Greystripe, Media Networks Team On Local Mobile Advertising
Mobile ad network Greystripe is partnering with Time Inc. unit Media Networks Inc. to expand its local advertising business. Under the deal, MNI's sales force will offer Greystripe's mobile Web and in-application ad solutions to regional advertisers it works with across industry categories like automotive, insurance and finance, and education.
"When we looked for a partner to attract the large, regional brand advertisers, MNI was a natural fit," said Greystripe CEO Michael Chang. "We've gone after those budgets but found we can move faster in the market by partnering with experts in the space."
Specifically, the company plans to leverage MNI's sales staff of more than 60 nationwide to extend its presence into regional markets. "Now we're tapping into a much bigger sales team," said Chang -- which will sell Greystripe's mobile platform as part of its own integrated ad services.
MNI, which specializes in geo- and demographically targeted advertising across magazines, digital and mobile media, works with clients including GM's Saturn brand, Hofstra University, Tennessee Tourism and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Arizona.
For its part, MNI will be able to give ad clients access to Greystripe's network of 2,500 mobile sites and apps, which it says have a total audience of 30 million monthly unique visitors. The company is best known for its Lightning technology that allows advertisers to adapt Flash-based ads to run on the iPhone as well as Android phones. Its full-screen, app-like ad formats compete directly with Apple's iAd.
"Greystripe's wide cross-platform reach and engaging ad formats make them a great partner to help marketers stand out and get noticed with local messaging," said MNI President Rob Reif, in a statement.
Chang said Greystripe is already working with MNI on an initial campaign on behalf of a regional Florida health-care company. He said he also expects to work with more clients like McDonald's, which are national brands but operate local affiliates or franchises that advertise in different DMAs nationwide.
Chang said the partnership with MNI was based in part on forecasts showing the local segment will be a fast-growing portion of mobile advertising. The local mobile ad sector in the U.S. is currently estimated to be worth $404 million, and it's expected to grow 57% annually -- to over $2 billion -- by 2014, according to a recent forecast by BIA/Kelsey.
Greystripe and other mobile ad networks that derive a large chunk of impressions from the iPhone should also benefit from Verizon Wireless adding the device next month, opening the door to an expanded smartphone audience.