Mobile advertising is poised to become a huge growth area, with research firm Kelsey Group seeing the market grow from just $160 million in 2008 to $3.1 billion in 2013. eMarketer projects mobile advertising spending in the US will balloon from $648 million in 2008 to over $3.3 billion in 2013.
While some believe search will account for the biggest chunk of the market, others expect geo-aware advertising, another way of bringing “relevant” ads to users, to have a bright future, too. This is where AdLocal, a location-based, self-service mobile ad platform that (re-)launched yesterday, comes in.
Offered by Sunnyvale-based Cirius Technologies USA, the platform has been around in Japan since 2006, currently commanding the largest share of location-based advertising in Japan’s $1 billion [PDF] mobile ad space. And now Cirius is ready to utilize the years of experience the company gained in the world’s most competitive mobile market in the US (AdLocal isn’t available outside America and Japan at this point).
AdLocal allows advertisers to manage their campaigns and publishers to add their mobile sites or applications by themselves through a Web-based dashboard. By locating a mobile user’s physical location via GPS, cell identification and other methods, the mobile ad network can tell when a consumer is close to a specific business address and then serves up tailor-made ads for that business in real-time.
Publishers can put advertisements into their iPhone and Android apps through the so-called AdLocal Delivery API and the AdLocal SDK (which is currently Beta for Android). SDKs for other platforms are currently in the works. Advertisers can create ads themselves by using a wizard and then specifying the desired locations, budgets and dates to display their ads (deals, promotions, coupons etc.).
And boosting relevance this way seems to work, at least in Japan. Cirius Technologies claims mobile advertisers using AdLocal saw CTRs growing by 395% after switching from non-local to local ads on a year-on-year basis. Publishers apparently saw their average CPMs jumping 826%. The company is expecting similar results for advertisers in the US. (If you’re one of those, you might want to give AdLocal a spin before their special $50 trial campaign is over.)
There are quite a few companies ready for the location-based advertising gold rush. Startups operating in this space include Acuity Mobile (recently acquired by geo giant NAVTEQ), AppLoop for the iPhone (deadpooled earlier this year), Placecast (which raised $5 million last month for its opt-in solution), AdInfuse (with adInMotion) and Yowza (which is a popular geo-aware iPhone app for coupons).