Nokia takes on mobile ad networks with its own
Finnish handset maker Nokia shook the mobile industry with the launch of the Nokia Media Network, a mobile advertising network that includes the world's leading media brands.
The network will compete directly with key mobile ad networks such as Medio Systems, AdMob, Third Screen Media, Quattro Wireless, Ringleader Digital and Ad Infuse. The Nokia network will include media giants such as Hearst, Discovery Communications, AccuWeather and Reuters, as well as wireless carrier Sprint.
"Nokia Interactive is committed to creating an open model where all parties, including brands and their agencies, as well as audience owners like operator, application developers and media companies, can participate and make money while developing the mobile advertising market," said a spokeswoman at Nokia who declined to be named for this article.
Nokia claims its ad network reaches more than 100 million mobile consumers worldwide. The company claims click-through rates averaging 10 percent since the network's soft launch.
It seems obvious that Nokia is the most active in mobile marketing out of all handset makers. The Espoo, Finland-based company has already created mobile campaigns for brands including BMW, Paramount and MobiTV.
Nokia bought mobile media services firm Enpocket in October. The company is using Enpocket's technology for campaigns, improving conversions and measuring campaign performance across its network.
The Nokia Media Network will rely on company teams based in offices in such cities as Beijing, Boston, Chicago, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Helsinki, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Milan, Minneapolis, Mumbai, Munich, New York, Paris, Singapore and Shanghai.
"Nokia is definitely trying to get outside of its comfort zone," said Neil Strother, mobile analyst at JupiterResearch, New York. "Nokia is trying to become much more mobile Web- and content-related. They obviously see potential and they are really trying to be a powerhouse across the board.
"This deal has huge implications and is significant because of how big Nokia is in the industry," he said. "I don't know if it's going to roll-over the market, because there are number of other ad networks."
First for Hearst
In Hearst's case, the Nokia ad network marks the first time a content publisher will be able to serve ads across off-deck and on-deck using the same ad serving partner. Hearst is not part of any other mobile ad network.
"For our advertisers we can provide a seamless mobile ad campaign across all our sites, both on-deck and off-deck, irrespective of carriers or technology," said Sophia Stuart, director of mobile at Hearst Digital Media, New York.
"Nokia is an international company -- no other ad network in the USA has the experience they do with the mobile business," she said.
Hearst has nine mobile properties and nine text clubs. Off-deck sites include m.bazaar.com, m.cosmopolitan.com, m.cosmogirl.com, m.esquire.com, m.goodhousekeeping.com, m.housebeautiful.com, m.marieclaire.com, m.redbookmag.com and m.seventeen.com.
The Hearst sites can be accessed across the 1,600 handsets currently in the United States.
"We're the first magazine publisher who can provide a seamless advertising campaign for our advertisers by using Nokia and by getting our carrier partners to agree to this deal," Ms. Stuart said.
Nokia's entry into the mobile ad market blurs the lines between the various constituents of the wireless market. In a way, it is mirroring what is happening in the online world -- Microsoft buying ad agency aQuantive and Google nabbing display ad network DoubleClick, for example.
"Not in all cases, but in a number of ways, various companies are playing in other peoples' sandboxes," JupiterResearch's Mr. Strother said. "Online companies are playing in mobile and the crossovers are something to watch out for."