4Info Moves Beyond SMS to Become All-Purpose Mobile Ads Platform

Despite its reach SMS gets little respect in the mobile marketing world. Brand advertisers seem preoccupied with rich media and display and DR marketers are focused on mobile search or remnant display. Traditional media are enamored of the way barcodes may tie their physical ads to the Internet. (SMS has been able to do that for a long time.)

4Info has long been one of the largest SMS platform purveyors but now it's making a bid to be a "complete mobile ad platform." For the past year the company has been building out other ad format and channel capabilities and has announced AdHaven, which "offers display and SMS advertising, as well mobile app, rich media, and video ad units."

Citing Nielsen data 4Info claims impressive reach, second only to Millennial Media: 

The company also announced today that through AdHaven, the mobile web display portion of its Mobile Audience Network now reaches a unique audience of more than 63 million, which represents 75 percent of all U.S. Mobile Web users according to a recent Nielsen report*. The overall reach of the 4INFO Audience Network is even greater, as it includes the largest SMS ad network in the US, with more than 45 million unique users.

Amazingly 4Info's display network's reach is greater than its SMS network. TechCrunch published (perhaps provided by 4Info) Nielsen data supporting the reach claims:

http://tctechcrunch.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/4info.jpg

Credit: Nielsen/TechCrunch/4Info 

I'd be interested to hear Nielsen weigh in on these numbers. But assuming they're accurate 4Info emerges as one of the largest mobile ad networks, with huge reach across the existing US mobile audience. 

The reach plus "all in one" value proposition and repositioning of 4Info will undoutedly get agencies and marketers to take a much closer look at the company, which may have seemed "parochial" to them in the past.