Vindigo Seeks a Better WAP Ad

Vindigo tapped 24/7 Real Media to handle ad management on its mobile applications that use Wireless Application Protocol (WAP).

The wireless data and content player previously used an ad management platform it built in-house to run campaigns in the WAP environment. However, it wanted to offer marketers more reporting and targeting — customizing ads based on the size of a device, for example. Vindigo also wanted to improve measurement and tracking of WAP campaigns, and to simplify handling of “tap-throughs” and email opt-ins.

“We’re making good progress in delivering a solution they can track and measure and see what the success is,” said Robert Tas, senior VP of media and technology for 24/7 Real Media. “We’ve integrated Open AdStream technology with their infrastructure, and have the ability to deliver Web ads through the WAP protocol and fully report on it.”

Vindigo started out providing only its trademarked city guides to an audience of PDA owners. In the last year, the company has expanded its data offerings to include several other WAP-based applications for both PDAs and phones. Its offerings now include news, maps, community and traffic applications. (Vindigo is owned by Japan-based For-Side, which acquired it in August of 2004.)

Recent advertisers include MasterCard, Kodak, UPN and Cadillac. Carat Interactive is a frequent buyer as well.

All ads are sold on a CPM basis, according to Vindigo VP of Sales Carrie Himelfarb. “It’s a supply and demand thing,” she said. “Until I have enough demand for the supply, I’m doing everything CPM.”

The company struck a mobile ad serving deal once before, way back in 2000. At the time, DoubleClick and Vindigo teamed to develop and test ad formats uniquely suited to mobile devices.

Since those days, Vindigo has standardized and diversified its available ad formats. Within the WAP protocol, the company now offers three different ad sizes. The deal with 24/7 Real Media is about making sure the right units get to the right phones, Himelfarb said.

Seamus McAteer, chief product architect and senior analyst at M:Metrics, believes 13 percent of all mobile subscribers in the U.S. access news and other content via WAP in any given month. The CTIA estimates the number of U.S. subscribers at 176 million, putting the total number of monthly WAP users in this country at approximately 23 million.

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