This may well be the year that the leaders in the mobile advertising space emerge, and startup Ad Infuse has taken on another $12 million to try to ensure its place at the table.
As we reported in an October story, Ad Infuse is distinguished by its focus on targeted user data. Stats like age, gender and geographical location are used to determine the best ad to serve to any particular mobile user, a method the company says will greatly boost CPMs (the amount paid per thousand views of an ad).
That data had better prove to be a meaningful differentiator for Ad Infuse as the mobile ad space heats up. AdMob, which experienced excellent growth in 2007, gets by with barely any targeting, but has served up stunningly high volumes — over 15 billion impressions to date, according to the counter on its webpage.
Ad Infuse can’t compare in terms of raw numbers, but hopes it can sell highly targeted audiences to large advertisers like Unilever, which teamed up with the company to run ads for Axe Body Spray to young males late last year. Part of the latest round of funding will go to bulking up Ad Infuse’s sales team, who will help foster more such partnerships.
CEO Brian Cowley gave us some statistics during an interview: Ad Infuse roughly doubled the number of partnerships and advertisers it had during the fourth quarter of last year, as well as boosting revenues 325 percent and doubling average CPMs to $20, and appears to be continuing its growth in the current quarter.
Even with a positive growth story, the future is still looking uncertain for Ad Infuse — as well as AdMob, AOL Third Screen Media, Google, and newer startups like Smaato, which just took a $3.5 million round of its own. However, the dust should begin to clear by the end of this year, and let us see who the likely survivors are.
The $12 million funding was provided by SoftBank Capital, and previous investors ComVentures (now Velocity Interactive Group) and Storm Ventures also participated. Ad Infuse has taken a total of $17.5 million to date, including its seed round.