Today we released our Performance Display advertising solution for mobile apps. My fantastic Product and R&D team at Criteo has been working on this for almost a year now, so I'm really excited that we have been able to deliver this and go public about it. I'm also delighted to see the impact of the team from Ad-X Tracking, which was instrumental in delivering a fully functioning solution.
There is a great article at the FT providing a lot of context, but you will need to register. It is also covered at Adweek and elsewhere. (Update: also at AdExchanger)
I'm particularly pleased because a lot of people said to me that the sort of individually personalized performance advertising that Criteo historically delivered on the desktop couldn't work on mobile. I guess I never like being told something isn't possible, and it seems neither does anyone I work with...
I think this whole area of mobile commerce and advertising is particularly interesting, because we are seeing a big platform shift right now. In many ways this is the end of a long period of stability - it is 20 years ago now that Netscape was founded, and the Internet since then has been about a browser sitting on top of a Windows-Intel dominated PC. All the great e-commerce and website/advertising businesses that we think of were built on this combination of browser and desktop: Amazon, Ebay, Google, Yahoo and even Facebook. It is less than 7 years since the first iphone was launched, and only a couple of years since smartphones became broadly adopted but we have moved to a new era, where mobile is very rapidly becoming the dominant platform. And on this platform, while the browser remains important, the majority of a user's time is being spent in mobile apps. As a result there is a great deal of disruption going on.
We all know there are a huge number of users on smartphones now, but the most dramatic shift has been the recent growth in transactions on these devices, and the advertising that follows from this. I discussed this earlier this month when looking back at 2013's megatrends, and in particular the fact that 25% of all US Thanksgiving sales were on mobile devices, and half of Facebook's revenue was also on mobile devices.
Until now the mobile advertising business has been almost entirely focused on app instals, and heavily focused on games. Inevitably, the cost of new user acquisition has been rising and the focus starting to shift towards ensuring that all this money spent on acquiring customers ends up being profitable. That means ensuring that users continue to engage with the app after it's installed, and figuring out how to increase conversions.