InMobi Broadens Its Borders By Adding App Audience Buying To Exchange

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As smartphone penetration increases, especially in Asia, advertisers are looking to tap into global app audiences – and InMobi is looking to get ahead of the trend.

The mobile ad network said Tuesday that advertisers and agencies will be able to buy mobile app segments in 36 countries via programmatic-direct deals on the InMobi Exchange. InMobi teamed up with Rubicon Project back in May to create the exchange, which focuses primarily on native mobile in-stream and banner ads.

“In simplistic terms, InMobi acts as the uber-publisher and Rubicon provides leading ad automation tools for buyers,” said Anne Frisbie, InMobi’s GM and VP of global alliances.

InMobi, which claims to have access to audience data for more than 870 million monthly unique users, will also make certain third-party segments available for direct automated buys, including from Experian in the UK and BlueKai and location data provider Factual in the US.

The partnership with Factual and other location players lets InMobi offer a variety of geotargeting features, segmenting by ZIP code, city, state, physical points of interest (see: hotels, parks, coffee shops) and what Frisbie referred to as “geo-derived behavioral segments,” such as moviegoers or frequent travelers.

It’s all about making the mobile ecosystem a friendlier place to buy programmatically, she said.

“In-app programmatic buying requires major changes for the entire digital marketing ecosystem [because] much of [it] has been built on browser-based consumer activities and tied to cookies – rather than app-driven consumer interactions based on device IDs,” said Frisbie, noting that the addition of third-party data into the exchange is part of an attempt by InMobi to give mobile programmatic buyers something they can “immediately leverage.”

Identifying the appropriate app audiences to target is an ongoing challenge for advertisers, but with mobile apps representing more than half of all digital media time spent, it’s something they need to figure out – and fast, Frisbie said.

“Many DSPs have not yet upgraded to directly support in-app audience buying,” she said.

InMobi builds the audience personas now for sale in the exchange by tapping into about 120 user “signals” that it derives from the more than 1 trillion consumer interactions that come pouring into its system via InMobi’s first-party SDK publisher integrations. Each persona is informed by a variety of data points, including demographic info (gender, age, household income), device usage patterns, geo and behaviors, like content consumption, intent and mobile ad interaction.

Founded in Bangalore, India, in 2007, the company has always had a decidedly international flavor, realizing rightly that the majority of countries in the developing world are mobile-first.

While nearly all data-management platforms and data vendors offer great solutions for the US marketplace, global markets don’t get as much love – despite the eye-popping stats.

“Mobile smartphone penetration is higher in China than in the US [and] our own data shows us that while the US continues to lead the world of mobile app downloads, four of the top five app downloading destinations are in Asia,” Frisbie said. “Not only do they account for a substantial share of downloads, they are also some of the fastest-growing nations – [and] mobile devices are their primary source for Internet access.”

InMobi has more than 900 employees in 18 countries. To date, the company has raised $220.6 million in funding from big name VC players, including SoftBank and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

 

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