Rubicon Project Mobilizes, Buys Mobsmith Ad Platform

Smartphones-AOne of the largest supply-side ad tech companies serving publishers in the Web space is acquiring mobile ad platform Mobsmith, the companies announced this morning. Mobsmith serves ads for the mobile properties from AOL, Netshelter Technology Media, BabyCenter and Tripit and works with agencies Universal McCann and Starcom Mediavest. It provides tools for direct sales forces to sell both mobile Web and app inventory across the major mobile operating systems.

Rubicon says it will integrate Mobsmith with its own real-time ad-trading platform “REVV” so advertisers and publishers can use a single source for buying and selling Web and mobile display inventory. Rubicon says that over 70,000 advertisers access REVV, which includes inventory from about a third of the comScore 100 Web sites for a reach of 650 million worldwide.

Rubicon CEO Frank Addante tells Mobile Marketing Daily that they settled on Mobsmith after an extensive search for mobile technology. “We were looking for something that was a pure-play technology,” he says. “A lot of the others were ad networks, and we are not in that business. What we liked about their product was that it sat at the ad server level and could enable direct sales and combine that with real-time trading.”   

Mobsmith offers an all-in-one ad solution program for ad agencies, networks and publishers. It includes ad creation tools for display and rich media creative as well as dynamic localization.

Addante says that mobile is evolving differently from the Web display economy. On the Web, where many ad infrastructure and serving companies were already well-established with publishers, advanced ad technology started by targeting and aggregating the non-guaranteed inventory from publishers and is now looking to apply programmatic buying and real-time bidding technologies to direct inventory as well. Companies like Rubicon are helping major media move some of their inventory into private marketplaces, for instance, where they retain control over ad placements but can engage in the advantages of real-time bidding.  

“In mobile we are starting at the direct platform level and then can bring automation capabilities in.” Mobsmith is primarily helping publishers sell their direct inventory, “but all publishers need a direct and indirect strategy,” says Addante, “and the two combined will give them that. For our existing publishers they now have one platform to manage both display and mobile.”

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