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Minh Tran – Nokia Ad Service

minh We had a chance recently to talk with Minh Tran, Director, Head of Sales and Marketing, Nokia Ad Service. Minh has been one of the key driving forces behind the development and recent launch of the Nokia Ad Service and Nokia Ad Connector. (see recent post) Minh was kind enough to take some time for MobiAd News and share some background on Nokia’s recent announcement, reactions from the industry, and his view of what will be coming next in the mobile advertising industry.

Minh, Nokia is world famous for making mobile phones, can you tell us why Nokia decided to get into the ad serving and ad network business?
nokia_ad_serviceOne of Nokia’s overall strategic goals is to promote better consumer mobile internet services. Certainly we’ve been building additional features into our phones to do this, but we also thought we needed to help build the entire eco system. One way to do this is by helping the mobile ad business become successful.

A functioning mobile advertising industry will bring money to publishers, enabling more and better content and services. This will lead to higher levels of usage, more data traffic, more applications, and so on. Basically our view was there are two business models that could bring more money into the system – the subscription model and the advertising model. The subscription model has not proved viable, but the mobile advertising model seems to be doing very well.

Sometimes when Nokia has ventured outside its core business, it has upset other players in the industry . What has the reaction been to the Nokia Ad Service announcement?
nokia_mobiTo date it has been very favorable. We may have caused some concern with other companies that serve ads, but frankly Nokia is actually in many more parts of the value chain than any other ad serving company. And we’ve talked several of the other ad serving companies, and we will in fact most likely be partnering with them to share ad inventory.

For example, Nokia’s mobile site is the most visited mobile internet site, with over 100 million page views per month. So in this regard, Nokia is one of the biggest publishers on the mobile internet. We are making the ad inventory on this site available through the Nokia Ad Service, which is a big opportunity for advertisers to reach this audience. Also, Nokia is a big advertiser. We launch dozens of phones each year and we advertise these heavily.

The second part of the Nokia announcement was the Nokia Advertising Connector. Can you tell us something about that?
nokia_phoneIt is a client software that runs on the mobile device and helps deliver ads that are more targeted and more relevant to the user. Basically as you consume media on your mobile (ie read newspapers, watch videos, etc) the software will build a profile of your interests, and that information will be communicated to the ad server and used to select and serve the most relevant ads. Currently its optimized for

Will Nokia keep this as a proprietary feature, or will you make the interfaces and functionality an open standard?
The final precise functionality of the connector is still being implemented, and not all of the decisions have been finalized. I can’t say forever, but at the moment I think we will keep it proprietary.

One of the biggest issues cited by advertisers is the fragmentation of the mobile advertising business – its hard for them to do large media buys like they are used to in other media. Will the Nokia Ad Service address this problem?
Indeed, the mobile ad inventory is quite fragmented today – it is divided by country, by mobile operator, by ad-serving network, etc. We think that the Nokia Ad Service will in fact give advertisers one of the largest consolidated opportunitites to place ads globally. Already with the site we have 100million page views a month, in several countries which are available for advertising placements. And as we continue to add new publishers to the network, we are expanding the offer.

So if I was a publisher with a mobile internet site, and I wanted to join the Nokia ad network, what would I need to do?
Its very easy. First, you sign a contract with Nokia, which is non-exclusive so it doesn’t prevent you from also selling ad inventory elsewhere. Second, we give you code tags to put into your site to invoke the ads. And that’s it. We’ll serve ads to your site, and you can get full on-line reporting and start earning money as people click on your ads.

What is the business model that you use for Nokia Ad Service?
currenciesToday, most ads are being sold on a CPM basis. This is the business model that is most widely understood, and easiest to implement. We have the capability to support CPC and CPA business models, and we think these will become much more important in the future. The business agreement between the publisher and Nokia is a simple revenue share.

If CPM is the predominant business model at the moment, can you give us some idea of the CPM rates you are seeing?
The click through rates are typically quite high on a mobile campaign, maybe 10x that of an internet campaign, which makes the CPM rates a lot higher as well. The exact price depends of course on the publisher, the quantity, whether its run of site, etc. But for a general figure, around $40 CPM seems to be where the market is at the moment.

Last question – what is your view about the future of the mobile ad serving business?
At the moment there seem to be a lot of mobile ad serving companies and a lot of mobile ad networks springing up. I guess this is normal for a new industry in an early stage. But soon, I think there will have to be a consolidation in the industry. This is because the value of an ad network depends on how big it is: the bigger the network the better the reach, the more advertisers will want to use that network, making them more successful, able to acquire more inventory, become bigger, etc. So what is important is to get out there early, and build into a large network quickly.

Thank you, Minh Tran.

Read Minh’s blog for more on mobile advertising.


Nokia Ad Service press release HERE.

21.03.2007    Tags: , , ,
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