For Glam Media, which has built a powerful content network on the Web, mobile has mostly been an afterthought. But the company is changing that with a push to accelerate its expansion to handheld devices. It is rolling out mobile tools for advertisers and publishers, as well as iPhone and Android apps for flagship properties, including Glam.com, Bliss.com and DailyMakeover.
On the ad side, the company is introducing GlamMobile, a full-service mobile ad management platform for agencies and brands encompassing planning, ad-serving and rich media formats, among other functions. For publishers, there's GlamEnable, an automated system for creating mobile optimized-sites and applications for iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, WebOS and other mobile operating systems.
At launch, 75 of Glam's 2,500 affiliated publishers will have mobile-tailored sites with more to follow soon. As on the desktop Web, content is organized according to categories, such as fashion, beauty, health and men's interest. Contextually relevant brand advertising is sold against it.
Stanley Wong, Glam's vice president of ad products, said: "It creates an integrated experience for the brand advertiser to express themselves through both mediums."
Wong said the company's mobile offerings leverage existing in-house technology, such as ad-serving system GlamAdapt, and the more recently announced content management and social-networking platforms: GlamCreate and GlamConnect. The company believes the timing is right for its mobile thrust as smartphone adoption and improved mobile technology turn handsets increasingly into media devices.
"We've experimented a little bit on the publisher side, in terms of trying to optimize mobile sites, and we realized the potential. Now, we're trying to build a full-scale program," said Paul Loeffler, Glam's head of corporate communications. He added that marketers have also expressed growing interest in extending advertising to mobile.
Because Glam attracts big brand advertisers, such as Mercedes-Benz, Coach and Estee Lauder, Loeffler said the focus would be on providing high-impact, rich media ads in mobile. In addition to offering its own formats, Glam will also support Apple's iAd and other rich-media units. "This is really a brand advertising play in mobile, and there's not a lot of people focusing on that right now," he said.
With blue-chip advertisers and an online monthly audience of 86 million, according to comScore, Glam has a strong base for expanding to mobile. If it can package mobile with traditional online buys, it can potentially boost revenues that reached an annual run rate of $100 million this spring. But for now, any incremental mobile sales are likely to be modest. Total mobile display ad revenue in the U.S. is only projected to hit $334 million this year, according to eMarketer.
Glam has no plans at present to derive revenue via mobile commerce or subscriptions. "We're really focused on brand advertising," said Loeffler.