Millennial's Mollie Spilman Discusses Jumptap Buy, Competitors

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Mollie-SpilmanIn the wake of Millennial Media's agreement to buy Jumptap, AdExchanger spoke with Mollie Spilman, EVP of global sales and marketing at Millennial, who shed some light on the company’s plans  and its approach to mobile advertising. Spilman was previously CMO at Yahoo. 

AdExchanger: How will Millennial be able to stay "best in class" while trying to do a little bit of everything (performance advertising, branding, RTB, custom, etc)? 

MOLLIE SPILMAN: With any business, as you scale, you’ll need to make sure that you’re focused on delivering the best products and the best service. If you look at some of the most successful businesses in the world, like Amazon and Zappos — companies that have scaled their businesses while maintaining quality products and customer service — as part of our integration planning going into the acquisition, both companies have the same mentality. Just being big and a commodity doesn’t help the market and doesn’t help us. I think that given the strength that we and Jumptap have in technology and engineering, as well as products, we’re going to be able to deliver more innovative products that are scalable and we’re going to be able to deliver the best execution.

Some have said the deal price seems low. What would you say the transaction says about the strength of the mobile ad network model?

The ad dollars in mobile are just starting to come in and I think when you look at this deal, you don’t necessarily look at the price, you look at the fact that it was a stock transaction. It shows the belief from our company and our board and their company and their investors and board that this combination can bring premium solutions to the market, and therefore generate more revenue and more shareholder value, which will only make the stock price go up and make our company more valuable.

As a company, we’re taking a long-term view and we are not looking at the next quarter or even the next year; we’re looking at creating a much larger company that delivers premium results in the market globally and that doesn’t happen overnight. A lot of the commentary from yesterday and today has been more on a short-term view. But we are building a scalable successful company so the way the deal was struck, the philosophy was more let’s come together to build something for the long term and not the short-term gain.

Who does Millennial see as its main competitors? Do you consider Facebook a competitor?

Google would be No. 1. Facebook, though, has a different approach and model so we don’t see them as much in the market when we’re competing for ad dollars. They’re certainly taking share from one or two segments in the market, but there are other up-and-comers. Twitter is doing some interesting things with mobile and TV. Amazon also has an interesting mobile effort going on and Apple certainly, with iAd, is a major player.

Do you come across other companies like the app analytics provider Flurry as a competitor?

Flurry is one of those companies where we’re partners but we’re also competitors. We’ve worked with them for many years. They provide great analytics to app developers and that was how they started their company, whereas we started in the area of helping developers monetize their apps.

We don’t compete with Flurry on the analytics side; we partner with them and we do a lot with Flurry, actually. But on the media side, we do compete with many companies on the app-download side. In terms of the app economy and app developers trying to generate usage in such a competitive market , we work with many of the same app developers. So with Flurry, we’re a competitor on the media side, but we’re also partners for developers.

With the acquisition of Jumptap, we’ll have more capabilities to drive downloads but at the end of the day we’re all after the same thing, which is to keep the app economy thriving, help these app developers make money and understand their users to deliver better experiences, because that’s what makes the mobile market thrive.

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