Agencies Name Their Favorite Mobile Startups

The squeaky wheel gets the grease, they say, which is why mobile ad companies continue to spend bucket loads on PR and marketing hoping to attract a piece of what little mobile budget there is out there. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the vendors shouting the loudest have the best solutions, so we asked agencies which mobile ad companies and offerings are currently interesting them most. Here’s what they said:

Rich Ting, EVP, Global ECD mobile & social platforms, R/GA
One mobile startup that I’ve been tracking is Nomi, which is a platform to help retailers track customer interactions across multiple channels like online, mobile and retail. As all retailers move towards creating omni-channel experiences, many still struggle to close the measurement loop across those channels. I think Nomi fills a white space. The startup is still developing its product, but the promise of understanding more about your customers’ behaviors across channels (and ultimately using that knowledge to deliver better marketing and CRM programs) is quite compelling.

Mike Margolin, VP interactive marketing, RPA
We’ve been using DataPop’s ad creative optimization platform for search ads for a few years. It’s accelerated creative testing, helped drive up ad-quality scores and led to higher conversions. We recently started using them for mobile search ads too, with geography as an additional targeting element. I understand that for other marketers, they also are using geo and intent signals from Foursquare and Tripit apps to build and optimize ad creative on the fly. As we scale mobile ad buying one of our focuses will be on conversion efficiency. So we’ll look at startups like DataPop to help. Ads within mobile games also perform really well for us. Zynga launched its reward-based ads last fall with a Honda Accord ad and drove a ton of ROI for our clients. We’ve been iterating since hitting this sweet spot and now have ads running for the Honda Civic launch with another mobile gaming provider. Great engagement with brand messaging. Huge scale too.

Dirk Rients, VP mobile, Draftfcb
Zoove’s StarStar mobile-in-the-moment engagement platform lets brands quickly connect with people, targeting and delivering unique content across any media campaign type. The StarStar platform can reach U.S. consumers through direct partnerships with AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile, and it enables speedy access to apps, mobile websites, video, music, one-click purchasing, special deals, promotions and social networking capabilities. Experiences can be customized in real time to deliver relevant, local, engaging content based on four specific factors determined at the time of the call. Using any combination of location, carrier, device type and unique user targeting brands are able to dynamically deliver the right content to the right audience. The resulting data reports provide clients with an unprecedented level of insight into their mobile audiences.

Chris Theilen, digital planner, Digitaria
I get excited when mobile ad networks allow full-screen interactive ads instead of baby banners. The industry problem with mobile banners is high CTRs because of “fat finger” accidental clicks. Companies like Greystripe are starting to implement two-click conversions, where when you click the banner, you have the option to click through or close the ad. This is much more valuable to advertisers, especially when buying on a CPC basis. You genuinely know how many clicks are truly interested users versus those who have fat fingers.

Brandon Berger, chief digital officer, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide
I love the curated e-commerce space around niche categories, which mobile is critical for success. Zulilly, Fab, OKL, The Fancy. I think there is a critical new opportunity for brands to begin to look for incremental new e-commerce opportunities at the intersection of social, e-commerce and mobile. It’s still in its infancy but we will be seeing more and more as new retail channels pop up.

Pierre Lipton, chief creative officer, M&C Saatchi
I’m a nerd gamer, so I’m intrigued by Playstation’s announcement that it’s going to link iOS and Android to the Playstation 4, and by the Windows Phone and Xbox integrations. The fact that these things are happening with consoles, and the wider linking of devices, will present a huge number of opportunities for brands to engage with users. At its simplest, you could have a second-screen dashboard with ads on it, but there are all sorts of opportunities to have real-time correspondence to the game. A Nike or an Adidas could create an technology where the more you ran or walked for the week, the stronger your character became, for example.

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