Mobile advertising is a win/win for local publishers and national brands. It gives publishers a way to provide free content to their readers and brands a way to target consumers based on their location and intent. According to a 2011 survey by JiWire, 84% of consumers prefer free mobile content with advertising over paid content without advertising — and 75% have taken action in response to localized ads.
The biggest question for local publishers today isn’t whether they should run mobile advertising, but which networks they should use. Although a number of networks offer mobile capabilities, these networks can vary in the platforms they support and the amount of hand-holding they provide. Here are seven mobile ad networks that local publishers can use to serve ads and fill unsold inventory on their mobile websites and apps.
xAd is a mobile ad network that local publishers of all sizes can use to run targeted search and location-based display ads on their mobile sites and apps. xAd works with local and national advertisers, and offers solutions that let publishers monetize their mobile traffic through hyperlocal display ads, sponsored content, enhanced content, and organic search results. xAd works on a revenue share model that is “competitive with industry rates.” The network’s large publisher clients include Forbes, MSNBC, and Pandora.
Verve specializes in working with local media publishers, giving those with mobile sites and apps a way to monetize their unsold ad inventory with ad trafficking and serving. The company invites publishers to manage their own campaigns through the Verve dashboard, and provides additional resources like ad sales training and creative services when needed. Publishers that already have their own sales teams can use Verve’s Local Marketplace to place locally sold mobile ad campaigns on national sites. Verve says it brings incremental revenue to its roster of more than 1,700 clients, including Philly.com, Examiner, and Digital First Media.
Developers looking for ways to monetize their mobile applications can use AdMob to run in-app advertising from Google advertisers. AdMob works across most major platforms, including Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 7, and gives local publishers a way to run interactive ad units and custom search ads. AdMob works similarly to Google AdWords, in that it provides publishers and developers with tools to filter ads and runs on a cost-per-click basis. AdMob works with more than 300,000 mobile app developers, including TV Guide Digital and Dictionary.com.
Chitika is an ad network that gives local publishers a way to serve ads to visitors with iOS and Android devices with minimal effort. The network automatically detects when website visitors are coming from mobile devices, and serves those visitors with banner ads that have been designed for iPhone and Android screens. Publishers can choose for themselves whether they prefer to run pay-per-click or pay-per-call ads. Chitika provides publishers with a 60% revenue share. The network’s clients include Topix, ServiceMagic, and MerchantCircle.
5. YP Local Ad Network
Local publishers with both desktop sites and mobile properties can use YP’s cross-platform distribution network to run locally targeted mobile display ads based on their users’ locations. YP’s Local Ad Network sources ads from more than 500,000 advertisers across 4,600 categories, the majority of which are small to medium-size businesses. Publishers are typically paid on a cost-per-click basis. YP’s Local Ad Network works with more than 300 publishers, including AccuWeather, CityGrid Media, and Where.
6. Sense Networks
Mobile developers with apps that use location-based data can use Sense Networks to monetize their apps. Sense uses raw location data to predict user behavior and allows advertisers to place audiences into pre-defined segments, like business travelers or luxury shoppers. The network serves smartphone banner display ads through its AdMatch platform based on location, behavioral profiles, and predictive analytics, and mediates any remaining traffic to outside networks. AdMatch is currently limited to Android OS. The platform works with more than 10,000 merchant advertisers, and says its ads provide four times the lift of traditional ads.
Using InMobi, publishers and developers can monetize their mobile products and tap into a network of more than 2,000 advertising partners. InMobi provides coverage across all mobile platforms, and gives publishers access to self-serve tools that they can use to gauge traffic and monetization. Using this information, publishers can make their own data-driven decisions. Publishers can also block advertisers whose ads are not appropriate for their sites. InMobi provides publishers with a 60/40 revenue share. The network’s publisher clients include ABC, Universal, and Fox.
Know of other mobile ad networks that local publishers should try? Leave a description in the comments.
Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.