Drawbridge, a mobile ad startup founded by former AdMob scientist Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, is officially taking its first two ad targeting products out of beta and launching them today.
Back in May, the company attracted some attention by raising funding from two of the best-known firms in venture capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital. At the time, Sivaramakrishnan described Drawbridge’s big idea — trying to improve mobile ad targeting by collecting data about user activity on the desktop web, mobile web, and mobile apps, then using “probabilistic and statistical inference models” to suggest which PC and mobile users are actually the same person using different devices.
Drawbridge has been running campaigns since September 2011, but now it’s making its products more widely available, and Sivaramakrishnan is providing more specifics about what the company is offering. There’s Drawbridge for Cross Screen Marketing, which allows companies to run mobile ad campaigns that retarget their web visitors. So for example a publisher could run a mobile campaign aimed at people who visited its website and try to convince them to download the mobile app. And there’s also Drawbridge for App Marketing, a product aimed specifically at mobile publishers and developers.
Sivaramakrishnan said Drawbridge is taking a different approach than most other app marketing products, because it’s not just trying to drive lots of installs at a low cost. Instead, it targets ads at the audience segments that are most likely to be valuable to the advertiser — “valuable” in this case could mean revenue, transactions, levels played, or whatever else the developer says is important.
Sivaramakrishnan said that Drawbridge has now matched 200 million users with their device, a number that’s growing by about 4 million users per day. She argued that it was important to reach that scale before taking the products out of beta.
“Advertising products are a funny beast,” she said. “You develop a product, but it’s only useful if you have scale.”
I feel like I’ve been hearing from a lot of new mobile ad targeting startups, so I asked Sivaramakrishnan how she sees the market developing. She argued that there are really two buckets: Companies trying to deliver more data-driven ad campaigns on mobile, and companies that are “truly executing cross-screen marketing.” The second bucket is really the “next frontier,” Sivaramakrishnan said, and that’s where Drawbridge has developed the most advanced technology.