InMobi’s Sprout Purchase Turns Rivals into Customers

Mobile ad network InMobi has acquired Sprout, a cloud-based HTML5 rich media ad creation platform, which aims to simplify the creative production process for mobile ads targeted to iPhone and Android devices.

Sprout will continue to operate as a fully independent company, servicing the wider mobile ecosystem including InMobi’s rival ad networks and advertisers buying inventory from vendors other than itself. InMobi’s clients will be offered reduced package rates for utilizing Sprout’s services, however.

As ad networks seek ways to extract greater spend from often-tentative clients, the provision of creative tools has become a trend in the mobile ad space.

The majority of mobile rich media ads are powered by HTML5 technology, with which many brands and agencies remain inexperienced. As a result, networks and ad vendors have been handling the majority of production work themselves, often utilizing services provided by firms such as Sprout. Mobile networks including Millennial Media and AdMob are existing Sprout customers, for example, alongside mobile publishers such as Pandora.

Elsewhere, Apple unveiled its own drag-and-drop ad creation tool earlier this year that’s offered free to its advertisers. Rich media ad platform Medialets introduced a similar offering in April, as did rival mobile ad tech provider Crisp Media.

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