Good news for advertisers looking to reach smartphone users: Mobile ad exchange Mobclix has forged a deal to resell demographic segments from Nielsen's PRIZM and ConneXions programs to its ad network partners, giving mobile advertisers the ability to more accurately target consumers on the iPhone and similar devices.
Mobclix is one of several emerging ad exchanges that serves as a mediator between application developers and mobile ad networks, allowing advertisers to place ads inside smartphone apps through their existing networks. Mobclix maintains partnerships with over 20 different ad networks, and 90 percent of its inventory is on the iPhone, according to Krishna Subramanian, co-founder of Mobclix.
Taken together, Nielsen PRIZM and ConneXions provide over 150 discreet segments - hardcore gamers, young digerati, sports fans, etc. - that mobile advertisers can now access exclusively through Mobclix.
The Nielsen partnership will create an exclusive database around mobile demographics and targeting across all our inventories," said Subramanian. " Ad networks and agencies "will finally have a tool that gives them insight into ad inventory that represents a brand name and also has a presence in the online space." Subramanian also claimed CPMs that would exceed the market norm by 20 to 100 percent.
Reaching iPhone users through existing apps, rather than creating one from scratch, carries the benefit of not having to compete with other developers for coveted space in the iTunes apps store. It also has the potential to allow for more precise targeting, as advertisers can choose in which kind of apps they want their ads to appear.
Because the Nielsen data was originally designed for traditional direct marketers, it is based in part on Zip codes and other offline household information, making it more reliable and more granular than most mobile targeting data, Subramanian said.
"It's very well-refined data and probably the most mature data in the space," he said. "So being able to map that data to mobile is huge." Mobclix, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., launched its analytics platform simultaneous to the Apple AppStore in July 2008, and claims an 85 percent penetration across iPhone and Pod Touch devices.
The need for greater targeting in the mobile space has been addressed by a number of players in recent months, and is expected to be a priority for mobile networks in 2010. Microsoft began offering behavioral targeting capabilities on its mobile network in November, following a similar move by Yahoo in May.
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Douglas Quenqua is a journalist based in Brooklyn, NY who writes about culture and technology. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New York Observer, and Fortune.
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