1076_1The mobile phone evolved in just a few years from a prestige object for managers to a multi-functional communication and organizational tool for the masses. Almost everyone owns a mobile phone these days, allowing mobile advertising to be fast paced.

The power of mobile advertising derives from its ability to serve extremely relevant ads to customers, however, only the combination of the commonly well-known inherent advantages of mobile as a medium, spurred on by a mobile ad network like InMobi, makes mobile advertising finally absolutely tempting.

While SMS based advertising was the first step, mobile internet advertising has much more to offer due to its ability to tap into the user context and show ads in a non intrusive manner.

Asian e-Marketing had the pleasure to interview industry veteran, Emmanuel Allix, InMobi's vice president and managing director, APAC, who was willing to give us some insights into his expertise. For more than 19 years in the IT and Internet arenas across Asia and Europe, he now oversees the entire operations of InMobi in the region.

InMobi, formerly mKhoj, was founded in 2007 and is the world's largest independent mobile ad network. The company reaches around 185 Million consumers around the world and serves over 20.3 billion ad impressions on a monthly basis across 115 countries. inMobi serves ads on mobile web and mobile apps and is to no surprise the largest mobile ad network in Asia as well - with 11.5 billion ad impressions in the region.

Emmanuel describes his company vividly, saying: "Technology is in InMobi DNA and we are proud to provide our partners with the best solution for all their mobile advertising needs. We are able to provide our advertiser partners with precise targeting like demography, handset, operating system, browser, carrier, site type and time of day. And we also provide them with a large inventory of over 4000 publishers where their ads can be shown in order to reach their consumers. InMobi allows rich ad formats that ensure a great user experience to consumers, as e.g. ads that can play a video or initiate a voice call. That's the reason why many global advertisers such as Reebok, Pepsi, Quaker Oats, Nokia, Yamaha etc. have worked with InMobi."

InMobi's advanced targeting technology

inMobi developed a very unique way of targeting with their so-called "customer discovery technique', providing not only their distinguished technology, but also a business model.

The mobile advertising expert helps novices in the field to reach the exact audience they are looking by offering a wide range of targeting parameters like demography, carrier, handset, OS, site type, time of day and browser.

In addition to their massive global reach and targeting options, the InMobi platform incorporates post click data into the optimization process with a product called AdROIt - an automated technology that sets objectives and measures conversion performance to improve ROI.

Emmanuel explains: "The final step in the process is where we are able to find new customers for advertisers. We do this by finding new pockets of consumers that advertisers were not targeting but had the same purchase intent as the target audience. We provide this information to the advertisers who can then add these new groups of people to their target audience."

InMobi is further a performance network and therefore provides deep analytical real-time tools that deliver significant results for customers. Campaign measurement and ROI is part of their daily business as they work very closely with clients to optimize their results.
"Our network is CPC based and ROI is the primary measurement our clients use to evaluate a campaign with, therefore we help track pre-click and post-click activities", Emmanuel remarks.

Factors that accelerate InMobi's growth

InMobi started its business in emerging markets where the mobile phone wasn't just a screen, but actually the "only" screen. Operators in these markets are in general very competitive and provide data browsing at very reasonable prices. Hence, mobile internet was exploding in these markets and InMobi grew to be the largest mobile ad network in Asia and Africa. Once their leadership position has been established there, they leveraged on that success and insights gained to enter the developed markets like Europe and North America, as Emmanuel told us.

"The other reason was our focus on technology. From the day we started, the technology has been built in a way that it can scale to a really large size. We are always focused on improving the technology and the product and this gives our partners an edge above competition", he said, emphasizing again that there are mainly two reasons for their success:

  • The reverse strategy of growing and establishing in the emerging markets and then entering the developed markets.
  • Their continuous focus on technology and innovation.

In general, the fact that mobile advertising is still in its infancy stages, and does not have some standards set, is a bit challenging, Emmanuel stated. According to him the differences between markets in the Asia Pacific region create significant challenges, too.

"While our platform can automate and simplify almost all of the technical complications, there are still language, cultural and social differences that require expert knowledge of each market", he said. "Then there are troubles like the availability of 3G and Smartphones", he added, which ensure a better user experience, but are not yet available in many Asian markets.

Emmanuel is aware that although their product offering is unique, they need to stay constantly focused on innovations to stay ahead of competition. "In Asia, we are the largest and we plan to focus on being able to provide our partners with larger scale and improved technology. We understand the nuances of the Asian market and we plan to continue to learn more and help advertisers leverage local insights to better their performance. We also have plans to expand into Japan soon", he told us proudly. He expects brands that reach out to young users, or correlate their brand with youth and innovation, to be the first to start spending larger amounts on mobile advertising. "Loyalty management is another trend that is coming up in the region", he said. And in the region, advertisers have also begun to leverage the fact that there are different languages and cultures in these markets. "It seems that local language ads, which means ads that run for a certain event, like a festival or sports season, do very well", he added.

Taking into consideration the capabilities of the medium and the fact that experts around the world believe that the industry is only at its infancy and poised for phenomenal growth in the near future, mobile advertising is all set to be the next generation of advertising. Fact is that in Asia Pacific more and more brands are adopting mobile advertising and are starting to spend more of their marketing budgets with mobile campaigns.


By Daniela La Marca