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MocoSpace, Smaato team up for mobile advertising

Mobile social network MocoSpace and Smaato, an aggregator for mobile advertising networks, have formed a new strategic partnership for mobile advertising.

MocoSpace has more than 5 million registered users and 2 billion monthly page views. MocoSpace integrated the Smaato Open Mobile Advertising platform, called SOMA, in late 2008 and first results already show improvements on its mobile ad revenue and ROI.

"Smaato has been a good partner to us," said Justin Siegel, cofounder/CEO of MocoSpace, Boston. "They've helped us efficiently monetize our growing inventory of traditionally hard to reach young, hip trendsetters."

MocoSpace is a social community site where members create custom profiles, upload and share photos, IM, chat, blog and more from their mobile phone.

The U.S.-focused mobile social site was recently ranked no. 1 in mobile entertainment by Hitwise, an independent market research firm.

MocoSpace generates more than 2 billion page impressions a month.

SOMA is an advertising exchange for mobile publishers and developers.

As an aggregator of mobile ad sales networks worldwide, Smaato optimizes mobile ad page impressions for publishers of mobile Web content and in-application offerings.

Smaato is partnering with more than 20 mobile ad networks worldwide for yield optimization and maximizing Ad ARPU of its publisher and content partners.

"We've used Smaato and the SOMA platform for some time now and have seen significant benefits in optimizing our mobile ad sales revenue," said Mark Rosner, executive vice president of strategy and finance for Zedge Inc., Britain.

"Mobile ROI becomes more and more crucial, especially on a global scale," he said. "With Smaato, Zedge has found the right technical platform partner to help us reach our goal and maximize our advertising ARPU."

Other Smaato clients are mobile gaming site Fish Labs and Qeep, a mobile social networking application that gained 1 million users in its first eight months of operation.

"Using our positioning as an aggregator of ad networks, we help publishers optimize their ARPU," said Harald Neidhardt, cofounder/chief marketing officer of Smaato, Redwood Shores, CA. "We help them monetized their international traffic and inventory much better.

"MocoSpace is a huge company with lots of traffic, and the bigger the publishers are, even a 1 or 2 percent optimization over their whole inventory can help them tremendously with increasing revenue," he said. "We help them optimize their ad inventory."

Founded in 2005, MocoSpace is a mobile social community designed to help people find friends, have fun and stay connected on their mobile phone.

The service is free and available on any Web-enabled mobile phone worldwide.

Smaato Inc. is a mobile advertising technology company that provides the open mobile advertising platform called SOMA and partners with mobile publishers, developers, ad networks and carriers.

SOMA's unique feature is the aggregation of multiple leading ad networks globally.

SOMA can be integrated with ad networks, ad inventory owners -- developers, publishers and carriers -- and third-party ad technology providers.

Smaato has partnered with 56 ad networks in U.S., including Ad Infuse, AdMob, Quattro Wireless and Millennial Media. The company also has an additional 20-plus ad-network partners worldwide, with many in Southeast Asia.

While Smaato focuses on off-deck traffic, it has partnered with several European carriers, including Orange and Telenor.

Smaato is an active member of the Mobile Marketing Association, the Advisory Group and the German Digital Media Association BVDW.

"The potential of mobile advertising is huge, and we still haven't scratched the surface, because it's a very complicated ecosystem," Mr. Neidhardt said. "We're inviting agencies to work on a pilot program to make advertising more sexy, relevant and engaging.

"We also plan to reach out to digital online agencies to help them understand mobile and make them understand that it is relevant to them," he said. "The iPhone changed a lot, making brands say 'I think we need to think about mobile.'"

"With more information from the user, we can bring more creative from the agencies to the market, with ads from banks, automotive companies, mobile content, gaming apps, mapping and downloadable special features targeted by device."

Is your sweetheart checking messages?
If you've ever used your mobile phone to flirt with somebody else while on a date, you're not alone.

According to a survey by MocoSpace, just over a third -- 34 percent -- of mobile users admit to having done so and nearly half -- 42 percent -- say they'll turn to a social networking site on their mobile for companionship for Valentine's Day.

The survey, which offers insights on how young Americans use their mobile phones for their love and social lives, reveals that nearly three quarters -- 71 percent -- say the mobile phone is the most important device when it comes to their social lives, trumping the computer/Internet -- 2 percent -- and the landline phone -- also 2 percent.

Though 'in person' is important -- 21 percent -- a significant majority of respondents -- 73 percent -- say that their mobile phone is the means they rely on most to stay connected to friends, reflecting the increasingly important role of the mobile device in the lives of young consumers and the virtual nature of relationships of this upcoming generation.

Making new friends still happens mainly offline at parties (25 percent), work/school (23 percent) or through a friend (19 percent).

However, the survey showed that among the device options for meeting new people, the mobile phone played a prominent role with 19 percent of all respondents saying it was important.

Breaking up not so hard to do
While meeting and staying in touch with people is easier now with mobile phones, the same may be true for ending relationships.

Nearly half -- 45 percent -- say they've used their mobile phone to break up with somebody, with text messaging being the most common method -- 62 percent -- of those admitting to do so.
Men tend to be more likely to use their mobile to say good bye than women.

When asked about Valentine's Day, nearly half -- 42 percent -- of those who have no one to share the special day with said they would turn to social networking on their mobile phone to fill the void.

Mobile was also the device of choice for Valentine's, even among those that prefer social networking on the computer -- 27 percent said they'd turn to their mobile -- or equally on mobile and the computer -- 35 percent.

MocoSpace recently released an update to its Relationship feature.

In addition to Get Engaged, Go Steady and Get Married, options now also include Hooking Up, Best Friends Forever, In Like With and Its Complicated.

Members can send relationship proposals to each other on MocoSpace or to friends' mobile phones via SMS.

The survey was conducted in early February on the mobile Web, with 10,000 MocoSpace members who are also users of other social networking sites.

"The mobile phone is inherently social, and whether it's simply a text message or an IM or a picture on MocoSpace, the outcome is essentially a shift in consumer behavior," said Jim Gregoire, vice president of marketing for MocoSpace, Boston. "An entire generation, for whom the mobile device is frankly a lifeline, is changing the way they interact with one another.

"This is fascinating because as marketers we know how challenging it can be to affect behavioral change, and here we're seeing it done on mobile," he said.