Consolidation is Rampant in 2016 Marketing Technology Industry

mobvistaWhile the years 2014 and 2015 were each once heralded as “the year of ad tech consolidation,” 2016 may easily blow away anything previously witnessed in this sector. Those years, it appears, were just the warm-up.

Merger and acquisition (M&A) moves in the marketing technology, advertising technology, and digital content sectors have mushroomed in 2016 as visionary firms seek to offer a panoply of complimentary services.

In the first quarter of this year, there were 72 M&A events — reportedly the second-highest quarter for such activity since early 2015. Digital content sector transactions alone spawned 34 of them, with seven pegged at valuations of more than $ 100 million.

What’s the incentive for all of these consolidations? Basically, it streamlines things for marketers when they can get most of or all of the services they need from one provider. In tandem, companies that offer everything from a platform to ad serving technology, targeting technology, data analysis, and/or other services are better positioned to grow and prosper.

Mobile, of course, is the driving force. In fact, researchers forecast that by 2019, mobile ad spending will rise to $ 65.87 billion and will constitute 72.2 percent of total digital ad spend. It will result in substantial demand for digital marketing and advertising services. That’s a huge incentive to companies that want to serve digital marketers.

While decreased competition can be a common drawback of consolidations (more than a few watch acquisition moves by giants like Facebook and Google with some trepidation), there are also benefits: increased standardization, better ad quality, clarity and consistency for marketers, and more a more efficient menu of tools for digital advertisers.

What company is among the best of the digital firms pursuing an M&A strategy? One notable contender is Mobvista. Earlier this year, this shrewd and forward-thinking Asian mobile ad platform — a leader in its market space —  purchased Denmark-based GameAnalytics, a behavioral analytics platform for game developers.

“The acquisition will help China’s Mobvista extend its international reach and help game developers simplify their businesses by providing an ad-tech platform that helps drive revenue and lifetime value,” noted a report from Venture Beat that heralded the acquisition. “Mobvista said it chose GameAnalytics for its rich player insights, which complement Mobvista’s proprietary ad tech and unique native ad mediation service.”

Today, Mobvista is well positioned because of its resources and talent to capitalize on rich market opportunities made possible by the company’s far-sighted steps in recent years. The Chinese ad platform is now in rapid expansion mode after its success in user acquisition and app monetization.

It has been a short but very busy journey for Mobvista. When the firm first started in 2013, it specialized in helping app companies achieve user acquisition in key regional markets such as Southeast Asia, the United States, and India.

According to Mobvista’s VP for business development Yuan Xi, the company was “privileged” to benefit from the growing mobile market and globalization trend in China.

“Advertising beyond the China market was a major trend within the Internet industry in China during that time,” explained Xi. “Some big names in the industry, like Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent were our initial clients. Through the campaign solutions (we) provided, these clients saw our capabilities in app marketing.”

In recent months, the company has diversified its clientele (it now serves a global roster of companies) and now offers them more comprehensive and innovative marketing solutions. Currently, Mobvista has established 11 offices globally (FYI:Hong Kong / Guangzhou / Beijing / San Francisco / New Delhi / Singapore / Minneapolis / SartellJarkata / London / Copenhagen), with local teams based in every major market. Some of its clients include Uber, Paytm, VNG, Lazada, etc.

We’re told that overseas business accounts for 40% of total revenue.

“We’ve evolved from a business-driven company to a technology-driven company, offering our clients top-notch advertising solutions in the industry, through ensuring higher efficiency and precision, and introducing automated solutions in our marketing process,” Xi said.

One move Mobvista made right away was to purchase NativeX, a U.S.-based mobile advertising platform that offers native ad technology for mobile apps and games.

“End-consumers prefer native advertising to banner popups within the app, as the experience is less intrusive and follows the form of the app or even the news feeds,” Xi explained. “We’ve received feedback from our clients that the consumer experience has been positive with native advertising, and we believe that native advertising will reign in Asia for some time.”

In a mobile marketing universe dominated by internet giants, Mobvista has gained a firm foothold in industry rankings. One reason is that Mobvista’s traffic currently takes in more than 240 countries and regions. Its robust development —backed by its business model and strategy — is rarely seen in the competitive mobile marketing industry. In fact, in the AppsFlyer Performance Index released in February, 2016, Mobvista ranked Number 3 in the Android Ranking (non-gaming) following Facebook and Google AdWords and Number 1 in Asia. As for its iOS strength, Mobvista was the only Chinese advertising network included in this ranking for two consecutive quarters.

Now finalizing a funding round of U.S. $ 100 million in order to pursue further digital tech prowess, Mobvista already offers a variety of performance-based SSP ad formats, including Native Feed Ads, App Wall, Rewarded Video, and Interstitial. Working with 10,000 publishers, the company handles 15,000 apps and boasts a 97 to 99 percent fill rate. Ads requested top 5 billion.

In addition, Mobvista’s precise targeting pipeline is powered by three terabytes of data. Its user-based targeting is ideal for marketing campaigns based on location. Workflow is automated and optimized via an advanced algorithm.

Mobvista’s technologically advanced mobile ad platform — which benefits from user targeting based on customer objectives — helps a variety of clients.

“As a critical component of our full stack product strategy, our self-developed native ad mediation platform enables advertisers to target users more precisely and thus lower the cost of user acquisition. For publishers, this product substantially increases their yielding. What we are offering is a one-stop solution for app developers: from user acquisition, data analysis to app monetization, uderpinning this whole process is a SaaS model,” said Xi.

Mobvista is one of a roster of firms focused on smart acquisitions designed to create value for clients, as Snapchat did when it acquired Bitstrips (for an estimated $ 100 million) and Microsoft as it scooped up mobile keyboard firm Swiftkey (for an estimated $ 250 million).

And the beat will go on. Analysts tracking merger and acquisition activity suggest that marketing technology firms associated with activity like data analytics are likely targets for future deals we may see in 2016.

There’s no way to perfectly foretell the future, but two things are certain: there will be amazing new digital technologies and consolidations will bring them together for marketers. And one more thing: Mobvista will remain at the center of this whirlwind.

The post Consolidation is Rampant in 2016 Marketing Technology Industry appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

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How To Tell The Difference Between Marketing Automation and Email Marketing

If you’re confused about the difference between “email marketing” and “marketing automation”, you’re not alone. Even seasoned marketers may struggle to sift through the marketing speak to find the tool that provides real value. This jargon can make it seem like the lines between marketing automation and email marketing are blurred, when in reality, the distinction can be fairly simple.

Entire books have been written on the subject, so we’re going to stay high-level. Read on to learn three key lessons:

  • The simple way to tell the difference between marketing automation and email marketing
  • Why you might want to choose marketing automation instead of email marketing
  • Four ways you can better engage your audience with a marketing automation strategy

The Simple Way to Tell the Difference Between Marketing Automation and Email Marketing

Let’s start with the definitions:

  • Email marketing is a tool that helps send mass email, track replies and report on them.
  • Marketing automation is a solution that allows you to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.

So email marketing is a part of marketing automation. Email marketing is a tool, while marketing automation is a comprehensive strategy. With email marketing, you only control email sending. With marketing automation, you can automate the process of interacting with prospects and customers through all channels, including email.

Why Choose Marketing Automation Over Email Marketing?

So why is it better to use a comprehensive strategy like marketing automation instead of just straightforward email marketing? For many people, using only email marketing is like trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle with only a few of the pieces.

Do you:

  • Find your salespeople complaining about the quality of leads your marketing team is delivering?
  • Sell different products (or services) to different demographics?
  • Need an easier way to create and send targeted, multi-touch email campaigns?
  • Want to automate and customize communications based on customer behavior and titles?
  • Want to know which of your marketing campaigns are the most effective AND justify additional resources?

If you answered yes to any of those, email marketing alone won’t cut it for you. Let’s dive into a few key features that help justify marketing automation.

Four ways you can better engage your audience with a marketing automation strategy

Lead Segmentation
For businesses with multiple products or services, it’s a reasonable assumption that not all buyers need or want the same thing. A software provider for small businesses selling separate solutions for both accounting and human resources has different product lines to consider. Now, imagine that entire equation again with the understanding that multiple audiences might be interested in the this range of services.

These accounting or HR tools could be suitable for anything from law firms to restaurants, and while the functionality of the product might not change much, the messaging to each group would be quite distinct. With more products and more audiences in play, marketers need to differentiate these groups to determine first who they’re engaging with to help inform decisions around how to engage with them.

With a better understanding of who prospects are and what matters to them, with the right automation tools, marketers can set up campaigns that recommend additional content they’re likely to care about to create a personalized experience for each client and prospect.

While email is one avenue through which this content could be delivered, one also has the option of better personalizing the on-page experience with visual or textual calls to action for each user. If a blog on a particular topic appeals to a reader, then perhaps they’d be interested in a downloadable e-book exploring
the topic in greater depth that would serve as a lead-capture device.

Customer Success:

In order to display content to where our prospects were in the buying cycle, we used Pardot’s dynamic content builder on the CollegePlus website. For example, the message and call to action in our bottom welcome bar changed based on what stage the prospect was in. It was easy to set up in Pardot and our marketing team saw an increase in conversion rates after implementation.
Allie Cappitelli | CollegePlus

List Creation & Workflow Management
As you gather more data on your prospects, you’ll likely use the information captured to create lists around these personas and better market to them individually.

These lists can be used for all sorts of highly targeted activity, ranging from identifying which customers have engaged in a past campaign on a particular topic, to targeting users by geographic area for local events. Once in a list, Pardot will allow you to create workflows, sequences, and drips to hyper-specific sections of your audience, ensuring they won’t be drowned in information and can focus on what’s most relevant to them.

Lead Scoring
With countless users engaging with the site in myriad ways, the potential for automation isn’t limited to creating unique promotions and laser-focused messaging, but helps bridge the gap between marketing and sales by helping folks tell you when they’re ready to buy.

In the hands of a savvy sales team, imagine the power of knowing the second a user who has been an avid reader of your blog and whitepapers decides to review the pricing page. Lead scoring systems assign points to a contact based on how they’ve engaged with you. As they continue to open emails, and visit pages of varying depth you can monitor their decision-making process and know it’s time to strike when they reach a particular threshold, rather than bombard them too soon or miss them too late.

This approach helped Pardot customer, Mediacurrent, increase their qualified leads by 129% YOY.

While marketing automation has a lot more value, it may seem daunting. The good news is that, at Pardot, our Customer Success Group is there for you at every corner. Even if you fully implement only one of the additional features that marketing automation offers, you’ll see a return on both time saved and new, high-quality leads. And isn’t that what every marketer wants?

Email Marketing – Pardot