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Alas, the days of Mad Men are over. Long gone are lingering business lunches where advertising deals are struck over booze and cigarettes, and automated, real-time bidding has taken their place.
LeanMarket, a company that specializes in real-time bidding for ad space, is introducing a mobile ad buying platform. Real-time bidding is all the rage for internet advertising these days because businesses want to be as specific as possible in who they target. Whenever a user visits a website, data is collected and advertisers place bids for that impression on an ad exchange. The transaction happens in 1/10 of a second and the winner gets their ad published in front of that person.
LeanMarket’s technology helps advertisers successfully navigate this complicated and fast-paced system. The company participated in Y Combinator‘s most recent class and its first product focused on web-based display ads. However, with the explosion of mobile and mobile advertising opportunities, LeanMarket is trying to stay ahead of the curve with its demand-side platform.
“There is a big transition in advertising because buyers and sellers are not negotiating person-to-person, they are meeting on big ad exchanges,” said founder and CEO Cyrus Lohrasbpour. “Real-time bidding has been going on for years now, but all the software to help advertisers is designed for the enterprise. LeanMarket is self-serve and open to everyone regardless of budget. LeanMarket is doing for mobile RTB what Google AdWords did for search advertising.”
Rather than requiring lengthy contracts and high-minimums, LeanMarket adopts a pay-as-you model that accommodates the needs of small businesses and startups. Customers go to the website to create a campaign. They dictate parameters, such as demographics, time spent on a page, search history etc… and how much they want to pay. They then upload their ad and LeanMarket takes care of the rest, bidding on relevant ad space and providing real-time reports.
The product emphasizes transparency. Advertisers can see exactly which apps their ads appear in and can monitoring their activity through real-time reports. They can also pause the campaign if there is an error. All of these features are particularly important for smaller businesses where every dollar matters.
Lohrabspour got into advertising consulting while still in college and watched as real-time bidding grew in popularity. However, most of his clients did not have large enough budgets to justify expensive campaigns, and he was inspired to create a more flexible way to help smaller spenders take advantage of the ad exchanges. Advertisers can spend anywhere from $5 to hundreds of thousands.
For large corporations and scrappy startups alike, a strong mobile presence is increasingly important. Lohrasbpour said there is a significant discrepancy between the amount of time people spend looking at the screens of their mobile devices and the amount of money advertisers spend on mobile ads.
“A tiny portion of ad spending goes to mobile,” he said. “Advertisers are overspending on other types of media, and a big part of our real-time bidding mobile platform is to create efficiency, so marketers can reach the right people at the right time, and publishers can make enough through publishing ads to sustain their efforts.”
LeanMarket works with big ad exchanges like Nexage and MoPub and is already serving millions of impressions per day on mobile with beta advertisers, and growing 10% a week. There are competitive services out there, like Moolah Media, but the excitement surrounding this type of technology means there is room for multiple players in this emerging marketplace.
Read more about the emergence of RTB for mobile ads on VentureBeat.