Singtel’s Amobee Buys AdJitsu To Take Mobile Ads Into The Third Dimension

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Another bit of consolidation in the mobile advertising space — this time with an ad-tech twist: Amobee, the mobile ad company that itself was the subject of a takeover by Singtel only two months ago, has now bought an ad startup of its own: AdJitsu, a specialist in “3D” advertising technologies that let users “touch” objects in ads and explore them.

Trevor Healy, the CEO of Amobee, says that financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed. Prior to the acquisition, AdJitsu was a wholly-owned division of another mobile advertising company, Cooliris.

AdJitsu had already built up a client base of big brands since being founded in August 2011: they include Nokia, BMW and (TechCrunch’s owner) AOL, which uses its technology in its AOL Editions app.

The acquisition announced today signifies how companies working in the area of mobile display advertising are looking for technologies that give them a differentiating edge over their competitors with services that make advertisements more engaging. This is all the more important as the medium matures and the novelty of mobile ads continues to wear off.

“Mobile advertising can be quite static and pedestrian,” admits Healy. “With something like AdJitsu, you can navigate around the product and consumers like it.” He claims that ads using 3D technology produce twice the levels of engagement and click-throughs as regular display ads.

Another reason why Amobee may have focused on AdJitsu is because of the Singtel connection.

Singtel, which bought Amobee in March for $321 million, uses the Amobee ad network across its pan-Asian footprint of 430 million users, and as Healy points out, “The Asian market loves 3D technology. It plays very well there.” But he also adds that the company has “many advertisers in North America and Europe that also want to explore using more 3D services in their ads.”

One company that doesn’t use AdJitsu’s technology, however, is Apple — although, given the company’s focus on rich media ads for iAd, this seems like it would be a good opportunity. Healy says that he has yet to talk to the iPhone/iPad giant but that he would “love to”: “I think this would be a great extension for iAd,” he noted.

We will probably see more deals like this one continuing to be announced. Specifically, there may be a lot more mobile consolidation to come in markets like Asia. Russell Buckley, formerly of AdMob (part of Google) and now an angel investor and advisor, notes that in China alone there are around 200 ad networks, with most of them set up in the past two years.

AdJitsu’s team is based in Palo Alto and will continue to remain there for the time being. Amobee has offices in Redwood City, Calif., as well as throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and Latin America.