Ad network Mojiva has added an online exchange to its ad-serving unit, Mocean Mobile, which the company sees as a real-time bidding addition to its primary focus on branding campaigns across smartphones and tablets. See the release.
Despite the growing importance of mobile RTB as a way of doing business on the mobile Web and in-app, Mojiva CEO Dave Gwozdz said the introduction of Mocean's ad exchange does not end the relevance of the mobile ad network model.
"Almost every dollar that we run on the ad network today is a branded ad campaign," Gwozdz said. "We do very little conversion-tracking, performance-based ad sales activity. We're very heavy in rich media across tablets and smartphones. In order to sell a brand message to consumers, marketers need to work with ad networks and the salespeople connected to those systems who understand the content, the formats, ad units and can work closely for weeks to put a campaign in place."
It is therefore unlikely that marketers are going to simply flip the switch now that Mocean offers an ad exchange, he said. So those marketers that want to advance their rich-media, integrated campaigns will continue to use the network. What Mocean wants to do is offer greater efficiencies for mobile performance-based campaigns first.
In other words, the exchange will appeal to those marketers looking for the lowest bid to reach their desired ROI, Gwozdz said. Over time, brand campaigns will use the exchange. But that's a long way off, he added.
The role for ad networks, then, will become more "consultative," particularly as sponsorship models become more entrenched as a way to overcome the limited banner space on mobile devices.
"We're in direct contact with the publishers in our network and, sometimes, they'll ask us if there is there a way to increase inventory or create different ad units for new apps that are being released," Gwozdz said.
Looking across the wider digital landscape, Gwozdz argued that general ad networks are still serving a necessary purpose. The exception is in the area of niche networks, like ones focused solely on car buyers.
"Automotive ad networks are having a hard time because the value of an automotive intender at one time would drive a high CPM," Gwozdz said. "Online exchanges are allowing auto buyers to find those same consumers for a 10th of the price. As the data gets to an even greater granular level, we'll start to see brand marketers switching to exchanges more. But that's not going to happen any time soon."
The introduction of Mocean's exchange is an outgrowth of the company's mediation for its publishers. Typically, Mocean's mediation connects publishers with sold-out inventory and sellers who are looking to fill remnant holes on their mobile pages. The process has been helpful, but manual and inefficient. The exchange allows for greater automation and will offer further support to the 6,400 network publishers it works with and, Mojiva hopes, attract more buyers to Mocean in general.
"The interest we have in real-time bidding is the efficiency of matching the customer to the highest-value advertisement," said Davin Bernstein, director of Wireless Services for MetroPCS business unit/T-Mobile US, one of Mojiva and Mocean's publisher partners. "Depending on how much customers want to participate in sharing their information, they could get ads that are more relevant and more interesting than untargeted advertising. It removes the guesswork from the system."
Mojiva's launch of a mobile ad exchange echoes the moves by mobile ad network Millennial Media which said during their last earnings conference call in May that they were launching an "internal exchange."