Emerging TechnologyMobileMobile Ad Firms Capitalize on iAd Delays

Mobile Ad Firms Capitalize on iAd Delays

Boosted by Apple's presence in the space, mobile ad companies are hoping to capitalize on Apple's slow rollout of its first iAd campaigns.

Having recently praised Apple for its contribution to the growth of the mobile advertising space, competing mobile ad networks and technology companies are now looking to differentiate themselves from the company in attempts to attract advertiser investment.

Despite the fact Apple announced 17 advertiser partners for the launch of its iAd product at the beginning of July, just two of those brands have seen their campaigns go live so far. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal this week, luxury marketer Channel SA has now cancelled its plans to make use of the format, and other marketers are becoming increasingly frustrated by delays to their respective campaigns.

In direct response to those delays, rich media mobile ad network Greystripe pledged yesterday to turn around rich media ad campaigns in five days or less, which it claims is 90 percent faster than on the iAd platform. “We have a lot of advertisers rushing to launch mobile advertising campaigns,” said Greystripe CEO Michael Chang, adding, “Our five-day mobile ad program will enable advertisers to integrate mobile into any campaign, right now.”

Chang cited Apple’s choice to build ads exclusively in HTML5 as central to the delays to its advertisers’ campaigns, whereas Greystripe has developed technology to convert existing Flash-based creative for use on Apple devices. Apple itself is currently handling all creative production for its iAd campaigns “to ensure quality,” but that process is taking longer than it might with other mobile ad providers.

Since Apple announced plans for its iAd network in April, mobile ad companies have been praising the company for its contribution to the space, and have credited its presence with drastically raising the profile of the medium. Greystripe itself, for example, said it has been selling its inventory much more successfully since the iAd was announced, and a range of ad networks, publishers and technology providers have described the presence of Apple’s sales teams in the market as providing a boost for their own businesses.

However, many are also attempting to differentiate themselves from it, arguing it caters to only a certain range of brands with its hefty price-point and brand-focused formats. Despite recognizing the impact Apple’s presence has had on the overall market, Anne Frisbee, VP and head of North American operations for mobile ad network InMobi suggested that networks such as hers provide a wider range of solutions for advertisers with different needs and campaign goals, and deeper measurement capabilities.

Likewise, Google’s director of emerging platforms recently praised Apple’s format, but stressed that diverse advertiser offerings would be key to the growth of the medium. That stance also applies to developers and publishers currently making use of the format, thanks to its current low fill rate and limited number of campaigns.

Greg Wook, CEO of application development firm Pinger, stressed the importance from his company’s standpoint of competing networks offering differing solutions. “Someone like Google has millions of daily advertisers. You need someone with that scale to fill inventory,” he said.

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