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Most of the money spent on mobile ads is from brand advertisers and agencies. And the targeting methods they use, via ad networks, are mostly borrowed from the online tactics they know best.

This involves branding and some direct response, but the targeting is woefully behind what mobile devices are capable of (see past commentary/rant on this subject). Geotargeting for example is generally done using the blunt desktop method of city level or DMA targeting.

MoVoxx is stepping up to not only geotarget with greater granularity, but also tap into the erstwhile elusive SMB and mid-market segments. These have mostly been missing from the world of mobile marketing due to recession (the “experimental” factor) and availability.

Moving Down Market

But like we saw online over the past decade, advertising will move down market toward the SMB segments. This will happen through a combination of SMB learning curves, better self-serve tools (see what AdLocal and Jumptap are doing) and direct local sales channels that bundle digital advertising.

MoVoxx will work with the latter and has already formed deals with Citysearch, Marchex and iPromote (for national advertisers it has direct deals with McDonald’s and others). It’s creating SMB landing pages for all these businesses to which it sends traffic via SMS and in-app ads.

Overall, it has the scale to pull this off because it has 300 million monthly impressions from its SMS network (including Reuters and ChaCha) and 400 million from its in-app network. It focuses on these two formats, says CEO Alec Andronikov (who founded inFreeDA, which sold to AT&T), because they are easiest to geotarget.

A MoVoxx ad placed within a Reuters news alert or ChaCha SMS query, for example, will include a geotargeted message with a link to one of the aforementioned SMB landing pages (see graphic below). These ads are behaviorally targeted over time for a given user, given SMS repeat usage.

Chasing the Post Click

MoVoxx will get paid for the SMS clickthrough and the elusive “post click” activity on the SMB landing page. This can include calls, clicks, coupons and other locally relevant calls to action. Here a revenue split exists with the partner, such as Citysearch.

One of the benefits here is utilizing an existing channel into the SMB marketplace (i.e., Citysearch inside sales force). It carries the simplicity of bundling a mobile component to an existing online campaign. Citysearch meanwhile gets to build mobile traffic to its advertisers — something they’re increasingly asking for.

Next steps. according to Andronikov. are to find more SMB channels to monetize the massive scale it has been able to build up (700 million monthly impressions). In other words, somewhere to send this locally relevant traffic.

Given increasing interest in mobile marketing at all levels — including SMBs, according to our survey data — MoVoxx appears to be ahead of the curve among ad networks. Look for mobile marketing to continue to move down market this year.

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  1. Reuters discontinued their SMS services last October. ChaCha does 300 million messages per month?

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