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Opera acquires AdMarvel to ramp up mobile advertising

Opera Software has acquired mobile advertising company AdMarvel Inc. in an effort to monetize Opera-branded mobile products offered by carriers and content partners.

The company worked with AdMarvel for six months running different trials and said it saw that with AdMarvel it was able to optimize the mobile advertising revenues significantly compared to what it was able to achieve by working directly with an advertising network. According to Statcounter, Opera is the most used mobile browser worldwide.

?We have for a longer period evaluated different options to start to monetize [our] users - and we believe that mobile advertising represents one way of doing this,? said Rolf Assev, chief strategy officer at Opera, Oslo, Norway. ?It has been - and it will always be - a key objective for Opera to continue to create a user-friendly experience where privacy is key.

?Opera needed a partner that was truly global and we needed a partner that could work with all major advertising networks,? he said. ?After months of cooperating with AdMarvel, we realized that there were huge opportunities tied to a closer technological and marketing cooperation, which opened the dialogue for an acquisition.?

Opera is a Web browser for PCs, mobile phones and other networked devices.

AdMarvel works with a broad set of players in the advertising ecosystem to improve the performance of mobile advertising.

The company said it strives to make mobile advertising an open ecosystem through better transparency of performance and simpler management of ad traffic to optimize revenue.

AdMarvel's services are designed to put publishers, developers and carriers in control of performance.

Mobile revenue
Opera claims to have almost 50 million active mobile browser users worldwide and generates close to 20 billion page views every month on the mobile Web.

Mr. Assev said the combination of Opera's users and content generation with AdMarvel's advertising services can create high-quality, targeted advertising campaigns for advertisers and agencies.

AdMarvel services work across mobile Web/WAP, SMS and within applications.

Clients of AdMarvel range from CBS, the Discovery Channel, InterActive Corp.?s to carriers and infrastructure such as T-Mobile, Bell, Airtel and Acision.

A key focus for Opera going forward is to work directly with carriers to optimize their advertising inventory.

Privacy is key
Bob Walczak, CEO of Ringleader Digital, New York, said he thinks Opera as a browser can provide some interesting analytics from an advertising perspective and if they enable HTML 5. Other more rich functionality will drive a better user experience while driving more revenue to publishers, per Mr. Walczak.

?This deal provides even more evidence that mobile is ready for primetime,? Mr. Walczak said. ?Large, experienced companies are drawing attention to the category through these acquisitions and are clearly excited about the opportunities that exist.

?Even companies like Apple and Opera that traditionally didn't play in advertising want a piece of the action,? he said. ?It's already been an action-packed year for mobile advertising and we're just getting started.?

Opera?s Mr. Assev said his company believes that the success of mobile advertising will depend on the ability to serve ads in such a way that it does not appear obtrusive and that one is able to secure a high level of privacy.

Large players will have a seat on all ends at the table and Opera said it believes there will be many publishers and carriers that will not be comfortable being dependent on such players and that they are likely to work with an independent player like Opera.

?We see that one of our biggest opportunity is that we are an independent player with an advertising platform that optimize ads from all networks across the globe,? Mr. Assev said.