Jessica Goodfellow
May 18, 2020

Company behind Likee and Imo apps strikes first programmatic deal

Bigo Technology's move comes just months after rival TikTok opened up its inventory to third-party ad tech vendors.

Company behind Likee and Imo apps strikes first programmatic deal

Bigo Technology, the Singaporean firm which owns live-streaming apps Bigo Live, Likee and Imo, is opening its platforms up to programmatic for the first time.

The company has struck a deal with supply-side platform SpotX to monetise two of its live-streaming apps, Likee and Imo. SpotX will become the primary ad server and supply side platform (SSP) for the platforms, in Indonesia only.

“SpotX is the first video ad serving leader we’re partnering with to drive our programmatic video needs, so we are definitely excited to see how they can connect Indonesian advertisers with Likee and Imo’s highly engaged mobile platforms," said a Bigo Ads spokesperson.

Collectively, Bigo Technology claims the two apps have 310 million monthly active users across more than 150 countries.

The company has an ads platform, Bigo Ads, which provides marketers with access to various ad formats within the two apps, including banner, native and video. It will now offer more methods of buying the ad slots, including via a programmatic auction.

Likee is a shortform video platform similar to Snapchat and TikTok, which claims to have more than 100 million users. Imo is a video and voice calling app that claims to have 210 million monthly active users around the world. It prime competitors are WhatsApp, FaceTime, and WeChat.

Chinese live-streaming company YY fully acquired Bigo Technology last year.

The move comes just months after rival TikTok opened up its platform to third-party adtech vendors, striking a partnership with major DSP The Trade Desk to offer its inventory via private marketplaces (PMPs) across Asia-Pacific. 

SpotX Asia managing director Gavin Buxton said Indonesia presents "immense business opportunities", as a country in which 60% of the population is aged 40 or below, and this demographic segment spends at least four hours a day consuming entertainment via mobile apps, according to App Annie.

“With Likee and Imo’s extensive reach to millions of users in Indonesia, particularly millennials, this gives advertisers the perfect opportunity to access young, mobile-savvy audiences at scale," Buxton said.

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