Mobile Marketer has re-launched! Click here to learn more!

Todacell launches off-portal mobile ad network

Todacell has launched a new off-portal mobile display ad network with clients such as Sony and Dell already on board.

While the company cannot detail campaign specifics, it did reveal that it served ads for Sony and Dell in Britain while operating in stealth mode. The ad network also served ads for Cellflirt to encourage sign-ups to the mobile social networking Web site.

Todacell, which is based out of Israel, is currently working with publishers such as Fring, MobiLuck, MocoSpace, TuneWiki and eBuddy.

Mobile Marketer?s Chris Harnick interviewed Todacell founder/CEO Moshe Vaknin about the company?s goals and ideas to shake up the mobile advertising ecosystem.

What is the strategy behind launching Todacell? Why now?
The strategy behind launching Todacell now is driven by the following considerations:
1. The quickly increasing smartphone penetration rate is creating a market opportunity for mobile display advertising.

2. The mobile operators have realized that they can increase their profitability from selling time and data access, which resulted in the opening of their walled gardens.

3. The market (agencies and marketers) are calling for greater transparency in ad placement. In this age of greater ad accountability, media planners don?t want to work with blind ad networks, they want to know where their ads run.

4. Targeting technology has advanced to the point where we are able to optimize ads based on the analysis of publisher inventory, data and past campaign performance.

Can you share any specific campaigns you?ve done in stealth mode? Please share specifics regarding what kind of ads were served, what kind of results were seen and specifics on the brand.
I can?t share specific campaign results, but here is a quote from an advertiser ? mobile search engine Taptu?s Mark-Anthony Baker:

?As a pure-play mobile search engine, Taptu runs campaigns with multiple mobile ad networks. Todacell is one of the few companies that are actually trying to better mobile marketing. By taking the time to target our advertising to the most relevant publishers, Todacell is bringing greater efficiency to mobile advertising.?

What will this do for brands looking to market on the mobile platform?
I believe that the increased effectiveness of mobile advertising, coupled with the growing penetration of smartphones with a better and richer mobile Web experience, will increase the marketer adoption rate for display mobile advertising.

How does Todacell think it will change the mobile advertising ecosystem?
First, I think we?re going to see an increased focus on publisher optimization in mobile advertising. Second, I believe we?ll see an increase in transparency from mobile networks in terms of where the ads are placed. Media planners and buyers will become less willing to accept ?blind ad networks.?

What countries is Todacell serving ads in?
Mostly in the U.S. but also in Britain, Western Europe and Japan.

Does Todacell specialize in a certain target demographic?
Though we have a lot of experience working with mobile social networks, we are comfortable using our technology and methodology to analyze any mobile publisher?s inventory and provide a mix of advertisers that will increase publisher revenue while improving the efficacy of the advertising through better ad targeting.

How is Todacell different than the other major ad networks?
The main differences between Todacell and other major ad networks are:
1. Our proprietary publisher inventory optimization technology and methodology ? this is the ?value-added? [services] we bring to the mobile advertising market, our differentiator.

The ability to use data in real-time has long been the differentiator between online and offline advertising.

At Todacell, we?re bringing the use of data analysis ? in our case, data analysis of a publisher?s ad inventory ? to a more sophisticated level.

2. Hand in hand with our optimization technology and methodology for publishers (which also helps to improve advertiser conversion rates), Todacell is committed to transparency in ad placement.

We provide media planners with a complete list of all publishers that will carry their ads.

"Blind ad networks" that place ads anywhere in a network are a major problem in online advertising, and are becoming a problem in mobile advertising, too.

What is Todacell?s mission statement?
Our mission statement is to bring better, more optimized targeting and greater transparency to carrier-free display mobile publishing and advertising.

I believe that the ad inventory optimization that we?re bringing to our mobile publishers will drive other solution providers to also improve their ad optimization, and I believe that media planners will demand greater transparency in their media buys.

What has Todacell learned in its almost three years of ?stealth mode??
The first two years we spent developing our proprietary publisher inventory optimization technology and methodology.

Todacell?s technology enables analyzing the performance of a publisher?s advertising campaigns across category verticals, age groups and user behavior from previous ad campaigns (click patterns).

From this analysis, we?re able to recommend advertisers and campaigns which will perform better for that mobile publisher.

The downside is that it may take up to four months for Todacell to analyze a publisher?s inventory in order to make intelligent recommendations, but most ?learning? technologies take time to work.

We started working with publishers in April 2009, and since then, we have improved our targeting abilities as well as the time it takes us to completely analyze a mobile publisher?s ad inventory.

 We?re seeing greater similarities across our pool of publishers when it comes to targeting similar market segments.