Google gobbled up Admob and Apple ate Quattro, and now there are only a few independent mobile ad networks with any measure of technology or scale. Jumptap is one of them, though the company previously received investment from ad industry behemoth WPP.
Now, Jumptap can count Dentsu - one of Japan's largest advertising agencies - as a backer as well. Dentsu subsidiary cci has made a strategic investment in Jumptap. So we chatted with Jorey Ramer, the company's founder and VP of corporate development, about the deal, mobile advertising in Japan, and what we'll see in the US in 2011.
This is Jumptap’s first foray into Asia. Why did you choose to collaborate with cyber communications, inc. (cci), and what are the deal terms?
Cci will be using our technology to power their smartphone ad network, which they expect to launch in early 2011. But it's a long-term partnership, with opportunity for deeper integration over time. That's underscored by the financial investment.
As for why cci in particular … For a US company to be successful in Japan, you need to partner with a local company that has the right relationships with publishers and advertisers, the operational experience, the financial resources, and the tech expertise. That's especially true for mobile.
Cci offers a variety of services, from media planning and creative, to a functional ad network. They're also a Dentsu subsidiary, so we thought there was really no better partner.
What is it about the Japanese market, in particular, that made the deal a “must-do”?
Japan is by far the largest mobile ad market in the world. But for all its size, the brand advertising segment of that market lags behind ours in the US.
Mobile advertising in Japan is driven primarily by content and commerce; brand advertisers are only now starting to view it as a viable, emerging market. We see that as a significant opportunity to leverage our mobile targeting and creative technology.
That seems to be the opposite of the US market, where brand-based mobile ads are the norm.
It is. In many cases, Japan's technologies are among the most advanced in the world. That’s currently not the case with smartphones, and thus, not smartphone advertising either.
On the other hand, smartphones have made a huge penetration in the US. Aspects of those phones – the larger screens, the touch-based interfaces, the web browsers and app ecosystems – make them very attractive to brand advertisers. Mobile brand advertising is a very advanced segment of the US market, one that has been fueling the growth of mobile advertising here overall.
Now, there’s growth in smartphone usage in Japan. The iPhone has been one of the best-selling smartphones since July of 09 in Japan, and new Android devices consistently show promising early sales figures. Cci sees our technology as a way to drive the success of their smartphone network, and significantly engage with brand advertisers.
Can you explain some of the nuances between content, commerce and branding when it comes to mobile advertising?
Mobile branding is what you see with rich media ads, among other things. Mobile content is ringtones, images, themes and wallpapers. Mobile commerce, is physical goods being brought through your phone.
Mobile operators really help facilitate the purchase of physical goods through mobile devices in Japan, which has helped fuel commerce-based mobile advertising.
So the market for mobile branding is growing in Japan. What about the market for mobile commerce in the US? Is commerce growing here, as much as the market for branding is growing there?
Definitely. I think 2011 will be a big year for mobile commerce in the US. Smartphones will be a big driver; but it will also be fueled by retail ecosystem changes. Online retailers are already seeing increased mobile transactions and more revenue, and that’s leading to an increase in the development of seamless mobile commerce experiences.
It's already being done with content. With Netflix, for example, users can watch a show on their TV or PC, pause it, and then resume playing from the same spot via mobile. We'll start to see that seamless commerce experience - for example, picking up where you left off with a shopping cart on the desktop to the iPhone - be a real focus in 2011.
We'll also see advancements from the mobile carriers and device-makers that will help fuel advertisers' investments in mobile commerce campaigns.