Burstly direct ad sales good news for mobile ad buyers

Burstly is an innovative new mobile ad network based out in the US.  They have some nice tools for developers like a link exchange platform and ad mediation/ ad optimization for managing multiple ad networks.

They have also just launched something that should be interested to anyone operating on the buy-side of the mobile ad market.  According to techcrunch Burstly have rolled out a new feature for developers which is the ability to sell advertising in apps directly – bypassing mobile ad networks like admob.   The app developer just integrates the burstly platform into the PC version of their website and advertisers can use it to buy inventory.  You can target by geography, handset and so on.

This is potentially very big news for mobile ad buyers including affiliate marketers, app promotors and so on.   Blind networks like admob (where you can’t choose where your ad will be shown) have been great for providing scale and reach and good device, operator and geographic targeting capabilities but most people find that the traffic is fairly low quality – i.e. it doesn’t really convert well into sales or other actions.  Admob have done a lot to combat click fraud but you cant help but wonder if there isnt a good proportion of the traffic they send that isn’t for real.  Also whilst you can target by geography or device and so on the only control you have over where your ad is shown is to choose a broad category like “communities” “entertainment”.    If you read the mobyaffiliates blog post on mobile PPC affiliate marketing on admob you can see that using traffic that you know the source of has a huge impact compared to buying PPC traffic from mobile ad networks.  In fact, using our own traffic rather than admob lead to 25 times more conversions!!

So if you can now choose what sites to advertise on using Burstly this could make a huge difference to the success of any mobile marketing you are carrying out.  We are talking more conversions whether that is sales, downloads of an app or other measures of engagement.  Being able to choose the exact site you are advertising on will not only remove concerns about click fraud but also allow you to access the type of users you are looking for more precisely.   This could potentially be very powerful and smart mobile marketers should be filling their boots with this new source of quality inventory.

The issue is whether Burstly can sign up enough apps to the platform to provide sufficient scale.  Also Burstly will need to offer advertisers a centralised place to find all the publishers/ developers that are selling direct.  There is a risk that ad networks will boot publishers off their platforms if they start selling their own inventory but this seems unlikely.  After all there are plenty of ad networks out there and if one bans a particular publishers others will still be willing to work with them.  In the online world it is quite common for ad network and direct sales to sit alongside each other.

To date, direct ad sales in mobile has only been for the biggest players like operators or major brands.  Most people have sold via ad networks like admob or via agencies such as 4th Screen advertising.  The traffic sold through the likes of 4th Screen advertising can be expensive, is often priced on a CPM basis not CPC and it’s not easy to buy small amounts. Going directly to specific apps or sites yourself is time consuming and its hard to manage the campaign except on a tenancy basis unless you are going to track the conversions yourself using a mobile analytics solution of some kind (time consuming).   This move from Burstly promises to change this and let you buy ads directly in a very easy way.   So if you are involved in buying mobile advertising this is something you should definitely be onto.

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