This Week in Ad Ops: Big Company Moves, Mobile Margins, and More

Ad Ops Roundup: Acquisitions and Mobile Top This Week


We’re Making Waves

Our Publisher Forum in Sonoma, Calif., is coming together nicely; we’ve secured a stellar batch of industry leaders for our keynotes and sessions, including, Method, Inc.’s Paul Valerio, Former Cheezburger CRO and startup analyst Todd Sawicki, BuzzFeed’s Eric Harris, and MAGNAGLOBAL’s Brian Monahan.

We’ve also opened up registration for OPS Markets event, a unique, one-day conference for digital advertising leaders in the data-driven media marketplace. OPS Markets will address the revenue potential of publisher data, how publishers can take advantage of evolving tools such as private exchanges and programmatic guaranteed, and more.

Big Decisions

This was a big week when it comes to the ad-ops shuffle. Two companies – programmatic ad exchange AppNexus and Internet content delivery system Akamai made big company moves, which are sure to move the digital advertising barometer.

AppNexus CEO Brian O’Kelley took to the Web to announce the closing of a Series D investment of $75 million, spearheaded by technology venture capital firm Technology Crossover Ventures. And, this week’s news is only the latest in series of powerhouse moves by AppNexus. The exchange increased its delivery by fivefold by the end of 2012, pushing out more than 13 million website ads every day; while managing around $700 million of ad spend. The company’s latest funding venture brings its total funding to a bit more than $140 million – and quells a bit of the acquisition talk looming over AppNexus.

So, what’s AppNexus going to do with all that cash? Take on a load of engineers (“hundreds,” O’Kelley says), and work towards creating a “third generation” ad exchange — programmatic premium, anyone? It is the promised land, after all. 

“Raising this round gives us access to more than $100 million to create the next generation of innovations that will transform online advertising,” O’Kelley said.

The other big news of the week comes from Akamai, which sold its ad-targeting division to demand-side media-buying firm MediaMath. And, while the financials of the deal are still under wraps, MediaMath is sure to benefit, bringing on nearly 70 of Akamai’s employees from its Advertising Decision Solutions (ADS) division.

MediaMath will also acquire Akamai’s “pixel-free” technology, which uses Internet content and Web pages stored on servers, as well as site-acceleration technologies, to directly observer Web users’ behaviors.

Mobile Is On the Move

Advertisers have spoken – and they’re all about the iPad. Apple’s tablet has conquered its smaller twin, iPhone, as the most popular device among digital advertisers; and, as advertisers push more money into mobile – the push towards iPad matters.

Mobile ad-management firm MoPub recently released numbers that show mobile ad spend rising significantly in Q4 of 2012, up 50 percent from last year. And, where are a big chunk of those dollars going? To consumers on Apple’s iOS platform.

“Advertisers really looked to mobile during the holidays, which validates the channel and the overall marketing trend,” MoPub’s director of product marketing Elain Szu told Mashable.

And, who exactly is reaping the benefits of money? Seeking Alpha contributor Michael Fu recently released a list of the companies making the most from mobile. Pandora’s making a whopping 55 percent of its revenue from mobile, while companies like OpenTable, Groupon, and eBay aren’t too far behind.

But, as companies move towards mobile, unique complications arise, particularly privacy. TRUSTe’s Richard Qui discusses how companies can leverage mobile while keeping consumer trust in a recent article for AdMonsters. Eighty-five percent of consumers won’t download an app if they believe it is not trustworthy; and, most consumers aren’t too fond of the idea of being tracked. But, there’s a happen medium, Qui argues.

“By having clear, easy-to-understand policies for mobile with choices, businesses show that they value customer privacy and give their business more credibility,” Qui said.