Sophie Chen
Jan 8, 2014

Mobile-ad initiative targets SMEs, undercuts agencies

KUALA LUMPUR -, a Malaysia-based technology startup, has joined hands with Smaato, a global mobile RTB (real-time bidding) ad exchange, to launch an interactive mobile advertising offering for small businesses and budget advertisers.

MobileAds promises easier and cheaper rich-media ads
MobileAds promises easier and cheaper rich-media ads

“Larger companies are making huge margins by being early in the market,” Alvin Koay, CEO of, told Campaign Asia-Pacific. “Most of their tools are highly sophisticated and probably an overkill. So, we created a minimalist product that is much simpler to use and enough advanced capabilities for small advertisers who can't afford agency fees.”

The global mobile advertising market is projected to hit US$24.5 billion by 2016, according to Garner.

Ajitpal Pannu, chief strategy officer of Smaato, said rich-media ads are more commonly used by larger brands and agencies. MobileAds' self-service solution enables budget-conscious advertisers to create affordable yet interactive HTML5 ads efficiently, he said.

The tool allows users to easily add pre-built tabs to a banner ad for functions such as ecommerce, social media, videos, location maps, slideshows, coupons and click-to-call. Rather than launching a separate browser window, clicking these tabs triggers an expanded or overlay 'mini-website', allowing users to explore the content without leaving the current environment.

Other mobile ad companies, such as Millennial Media, also offer tools for smaller advertisers. “We work with SMEs and local companies as well,” Robert Woolfrey, managing director for Southeast Asia at Millennial Media, told Campaign Asia-Pacific. “Our platform hosts a series of tools for small companies or advertisers who want to manage their own campaigns. It’s available for everyone.”

However, Koay argued that MobileAds’ unique selling propositions are its ‘idiot-proof’ simplicity and low pricing.

MobileAds’ tool is free to use and can be white-labelled for ad networks, DSPs (demand-side platforms), agencies or publishers. Advertisers can also use it to create interactive native ads for apps, mobile websites or social-media posts.

Koay said the company will launch interactive rich-media ads for Facebook, Twitter and other social-media posts in the future.

“Our revenue comes from hosting and serving out the interactive ads from our servers,” he said. “We charge on a CPM basis, and digital agencies can use our solution to show ads in our partners' ad inventories, such as Smaato's. We also help clients to design ads using our tool.”

Early beta users include a telco in Indonesia and a few colleges and property developers in Malaysia; most of these companies had lead-generation as their objective, according to the company.

MobileAds is preparing to launch in Japan with some of the largest ad companies, Koay added.

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