PinchMedia and JumpTap partner up for iPhone apps ad network

A newly formed partnership between iPhone analytics firm Pinch Media and mobile search and ad company JumpTap may connect brand-name advertisers with iPhone application users.

The partnership, announced at MobileBeat, could be a formidable force in the tiny but growing world of iPhone application ads. Pinch Media will provide the analytics platform. JumpTap’s 35-person salesforce has ties to Madison Avenue, including an investment from ad holding firm giant WPP, and will provide a connection between ad agencies and developers.

Ad networks for iPhone apps have been springing up at a steady click since the launch of the App Store. AdMob, which won Tesla Award for crowd favorite at last week’s MobileBeat conference, also announced impressive new features for advertisers on the iPhone. Medialets has been busy creating its own ad network for apps, hoping to separate itself by integrating ads more directly into applications. AppLoop, another app ad network, is emphasizing location-aware metrics for advertisers hoping to use the iPhone’s GPS capabilities. PurpleTalk, meanwhile, is attempting to set up an ad network of applications that use splash pages to cross-promote one another, while running smaller ads alongside.Pinch Media launched its analytics platform before the App Store’s official launch. According to co-founder and chief executive Greg Yardley, the company is already working with “quite a few” iPhone apps to provide metrics on things like daily user activity, length and number of sessions, or custom action tracking, meaning developers can see which features are being used (or aren’t). The company, however, wouldn’t disclose which apps are using its analytics.

JumpTap, founded in 2004, began as a mobile search company, selling its white-label search platform to mobile carriers. After developing relationships with 17 carriers, including Boost Mobile, Alltel Wireless, and Virgin Mobile USA, the company started a mobile ad network in December of 2007, using carrier-provided data to target advertising. JumpTap already has relationships with all four of the major ad holding firms and many of the major digital agencies, according to chief marketing officer Paran Johar. Johar himself jumped ship from ad firm MRM Worldwide, a division of McCann Worldgroup, where he was in charge of digital strategy for clients including General Motors and Microsoft. The company says it reaches about 150 million mobile subscribers currently.

The plan is to fold iPhone app’s users into vertical ad audiences that can be sold to brand advertisers. “The iPhone market is still relatively small when it comes to advertising,” says Pinch Media’s Yardley. “The biggest applications might have a million users. A million users is not a tremendous amount of reach when it comes to doing an ad buy.” By bundling together an app’s user base with other mobile inventory already represented by JumpTap, developers get a chance to place high-end advertising on their apps, and media buyers can target the ever-so-sexy iPhone user base. This focus on top-tier advertisers puts the company in opposition to AdMob, according to JumpTap’s Johar. “AdMob is a great business, but really focused on the self-service market and the long tail of direct response. We are focused on premium content.”