madPlus Offers Glimpse Into the Future of Mobile Ads

By David Knight |

Mobile advertising platform madvertise has launched a new tool to allow real time bidding and trading. The Berlin-based startup says madPlus will also give media and advertising agencies direct access to the technology through madPlus Trading, enabling them to plan their campaigns, reach and budget independently. The platform will also offer customer targeting capabilities beyond the established geo- and device targeting.

Launched in 2008, madvertise is a marketplace where those with advertising space – mobile website publishers, for example – can offer and sell it to advertisers. The company, led by CEO Carsten Frien, has become the market leader for mobile advertising in Germany, and has ambitious expansion plans – as demonstrated by its recent purchase of Turkish rival Mobilike.

The new audience-targeting abilities include selecting predefined audiences for their campaigns, such as ‘shopping mums’ or ‘globetrotters’. This improved targeting results in a reduction in ad wastage, madvertise says.

And the company is also one of the first to introduce real time bidding (RTB), which is part of a fundamental shift in the way media is traded and individual page impressions are offered and bought. Previously, the system worked on a campaign basis, with direct contact between platforms like madvertise and advertisers. There would be discussions about target audience, budget, start and finish dates, locations; and then after a few days, figures would be sent around, printed out, signed by the advertiser and faxed over to madvertise.

“That’s how it worked in television print and fixed-line Internet,” Carsten told Silicon Allee earlier this year, “and that’s also how it currently works on the mobile Internet… It’s quite inefficient and outdated. That’s going to change.”

With RTB, packages of page impressions with certain parameters are bundled together and then put up for auction. Different companies would be interested in specific age, gender, mobile contract and location combinations (using the user profile data collected by madvertise). They can buy the right kind of page impressions in large numbers using the new system, leading to significant efficiency savings for both madvertise and the advertisers.

Vincent Pelillo, SVP international and head of global partnerships with madvertise, said: “With madPlus we are launching a technology platform that puts us in the position to further optimize the performance and return on investment of mobile campaigns for our media agencies and advertising clients.”

Currently, madvertise employs more than 80 people in Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. Monthly page impressions – whenever someone sees an ad placed through the madvertise platform – had reached two billion by April this year. The company is backed by VC firms including Earlybird, Blumberg Capital, Team Europe, Point Nine Capital and Felicis Ventures.