Mobile ad network InMobi is broadening its suite of services in a bid to increase brand interest in the medium, a move that could disrupt accepted digital market dynamics.
The India-based company, which is expanding rapidly after pocketing a $200m tranche of investment last year, aims to approach brands to offer direct consumer surveys.
Abhay Singhal, global head of ad sales at InMobi, said “I don’t know why brands can’t use my network as part of their market research.”
Speaking with new media age, he said the potential to use a mobile ad network for surveys could result in a quicker turnaround for brands’ surveying their market share compared with more traditional research firms.
“If we leave it to [research] agencies, then the growth of the medium will potentially be slower,” said Singhal, adding that the move was a bid to stimulate the entire market.
He also described how InMobi, which is expanding its UK footprint with a new office opening this month, had also set up an internal team to consult with brands about how to integrate mobile into their existing strategies.
This consulting role, one traditionally taken by media agencies, will benefit the entire ecosystem, according to Singhal, who added that when the brands start to book more ads, media agencies will also benefit. “When you try to create value across an entire value chain, then you have to go higher up it,” he said.
Surag Patel, InMobi’s director of global research, said the company’s proposed survey tools could be served across its network of 485m users during their down time.
“For instance, when you look at mobile web usage that’s typically at times when a consumer has some down time [such as commuter hours] and they are open to being distracted,” he told new media age.
At Mobile World Congress last week, advertisers including Adidas, Google and Unilever said more education was needed about using mobile as an advertising tool.
Andrew Graham, Adidas’ global head of mobile, said, “I don’t see enough brands here getting together and figuring out how to do it [integrate mobile advertising].”
Meanwhile, Google’s global mobile head Jason Spero explained that his company was still having the most basic of conversations with brands about mobile. Quoting research, he said that only 10% of Google’s biggest advertisers have a mobile-optimised site, despite mass market behaviour being far beyond that.
Alex Kozloff, the IAB’s senior research manager for mobile, told new media age that multiple studies had proven that consumers where willing to respond to brand enquiries on their mobile devices.
“It seems to be an effective media for them to work on [research]. For instance, if you’re offering it as a brand effectiveness study [to advertisers] to accompany a campaign then it seems like a good idea,” she said.
Separately, InMobi released research on its network claiming that mobile web users spent over a quarter (27%) of their media consumption on their mobile, more than via TVs (22%) and just less than desktop (32%). Further findings from the study can be seen in the table above.
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