O2 acquires UK mobile operator advertising platform Weve

weve o2
O2 Media confirmed that it has bought mobile marketing platform Weve for an undisclosed sum from its venture partners EE and Vodafone. Weve collects data from over 23m customers of the three telecoms companies to provide targeted ads to customers based on factors such as location. Originally set up in 2013 by O2, Vodafone and EE to compete with Google and Facebook within mobile advertising, Weve will now exist as a subsidiary of O2 UK.
Weve provides targeted mobile marketing campaigns
Source: marketingmagazine.co.uk
O2 continues to leverage its customer data for the platform with additional opt-ins of 14m O2 Wifi customers and 6m Priority consumers.
David Plumb, Digital Director at O2 UK, spoke to Telecoms.com about the deal:

“Weve was originally set up three years ago to do payments and advertising. The advertising business has gone really well – 40% annual growth last year – and we decided to stop the payments business last year because others, such as Apple and Google, are better placed to lead on things like payments and wallets.”

Facing steep competition from rivals such as Apple, but realising the company’s unique position over customer data, he goes on to explain:

“In digital advertising it’s all about scale and having as many opted-in adults as you can. Through the other digital businesses we have, things like O2 wifi and Priority, we will now be able to put 20 million extra opt-ins into Weve. I think for the other shareholders, who perhaps don’t have those other digital businesses, maybe they don’t place the same value on it as we do. All the initial investment is done and it’s already making a profit, and now this change will accelerate the profit we make for O2.”

Weve has previously been part of campaigns including Tesco and the Electoral Commission. Weve ads resemble exclusive offers more so than traditional marketing banners. Tracking locations of customers, Weve is able to create highly targeted offers for customers. Plumb gives an example:

“The airline Monarch wanted to advertise to adults over the age of 25 who had previously travelled to the sorts of countries they fly to. So we served adults who lived within 1 mile of a Monarch airport and served them with a picture message with a £20 discount off a Monarch booking. 28% of people we served that ad to said they were going to book a flight. Because of the quality of the data we were able to serve a very personalised advert.”

Covering both personalised ads as well as SMS offers, O2 is now looking to expand into video ads. Weve announced losses of £25m for 2014 and overall revenue of £13m. It cited the expensive cost to build the platform as a reason for the loss. Despite the strong competition on the market, it seems O2 is well aligned to capitalise on the mobile ad market thanks to its large opt-in client base.