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I am a daily active SA member. Drop me a line anytime. I am a transportation professional with a focus on goods movement. I have been following U.S. equity markets since 1998. Over the course of this time, I have been refining and developing methods to construct a portfolio of equity holdings.... More
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  • Augme Technologies And Velti Follow Millennial Media's Lead

    Augme Technologies, Inc. (AUGT.OB) announced their earnings for the company's fiscal year 2014 first quarter. The company missed on top-line and bottom-line estimates, posting just under $5.9 million in revenue for the quarter and a loss of $0.05 per share. Augme was estimated to earn $5.9 million in revenue and to post a loss of $0.02 per share.

    What is important to take note of is that Augme similar to Velti Plc (VELT) is transitioning its business to pursue a greater focus on mobile advertising versus the higher margin mobile marketing side of the business. After listening to the earnings announcement and taking a second look from Seeking Alpha's transcript, there are a few quotes that stand out:

    "Hipcricket's goal is to provide a holistic view into all parts of the mobile ecosystem. No longer requiring brands and agencies to partner with multiple mobile partners and constantly interpret the variety of data sets, instead by providing them all in one place from a single global dashboard in real-time, it enables clients to be flexible, to make dynamic data driven decisions and then ensure their campaign success."

    "During this quarter, we secured new clients increased revenue per customer, maintained our high retention rate and invested in our new advertising vertical."

    These comments have also been echoed by Velti's management. Velti's transition like Augme, is focusing on its development of Velti Media which will serve as a one-stop shop for brands seeking to access a mobile advertising network as well as an ad exchange. Mobile marketing campaigns require much more time and cost to develop relationships with clients while advertising contracts are based on shorter terms. Additionally, Velti is currently facing challenges with respect to the performance-based aspect of collecting on these contracts versus the shorter transactional collections occurring through mobile advertising contracts.

    Another quote from the Augme transcript that is interesting to note is the one below:

    "Our mobile advertising grew in the first quarter about 55% year-over-year there."

    If we take a look back at Millennial Media, Inc. (NYSE:MM) first quarter earnings, the company grew revenues just over 50% year-over-year. It would appear that Millennial Media and Augme are tracking closely for their respective mobile advertising trends albeit Augme is coming from a much lower revenue base. Velti on the other hand has stumbled as year-over-year mobile advertising revenues declined by 10%. This is obviously due to the company's transition, but still noteworthy as key geographies of Velti's peers are growing much more robustly. Overall revenue trends are depicted in the charts below.

    (click to enlarge)

    (click to enlarge)

    (click to enlarge)

    The charts above depict sequential quarterly revenue growth over the past couple of years. Augme does not disclose revenue by geography as the company is primarily U.S. focused. Augme reported a revenue mix of 64% mobile marketing and 36% mobile advertising compared with 73% and 27% respectively a year ago. Velti's revenue mix for the first quarter was 75% mobile marketing and 25% mobile advertising compared with 78% and 22% respectively a year ago. Based on estimates, Velti is expected to generate significant growth from Velti Media in the back half of this calendar year similar to estimates for Augme and Millennial Media. Millennial Media is experiencing significant growth internationally and domestically through its advertising-based focus.

     

     

    Company

    Stock Price

    Enterprise Value

    Cash

    Total Debt

    FY Revenue Est.

    Days Sales Outstanding

    Gross Margin

    TTM Operating Cash Flow

    TTM Capex

    Augme

    $0.41

    $52.2

    $1.4

    $1.0

    $34.1

    81

    55.6%

    $(12.7)

    $(1.1)

    Velti

    $1.34

    $119.7

    $14.3

    $47.8

    $235.3

    309

    29.5%

    $(6.0)

    $(53.0)

    Millennial

    $9.00

    $582.3

    $133.5

    $0.0

    $274.6

    100

    41.6%

    $2.2

    $(6.5)

    All data in the table above is as of July 10, 2013. All numbers are expressed in millions except stock price, days sales outstanding, and gross margin.

    As both Augme and Velti are shifting their focus to mobile advertising, it is important for investors to consider the items listed in the table above, especially revenues. Augme is growing more robustly at the moment and does not have the same issues with respect to debt covenants and capital expenditures. Velti is working on these items, and the company will hopefully get its business on track to better reflect growth trends with its peers.

    Millennial Media is by far in a superior position with respect to the three companies. International sequential quarterly growth has stayed near 30% the past five quarters, while domestic growth has stayed near 10%. Slowing growth is going to continue to weigh on all three companies during each earnings announcement. Long-term mobile advertising will continue to prosper and for this reason, it is important for Augme and Velti to improve their operations.

    I would not be surprised to see Millennial Media become a legitimate acquisition target by year-end as the company is closest to turning a profit and generating consistent positive operating cash flow. If Augme and Velti can follow suite with improving mobile advertising revenue growth through operational improvements, they too will possibly be acquired or at a minimum, provide significant stock price returns for investors who have taken positions at these recent low levels.

    Disclosure: I am long AUGT.OB, MM, VELT. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

    Tags: HIPP, MMF, long-ideas
    Jul 12 9:49 AM | Link | 4 Comments
  • Radar Screen

    This list provides companies which are on the radar screen and will have a position added if the price target is reached:

    The price targets are not reflections of any expectation of where each particular company should trade based on future valuation. Rather it is intended to provide a target to maximize long-term growth potential of 10% or greater over the next decade. Some companies may not reach these targets anytime soon, or unless a market correction occurs.

    • Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) - $112/share
    • Google, Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) - $545/share
    • LinkedIn Corporation (NYSE:LNKD) - $145/share
    • Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) - $250/share
    • Palo Alto Networks, Inc. (NYSE:PANW) - $65/share
    • Prologis, Inc. (NYSE:PLD) - $35/share
    • Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT) - $52/share
    • Trinity Industries Inc. (NYSE:TRN) - $38/share
    • TripAdvisor Inc. (NASDAQ:TRIP) - $85/share

    Other companies which may IPO in the near-term that will considered for addition include Alibaba Group (Pending:BABA) and Uber.

    For a current list of my long-term holdings please visit my profile page and select the most recently updated quarterly article. Updates are provided at the end of every quarter on a calendar year basis.

    As always, I appreciate any feedback.

    Disclosure: The author has no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Additional disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but in the event a stock declines to a level near my price targets, I may initiate a long-term position.

    Apr 25 12:15 AM | Link | Comment!
  • The Simple Truth About Mobile Marketing And Advertising

    Introduction

    This instablog attempts to provide an ample amount of information and resources for investors to better understand the critical aspects of the mobile marketing and advertising industry. Below is a short background summary followed by a company products and services section.

    Companies have been grouped into the following categories:

    • Focused mobile marketing and advertising, or focused companies; Velti, plc (VELT), Millenial Media, Inc. (NYSE:MM), Augme Technologies, Inc. (AUGT.OB), Jumptap, InMobi, Amobee, Adfonic, MoPub, Tapjoy, Mojiva, madvertise, xAd, and Smaato.
    • Complimentary mobile marketing and advertising, or complimentary companies; Google, Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter, Pandora Media, Inc. (NYSE:P), ValueClick, Inc. (VCLK), Marin Software, Inc. (NYSE:MRIN), Yahoo!, Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL), and Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).

    Focused companies derive most if not all of their revenues from mobile-related advertising and marketing while complimentary companies derive a portion of their revenues from mobile-related advertising and marketing. Additionally, some complimentary companies contain other revenue segments outside of the advertising and marketing realm entirely. For example Pandora Media derives a portion of revenues from users who subscribe to their streaming service, and Apple provides a variety of hardware products such as iPhones and iPads, generating a majority of their revenues. Direct and indirect impacts to mobile advertising and marketing abound from these examples, as Pandora Media is able to leverage their subscribers as added value for advertisers, and Apple's products provide the tangible platform for this dynamic to occur.

    Background Summary

    Mobile marketing is defined by the Mobile Marketing Association, or MMA, as follows:

    • "Mobile Marketing is a set of practices that enables organizations to communicate and engage with their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device or network."

    Practically speaking, mobile marketing fosters brand experiences to consumers on the mobile devices that they have adopted as part of their daily lives and spans marketing communications, customer acquisition, lead generation, loyalty and retention, customer service, support, and engagement. Under this definition we can assume that mobile advertising plays a significant role within this framework.

    Mobile marketing and advertising techniques can be found in the MMA Mobile Advertising Guidelines and include mobile web (banner ads, rich media mobile ads, black and white or text ads), short message service, or SMS (short and long text), multimedia messaging service, or MMS (short or long text, banner or rectangle ad, audio/video ads, and full ads), and mobile video and TV (linear/non-linear ad breaks and interactive mobile video and TV ads). Other techniques include in-game mobile marketing, QR codes, and location-based services among others.

    Within the descriptions of the companies below, examples of different techniques will be provided to better illustrate the realm of mobile marketing and advertising.

    Company Products and Services

    All company information is derived and summarized from company websites and the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, filings where available. Before providing company abstracts it should be noted that there is a lot of mobile-related technical jargon. The majority of these company business models involve mobile advertising platforms which include media companies advertising agencies, and mobile advertisers, developers, and publishers. While the overarching concept is straight forward; advertisers have products and want commercial exposure, developers create applications for mobile use, and publishers provide platforms for advertising and/or content; varying company explanations and terms may cloud the understanding of these concepts. Please refer to the MMA Glossary and/or Amobee's mobile advertising dictionary for definitions, terms, and concepts.

    Public Focused Companies

    Velti claims to be the leading global marketing platform, connecting brands with consumers around the world. The company was founded over 13 years ago and now has a global footprint in over 15 countries, supporting Fortune 500 companies in delivering mobile advertising and marketing campaigns reaching consumers and driving increased awareness, loyalty, and engagement with their brand. The company works with over 1,900 brands and agencies.

    Velti provides the following products for areas such as automotive, consumer packaged goods, or CPG, finance, communication operators, and retail:

    • mGage incorporates a suite of solutions that allow for ad delivery and measurement (mGage Advertise), brand and agency mobile web and app development and deployment (mGage Create), mobile messaging campaigns (mGage Communicate), multi-channel interaction with customers including engagement tactics and personalization (mGage Inspire), enabling of operators, agencies, media groups, and brands to conduct scalable mobile promotions at a large scale (mGage Excite), and data and analytics (mGage Visualize);
    • Mobclix, acquired in 2010, provides a real-time bidding, or RTB, mobile ad exchange. Developers have simplified tool sets and a wide variety of ad networks to work with. Developers also have access to ad networks including Millennial Media, Jumptap, InMobi, and Admeld among others. Advertisers have an ample audience target with 18 billion monthly impressions and 33,000 publishers. The company's demo gallery contains a variety of examples for rich media interactive ads including contacts, media library, GPS, calendar, camera, E-mail, and SMS.
    • Velti Media, just recently launched, will offer a buy-side solution, providing in-app and tablet advertising opportunities, and banner and rich media mobile ads, among other advertising options, to brands and agencies. A key component of this solution is the ability to combine marketing and advertising data with performance data and predictive analytics providing multichannel targeting capabilities, and allowing customers to retarget from desktop to mobile web, mobile app, and mobile messaging.
    • 5ML provides advertising agencies the ability to create a cross- platform HTML5 mobile website featuring interactive galleries, user-engaging experiences, and customer relationship management, or CRM, all utilizing Velti's mGage platform. Examples of campaigns can be found here.

    Velti provides a good example of loyalty-based mobile marketing and advertising approaches here.

    Another key component of Velti's mobile marketing and advertising strategy includes the recent acquisition of the United Kingdom's Mobile Interactive Group, or MIG. MIG provides Velti with added mobile marketing, mobile commerce, and mobile billing services.

    Millennial Media claims to be the leading independent mobile advertising and data platform, powering the app economy. The company was founded in 2006 and focuses on mobile monetization, advertising, and data to deliver value to partners within the mobile ecosystem. In 2012, customers included 85 of the top 100 Ad Age advertisers.

    Millenial Media provides developer tools via self-service advertising solutions through the following:

    • mMedia, a complete suite of premium mobile advertising solutions, software development kits, or SDKs featuring premium brand video, rich media, and banner ads, real-time performance reporting, and documentation and support for monetization;
    • Advertiser tools and resources through real-world relevance including location, social, interest and mobile, creative solutions such as mobile video, tablet ad solutions, mobile circular, 360 degree view, the cube, media gallery, interstitial, expandable banner, banner, and landing page;
    • Audience targeting including demographic, behavioral, local, retargeting, tactical, contextual, and content-based, and other advertising resources; and
    • Mobile intelligence through the Scorecard for Mobile Advertising Reach and Targeting or S.M.A.R.T. report, Mobile Mix The Mobile Device Index, Mobile Intel Series and other special reports.

    Millennial Media provides a good example of a creative solution mobile video here.

    Millennial Media utilizes the MYDAS technology engine to power its full suite of mobile advertising tools and solutions for developers, advertisers, and certified platform partners. Developers are able to set-up their apps, download SDKs, manage inventory, access performance data, advertise in their apps and more via a consolidated dashboard, while advertisers are able to access to seamless processing of massive amounts of data, and app and media developer partners. An example of rich media advertising is here.

    Augme Technologies provides strategic services and mobile marketing technology to leading consumer and healthcare brands. The company sells its products and services under the Hipcricket brand to many of America's brand-name leaders (e.g., Macy's MillerCoors, Nestle, Clear Channel) in a variety of industries along with their agencies.

    Through Hipcricket, Augme claims to have provided measurable successes across an industry-leading 225,000 campaigns for clients in CPG, health and pharmaceuticals, broadcast and media, quick service restaurants, retail, and mobile enterprises. Techniques include advertising, CRM, loyalty, acquisition, and mcoupon. Augme provides an example of mobile engagement here.

    Augme utilizes the AD LIFE platform to empower brands and agencies to launch mobile marketing and advertising campaigns. The platform is built on application programming interface, or API, architecture that is compatible with any size enterprise and customizable for any mobile user experience. Features and benefits include integrated marketing services, mobile advertising connecting consumers with an extended network of mobile applications and publishers, mobile web, mobile application support and design, mobile coupons, and QR codes. An example of geo-targeted mobile ads to drive in-store traffic is here.

    Augme has a robust intellectual property portfolio that supports and enhances Hipcricket's technology solutions and includes 13 owned-patents as well as an additional 80 patents pending with the United States Patent & Trademark Office, or USPTO. The patents are foundational to the methods used in two primary types of mobile Internet operations including; device detection and mobile content rendering, and customized content and mobile advertising delivery.

    Augme is involved in litigation with respect to these patents. Investors should refer to Item 3. Legal Proceedings within the most recent 10-K filing with the SEC. A recent settlement has been reached with Velti, other related companies involved include Yahoo!, AOL, Pandora Media, and Millennial Media.

    Private Focused Companies

    Jumptap was established in 2005 and claims to be the leading mobile audience targeting platform, reaching 171 million mobile users in the U.S. and 269 million mobile users worldwide. The company uses its extensive technology portfolio, as well as industry-first partnerships with more than 20 third-party data providers, to understand mobile audiences and provide intelligent targeting with scale.

    Jumptap connects advertisers, publishers, and developers with its focus on audience targeting, and includes similar products and services as Velti, Millennial Media, and Augme. A key component of this dynamic is the recently launched real-time bidding, or RTB, platform. This platform, launched in the fall 2012, analyzes billions of impressions of mobile inventory to deliver effective programmatic buying for advertisers, and is already the source for more than 50 percent of Jumptap's delivered ad requests, and has increased Jumptap's total ad requests to more than two billion per day. Advertising examples can be viewed in the ad gallery. A few examples include Adidas, Twix, and Best Buy.

    InMobi claims to be a leader in architecting mobile-first customer engagement platforms that transform the economics of engaging a global consumer and empowering customers to reach anyone in today's connected world. The company has over 350 data scientists, engineers, and analysts spread across the globe and has orchestrated key acquisitions including Sprout (HTML 5 rich media authoring platform), AppGalleries in July 2012, and Metaflow in July 2012 to enable app discovery and distribution, plus a highly compelling roadmap of delivering end-to-end value.

    InMobi provides creative expertise through the in-house InMobi studio, global reach and local service with over 578 million consumers across 165 countries, premium publishers and developers, excellent research and consumer insight through mobile strategies for top Fortune 500 companies, and a full suite of reporting and analytical tools for advertisers and agencies. Additionally, the company offers opportunities for higher effective cost-per-thousand impressions, or eCPMs (93.4 billion) and monetization, global reach with local service, simplistic code integration, precise targeting, and real-time analytics for developers and publishers. InMobi Insights provides a wealth of network data, consumer research, and other resources. Examples of case studies can be found here; highlights include McDonald's, Canon, Intel, and Levis.

    Amobee, or [a-mo-bee], offers comprehensive mobile advertising solutions to the largest mobile operators (Asian market including Globe, Optus, SingTel, and Telkomsel), publishers, and advertisers. The company's advanced proprietary mobile advertising technology delivers all forms of mobile advertising, from a simple text message to a rich media experience, supporting the vast array of connected devices in the marketplace. Last year, Amobee was acquired by SingTel for a total price of $321 million. SingTel is a major communications company in Asia and Africa owning five regional mobile operators including Telkomsel (Indonesia), Globe Telecom (the Philippines), Advanced Info Service (Thailand), and PBTL (Bangladesh), as well as Optus (Australia).

    Amobee services include the following:

    • Publishers include campaign manager, ad server for campaign optimization, audience targeting, conversion tracking, yield optimization, performance tracking, and inventory management;
    • Services to advertisers include planning and strategy, program execution, conversion tracking, analytics, price point and budget allocation, and creative services; and
    • Operator services include most mentioned above including inventory forecasting.

    Techniques can be found here and include 3D mobile ads, rich media, geo-fencing and immersive mobile video, augmented reality, re-engagement, and proximity marketing. Amobee technology is organized through PULSE for Publishers, PULSE for Advertisers, and PULSE Create. Case studies and customers can be found here. An example of rich media and Augmented Reality technology for eBay is here, and another example of a 3D mobile ad for Nokia is here.

    Adfonic similar to Jumptap and InMobi, offers advertisers and agencies a way to buy mobile inventory with access to global mobile web and app inventory, with over 100 billion global ad impressions each month. Through the company:

    • Advertisers are able to track performance, add and develop assets for campaigns including rich media and video, track conversion return on investment, or ROI, and access platform quality.
    • Publishers are able to gain access from major international brands for monetization of mobile sites and apps, consider multiple integration options such as SDK, server API, or RTB, and utilize reporting and analytics.

    Case studies can be found here.

    Adfonic utilizes its mobile demand-side platform, or DSP, technology also known as Madison, as a made-for-mobile smarter buying platform which has delivered over 150,000 campaigns to date. Madison integrates with a broad range of RTB inventory sources, rich media platforms, and third-party ad serving platforms, including Admeld, Doubleclick, Mobclix, MoPub, and Smaato among others.

    MoPub is a one-stop ad serving platform designed for mobile application publishers to manage their ad inventory across both Apple and Google iOS and Android mobile operating systems. The company enables app publishers to optimize multiple sources of advertising in a single product, including direct ads, house ads, ad network, and RTB through MoPub Marketplace. MoPub was founded by former AdMob and Google team members.

    Additional details of the MoPub product suite include:

    • Supply-side platform, or SSP, features allowing allocation of inventory to proper ad network partners, certified major vendors and
    • Ad network support, access to publishing partners spanning mobile industry verticals, including gaming, news, sports, finance, etc., and
    • Access to 1,000 plus publishers which is over 1 billion daily global impressions.

    Customers and case studies are listed here.

    Tapjoy is a mobile advertising and monetization platform whose Mobile Value Exchange model allows users to select personalized advertisements with which to engage for virtual rewards or premium content. The company empowers uses on more than 1 billion devices to watch videos, subscribe to services, install applications, and participate in other types of advertisements in exchange for virtual rewards they can use in their favorite apps.

    Tapjoy's turnkey in-app advertising platform helps developers to cost-effectively acquire high-value new users and monetize their applications, while its advertising marketplace lets brand advertisers reach a global mobile audience spanning more than 97,000 applications. Case studies can be found here, and a good example of how the Tapjoy Mobile Value Exchange allows app users to select advertisements with which to engage for virtual rewards or premium content is here.

    Mojiva develops advertising campaigns and monetization strategies for agencies, brand advertisers, and publishers around the world. The company provides a monthly reach of over 1 billion unique devices, with 270 million of those devices coming from the U.S, including partnerships with experts in mobile rich media.

    Mojiva provides many features and services as the companies mentioned above including:

    • Targeted services, technologies, account management, and a creative alliance for agencies; mobile audience growth techniques, and mobile integration for brand marketers;
    • Monetization strategies for mobile apps and mobile web publishers; and
    • Mobile research, blogs, press releases, and events through mobile insights.

    Madvertise is one of the largest and fastest growing companies for mobile advertising in Europe. The company was founded in 2008 and connects advertisers, publishers, and developers, by enabling innovative mobile campaigns for advertisers while allowing developers and publishers to monetize their mobile inventory. The company's primary focus is to deliver performance through technology, with unparalleled reach to selected location-based target groups on mobile websites or apps.

    Advertising products include the madvertise branding portfolio, madPremium, with interactive rich media, madPerformance, transparent performance-based billing models, and tracking and reporting for both Europe and the U.S. Publishers. Developers have access to leading ad networks, innovative formats including rich media, high eCPMs for inventory monetization, real-time revenue reporting, and simplified integration through SDKs. All of this is facilitated through the Decision Engine, the madvertise machine-based learning optimization and real-time decision engine. Customers include Audi, Nokia, and Lufthansa, among others, and case studies can be found at the bottom of this link.

    XAd claims to be the largest location-based mobile ad network in the U.S., aggregating and managing over 20 billion location-specific ad requests per month, billions of business listings, and over 1 million national and local advertisers. The company claims to be the only mobile-ad network offering both targeted search and display.

    Through a comprehensive ad inventory, proprietary technology, and a quality-score algorithm, consumers are targeted on a variety of variables including pinpoint location, precise timing, behaviors, and more, based on their active mobile lifestyles. XAd provides advertisers and publishers with a reach of over 100 million mobile users monthly, an ad gallery including creative capabilities, rich media, banners, dynamic location overlay, dynamic search display ads, and location landing pages, and targeting technology including smartlocation and smartfencing. Clients and testimonials can be found here.

    Smaato claims to be the leading global mobile RTB ad exchange and helps mobile app developers and publishers make more ad revenues worldwide. The company was founded in 2005 and has more than 70,000 developers and publishers using Smaato to monetize content in 230 countries.

    Smaato aggregates 90 ad networks and 50 DSPs to maximize mobile advertising revenues. Through an open API and wide range of SDKs, Smaato technology can be easily integrated with ad networks, ad inventory owners (publishers and app developers) and third-party ad technology providers. Success stories can be found here.

    Public Complimentary Companies

    Google provides mobile advertising products and services through Admeld, Admob, and DoubleClick for Publishers, or DFP, Mobile. Admeld provides a single platform for optimizing ad inventory across the web and mobile channels, and processes billions of mobile impressions for the world's top publishers each month. Admeld provides an overview of the mobile display advertising landscape here. AdMob also provides mobile monetization through SDK tools and app promotion through creative tools, for both developers and advertisers; success stories are included here. DFP is an ad delivery system for mobile websites and apps that delivers dynamic, interactive ads to mobile web pages and apps based on criteria determined by publishers.

    Google integrated AdMob's technology directly into the AdWords system in June 2012, to make mobile ad buying seamless and accessible for more than a million AdWords advertisers. AdWords is Google's primary auction-based advertising program utilizing text-based ads that appear beside related search results or web content on Google websites and on thousands of partner websites in the Google Network; the network of third parties that use Google's advertising programs to deliver relevant ads with their search results and content.

    This enables advertisers to run effective campaigns across the more than 300,000 mobile applications running ads by AdMob, all from within the AdWords interface. AdWords advertisers can now manage, measure and adjust search, display and video ads, reaching people on more than 2 million websites and hundreds of thousands of apps.

    Additionally, Google offers advertisers the ability to run search ad campaigns on mobile devices with popular mobile-specific ad formats, such as click-to-call ads in which advertisers can include a phone number within ad text.

    Facebook utilizes its social network scale as the key component in developing an advertising strategy for mobile websites and apps. However, mobile advertising presents a greater challenge compared to desktop ads, as there is no ad column available on Facebook's mobile site or apps, and mobile ads must appear in the News Feed. According to "An Introduction to Facebook Mobile Ads", ads can appear as Sponsored Stories or Page Post Ads and Marketplace Ads are not yet available on mobile.

    When marketers create an ad campaign on Facebook, they specify the types of users they want to reach based on information that users choose to share. Facebook's ad serving technology dynamically determines the best available ad to show each person based on the combination of the person's unique attributes and the real-time comparison of bids from eligible ads.

    Pandora Media provides mobile display ads including industry standard banner ads of various sizes and placements depending on platform and listener interaction. Additionally, the company provides audio advertising allowing audio messages to be delivered between songs during short ad interludes, and video advertising products allowing delivery of rich branded messages to further engage listeners through in-banner click-initiated videos, videos that automatically play when a listener changes stations or skips a song and opt-in videos that pause the music and cover the tuner.

    As listenership in Pandora Media's mobile platform has grown more rapidly, than other platforms, improvement has been sought to develop and market multi-platform advertising solutions. As an example, introduction to audio ads was driven by growth of mobile listenership. In addition, banner advertising products for display on mobile devices include standard banner ads displayed on the Pandora app "now-playing" screen, "welcome" screen banners which are the first to display upon launch of the app, and other multi-functional banners of different shapes and sizes.

    Advertisers can also create "drag-and-drop" stations where listeners select among branded icons and drag and drop the selected icon to automatically launch a station. Rich media touch screen initiated functionality, or "tap-to" technology, to enhance connections between mobile listeners and advertisers has been incorporated. "Tap-to" technology allows mobile listeners to expand banner ads, launch videos, receive advertiser e-mails, dial advertiser phone numbers, download applications and access links to advertiser websites, offering increased listener and advertiser engagement.

    ValueClick through Greystripe and ValueClickmedia is improving mobile advertising with interactive immersion ads and Lightning Technology which makes transcoding ad creative to multiple devices more efficient. Greystripe was launched in 2005 and is able to serve immersive full-screen ads targeted with data to the exact audience for mobile advertising campaigns through cross-platforms.

    Greystripe helps over 10,000 of mobile's biggest app developers and publishers maximize their revenue with premium ads. The company partners with large brands and case studies can be seen here. Ad formats for advertisers are focused on maximizing large canvas space and include video, ad boosters, flash/HTML5, static, and tablet-related in addition to immersion. Advertiser case studies can be seen here.

    Greystripe also offers a variety of audience targeting techniques as well as performance-based advertising. A few examples of ads include Jetblue Airways, Coca-Cola, and Chase.

    Marin Software provides mobile solutions for online marketers to be able to easily update their messages according to location-specific promotions, improving ad relevance, and delivering results. The company incorporates specific ad types such as click-to-call, maps, app installs, etc., and enables marketers to report on and optimize for performance by location or channel, whether conversions take place on the web, in the call center, or offline in the store. Testimonials can be found here. Additionally Marin Software provides resources including measurement tools, webcasts, and white papers.

    Yahoo! recently acquired two mobile application developers, Stamped and OnTheAir, accelerating efforts to build an enhanced team of mobile engineers, product managers, and designers. Yahoo! provides mobile advertising solutions through Yahoo! Advertising Solutions - mobile.

    Over 70 million mobile and tablet users connect with Yahoo! each month for sports, finance, entertainment, and news as well as personal communications like mail and messenger. Yahoo! has the most average time spent per visitor of any premium content site on mobile according to comScore, June 2012. Yahoo! provides audience targeting strategies, scale, rich media, and cross screen capabilities. Additionally, two out of three U.S. mobile web users connect with Yahoo! each month (comScore, June 2012) along with 18 million U.S. iPads (Yahoo! internal data, June 2012) making Yahoo! the largest premium content destination on mobile.

    For mobile search, Yahoo! has partnered with Microsoft's Bing to create the Yahoo! Bing Network.

    AOL provides mobile advertising services through AOL Advertising - mobile. AOL is the fourth largest mobile brand in the U.S. according to comScore Mobilens, December 2012, with 20 plus apps, AOL has more 4 star ratings on iTunes than Yahoo!, MSN, or any other premier digital publisher (comScore Mobilens, December 2012), total app downloads reached 87 million (iTunes, June 2012), and the AOL Network reaches over 70% of U.S. mobile users per month with over 100 premium publishers (AOL internal data).

    For mobile advertisers AOL provides cross platform solutions, advertiser benefits including optimization through the AdLearn technology, inventory management through Mobile Content Channels, targeted audiences, and multiple formats including display, sponsored listings, and text. Publisher benefits include inventory management, increased inventory yield, and easy set-up.

    Apple provides mobile advertising through the iAd Network. The iAd Network is able to reach the Apple audience which has installed more than 15 billion applications, purchased over 315 million iOS devices, spends, on average, 73 minutes per day using apps, and engages with iAd ads an average of 60 seconds per visit.

    iAd for brands or advertisers includes targeted audiences, ad formats from app downloads, image engagement, video, mcouping, to location-served, and a reporting portal that tracks performance metrics throughout the course of a campaign, including average time spent, pages viewed, and unique visitor metrics. The iAd Gallery can be viewed here. Developer campaigns include iAd branding on banners that let users know they can download an app without leaving their current app, ongoing optimization to deliver ads to the right audience and drive more app downloads, and download tracking without any coding or software installs. iAd rich media ads can be created with the iAd Producer.

    Private Complimentary Companies

    Twitter provides mobile advertising through Twitter Ads self service and Twitter Ads full service. Both services offer promoted accounts, promoted tweets, and analytics. Full service also offers promoted trends.

    Promoted accounts show up in "Who to follow", Twitter's own account recommendation engine. This algorithm finds accounts like a business's followers and helps them discovery the new business, and is adaptable to targeted audiences and real-time updates on followers. Data analytics include growth of followers and follower base over time (full service includes enhanced dashboards). Twitter receives payment only when people follow a promoted account.

    Promoted tweets for advertisers can appear in user timelines and Twitter for mobile. Targeting can be selected by geography, interests, and gender, as well as by device (targeting for full service includes target by similarity to existing followers). Payment is only incurred when people click on, favorite, reply, or retweet your promoted tweets. Results can be tracked for each tweet with real-time metrics (full service includes enhanced dashboards).

    Self service analytics include promoted tweets dashboard including fundamental metrics such as impressions, number of clicks, and click rate, as well as a follower growth chart. Full service analytics provides fundamental metrics, timeline activity dashboard providing a comprehensive look at all activity on Twitter, followers dashboard to learn more about audiences, and mobile website dashboard providing real-time information on what content and which Twitter users help drive the most traffic to sites.

    Additionally, full service provides promoted trends which are popular topics happening right now on Twitter. These trends are placed prominently next to a user's timeline, and get massive exposure. A promoted trend is featured at the top of the list for an entire day, and serves as prime real estate on Twitter. When a user clicks on a promoted trend, it takes them to the marketing message displayed through the promoted tweet. Marketers have discretion to develop promoted trends and can target them by geography. Promoted trends come with their own analytics dashboard as well as research from Twitter's certified partner, Crimson Hexagon.

    Disclosure: I am long VELT.

    Apr 16 3:11 PM | Link | Comment!
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