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Zumobi Featured in New Forrester Report: Mobile Advertising - It's Time To Get Personal

Dump Your Desktop Approach For Integrated, Individualized Mobile Ads Nearly a third of the world's population is equipped with smartphones, and saturation reaches more than two-thirds in...

Dump Your Desktop Approach For Integrated, Individualized Mobile Ads

Nearly a third of the world's population is equipped with smartphones, and saturation reaches more than two-thirds in major markets like Hong Kong, the UK, and the US. This creates a huge mobile advertising opportunity: Marketers can reach a sizable audience with hypertargeted messages, and all industry players — from agencies to publishers to ad tech vendors — stand to profit. But although mobile ad investment is growing and the market is ripe with vendors offering programmatic solutions, the reality of this market still lags behind the potential. This report will explain the opportunity and hurdles within the mobile advertising market today and what marketers, agencies, publishers, and advertising technology vendors have to do to help the industry reach its potential.

FORRESTER REPORT: Mobile Advertising: It's Time To Get Personal

April 16, 2014

By: Jennifer Wise with Melissa Parrish, Susan Bidel, Thomas Husson, Olivia French

To learn more access the full report here.

Zumobi CEO Talks Video, Mobile CRM Platform Launch For Marketers

Zumobi, a Seattle-based mobile media and advertising technology company that supplies integrated app content to brands and publishers, launched Wednesday the Zumobi Brand Integration Plat...

Zumobi, a Seattle-based mobile media and advertising technology company that supplies integrated app content to brands and publishers, launched Wednesday the Zumobi Brand Integration Platform for Marketers.

Zumobi operates premium mobile app network The Zumobi Network and has worked with publishing partners like Hearst Digital Media and MSN to monetize its mobile apps through its rich media platform and developer kits.

One of the traditional challenges app developers face is cracking the code on user retention and in-app engagement, but Zumobi CEO Ken Willner says this is where the company is focused on helping mobile marketers make headway. He spoke with AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: Can you bring us up to speed on Zumobi and what you do? KEN WILLNER: Zumobi has been in the mobile apps space close to eight years now and pre-iPhone. We are able to create very immersive content and brand experiences in mobile applications. The common phrasing now is “content marketing” or “native advertising,“ but essentially we’re creating content and advertising experiences that help [marketers] deliver through our platform inside of mobile applications.

What’s next? The next wrinkle or evolution of our platform is we’ve been asked over the last six to eight months by some of our brand clients about helping them enable these kinds of rich branded content experiences inside of their own apps. So the nuance here is that whereas before, we were providing a paid media opportunity, we’re now extending that to owned media and brands are using their own apps as a canvas to communicate with their customers using content and that’s the new extension of the platform.

What need does this address? Consumer-facing Fortune 500 companies like banks, airlines, hotels and pharma, [all] have their own mobile and tablet applications. They typically got those out to market quickly as utility apps, with functionality like “book a hotel room, check your account balance, print out your boarding pass.” They were always quite functional and still are, but haven’t provided a mechanism for those companies to talk to, cross-sell or upsell to their customers before – some of these CRM capabilities – and we want to enable that through this extension of our platform.

What are the components? The branded content module enables a brand to deliver RSS feeds or video or any kind of branded content to customers. The Partner Marketing module is quite important because most brands today have third-party marketing relationships such an airline and a credit card partner, or a destination hotel partner. This module is database-driven and enables these brands to enable their marketing partners to deliver offers to their user base in a very selective, targeted way and through cross-promotion. The third module is the mobile media module, which is an ad-serve product that can deliver a derivative of digital ad campaigns which might be running or even those same campaigns, inside of a brand’s own app to their own customer base. This can also include blogs or social content, but any form of content they want to deliver their own content.

Zumobi launched mobile video ad formats in the fall that brand clients Nissan and Corona have used. What’s the biggest issue with mobile video? The uptake on that unit has been pretty compelling. The thesis behind that was that mobile video in particular is pretty hot. Advertisers are quite interested in that format, but inventory is constrained. There’s a certain amount of video in mobile and on the Web in general and a lot of it is pre- or post-roll and what we wanted to do with that product was create video inventory where it didn't exist prior, so we could help publishers create an offering that brand advertisers could take advantage of, that was not a blocking interstitial. Interstitials tend to annoy users, particularly if you block all the content and it’s a midpoint between a blocking interstitial and a pre-roll so it auto plays video but in a way that can be closed out easily and does not take over a whole page. That way if a user is interested they can click through, go to a full landing page and get the whole video experience. We wanted to create a unit that didn't exist before that has all the good characteristics of delivering video for advertisers, but not the quality of taking over the content experience, which is a problem.

What’s the greatest challenge for brand advertisers with in-app messaging and content? There are a lot of form factors, devices, screens and operating systems. There is a complexity to the business in general. [One of the major problems I’ve seen is the] concepts that worked on desktop Web were immediately transported to mobile. I’m on the IAB Native Advertising committee, and I have to say that brand advertisers have woken up to the mobile opportunity and are realizing that there is a lot more that can be done on this smaller screen if you have the thought leadership and ambition to do it.

Can you talk about your customer base, impressions served and headcount? On the advertising side, I can say with confidence that 75% of (companies on the 100 Leading National Advertisers Index) have used Zumobi in one form or another. On the publisher side, we think about it in two ways. We have direct, first-party publishing relationships where we have direct relationships with the media companies where we produced the app ourselves, or we have our software development kit (SDK) inside of the app, and through our direct and extended network, we probably have a couple million premium uniques there and a couple hundred million impressions. And then we have third-party relationships where we can extend our ad units and advertising capabilities into any IAB/MRAID (Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definitions)-compliant app. Over the last four years, we have seen significant growth – certainly in the high double-digit percentages, but I can’t really disclose profitability and revenues. We are at 28 people now.

Read the full article here on Ad Exchanger to learn more.

Zumobi Announces ZBi For Marketers, a Breakthrough In-App Content and Messaging Platform For Brands

First-of-Its-Kind Platform Enables Marketers to Easily Deliver Highly-Relevant Branded Content and Partner Promotions to Consumers Within Their Mobile Apps Seattle, Washington – February...

First-of-Its-Kind Platform Enables Marketers to Easily Deliver Highly-Relevant Branded Content and Partner Promotions to Consumers Within Their Mobile Apps

Seattle, Washington – February 26, 2014 – Zumobi, a leading mobile media and technology company, today announced the unveiling of its Zumobi Brand Integration (ZBi) Platform for Marketers, allowing companies to integrate dynamic branded content into their mobile apps in real-time without the hassles associated with long-lead development efforts, continual app updates or cumbersome technical issues. ZBi helps brands transform their utility apps into targeted channels for branded content, partner marketing and customer communication.

eMarketer reported that 83% of company executives felt that the most important function of a mobile app was communication with customers. With the new ZBi platform, brands can take their marketing strategy to the next level by leveraging anonymous data on their customer’s app usage, behavior and preferences for improved marketing insight. Through this important new CRM channel, brands can deepen customer loyalty and increase user engagement while also establishing lucrative new in-app revenue streams through exclusive marketing partnerships.

The ZBi platform, based on Zumobi’s award winning technology, enables brands to connect with their consumers in ways that are highly engaging, yet organic to the app experience through a suite of in-app content modules:

• Branded Content Module – Provides targeted, brand-relevant content and messaging to specific users based on their preferences.

• Partner Marketing Module – Presents partner marketing offers and special promotions that are of interest to the app user.

• Mobile Media Module – Extends the brand’s mobile media campaigns into their native app – including embedded video and in-steam, dynamic ads.

• Targeted Push Notifications – Alerts app users with relevant branded messages based on their preferences.

“To be highly effective in today’s digital world, brands need to harness both content and data to drive meaningful and relevant conversations with their customers,” said Ken Willner, CEO of Zumobi. “Mobile apps are an increasingly important environment for customer interaction and our ZBi platform provides an excellent way for brands to enhance and strengthen their customer relationships.”

Learn more about our ZBi platform and ZBi For Marketers here.

About Zumobi

Zumobi is a leading mobile media and technology company that partners with top brands and publishers to enable integrated app content and advertising experiences on smartphones and connected devices. With over 20 early patents filed on mobile UI and technology, Zumobi has been driving innovation in mobile media since 2006. To learn more, visit www.zumobi.com or follow Zumobi on Twitter @Zumobi.

Zumobi PR Contact:

Andrea Bruch, Zumobi | Andrea.Bruch@Zumobi.com | 206.515.7690

Apps 2.0: Can Brands Lead the Mobile App Evolution?

History inevitably repeats itself. When the World Wide Web was first introduced, brands of all sizes felt a strong sense of urgency to create a web presence regardless of its partial func...

History inevitably repeats itself. When the World Wide Web was first introduced, brands of all sizes felt a strong sense of urgency to create a web presence regardless of its partial functionality, modest quality or limited scalability. Over time, as web marketers and developers became more savvy, the features and performance of webpages became personalized, continually setting new standards for acceptable website.

Fast forward to today. A similar trajectory is happening with the rise of mobile apps. The release of the first generation iPhone in June of 2007 sparked the origin of the app ecosystem where companies scrambled to quickly create an app just to say they had a mobile presence. During this first phase of mobile app creation, most were buggy and functionality was scarce. In many cases, apps were static versions of a brand’s website that were not optimized for the smaller screen and had little, if any, personalization. Breakthroughs were made when consumers could actually login and access personal information but for many the app crashed in the process.

Today, the mobile app landscape has dramatically matured as we enter the second phase of building brand engagement. As marketers, we must think about crafting consumer experiences that drive ongoing brand communication ensuring users will remain engaged and regularly return. While app functionality has significantly improved, so has the ability to deliver relevant branded content to targeted consumers via in-app communication.

For example, the same airline app that once only served a singular function of viewing to see if your flight was on time can now leverage many unique mobile features like the ability to book travel and check in to your flight, while also providing associated branded content and information relevant to the user. Everything from partner hotel and car offers to features on your travel destination like “the best kid-friendly restaurants in Kaui.” This enables the airline to promote new products or services and leverage data to drive deeper communication and loyalty with their consumers. In fact, according to a recent study from Forbes Insight and Adobe, marketing executives state that the most common use of corporate mobile apps is to communicate with customers at 83%.

This is especially important as Flurry, comScore and NetMarktShare report that consumers are spending 80% of their time in mobile apps unveiling an unlimited opportunity for marketers to continually engage with consumers. This research supports that we’ve breached the era of App 2.0 where brands can lead the way.

App 2.0 sets the stage for brands to connect with consumers in an exciting new manner that is beneficial for both parties. For example, by downloading a branded automotive app a consumer has expressed interest in the brand and are probably more inclined to welcome associated content - not just car ads, but branded mobile experiences related to the automotive industry like automotive news, informative videos, entertainment, and more. Brands can also offer their partners opportunities to promote relevant products and services to reach this key engaged audience. To further improve customer loyalty, brands can provide customized PUSH notifications to users that have registered their app. With a users permission, brands can send them reminders for things like a 10,000 mile service or when new content has been published in the app that they have shown interest in.

The ability to reach the consumer in new and helpful ways is unprecedented. Someday, in the not so distant future, I predict that apps will have the capability to inform us when, for example, our tire pressure is low or if we need to get an oil change. Apps might even be able to tell us when we need to fill up our tank with gas and, in-real time, point us in the direction of the nearest gas station. They might even include interesting articles about our favorite automobiles and the latest accessories. By delivering content that is highly relevant to consumer’s expressed interests, brands are able to communicate with consumers on an ongoing basis. With this, App 2.0 moves into the next generation of mobile app monetization and delivery strategies for brands in what has, until now, been a virtually untapped platform.

Catch the full article authored by Marla Schimke, VP of Marketing at Zumobi, here on WIRED.

Brands Need to Understand and Embrace the Owned Media of Apps

2014 is the year of brand as publisher In the United States today there are more than 327 million mobile devices being used on a daily basis. According to the Pew Research Center’s Inter...

2014 is the year of brand as publisher

In the United States today there are more than 327 million mobile devices being used on a daily basis. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project, an astounding 91 percent of Americans currently own cellphones, and nearly two-thirds of consumers utilize their mobile devices to access the Internet.

The average consumer spends 127 minutes in mobile applications each day, responding to emails, browsing Facebook and searching for places nearby, according to Street Fight Insights. These are people who represent a tremendous number of daily touch points between brands and consumers. Brands and their agencies need to understand the potential of this trend and leverage the owned-media mobile assets they already have—literally at their fingertips.

Our world is definitely moving to the small screen; however, many brands have yet to fully recognize how this seismic shift is creating new and unparalleled ways for them to effectively communicate with their customers whenever and wherever they are.

Companies in industries like financial services, travel and retail can be incredibly sophisticated about leveraging their corporate communications channels—websites, blogs, social media—yet many are completely ignoring the obvious customer communication vehicle in mobile apps.

Part of the disconnect is that many corporate mobile apps are managed by IT teams as “utility” apps, which require forward planning, cross-team coordination and additional effort to get them updated on a continual basis. These apps are typically designed around task-oriented activities (check your balance, book a flight, make a reservation) but leave much to be desired in the way of branded content or ongoing customer communication. However, when properly managed, in-app content and messaging can provide compelling branding and communication connections for the app owner—in short, a unique and compelling owned-media opportunity.

To be effective in today’s digital world, marketers need to create occasions to instigate meaningful and relevant conversations with their customers. In recent years, the most common approach has been through targeted email campaigns, brand websites, blogs and social media outreach. Each of these approaches has had to not only grab the consumer’s attention, but also encourage them to take additional actions to get to the brand value and benefits.

Conversely, corporate brands with mobile apps already have a committed audience that has “opted in” (when they purposely downloaded and installed the app in the first place and then on each subsequent use). But capturing and holding consumer attention during multiple sessions can be a challenge.

For savvy marketers, success is based on positioning their apps so that they are a direct consumer connection. This new owned-media channel can be used to provide a more meaningful experience through interactive content, targeted promotional offers and relevant brand messaging.

If 2014 has to the be year of something, it really should be the year of brand as publisher. When a brand develops/publishes a website, it wants to facilitate opportunities to compel visitors to stick around for a while. The same thing holds true when creating native mobile apps, and companies should invest in content management platforms and Web services that enable a range of engaging brand experiences. This includes the support and partnerships needed to deliver these interactions dynamically and at scale. Brands should also have the ability to present partner marketing offers that represent potential new revenue streams.

When mobile apps first appeared, most large companies just wanted to get to market quickly, and many ended up offering apps with limited scope and functionality. Today, there’s a much deeper focus on developing corporate apps that provide ongoing points of contact and interaction so that consumers will consider them as their primary source of new and useful information and personalized content and data. This will also require brands to better understand the digital needs and behaviors of consumers. But like many things overlooked, the solution here is in the palm of their hands.

--Ken Willner, CEO of Zumobi

To read the full article visit ADWEEK here and to learn more about cutting-edge mobile advertising experiences visit our AD LAB to be inspired.

About Zumobi

ABOUT ZUMOBI Zumobi is a leading mobile media and technology company that partners with top brands and publishers to provide integrated app content and advertising experiences on smartphones and connected devices. With early patents filed on mobile UI and technology, Zumobi has been pioneering mobile media innovation since 2006. To learn more, visit www.zumobi.com or follow Zumobi on Twitter @Zumobi.

Zumobi PR Contact:

Andrea Bruch, Zumobi | Andrea.Bruch@Zumobi.com | 206.515.7690

Afraid Of Commitment? Maybe ‘Native’ Is Not For You

Everyone is chasing “native” advertising. The recent study from the Online Publishers Association reported that 73% of respondents currently offer a native advertising program, and an add...

Everyone is chasing “native” advertising. The recent study from the Online Publishers Association reported that 73% of respondents currently offer a native advertising program, and an additional 17% are considering adding it to the mix this year.

But the 90% involvement isn’t quite as surprising given the wide variety of definitions applied to “native” by OPA members. It ranged from a broad “integration into the design of the publisher’s site” to the more precise “content created on behalf of our advertisers” down to “highly automated advertising content such as sponsored stories.”

There’s clearly new energy and innovation around what once would have been dismissed as “advertorial.” But is this really a positive development, for publishers or advertisers or the actual consumer? It can be, but only if each participant commits to investing the time and resources required for a successful partnership.

Forbes is often mentioned as a leading-edge participant in the current wave of native advertising since launching its BrandVoice program a few years ago. But really, Forbes and other traditional magazine publishers have been at the forefront for a long time. Twenty years ago, business magazines brought advertisers deep into the organization by putting on exclusive conferences that its magazine advertisers were invited to attend and participate in. Conference topics were often translated into thematic “special sections” in the magazine, featuring both sponsor’s ads and co-developed content. And consistent supporters were invited into the building for lunch discussions featuring business leaders and policymakers.

For publishers today, the real opportunity presented by native advertising is the same: the chance to bring advertisers inside the idea factory and invite their participation in creation of the published product.

A native advertising program can create a strong bond between a client and publisher, giving the advertiser additional insight into what messages work with the publisher’s audience, what drives engagement and ultimately what kind of experience provides lift for the brand. Custom content, written expressly for the campaign, offers the best chance for success, but a native campaign can also utilize selections from an advertiser’s existing content database (usually created for social media or the brand’s own digital efforts) as long as the content is curated with the publisher’s audience and voice in mind. The Parenting app recently did just that by blending archive content on baby care with branded content from Desitin’s digital parent-resources guide.

In fact, as more publisher’s develop cross-platform offerings that reach an audience at different touch points (print, desktop, mobile devices), native campaigns could be finely tuned to provide a range of experiences to the consumer, from an introductory brand message in print to detailed product-innovation stories in digital and perhaps a product review in mobile.

Like any marriage, however, the special relationship between advertiser and publisher can go wrong. Editors get nervous when advertisers start nosing around in story production, because a taste of involvement can too often lead to inappropriate meddling and demands from clients. And don’t underestimate how hard it can be to create a successful story that informs, entertains and fits naturally into the publisher’s mix.

Even native innovator BuzzFeed has its share of misses. For every big win (like Hulu’s recent, perfectly matched “13 of the Greatest Times SNL Cast Members Totally Lost It”) there are clunkers (like GE’s trying-too-hard “15 Ways 3D Printing is Saving the World.” Though to be fair, GE often comes closer to the mark with posts like “12 Concept Devices That We Wish Were Real.”)

There’s no cheat sheet for avoiding missteps. But as a starting point, a successful native advertising effort should achieve the following: Develop a relationship, not just a creative unit, between publisher and advertiser

-Partner to understand the tone, content and display elements that will best meet reader expectations -Create content explicitly for the campaign, or curate existing branded content -Learn what works by analyzing engagement metrics for sponsored-content clicks and overall engagement (pages read, video views, times shared) -Protect reader trust by clearly identifying sponsored content and limiting advertiser influence beyond the native ad experience

It’s not as scalable as running a brand campaign in standard ad sizes across dozens of publishers. But how much love are you feeling from that approach these days anyway?

To learn more check out the full article by John Flinn, Zumobi’s Vice President of Publishing Operations here on Business 2 Community.

Zumobi Unveils Groundbreaking Video Ad Format For Mobile

Nissan and Corona are Initial Advertisers to Leverage Zumobi’s First-to-Market MRAID-Compatible Video Ad Capabilities on the ZBi Mobile Advertising Platform SEATTLE, WA - October 23, 201...

Nissan and Corona are Initial Advertisers to Leverage Zumobi’s First-to-Market MRAID-Compatible Video Ad Capabilities on the ZBi Mobile Advertising Platform

SEATTLE, WA - October 23, 2013 - Zumobi, a leading mobile media and technology company, today announced its revolutionary video ad format that can run inside existing mobile ad units on iOS smartphones. With the ability to run in an IAB standard MRAID ad unit, this alternative to pre-roll enables publishers to seamlessly integrate video advertisements like movie clips and commercials into an app by leveraging the award winning Zumobi Brand Integration (ZBi) platform.

According to a recent study by Nielsen, consumers exposed to mobile video ads demonstrate significantly higher brand awareness, favorability and interest in purchasing. Overall, mobile video delivers superior results in comparison to online video and TV across all key brand and ad metrics, proving that mobile video is a high performing vehicle to drive ROI and merits greater investment in cross-screen marketing campaigns. eMarketer predicts that U.S. mobile video ad spend will surge to over $1.6 billion by 2015, highlighting the need for additional video inventory in the marketplace. Zumobi’s solution makes video ads highly scalable, since it is easily integrated into standard IAB ad units across the Zumobi network.

How It Works:

A consumer on their Smartphone is presented with an auto-expandable 320x180 Paso Doble ad unit with video that automatically plays (without audio). Once expanded a user can tap on the video to activate the full-screen video and audio experience, or else be directed to an external destination. If the user does not click on the ad unit the video collapses to its default 320x50 banner state. This new format is unique to Zumobi and provides brands additional visibility as most video units disappear instead of collapsing back to a banner. Zumobi’s Video-Paso Doble runs on any MRAID compliant app including the 1,000+ publishers on the Zumobi extended network.

“Our Video - Paso Doble format was designed based on advertiser feedback to create an immersive video unit that could scale across our network and beyond,” said Ken Willner, CEO of Zumobi. “We haven’t seen anything else like it on the market today, and brands understand the value of delivering high-quality video content into MRAID standard ad units. This provides a highly scalable and elegant alternative to pre-roll video or full-screen interstitials.”

Zumobi has consistently been at the forefront of mobile ad innovation and was recently named as a GOLD winner of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) 9th Annual MIXX Awards for powering the “Chevrolet Technology Series” campaign in partnership with Commonwealth and Source Interlink Media. This campaign resulted in an unprecedented 37% engagement rate and a CTR as high as 11.2%, illustrating the fact that more than one-third of people interacted with the native mobile advertisement.

For additional information about the Video - Paso Doble format and to see it in action, please visit: http://www.zumobi.com/adlab.

About Zumobi

Zumobi is a leading mobile media and technology company that partners with top media brands to publish applications and provide integrated advertising experiences on next-generation smartphones and connected devices. Zumobi's portfolio of applications comprise The Zumobi Network, a premium mobile app network that offers brand advertisers a high-quality, transparent and brand safe environment to showcase their brands and engage with their audiences. Through Zumobi's Brand Integration (ZBi) rich media ad platform, the company enables leading advertisers to truly connect with consumers in a way that is highly immersive yet organic to the app experience. To learn more, visit www.zumobi.com or follow Zumobi on Twitter @Zumobi.

Zumobi PR Contact:

Andrea Bruch, Zumobi | Andrea.Bruch@Zumobi.com | 206.515.7690

Zumobi Featured in New Forrester Report: Exploring The In-App Advertising Opportunity

In-app advertising is top of mind for mobile marketers today as consumers increasingly spend time using mobile applications on smartphones and tablets. These app users are a captive audie...

In-app advertising is top of mind for mobile marketers today as consumers increasingly spend time using mobile applications on smartphones and tablets. These app users are a captive audience, but marketing to them correctly isn’t easy. Marketers today struggle to seize this opportunity and meet customer expectations due to the fragmented partner landscape and lack of standardization. This report explains the mobile in-app advertising opportunity and key hurdles to overcome as the market evolves.

FORRESTER REPORT: Exploring The In-App Advertising Opportunity

September 30, 2013

By Jennifer Wise with Melissa Parrish and Andia Vokshi

To learn more access the full report here.