Oracle Needs A Mobile Ad Strategy. BlueKai Gets It (Part Way) There

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OracleEnterprise software provider Oracle moved further into targeted advertising by acquiring BlueKai, a third-party data provider and data management platform (DMP). Analysts and vendors differ however, on the mobile advertising implications behind the acquisition.

Bluekai’s technology will be combined with Oracle’s Responsys application, which is geared toward B2C marketing campaigns, as well as Eloqua, which focuses on B2B campaigns. The combined products will enable clients to “build unmatched personalized cross-channel campaigns and customer interactions across e-mail, Web, social, mobile, advertising and syndicated content channels,” Oracle said.

Is that mobile claim credible? BlueKai offers a mobile DMP that is designed to let marketers manage their first-party data across devices and target audiences across the mobile Web and on apps. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company’s mobile capabilities are limited, however, according to vendors and analysts, suggesting that Oracle is only getting basic mobile targeting capabilities through BlueKai.

“BlueKai has yet to demonstrate what its approach is for tracking in the mobile environment without cookies – they say they can, but we haven't seen it yet,” said Forrester Research analyst Cory Munchbach.

Adam Foroughi, CEO of the mobile marketing firm AppLovin, agreed. “We don’t hear much about BlueKai in the mobile advertising space; they seem to mainly use the Web cookie model,” he said.

Oracle appears to have experimented with a mobile advertising solution five years ago. In December 2009, it launched the Oracle Communications Marketing and Advertising platform, which was designed to enable “network operators to securely execute targeted mobile advertising and marketing campaigns,” the company said in a press release.

The platform included self-service campaign management features, location and contextual targeting, push messaging and other capabilities. It is unclear if the platform still exists today. An Oracle spokesperson declined to comment on the platform’s status.

Even though it doesn’t have extensive mobile capabilities, BlueKai’s technology might be just enough to help Oracle move further into mobile advertising, said Mike McGuire, VP of research for mobile marketing at Gartner.

“Oracle seems to be more focused on just getting into digital marketing with basic mobile capabilities,” McGuire said. “From there they can focus on building out their data sets for mobile, which is becoming increasingly important.”

With global mobile ad spend expected to reach $18 billion by the end of this year, according to Gartner, it is likely that Oracle will continue to build out its mobile offerings.

The company has a long way to go in developing a mobile ad suite, however, said Munchbach. “Owning some technology for mobile advertising does not a viable player in the space make,” she said. “There are many other better-established vendors who remain well ahead of Oracle-plus-BlueKai when it comes to mobile and digital advertising.”

Oracle will have to move fast, as more nimble companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter continue to scoop up market share in the mobile ad space.

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