Mail.ru, the Russian internet company, today launched a mobile ad platform called myTarget, opening up the Russian mobile audience to advertisers within Russia as well as internationally. The Russian online advertising market has historically been very insular, which is an issue that Mail.ru wanted to tackle, according to CEO Dmitry Grishin.
"It's usually local advertising agencies working with portals, and it has worked for many years," Grishin told AdExchanger. "But because of the nature of platforms like Google Play and Apple's App Store, we've seen that more and more people from many countries want their applications globally."
myTarget will tap into mobile Mail.ru properties, and will also work with a wide range of mobile applications in Russia. Mail.ru owns some big gaming networks and social sites in Russia, including VKontakte (VK) and Odnoklassniki (OK).
"We control such a big audience already, it makes sense for applications of smaller size to connect with us, and it makes sense for advertisers," Grishin said. "We want to make it easier for them to access the Russian-speaking audience on mobile."
While the company already offers desktop display advertising solutions, it wants to be more innovative in the mobile space, Grishin said.
"Innovation on mobile is better," he added. "There is user attention already in mobile and we're capturing that attention."
Several clients that already use Mail.ru display ad products are lined up to use myTarget. Those clients include Uber, Unilever, Coca-Cola, P&G, and Ford, according to the company.
Currently about 100 employees are working on myTarget, Grishin said, as the technology was all developed in-house. The main office is in Moscow, with other offices in Amsterdam and Silicon Valley, to connect with European and U.S. clients. But Grishin has bigger plans for myTarget.
"It can be a solution for advertisers from all over, like China," he said. "A lot of Chinese developers, especially in the gaming world, spend a lot of money. For us, this is an interesting way to integrate ourselves into the global advertising community."