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New Mobile Marketplace Blends Apps, Ads and Analytics

New Mobile Marketplace Blends Apps, Ads and Analytics

The mobile advertising industry is starting to zero in on the kinds of analytics that advertisers and app publishers crave when they see smartphone and tablet users face-deep in their devices. Flurry is the latest to offer a platform that combines real-time bids on ad inventory with app user data -- information that doesn't just include the kind of device and gender of user, but creates personas focusing on a wide variety of user interests.

By Enid Burns
04/10/13 8:00 AM PT

Mobile app measurement provider Flurry on Tuesday opened its mobile Flurry Marketplace advertising platform, a real time bidding offering that will help publishers adjust their ad prices by backing inventory with analytics data. Advertisers will be able to use the data to target ads in smartphone and tablet apps by segments such as device, location or even interests.

Flurry has wrapped its Flurry Marketplace into Flurry AppSpot, a suite of offerings that includes a data-powered platform for publishers -- the supply-side of mobile ad inventory. The suite also includes Flurry Personas, a data analytics platform will help drive the Marketplace offering.

Data-Backed Bidding

Marketplace provides a bidding platform for advertisers buying from demand-side platforms and agency trading desks. The platform allows advertisers and publishers to set the price on ad inventory.

"We have a supply-side platform for app publishers, which handles app serving and mediation," Rahul Bafna, Flurry director of product told the E-Commerce Times. "Today we are launching a real-time bidding marketplace. Any inventory they had was sold by ad networks, which was undervalued. This platform helps optimize the revenue for the publisher."

The platform also helps advertisers buy ad inventory that is targeted for their audience.

"Typically when a publisher sends inventory to an ad network, they're doing it based on historical performance," said Bafna.

Flurry, however, provides insight into the audience. Advertisers can target several factors including age, gender, device, geography, application category, application, and Flurry Personas. The latter category includes vertical interest data such as auto enthusiasts, business travelers, social gamers, sports fans and tech/gadget enthusiast. There are 20-30 segments in Flurry Personas, Bafna said.

Personas looks at the apps on a device, and what apps have been used in the last 30 days to determine a user segment.

Platform Positioning

There are currently bidding platforms for mobile ads, but the rapid growth in the segment means more marketplaces would be welcome.

"We've seen RTB and programmatic buying take off more recently in the mobile world," Mike Boland, senior analyst at BIA/Kelsey told the E-Commerce Times. "Mobile has been trailing the desktop."

Inventory in mobile apps is in need of a better solution. "We're seeing a lot of undervalued ads, we're seeing a lot more supply," said Boland. "One way to reverse that trend is through targeting."

"The RTB bidding system is kind of an industry standard at this point," said Bafna. "There's a handful of supply-side platforms in the mobile space. The differentiator is that we're including our Flurry Personas data into it."

Data Profiles

The Flurry Personas data comes from the apps themselves. Flurry provides a software development kit that app developers use to gain analytics. The company reports that it has more than 300,000 apps in its network, and sees activity across more than 1 billion mobile smartphones and tablets each month. It tracks what goes on within each app built on the SDK, as well as other activities that takes place on the device.

"I think Flurry is positioned pretty well because their core product is an analytics platform. They're able to leverage that, and a lot of really cool targeting. They can do some interesting things on audience segmentation," said Boland.

Building that audience for the AppSpot platform has been a long time in the making. Last week Flurry announced that it reached the one billion device milestone. This volume helps build a network that can deliver the type of data needed for advertisers to target ads. It built that network by providing the analytics for free.

"That is something they gave away for free as a loss leader," said Boland. "Giving that away for free now allows them to gain use of that data. I see that as phase two -- utilize existing scale to build an ad marketplace."

It's similar to a freemium model, he added. "So far that freemium model has been to provide this for free, and there's been certain upsells. There's a critical mass of publishers, they're working with that and they can gain scale."

Advertisers aren't the only ones to benefit from the Flurry Personas data. Publishers have been able to use the analytics for some time.

"The publisher itself uses the analytics to track users," said Bafna. Data points include "session length, frequency, to improve the app. We use that same data to aggregate them into different Persona categories."


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