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Business  14, Jan 2014

MobileAds to focus on budget advertisers; nurtures global ambitions

MobileAds has its eyes set on the global budget-advertiser as it plans to take its services beyond the Singapore shores

Cloud-based DIY mobile ad solution provider, MobileAds, is looking beyond Singapore as its target market and is in talks with some of the largest ad companies in Japan and China. A local office in Japan is in the offing, Alvin Koay, CEO and Co-founder, MobileAds, told e27.

“We are also signing up partners in Israel, Thailand, Africa, Middle-East and Latin America. Our target market is not geographically restricted,” said Koay.

MobileAds recently introduced an interactive mobile rich media ad solution in partnership with global mobile RTB ad exchange, Smaato. “Smaato has one of the largest mobile ad inventories in the world and we can tap onto and leverage their resources instantly,” he said.

Forging relationships
Koay feels that MobileAds’ partnership with Smaato will bring interactive rich media advertising to the mass market. With offices in San Francisco, Hamburg and Singapore, Smaato claims that its self-serve platform powers 76,000+ mobile apps and mobile web publishers with access to over 250MM unique users.

MobileAds is particularly focusing on the budget advertiser and claims that its services are “5X cheaper” than other digital agencies. The tool is free to use. “We have made our ad creator almost ‘idiot-proof’ with ready-to-go templates. It brings DIY to even the simplest minded advertiser,” said the Co-founder.

In case an advertiser still needs help in ad creation, MobileAds claims that it can help with ad creation at less than US$200 with one or two days turn-around time. “Other creative agencies will charge in thousands,” he added.

Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid
So is MobileAds going after the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid, a theory propounded by renowned business thinker and author, CK Prahlad? Koay said, “Western companies are making a killing, being early in the game. When their target markets are international agencies and brands, it does not make sense for them to lower their prices, particularly when their clients — the big brands — are big spenders.”

Read also: Eureka: Get free talk-time for a few ads on your idle mobile screen

In his opinion, the bigger agencies have not developed their solutions for budget-advertisers and hence will never charge budget prices.

“We see a huge opportunity in the mass market, and we have found that with our pricing, we can still be very profitable. It is a totally different business model and target market. Imagine a Birkin handbag and a non-branded one. The difference of production cost might only be 10X but the difference in end price might be 1000X,” he said.

So how does MobileAds make money? While ad creation and hosting is free, the mobile ad solution provider charges on “CPM rates on ad impressions”.

MobileAds goes beyond traditional static ads (images, animated GIFs or Flash) to offer interactive rich media mobile banners. “Our ads are all HTML5 and can be shown on all devices, whether in-app or mobile web. This means our banners can be interacted with, i.e. watching a video, e-commerce, claiming a coupon, find a store location and engaging on social media wall,” said Koay.

Moving beyond the geographical boundaries, MobileAds, according to Koay has clients not limited to any category, and the service can be used by brands and affiliate marketers, for promotions, lead generation, and even app installs. “We have many components that can be embedded into our ads that can achieve different KPIs. We have colleges, brands, car dealerships, telcos, besides others, using our solution,” said the CEO.

New technologies, new challenges
Any challenges that the Co-founder of MobileAds foresees? Koay feels that Southeast Asian users, for that matter “even in USA and Japan”, are still very new to the idea of mobile advertising, particularly, mobile ads with interactive rich media. Traditional ad companies are disrupted when the flash technology is disrupted on mobiles. So, advertisers are scrambling for a replacement.

Read also: Real time bidding yet to pick up in Asia: Tejaswini Tilak of Equinix

As content that was once consumed heavily on the desktop web, shifts to the mobile, it poses a challenge to media publishers too, resulting in loss of ad revenues. Despite the challenges, the global mobile advertising market, as per Gartner, is projected to hit $24.5 billion by 2016. “It is a double-whammy for publishers. Losing consumers to the mobile and not being able to monetise their mobile content properly with flash ads, said Koay, adding, “This is where we come in to fill a major gap.”

Dhaleta Surender Kumar

Dhaleta Surender Kumar

Surender, or Suren as he's better known in the industry, is the current Editor of e27. Prior to e27, Suren was Deputy Editor at Pitch, India's leading monthly magazine on marketing. Hailing from Shimla, India -- the backdrop of much of Rudyard Kipling's 'Plain Tales from the Hills', this 'poet at heart' journalist brings over 15 years of writing; and 12 years of journalism experience to Asia's tech industry. Mysticism intrigues him. He enjoys reading folklore and mythologies -- a passion that reflects in his poems and lyrical short-stories.

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