- Mobile advertising platform InMobi announced today that it has acquired ad tech firm AerServ for $90 million to create what the companies say is the largest programmatic video platform geared toward mobile publishers, according to a press release made available to Mobile Marketer.
- With the acquisition, the companies aim to boost monetization for publishers, provide a more transparent and streamlined buying process and bring header bidding into the mobile in-app ecosystem for the first time, per the release. Revenue generated by programmatic and video ad inventory will make up over 35% of InMobi's overall revenue.
- The current programmatic platform, InMobi Exchange, will integrate AerServ's more than 90 billion monthly ad opportunities and access to over 2,000 apps, as well as grow the exchange's global reach, as AerServ is integrated in more than 75 DSPs, exchanges and agencies around the world.
While there are challenges with programmatic around the lack of control brands have over where their ads appear online, the InMobi news suggests it is still seen as an area of opportunity for mobile marketers in the year ahead, with mobile video a particular area of focus. Other signs of this interest include mobile video ad company AdColony exiting the ad serving business in late 2017 to focus on programmatic and a report that Snapchat is seeking programmatic ads for Snapchat shows. Nearly 75% of all video ad dollars is expected to be sold programmatically by this year, according to eMarketer.
Programmatic platforms are under pressure to enhance their offerings as brands are increasingly looking for more control. The inMobi, AerServ deal promises to give publishers more options and flexibility throughout the buying process, with AerServ buyers now able to access a greater variety of mobile-first video formats, InMobi's chief revenue officer Abhay Singhal told Mobile Marketer. InMobi and AerServ tout over 90% viewability and 70% video completion rates, more than 2x the mobile industry's benchmark, per the release.
As the mobile programmatic ecosystem continues to evolve, the inMobi, AerServ deal also suggests more consolidation is likely in the months ahead as platforms look to shore up their role.
Last spring, programmatic and brand safety were catapulted into the spotlight when several major brands' ads were placed near inappropriate or offensive content on YouTube. Some marketers have since brought their advertising in-house and began reducing the number of channels where they place their ads as a result, as many realized they have little control over where their ads are actually placed, especially when they turn to programmatic buying strategies. For example, JPMorgan Chase's in-house programmatic team developed a proprietary algorithm to ensure its YouTube ads don't appear next to questionable or unsavory content.
In recent years, InMobi has scooped up a number of companies and partners to beef up its mobile ad capabilities, including Sprout and the startup behind AppBistro. In 2016, the company partnered exclusively with Tapjoy and was in talks with Google for a $1 billion buy, which ultimately fell through.