In the second half of the mobile local SuperForm run by BIA/Kelsey’s own Mike Boland, the ILM:10 audience got to hear some key messages and metrics from leaders in the mobile local space including Where, xAD, Verve Wireless and Chitika.
Let’s get straight to some of the metrics and sound bytes from the session…
Dipanshu “D” Sharma, founder of local mobile ad network xAD, reported that the company experiences 10 percent to 12 percent clickthrough rates on its mobile local ads while it claims that competitors like Google are seeing clickthrough rates in the 5 percent to 6 percent range. Sharma also noted that xAD’s call rate on clickthroughs is in the 25 percent to 30 percent range. He believes that user interface, compelling content and new offers have had a lot to do with the positive performance of the ad network to date. Moreover, Sharma reports that 60 percent of xAD’s revenues are local-local in nature, perhaps a bit surprising to the audience as the thought has been that national is driving the mobile local ad bus.
Walt Doyle, CEO of Where, spoke a bit about his company’s transition from a consumer facing app provider to a mobile ad network. The profitable Boston-based company with 75 employees has recently launched Where 3.0 as well as acquired LocalGinger a deal-a-day provider to provide location-based daily deal offers. Doyle said Where’s approach has been evolutionary, not revolutionary and cited 3 R’s to how it has evolved: reach, relevancy and redemption. When asked about a self-service model for mobile local ads, Doyle said Facebook may be part of the solution. He believes Facebook’s do-it-yourself model is helping to pave a “great educational path that we can draft on.”
Greg Hallinan, cofounder of Verve Wireless, noted that Verve has not deviated from its business plan in five years, and that plan has always been to focus on mobile and local. In particular, Verve has seen the best opportunity in trusted local brands, but now with a recently secured $7 million in financing it’s time to take mobile and local to the next level. Verve works with 750 partners throughout the world, including large media companies, particularly in the newspaper and broadcast space. Hallinan stressed the idea that mobile ads are sold, not bought and, for now, the relationships it has with its partners are key. Moreover, he stressed: “Mobile is now. It’s a real line item, real dollars and if you’re not there yet, partner.”
Dan Ruby, director of research at Chitika, holds an interesting position. He runs the research arm of an online ad network. Chitika is a leading provider of metrics in the online and mobile space, a bit of an unusual position given its core focus as an ad network. Ruby’s job is essentially to analyze the data from Chitika’s publisher network to help spot meaningful trends for the online and mobile space. Ruby talked about the importance of local and how it compares with general search results. He indicated that local queries see a 38 percent higher clickthrough rate than on general search results. Ruby noted that the closer the user comes to actual content the more likely he or she is to engage and the more interesting content that is provided, the better.