Telephia's research will appear alongside publisher self-reported data and Third Screen's campaign reporting data on a single screen in the company's MADX ad-serving system. The goal is to help agencies target specific mobile audiences while giving publishers information to better position their mobile inventory.
Jeff Janer, Third Screen's chief marketing officer, said the partnership with Telephia grew out of agency clients in particular asking for third-party research along with publisher data as part of the mobile media planning and buying process. "It's tremendously efficient from an operational perspective to have those things bundled together," he said. Third Screen customers will get "teaser" data at no charge, but will have to pay a separate fee to Telephia for full access to its mobile research.
Third Screen and Telephia executives expect demand for independent mobile data to grow this year as marketers begin to allocate specific portions of their interactive budgets for mobile campaigns. "There are 35 million people who access the mobile Web on a regular basis [in the U.S.], so it's not surprising advertisers are trying to capitalize on that," said Kanishka Agarwal, vice president of mobile content at Telephia.
However, demographic and behavioral information tied to the mobile Internet has been sparse until recently, hindering advertisers' willingness to commit significant dollars to the emerging medium. Now research firms focusing on the mobile market such as Telephia and M:Metrics are trying to fill the demand for more user data. "Advertisers need to be able to target their ads to a specific audience and decide how to benchmark one mobile publisher against another," said Agarwal.
As an example of its research, Telephia today presented data comparing the percentage of top mobile sites' audiences comprised by two demographic groups it tracks: African-Americans and business users. ESPN, for instance, had a 32.2% reach among business users and a 25% reach among African-Americans. Janer noted that most of the top mobile sites for both groups are also Third Screen Media clients.
At least one agency executive welcomed the Third Screen-Telephia partnership. "Adding this syndicated research service makes it an easier and more efficient way of going about the media planning process," said David Cohen, executive vice president of digital communications at Universal McCann, which does business with Third Screen. He said the third-party data would also help convince clients that there's a legitimate advertising opportunity on mobile phones. "We're all trying to add some velocity to the mobile ad market and break down barriers to make it easier to do business," he said.