Top 3 Themes at Boston Mobile-Ad Firms: Timing, Targeting, & TV

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specific audiences. Adelphic can, in principle, help a restaurant chain tailor a breakfast ad campaign to reach, say, mobile users in the Boston and New York areas, of a specific age demographic, who tend to browse music or sports content from 7 to 10 o’clock in the morning. Doing this efficiently while reaching large audience segments is what differentiates Adelphic, says co-founder and president Jennifer Lum.

Like Albright, Lum has experience from m-Qube, Quattro, and Apple. Her Adelphic co-founder and CEO, Changfeng Wang, adds his experience from Enpocket and Nokia, as well as analytics work at various companies. Together they decided to tackle the problem of helping mobile marketers reach the right audiences quickly and at scale—which required a new kind of data platform.

“Because online ad-tech has evolved in a very impressive way, so much infrastructure has been built there,” says Lum. “People have been fixated on that—how to extend it to mobile, or mimic how online has evolved. That hasn’t worked. It really takes a different approach.”

Meanwhile, more traditional ad businesses are still being built, and most fall into one of three categories: ad networks, ad exchanges, and demand-side platforms (which help advertisers manage multiple exchanges and optimize campaigns—see Boston firm DataXu). “The pivots have stopped and the ecosystem has crystallized,” says Victor Milligan, the chief marketing officer at Nexage, a mobile-ad exchange that specializes in real-time bidding for advertisers. “People are coming to terms with what mobile is and what it isn’t.”

Milligan sees some interesting parallels between mobile advertising and the smart-grid energy industry, where he spent a few years running strategy and marketing for Martin Dawes Analytics. The fields both depend on analytics, transparency, and speed, he says. “Technology-dependent markets will go closer and closer to real time,” he says. “It’s true in energy and it’s true in mobile.” While the smart grid promises to help utilities adapt to changes in electricity supply and demand on the fly, a mobile ad exchange like Nexage … Next Page »

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