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TapAd Brings Retargeting to Mobile

  |  June 16, 2011   |  Comments

Firm hopes to replicate success of desktop retargeting across other devices.

Mobile-focused ad technology company TapAd officially launched its inaugural product today, designed to help advertisers retarget users on mobile devices as they're now accustomed to doing on the desktop web. The company hopes to service advertisers that have found particular success with retargeting technology in the past, such as those in the retail and automotive categories, for example, the company's CEO Are Traasdahl told ClickZ.

The fledgling firm, which lists a number of high profile ad technology veterans amongs its investors, is already running campaigns for at least eight brands, and purchasing between eight and ten million impressions a month across both applications and mobile websites. Traasdahl said the company has been amazed at the enthusiasm for the product when pitching it to prospective customers. "We thought we'd be seeing $20,000 test budgets, but so far it's been more like $10,000," he claimed.

As a company, TapAd intends to launch a range of products designed to take advantage of real-time media buying, and to apply that technology to different devices including smartphones and tablet devices.

Despite the continued growth of exchange-traded media for desktop inventory, the mobile exchange space remains largely nascent, so the majority of inventory currently purchased by the firm comes directly from supply-side platforms such as AdMeld (just acquired by Google), as well as direct relationships with publishers. As mobile exchanges mature, they'll likely play a larger part in the company's operations, however.

Rival ad technology companies and vendors are also experimenting with data-driven mobile targeting as the audience and advertiser opportunity around the devices continues to grow. A number of demand side platforms have announced support for mobile inventory, and players such as Google are also readying capabilities to target mobile ads based on user behavior.

To date, advertisers have had difficulty behaviorally targeting or retargeting ads to mobile devices because of limitations around the use of cookies on mobile devices - the technology most commonly used to target desktop machines. Each mobile device handles cookies in a slightly different manner, and some reject them entirely by default, meaning no single solution works universally.

To overcome that issue, TapAd's technology uses a range of methods to try to identify a user and his previous online behavior, such as browser and session cookies, HTML5 databases, and tracking pixels."The majority of what we do is cookie-based," Traasdahl said.

Unlike some rival mobile targeting and data companies such as BlueCava and Ringleader, TapAd said it does not make use of device fingerprinting technology. That targeting method analyzes a range of attributes belonging to a device, and assigns it a unique identifier based on those factors, which is stored server-side, rather than locally on handsets. As a result users have little control over the process, which has raised privacy concerns in some camps.

TapAd's opt-out process is similar to BlueCava's and Ringleader's, and requires users to visit the firm's site to express that desire. Simply deleting their cookies and local storage databases will not prevent behavioral tracking, as it wouldn't with the majority of desktop browsers.

Traasdahl said he hopes to add around five new advertisers to TapAd's retargeting platform in the next two months, before the company explores the introduction of other products and offerings based around its real-time capabilities.

Based in New York, the company's array of investors includes Brian O'Kelley, founder of Right Media and AppNexus; Dave Morgan, founder of Tacoda; and ex DoubleClick CEO David Rosenblatt, to name a few.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jack Marshall

Jack Marshall was a staff writer and stats editor for ClickZ News from 2007 until August 2011. 

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