Top Mobile Advertising Companies 2012

The mobile ad industry continues to expand, develop and grow as huge waves of investment and entrepreneurship flow into the sector with new mobile advertising companies being created and developed.
It wasn’t so long ago that admob was treading a lonely furrow, pioneering mobile advertising alongside one or two other players.  Now the ecosystem around mobile ads is becoming increasingly sophisticated with the emergence of players in specialist segments such as Rich Media and Android advertising for example.  At the same time the technology-driven acronym-tastic world of DSPs (demand-side platforms) and SSPs (Supply side platforms) has hit mobile as it converges with trends in the wider online advertising space.  In addition, new companies are emerging around ancilliary services such as analytics, mobile ad landing pages and measurement.
With all these changes it can be hard to keep up.  Yesterday’s hot startup can quickly become today’s dull incumbent (hi Admob!) and the hot new thing can seemingly emerge from nowhere.   So here’s a run down of some of the players that are ‘ones to watch’ in mobile advertising during 2012.
Strikead – not the first to try and provide a demand-side platform (mobile media buying across many networks) but perhaps the first with the right timing and sufficient backing to make this kind of ambitious play work.  With a strong management team and having just raised a big investment round these guys are aiming to remove issues such as the fragmented nature of mobile ad buying and becoming the go-to place on the buy side of mobile ads.
Atmio – with google having recently announced that a mobile optimized landing page will affect the quality score on mobile search there’s an obvious signal that there’s going to be a need for services to help create them.  Enter atmio – they offer a WYSIWYG editor that can create many types of professional looking landing pages, for mobile lead generation (capturing email, phone numbers etc), mobile commerce or many other types of ads.  Agencies or other advertisers can get up and running in minutes and what they offer is well ahead of the rest of the pack.  If you buy mobile advertising – get to know!
Distimo –  are a Dutch outfit that started off providing deep analytics into the world of appstores – offering dynamic information across iphone, android and other third party stores.  They are now moving into mobile ads and beginning to offer analytics that can help app developers and brands to understand how effective their mobile advertising is.  With Distimo’s capabilities they are sure to shake up mobile ad analytics, which is still very nascent.
Airpush – with millions of new Android devices out there huge amounts of new advertising inventory on android apps are being created, particularly as the paid-for app market on android has been slower to develop than on the iphone platform.  Airpush provides a mobile ad network specifically for Android and claims to offer much higher CPMs than the generic ad networks that work across iphone, android and mobile web.  Expect to see more of these specialist types of ad networks emerge as the market develops.
Mopub – as more and more ad networks are available, this is creating a need for mobile ad serving solutions that can integrate several ad networks (e.g. for use on different types of inventory) and allow direct ad sales or insertions by publishers/ developers.  The main contender for this role Adwhirl was snapped up by admob early in its existence and promptly left to more or less rot.  However, mobpub has emerged as an alternative option.  Look for these guys to increasingly evolve into an SSP (supply side platform) which a strong position in the value chain as they begin to own the publisher relationship (not the mobile ad networks).
Mobpartner – with all this new mobile ad inventory being created an opportunity for cost per action (CPA) and other performance based advertising is emerging.  The networks simply can’t fill all this mobile inventory on a CPM or CPC basis.  Mobpartner is the old skool player in the mobile affiliate scene but it’s only really now that the market is taking off around them.  With a network of tens of thousands of publishers, a decent technology platform and some strong offers mobpartner are in a good position to be one of the leaders in mobile performance marketing.
Linking Mobile – another exciting player in the mobile affiliate space, this time based in the UK, Linking Mobile are one of the first mobile ad networks to try and link the real world with the affiliate space via mobile.  With innovations such as the launch of QR codes for mobile advertising these guys are pumping out some great innovations.
And finally … who is the the hottest mobile advertising company of 2012?  ….
Well it’s going to be facebook.   With the imminent launch of their HTML5 mobile apps platform facebook are sure to extend their facebook ads program onto mobile.  This will create a vast swathe of new, highly targeted mobile inventory, that benefits from hooking straight into the social graph.  The impact of this is going to be huge and could easily kill of many of current mobile ad networks, who can barely offer any targeting at all, let alone the razor sharp interest-based and demographic targeting of facebook.  However, at the same time, there’s going to be new opportunities for mobile advertising companies building on top of this new facebook mobile ad platform.
Who do you think will be the big mobile advertising companies of 2012?  Let us know in the comments!

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