or GPS, most ad networks now have access to location on mobile handsets. That means ads can be targeted and served with great precision -- unlike on the PC, which is still mostly stuck in the reverse IP lookup world.

The issues with location-based ads in mobile now revolve around secondary but important questions like:

  • How can I get scale with local markets and LBS?
  • What networks or exchanges should I work with? 
  • What sort of copy/ad creative/offer should I use?

The easiest way to get scale and to create a call to action is to add a store locator or product finder. This can be done simply as one creative element of a display or rich media campaign. See for example the most unlikely of ads to include a store locator: Klondike Bar.

It created a simple, offline call-to-action in what was otherwise a brand campaign (iAd): 

Screen shot 2010-09-20 at 5.28.25 AM

Interestingly Dynamic Logic just wrote about best practices surrounding calls-to-action in online display (brand) campaigns. What it found was that time-based calls-to-action were most effective in generating action/response from consumers: 

In mobile the universal call-to-action should be location.

While there are many potential calls-to-action for mobile campaigns, product finders and store locators should and will likely become almost ubiquitous in display and rich media ads. Location is not incompatible with other calls-to-action and can lead consumers to the point of sale or to at least a place where they can see and touch a product -- or take a test drive as the case may be. 

I would predict we'll see local as an almost "perfunctory" part of mobile display going forward. The store locator or product finder won't define location-based advertising. But unlike online it will become a check box of sorts that the agency and brand will need to include in their campaigns, when they're not specifically doing something more interesting with location. 

Where Buys LocalGinger, Adds Group Buying to Ads Mix

Where announced this morning that it acquired LocalGinger, a small Massachusetts-based group buying platform provider. Where is already deeply into location-based couponing but hasn't to date offered a daily deal program. 

The deal was reported as a mix of cash and stock but no specific terms were disclosed. 

Where could combine daily deals with very precise location awareness and might be able to offer some interesting and new things (to merchants and consumers) that aren't yet being done in the group buying space -- despite the presence of mobile apps for Groupon and LivingSocial.

Indeed Where is using the term "Flash sales" to suggest that it will use the technology to enable merchants to make time-sensitive offers that are much more time-sensitive (and local) than the current structure of daily deals:

Screen shot 2010-09-27 at 7.24.20 AM

Currently LocalGinger operates in only four small markets. As part of the deal the 10 person LocalGinger team will become part of Where, which will roll out the service nationally over the next couple of months. 

Is Apple Winning or Losing with iAd?

There's a lot of conflicting information about the success -- or lack of success -- of Apple's iAd. I've seen many reports and articles praising it and criticizing it. Last week Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz predicted that iAd would "fall apart for them."

However on Sunday a Bloomberg/BusinessWeek report (based on IDC estimates) argued that Apple is in fact taking share from other ad networks:

Apple will end the year with 21 percent of the market, according to estimates provided to Businessweek.com by researcher IDC. Google's share will drop to 21 percent, from 27 percent last year, when combined with results from AdMob, the ad network it bought in May. Microsoft will drop to 7 percent, from 10 percent . . . 

Apple's push into mobile ads may be a reason for its rivals' market-share declines. 

Here are the IDC US ad network marketshare figures as presented in the article:

  • Apple: 21% 
  • Google: 21%
  • JumpTap: 13%
  • Millennial: 11%
  • Yahoo: 9%
  • Microsoft: 7%
  • Nokia: 2% 
  • Other: 16%

The article doesn't identify the basis for the share estimates, but I assume it's dollars -- percent of the market's total value. However IDC's estimates have been off in the past, according to the ad networks themselves.

Ad network inMobi presents a different picture of impression distribution on a global basis. In July 2010 data it shows Nokia with about half of all "available" global ad impressions and the iPhone with about 7%:

  • Nokia/Symbian: 48%
  • iPhone: 7%
  • Android: 3.5%
  • RIM: 2.8%
  • Palm/WebOS: 1.1%
  • Other: 37.2%

See related iAd posts:

Nexage and DataXu Show Way to Future of Mobile Ad Buying

This is already happening to in pockets but the announcement of DataXu's DX2 "demand side platform" partnership with mobile ad mediator Nexage may mark the beginning of an acceleration of joint online-mobile ad buying and even be a precursor of consolidation among networks.

According to the release:

Nexage has partnered with DataXu as mobile inventory supplier for the launch of the industry's first mobile-integrated demand-side platform solution, DX2. The partnership creates synergies in digital ad-buying by allowing online advertisers to access mobile and online inventory from the same platform.

DSPs and DataXu, in this case, help make non-guaranteed, non-premium inventory buying across networks and exchanges safe for brands and advertisers. They also optimize ad budgets across networks according to spending limits and other parameters and targets. But the larger point I'm trying to make is the movement toward combined online and mobile display ad buying offers reach and efficiency for agencies and advertisers. 

This mobile-PC media buying scenario first occurred to me when Google announced the acquisition of AdMob last year. There were also several smaller announcements regarding PC-mobile media buying involving Tribal Fusion and Greystripe, Advertising.com and Mobclix. While I'm at a bit of a loss on the mechanical side of things, this is compelling for media buyers who otherwise complain about friction and "fragmentation" in mobile. 

Online there's tension between buying audiences across thousands of sites and buying specific branded publisher sites -- something along the lines of quality vs. quantity, to put it very simplistically. That dynamic will also play out in mobile. But the efficiency and convenience of DSPs and PC-mobile media buying capabilities is going to be appealing to many marketers looking for reach.

My First Date with iAd

I've been reading and even writing about iAD since it was announced, but I hadn't actually encountered one until yesterday. It was for Klondike bar. I saw it on the NY Times' iPhone app.

I admit I was engaged by the ad, with its rich media and many components. It functioned as a mini-app.

There was also the ability to locate stores/distributors where I could buy Klondike bars in my area. (I would just normally assume grocery stores). However this "find a dealer" is the primary way that location will make its appearance in mobile display advertising. In fact it might become routine or an almost perfunctory "check box" for advertisers.

Here are most of the screens I captured:

Screen shot 2010-09-20 at 5.28.25 AM

See related stories:

Microsoft Mobile Ad Exchange Dependent on Windows Phone Success

Microsoft yesterday announced its ads SDK and, more significantly, a new Advertising Exchange for Mobile. This is from Microsoft's Raj Kapoor's blog post:

[Microsoft's Mobile Ad Exchange offers] superior ad targeting, multiple purchase models and leading resellers including Microsoft’s sales force –as well as the large-scale adCenter marketplace. Specific capabilities of our Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows Phone 7 include Demographic, Category, Carrier and Location targeting; Text and Image Units; Click to Call and Click to Web ad actions, and robust reporting on in-app ad revenue, ad inventory, clicks, CPM and sell thru rate. Our real-time, bidded mobile ad exchange enables multiple ad networks to bid on mobile inventory at the exact moment when an impression is served, increasing yield and reducing waste.

Again: real-time bidding and many flavors of targeting. Launch partners include Millennial Media, WHERE, InMobi and MobClix. 

Windows 7 phones will be GSM-only at launch and for perhaps a year thereafter according to published reports. That means, in the US, no Verizon or Sprint for Windows Phones. Microsoft will thus be going head to head with Android (and the iPhone) at AT&T and T-Mobile. This may turn out to be a strategic mistake for Microsoft. However the phone will succeed or fail on its own merits. 

The ad exchange as well, because it will be tied to Windows Phones, will similarly succeed or fail on the basis of their sales. Despite hype and promise Microsoft's PC-based exchanges (plural) have seen limited succeess to date to my knowledge. 

The future of mobile display advertising inevitably includes integration with PC display, at least from a network or exchange standpoint. Microsoft would be smart to try and link mobile and PC display buying together now to broaden its market (if that's technically feasible).

Microsoft is ahead of the rest of the industry with this new exchange and its apparent capabilities. However it may see only limited adoption if Windows Phones don't prove to be a big hit. 

Related: Microsoft Has No Plans To Make Another Smartphone

 

Millennial: Android Passes RIM, iPhone Still on Top

Millennial's July data were released earlier this morning. They reflect what's been broadly reported elsewhere: continued growth of Android (and the iPad). Here are the headlines:

  • Android grew 47% month-over-month. Since January Android has grown 690%.
  • Android also officially became the number two OS on the Millennial network (surpassing RIM)
  • Apple ad requests increased 24% month-over-month, but are actually down 15% since January; iPad ad requests grew 327% month-over-month.
  • Smartphones and connected devices increased their impression share 7%, and now represent 68% of the total impression share.

Basically, the story is that Android is now a rapidly gaining number two to the iPhone's number one on the Millennial network.

RIM has grown both in terms of representation on the network and in terms of developer involvement, but the news that Android has passed it is more confirmation that the company is in an increasingly challenging competitive position.

And now for the graphics: 

 Screen shot 2010-08-18 at 12.44.09 PM

Screen shot 2010-08-18 at 12.35.35 PM

Screen shot 2010-08-18 at 12.35.41 PM

Screen shot 2010-08-18 at 12.35.50 PM

Shooger Launches PC Site, Aims for Broad Consumer Adoption

In case it isn't clear, deals, coupons and local offers are very hot and will continue to be. The incredible rise of daily deals (e.g., Groupon) and the evolution of Foursquare as a couponing and loyalty platform reflect this. Indeed, deals have emerged as a uniquely popular and critical form of mobile marketing. I previously discussed data showing significant (100% YoY) growth for digital coupons. 

In the iTunes app store alone there are more than 245 stand-alone apps that respond to the query "coupons." And there are well over 100 daily deal providers in the US market. But how many "vendors" can and will the market support?

Historically coupon sites were plagued by an "inventory" problem; there wasn't enough content there to be useful or that interesting to consumers. Cellfire, an early mobile coupons pioneer, was the exemplar of this problem until the company switched to grocery coupons. This was also a challenge with ValPak's PC site as well. Models that emphasize "push" (daily deals, ValPak's blue envelope) require less "inventory" than "pull" (search) models.

For those publishers, apps and sites seeking to build consumer brands and destinations, aggregation of others' deals has become a key strategy. Yipit, RetailMeNot, TheDealMap, 8Coupons and Shooger, among a number of others, are seeking to be one-stop destinations for offers of various sorts from a broad range of sources. Some of these players also seek to cultivate direct relationships with advertisers as well. 

Accordingly, the coupons and deals ecosystem has "sellers" that own the advertiser or are the source of the deal, consumer-facing brands that distribute offers and those entities that try and do some version of both. ValPak does both, so does Groupon, so does Yelp. Google aspires to do both. Google of course is the ultimate, if imperfect, coupon "aggregator" because search is how most people online find deals. And Ask.com has a dedicated deals site.

In the daily deal segment, Yipit is angling to become a "one stop shop" for consumers. It only distributes others' offers. Shooger, which started in Florida and has recently expanded nationally, also seeks to be a comprehensive consumer destination, though it also allows advertisers to create coupons. The site also now crosses platforms. Shooger just launched its online presence after being exclusively a smarpthone app. 

photo

One of our most popular webcasts was on mobile coupons with Shooger and ValPak. And our next webinar will be on daily deals with Yipit and Closely.

While the entire deals segment shows no signs of slowing winners and losers will emerge in the near future -- though many companies on the consumer side (though not hundreds) can succeed. There's a land-grab going on for consumer awareness and usage. Winning sites and apps will need to offer both great content, which means comprehensiveness outside of the daily deals, as well as superior usability -- and probably cross-platform distribution for maximum and brand-building purposes. 

Shooger is taking aim at all three. 

Millennial Media: 81% Audience Reach, Plans IPO Next Year

Millennial Media released its June SMART report this morning. As usual it's "chock-a-block" full of data. I'll point to a few of the things that interest me. You can get the entire report here.

All data are based on Millennial's network and not necessarily representative of the broader mobile Internet. 

The company cites Nielsen data for the proposition that the mobile Internet in the US is now 77 million people. The company asserts that it can reach to 81% of that audience.

photo

Here are Millennial's top DMAs (by ad requests): 

  1. LOS ANGELES, CA
  2. DALLAS, TX
  3. HOUSTON, TX
  4. PHOENIX, AZ
  5. SACRAMENTO, CA
  6. SAN FRANCISCO, CA
  7. CHICAGO, IL
  8. FRESNO, CA
  9. SAN ANTONIO, TX
  10. HARLINGEN, TX
  11. NEW YORK, NY
  12. TAMPA, FL
  13. ATLANTA, GA
  14. LAS VEGAS, NV
  15. ALBUQUERQUE, NM

The fact that "HARLINGEN, TX" is ahead of "NEW YORK, NY" is suggestive of the idea that the company's network is not synonymous with the mobile Internet per se.

This month's SMART report focuses on the entertainment vertical (one of Millennial's top 3) and its campaign tactics. I'm not going to drill into those numbers. Rather I'll show Millennial's list of the top verticals:

 photo

Millennial shows that almost 60% of its campaigns are national, with "broad reach." However of the 41% that are targeted; the top two strategies are geo and demo targeting. When the audiences get large enough these layers will be married for geo + demo + other. But geo can also be a proxy for demographic targeting in the right circumstances. 

photo
 

TechCrunch in an interview with Millennial CEO Paul Palmieri says that the company is planning an IPO in 2011.

What Is Facebook's Next Mobile Move?

At the Mobile Beat conference Eric Tseng, head of mobile products for Facebook (and former Google-Android exec.), announced that Facebook now has 150 million "active" mobile users (that means daily usage). That's up from 100 million in February.

Against that backdrop there are indications that, at least in the US Facebook's growth, may have slowed. The company however sees mobile as a driver of its next phase of growth. Overall, there are more than 500 million Facebook users globally. 

Tseng suggested that Facebook would soon become a "mobile platform." That means that Facebook will be extending "the social graph" to third party applications and sites. The Open Graph API and the Like button will also make their way into mobile according to Tseng.

Facebook is poised to roll out some sort of location-based service. Its exact form is uncertain. I've argued that instantly Facebook would be a huge mobile ad network should it decide that it wants to become one. Yet there are reasons to believe that won't happen in the near term. 

Facebook's forthcoming Q&A service is also one that could be a potent location-based recommendations engine. And the Like button data will be a huge source of local favorites and recommendations. Third parties will be tapping all this data to enhance their apps and sites. 

The company sees mobile devices as a growth engine party because in developing countries (e.g., India) mobile is the primary (and maybe only) tool for Internet acces. This is why Facebook developed its SMS-based "0.facebook.com" site earlier this year. 

Google Sends Maps to More Connected Cars

The car is the ultimate "mobile device" isn't it? And increasingly cars are becoming "connected" to the Internet. Google now has an impressive roster of car brands on a global basis to which users can send Google Maps directions.

According to the Google LatLong blog:

With today’s additions, drivers can send destinations from Google Maps directly to their connected vehicles in 19 countries and more than 20 different brands.

In the US alone, Send-To-Car is now available on more than 15 car brands and we hope to see even more partners join us soon.

 

On a smaller scale Mapquest and Nokia's Ovi Maps offer in-car integration. However Navteq (owned by Nokia) powers most of the PND devices that operate in vehicles in the US. In Europe it's Teleatlas, owned by TomTom. 

JumpTap: New Customers Keep All the Loot

Seeing an opportunity and trying to grab some attention from the Apple vs. Google debate/meme, ad network JumpTap is offering to let new customers (developers and publishers) keep 100% of ad revenue for a limited time:

The new program empowers mobile app developers and publishers to increase their revenue using the industry's most comprehensive array of ad solutions that run across any device -- including iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, and BlackBerry -- all from one ad network and one single point of integration.

The Jumptap Passport to Freedom Program establishes a $4 million fund for new customers who will get to keep 100 percent of their revenues through the rest of 2010 or until the fund is depleted -- whichever is sooner. Become an advertiser and reinvest the earnings and Jumptap will actually double the amount available for advertising dollars -- that's up to a 200 percent payout. To get started, new customers just sign up for an account; download the SDK and start earning money.

As the statement above indicates, the offer is limited to the exhaustion of a $4 million fund. This 100% of revenue tactic -- reminiscent of how Google spread AdSense in its early days -- is also being used by inMobi to acquire new publisher-developer clients. 

Separately, despite all the bluster and hand-wringing around Apple's new terms of service, which appear to bar any advertising provider associated with an OS maker (Apple competitor), Apple has not in fact barred AdMob from iOS devices. Apple's devices reportedly constitute 30% of AdMob's revenues. According to Omar Hamoui, AdMob founder (now Google VP of Mobile Ads), quoted in the Wall Street Journal: 

Apple hasn’t enforced the threat, “and we’re very appreciative of that,” he said.

A number of companies, including JumpTap, are trying to seize the recent uncertainty surrounding AdMob's continued operation on iOS devices. Hence the new program. 

inMobi Gains $8 Million, Challenges AdMob

inMobi announced earlier this morning that it had raised $8 million in funding for a total of roughly $15 million.The company began in India in 2007 as "mKhoj." It launched in the US formally last month.

Many people in the industry haven't heard of inMobi yet it's the largest ad network globally other than Google-AdMob. Now inMobil is seeking to take AdMob's place as the leading independent mobile ad network. 

The company says that it has "16.9 billion impressions monthly reaching 179 million consumers in 108 countries." Clients include Reebok, Microsoft, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Quaker Oats, Yamaha, Barclays, and Yahoo.

Source: inMobi internal traffic data

American employees of the company include former Yahoo VP Anne Frisbie, now head of inMobi North America and James Lamberti, formerly SVP of comScore, now VP of global marketing for the company. I spoke to both yesterday and they stressed to me that inMobi had a technology platform and scalability advantage over the majority of its competitors. They also said that it was best positioned among the independent networks -- inMobi is an ad network working directly with clients rather than a mediator or exchange -- in the Google vs. Apple advertising battle. 

Lamberti said that inMobi would be releasing some very interesting data soon, which caused us to talk about mobile data more broadly. Both Frisbee and Lamberti criticized the quality of the third party mobile data available and the comScore and Nielsen methodologies. They said that GroundTruth probably had the best data in the US market but that it was incomplete.

Frisbee said that once you get out of the US and Europe (to a degree) third party data are not available as a general matter. 

What's impressive is the way that inMobi has scaled globally in a relatively short time frame. Velti and Amobee, using somewhat different models, aspire to the same global scale and reach. 

With Google having bought AdMob that leaves Yahoo and Microsoft as potential buyers of ad networks. However, in addition, the major advertising holding companies, many of which have acquired small mobile agencies, are also potential acquirors of mobile ad networks and exchanges. Then there are the carriers . . . but they're unlikely to play directly in mobile advertising despite their past flirtations.

Yahoo: iPad Users More 'Gender Balanced'

Yahoo offers its second look at iPad users on the Yahoo network and Yahoo apps. There's nothing dramatic that the company finds but there are some interesting observations about behavior and audience composition:

The user base continues to skew male, but is becoming more gender-balanced; the male to female ratio moved from 2:1 to 3:2:

Gender 1

The sweet spot for [the iPad] user base continues to be in the 30–54 age range, and that about half of the Yahoo! iPad users have been using Yahoo! for at least six years (see charts below).

Untitled Image 3

Regarding international iPad usage, gender and age distribution are very similar to the US. 

Gender

In general, the male skew is the same internationally as it is in the U.S., though it is stronger in Japan, where male users outnumber women 4:1. Similarly, the 35–44 age cohort is the largest among all international iPad users on Yahoo!. 

Population 1

These data suggest, among other things, that there are more similarities than differences among early iPad buyers around the globe. 

___

The recently released Pew mobile report featured some interesting data at the end on eReaders and tablets:

  • 4% of Americans own eBook Readers and 46% use them to access the Internet, according to Pew's survey
  • 3% of respondents said they owned a tablet computer such as an iPad 

These figures illustrate the difficulty and peril of self-reported data and extrapolating that to the larger population. For example, if 3% of US adults (out of a total of about 228 million) actually owned a "tablet computer" that would mean 6.8 million people in the US own them.

The iPad has globally sold something more than 3 million units. Unless people didn't understand what is/was meant by the term tablet computer the survey results overstate the market. There are effectively no other tablets on the market today, except for a couple of isolated Android tablet devices that really haven't penetrated. Windows-based "tablet PCs" have largely failed and so can't be assumed to be part of this response.

Does this inflated result cast some doubt on the larger survey findings? I think directionally they're certainly accurate but may be imprecise, despite the claim of a survey margin of error "plus or minus 2.4 percentage points."  

 

iPad Ad Metrics: Novelty or the Start of Something?

There's already been much discussion of some early advertising metrics on the iPad. The following results were published a couple of days ago by ad mediator AdMarvel (owned by Opera), TextPlus and PointRoll (owned by publisher Gannett):

Campaigns that ran the first four weeks after the iPad launch delivered average interaction times across advertisers of 30 seconds, and as high as 53 seconds for one advertiser. Time spent with each ad correlated with the amount of content included in the ads.

In addition, interaction rates (measuring the number of people tapping to expand and engaging with the ads, as a percentage of impressions) ranged from .9% to 1.5% in the first month of the campaign, up to 6 times the benchmark for comparable click-to-expand ads on the desktop. In addition, 67% of users who viewed a video component of the ad in the app watched it all the way through, compared to 53% completion rate for desktop. These findings show that the iPad can be a successful supplement to a 360-degree campaign across devices to strengthen and further lift audience engagement.

(Emphasis added; see ad demo.)

Dynamic Logic and Insight Express have both shown that mobile ads consistently outperform PC advertising across a wide range of metrics and brand indicators. The question of course is whether the increased engagement and metrics are the byproduct of novelty or whether these platforms are going to consistently deliver better performance over time. 

Some of this better performance is clearly novelty but other factors such as less ad clutter and greater "share of voice" on pages make for higher engagement and improved response. Websites on the PC or "fixed" Internet have become a veritable wasteland of clutter and low quality ad content. That's partly why Apple's Safari 5 enables users to eliminate ads from the page.

Even as the Internet has fragmented audiences and eroded if not destroyed some traditional media (e.g., newspapers), online advertising, with the exception of search and one or two other areas, has largely failed. 

The iPad is not a PC, nor is it really a mobile device in the same form as a smartphone. It's more of a portable PC with apps. We still don't  have enough data to know how people use and will use the iPad and its many forthcoming rivals. In my house it has taken time from PC exposure but it's much more a "leisure" or "lean back" device than the PC, which is mostly utilitarian. 

If that use case holds generally for tablets it could be that people will be more receptive to display and rich media ads on them vs. the PC. 

New Terms in iPhone Developer Agreements Threaten 3rd Party Analytics and Ad Aggregators

The anomaly that is Apple just threw down another challenge to third-party application developers who look to mobile advertisements as the ultimate source of sustainability. Terms and conditions in the newly updated iPhone Developer Program License Agreement (which has been revised in conjunction with the release of iOS 4) starts with the wording that developers "may not collect, use, or disclose to any third party, user or device data without prior user consent" and then adds further strictures which, in the most damning case for many of the aspiring analytics providers, prohibit release for the purposes of "aggregation, processing, or analysis".

While the change in wording appears to be a broad prohibition against third-party analytics, it is most commonly seen as a direct attack on AdMob, the mobile advertising services company recently purchased by Google. Apple will only let developers release user information to a third-party only if it is "an independent advertising service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads." In other words, not an affiliate of the largest provider of sponsored search services on the planet. To turn the knife a bit, or perhaps to provide transparency, Apple provides examples of the sorts of third-parties that are not, by their nature, "independent", saying explicitly that "an advertising service provider owned by or affiliated with a developer or distributor of mobile devices, mobile operating systems or development environments other than Apple would not qualify as independent."

If you take as a given that advertisers are often the companies with whom mobile subscribers want to carry out business, this is not an empowering move. Apple apparently doesn't think that it is in the iPhone user's interest to share data with third-parties even if the user consents to it, especially if release of such data might benefit Google, Microsoft, Nokia or dozens of other firms that pose direct threats to Apple's vain efforts for smartphone primacy.

Clearly, there will be work-arounds and arrangements to be made in the name of providing relevant messages (promotional, social, realtime or other) to Apple's mobile customers. Still, the message is clear. None of this will take place without prior consent from both Apple on behalf of its iOS-based device users.

Jumptap Adds Video, GreyStripe Converts Flash to HTML5

Jumptap announced this morning that it had joined the ranks of mobile video ad networks. It now claims to be the most comprehensive of the mobile ad networks in terms of its available ad formats:

Jumptap, the leading provider of mobile advertising solutions, today announced the addition of video to its premium mobile ad network. A pioneer in mobile advertising, the addition of video uniquely positions Jumptap as the only network to offer all mobile advertising solutions including search, display, rich media, video and in-app advertising – all from one platform. 

The company will be offering the following types of video units:

Click-to-video (or tap-to-video), video interstitials (which can run either before an application loads or in between content sections), and in-stream video ads (pre, post, or mid-roll)

Separately, rich media ad network GreyStripe and Adobe announced a collaboration to enable ads that are created in Flash to be converted to HTML5 and run on iOS and Android devices:

The ad solution is comparable to Apple’s recently introduced iAds unit; however, unlike iAds, they will be authored with Adobe® Flash® authoring tools, priced at a fraction of the cost, and come in both expandable banner and full screen interstitial formats. Since Flash is the standard for developing rich media digital advertising, these solutions will give brand advertisers and digital agencies the ability to retain full control over ad development, reduce costs by preserving existing workflows while enabling support for HTML5, provide advertisers reach across all major desktop and mobile platforms, and decrease the time between ad concept and delivery.

This approach will be cheered by publishers, agencies and developers and will buy them some time, but it's an interim solution. Flash is being replaced by HTML5.