AirPush Sees Uptick In Mobile-Ad Buys Using Its Opt-In SDK Data

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airpushAs mobile use continues to grow, so do the stakes for capturing and leveraging that data. The two-year-old mobile-ad network AirPush is betting on its data assets and tools to serve advertisers and expects to reach $130 million in revenue this year. AdExchanger spoke with AirPush CEO Asher Delug about his company’s new mobile Demand-Side Platform (DSP) and mobile trends.

AdExchanger: Tell me about Airpush. What differentiates your Demand-Side Platform from the others that are already out there?

ASHER DELUG: We’re a mobile-ad network similar to AdMob and Millennial Media. We were founded in 2011, and we have around 150 people with the vast majority in India. In terms of revenue, we earned around $10 million in 2011, $50 million in 2012 and this year we’re likely to reach at least $130 million.

Our DSP, which we launched a few weeks ago, is already doing just under $10,000 a day. It connects to all the mobile RTB [real-time bidding] exchanges, and gives our advertisers a single point of purchase to buy all their mobile media.

The differentiators are twofold. One is our data asset, which has an opt-in SDK that collects the full list of apps from the user’s phone. If you have five RPG games on your phone, for example, we’ll know that. So if Zynga wants to advertise its new RPG games, we know that you’re a good target for Zynga.

That’s a much wider scope than the typical targeting that looks at which app you’re currently using. If you were using a weather app right now, Zynga might pass on that impression in a traditional environment, however, with our data assets, we know that you have five RPG apps on your phone. Our data asset is pretty massive since we have about 30% of the entire Android device population.

The second differentiator is the optimization tool that we built, called Optimizer. It basically gives advertisers multidimensional analysis of their traffic. For example, you can look at your traffic on Verizon at 3 a.m. on Samsung devices. Besides looking at that data, you can set unique bids and creative landing pages for each one of those variables. So rather than just setting a bid for a single campaign or building a real-time bidder, you can use this self-serve tool to have the same bidding precision as a traditional programmatic buyer. Basically you can create an unlimited number of bids, creatives and landing pages based on the traffic performance.

How many customers do you have?

We have around 100,000 apps using our SDK and around 5,000 mobile advertisers on AirPush. Having 100,000 apps makes us #2 behind Google AdMob, according to Google’s AppBrain statistics. The DSP that we just launched is about to hit 300 live campaigns today.

What are your thoughts on the recent spate of mobile acquisitions?

I look at the industry as bifurcating into the data-haves and the data have-nots. Because there’s no cookie, it’s very difficult for people to get into the data-have category. You need something like an opt-in SDK, or an Ad-X and an analytics platform. I think people are recognizing that they’re going to be dead on arrival within one year if they don’t have a data asset. You’re going to see a lot more traditional networks and even outsiders purchasing companies in mobile that have an ability to acquire data.

What mobile-ad trends are you watching?

Right now in mobile, the big drivers in the market are still the app advertisers. These guys are really driving the market and those are mainly app-install campaigns. Some say the brands are going to come in, but as a percentage of the market, the app advertisers are way more prominent and [Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers general partner] Mary Meeker’s thesis, which I tend to agree with, is that the app advertisers are going to drive the mobile-ad rates higher -- not the brands. The big one over the last quarter has been King.com with its Candy Crush Saga game. They’ve blitzed the market. The King.com guys are a perfect example of how the app-install advertisers are driving the market and I don’t think that’s going to change.

What milestones do you want to reach?

We’re partnering with OpenX to create a private mobile exchange aside from the one they have with Samsung. I think that’s an important theme that you’ll be seeing, where ad networks are realizing they need to offer a private exchange because so many advertisers are saying they want to buy programmatically.

If you’re an ad network, you have to open up your inventory to these programmatic buyers. That’s a great thing because they bring tons of demand into the market and most specifically they can bid on local traffic. That’s very tough for the self-serve advertisers to buy, because you want to get precision in location targeting. The programmatic buyers in mobile have gobbled up local inventory, so it’s really become an efficient way to sell your mobile local traffic.

We’re also doing a huge retargeting initiative, which will be the first CRM retargeting platform in mobile, aside from Facebook. Facebook has a Web version and you can get some mobile traffic through it, but it’s not really a cross-platform system. We have anonymized email addresses as hashed email addresses, and we can use that as a key. If we know your encrypted email address, for example, we can buy data from the entire Web data ecosystems: the Acxioms, the Nielsens, etc., so we’ll know that your age is x and your income is y. That’s never been done in mobile in scale.

It also brings the CRM targeting element. Let’s say Walmart has your email in its database. Walmart uploads to us an encrypted list of email addresses, we see you’re using an app on one of the exchanges, we can now retarget to you from Walmart’s offline CRM. That’s a really neat solution and we’ll be releasing that in hopefully one to two months.

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