David Murphy talks to Naveen Tewari, CEO of InMobi (previously mKhoj), which recently announced its European launch, after success in Asia and Africa
DM: Why did you take the decision to rebrand? Why InMobi as a name?
NT: The rebranding has been in our plans for some time. It was really a confluence of events that drove the timing. As we step onto the global stage, it was important that we simplify and reinforce our core offering. The launch in Europe presented a great opportunity to announce the rebranding. ‘InMobi’ is a reflection of the words ‘in mobile’, and spells out our value proposition clearly. InMobi not only speaks to our core offering, but also symbolizes our long-term goal of being a global player in mobile internet advertising.
DM: Can you give us some numbers relating to your operations in Asia. How many ads served, how many publishers/sites you sell on?
NT: Across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, InMobi is serving 2 billion ad impressions per month. This is across 700 publishers and 150 advertisers on the network.
DM: Who is advertising with you? What is the split between mobile content companies and mainstream brands?
NT: We have a very wide variety of advertisers on the network. We have content players; brands such as Reebok, Yamaha and Nokia; and educational institutions like USJournal to name just a few. The ratio of brands varies from region to region. In some of our geographies brands make up 40% of the total spend.
DM: How are things going in your other territories? Why have you chosen to launch in these regions now?
NT: So far, our focus has been on the Asian and African mobile markets. Now that we have achieved scale there, we feel it is the right time to make the leap to the global stage, especially given the requests from our partners for strong advertising and monetization opportunities in Europe.
After the successful start in the United Kingdom last quarter, we felt that it would be the right time to go live in the rest of Europe, and have started providing our services in France, Germany, Spain and Italy.
DM: What next? What can we expect to see from InMobi over the next year or two?
NT: As we evolve and step onto the global stage, we expect that InMobi will be regarded as a pioneer in many ways. We are one of the few Internet product-based companies that have broken the mould and successfully adopted the approach of scaling up in emerging markets first and then moved to the developed markets.
We feel that rebranding to InMobi will open new doors for us as an organisation. We recognize that developed markets have different nuances, and while we are the most preferred and experienced network in the emerging markets, the next milestone we have set for ourselves is to penetrate the European market. InMobi is continuously working to improve our performance benchmarks, in terms of quality, transparency, innovation and customer service. Our goal is to delight our customers and deliver a global user experience to our advertisers and publisher partners that will set new standards in the mobile advertising industry.
DM: What is your outlook for the mobile advertising business?
NT: We believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The future is very promising, with better handsets, and better and more innovative applications coming into the market every day. Mobile advertising is going to start seeing higher shares of the media mix. Brands have started to invest in mobile advertising, and the trend is just going to grow. This can be attributed to the inherent advantages of mobile as a medium.
In the future, we believe mobile advertising is going to see more location-based services, and better utilization of user patterns and preferences, keeping in mind the privacy concerns of users.
DM: Naveen, I hope you’re right, and wish you the best of luck in replicating your success in Asia and Africa in Europe.
NT: Thank you.
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