Twitter acquired MoPub, a mobile app ad network, ad server, and real-time bidding exchange, for $350 million in stock back in 2013.
MoPub has around 5,000 apps on its platform, and it works with publishers and developers to help sell ads within their apps, by plugging into a network of around 150 demand-side platforms (DSPs,) one of which is Twitter. Last year one analyst predicted MoPub will bring in more than $500 million in annual revenue by 2017, up from an estimated $56 million in 2014.
Yet MoPub is still one of Twitter’s best-kept secrets. The company doesn’t break out revenues from MoPub in its earnings report (it sits in the “data licensing and other category,” which generated revenues of $147 million in 2014,) and it rarely releases news from the division, beyond quarterly marketplace reports about trends within the mobile app ecosystem, and a few other updates.
INTERNET COMPANIES MAKE billions of dollars by capturing one of the world’s most precious commodities: your attention. They need to amuse, amaze, entice, and intrigue you—and millions of users like you—to stay afloat and profit.
But figuring out what you want to read, watch, and see is harder than it looks. At Facebook, serving your wants and needs comes down to algorithms—click on something, and you’ll see more of that thing, and things like it. At Twitter, your desires are met via your choices—follow certain people, you’ll see updates from them. But, when it comes to channeling the most attention-grabbing content, it turns out that automation, or users left to their own devices, might not be enough.
Both Twitter and Facebook are competing with other tech giants, including Apple, Google, PayPal and the leading credit card companies to own the emerging mobile payment sector, which is immensely popular with consumers and has proven fertile territory for startups. More specifically, the leading technology companies are seeking an advantage in so-called peer-to-peer payments, which are typically smaller payments sent from one person to another. Individuals could use such payments, for example, when they are splitting a bill or to wire money.
Are you doing the bare minimum when it comes to your small business website? Just having a website is no longer enough if it ever was. You’ve got to take action to get potential customers to discover, engage with and buy from your business. And that means creating an integrated online marketing plan where all parts of your Web presence work together.
Deluxe Corporation recently polled small business owners to find out what they’re doing online. Here’s some of what they found:
Small business owners say word-of-mouth is their most important way of engaging with customers 73 percent. However, they don’t seem to realize that social media has become a crucial part of word-of-mouth. Just 21 percent say social media is an important way to engage with customers; in comparison, 40 percent say business cards are.
What about websites? While two-thirds of small business owners have a business website, that number is still way too small. As I mentioned earlier, having a website is the bare minimum these days. Small business owners are also falling short in what features they have on their website. Fewer than half have photos or videos; just 32 percent use search engine optimization SEO, and only 28 percent have reviews or social media share/follow buttons.
Like last year and the year before that, 2014 has been dubbed the “Year of Mobile” when ad dollars would start to catch up to smartphone usage. With major players like Facebook, Twitter and Google all pivoting to a mobile-first strategy, pundits claim this accelerated monetization as imminent. Unfortunately, there are fundamental hurdles inherent to the mobile ad ecosystem that must be cleared for this to become a reality.
Without a doubt, mobile marketing has fantastic potential, but we’re not there just yet. Outside of Facebook and Twitter, the majority of ad inventory available to marketers is the mobile banner, which has nearly the worst signal-to-noise ratio of any ad medium ever invented—second only to incentivized clicks. That means that the success of campaigns has almost no correlation to click performance data. Mobile game companies have consequently swallowed this market, buying ads based on inferred lifetime valuations LTV of customers.