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Interview with Asif Ali of ZestADZ

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Mobile Advertising industry has always been of great interest to me and I’ve followed the trend closely.  According to a recent report by Juniper Research, Mobile Advertising will reach $5.7bn by 2014. It is obvious that many advertisers are starting to use this medium to reach consumers but there have been questions as whether application developers can make significant revenue from displaying ads within their apps. To find out more about the state of the industry and learn about avilable programs to Symbian Developers, I interviewed Asif Ali President and Co-Founder of ZestADZ, a leading performance based mobile marketing platform.

  • First, tell me a bit about your company? How long you’ve been in the business? Private or VC funded?

Mobile-worx is a leading mobile marketing firm. We run ZestADZ – A Leading Performance based mobile ad network with strong presence globally. We currently serve more than 500m ads per month. We’re a privately funded company and in business for more about 3 years now and of that about 2 years in the Ad network business.

  • Explain what has changed recently with mobile advertising and how has iphone helped turbocharge the industry?

In most key markets that we work on iPhone growth is slow [comparatively] but has picked up but what we have seen is that mobile Internet services consumption has gone up with the iPhone. The device being highly usable makes it easy for the users to browse the Internet, download apps etc. This in turn has lead to a lot of innovation in the applications space.

  • What kind of user interaction and engagement do you currently see with mobile ads?

Mobile ads have higher interaction rates when compared to the online medium. We have measured a CTR of about 0.7% in most markets upto 3% or more in fast growing developing markets.  Users are willing to “buy” the solicited services if it has value and a superior ad network that is able to lead the advertiser to the targeted user, delivers great results.

How do click thru rates on mobile devices compare to those online advertising?

Online advertising CTR  is  lower when compared to mobile advertising CTR simply because mobile is a much more targeted and efficient medium. Though the medium is not as powerful, mobile advertising  in general delivers better CTRs as long as several important factors are addressed –placement, creatives, device / carrier / region wise targeting and so on.

  • Is there specific demographics that ZestADZ targets?

ZestADZ is a mobile ad network that gets mobile traffic from different channels. These channels represent in turn a particular demographic segment. Advertisers have the choice of choosing channels which include social networks, chat apps, forums, entertainment, downloads etc. We have a wide variety of publishers catering to different demographics.

  • What are some of the key features of ZestADZ for developers and advertisers?

Advertisers

·         Device manufacturer, country, carrier, channel for highly targeted ad campaigns.

·          Self services or completely managed campaigns – advertisers can leverage our experienced campaign management team to extract better ROI for their campaigns. We block non performing publishers, review acquisition costs, tune the campaign creatives etc to generate a better ROI for advertisers.

·         Access to Global Inventory – ZestADZ provides access to key global markets

  • How many Ovi publishers do you have on your platform and can you share some stat and results?

We are in early stages in being a part of the Ovi community and have about a dozen publishers who use Ovi to sell their apps and monetize it through us.  In terms of the numbers the total traffic that they send it us is small at this moment of time. In general, such publishers do see higher CTR’s and significantly higher eCPM when compared to mobile web developers.

  • Do you hear any criticism from consumers about having ads on their cell phones?

Since we’re only involved with advertisers and publishers and never with consumers directly, we have not come across any criticism from consumers. Yes the media is generally vary of advertising.

  • Any marketing advice for developers that you would like to share?

As the Ovi marketplace gets crowded, it becomes important to have a clear advertising strategy. Having said that, I think that mobile advertising is clearly the most effective way to promote the apps on Ovi.

I would like to add – our ad network has a large segment of its traffic from Nokia / Symbian / Java handsets we can be an important partner to help promote it and subsequently, to monetize it.


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  • Great interview, I have been reading over ZestADS latest results their doing really well in the smart phone CPC

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