Back in April, I talked to 4Info CEO Zaw Thet about a number of mobile themes and the directions in which he’s taking the company. One of those directions was diversification beyond its flagship SMS content and ad serving.
4Info is the 800-pound gorilla in SMS but has been recently moving into mobile display ads as that market grows. This is a function of mobile Web and smartphone growth, where rich media content naturally hold bigger opportunities than the larger — but slower growth — SMS arena.
Along these lines, 4Info made a couple of announcements today. First is the official launch of the next generation of its AdHaven mobile ad network and distribution platform. This includes a greater focus on display ads and “one stop shop” approach for mobile ad serving.
Second, and related closely, is the spotlight on new Nielsen data that surprisingly rank 4Info second among mobile ad networks for display ad reach. I say surprising because, again, the company is known as a heavy hitter in SMS but is rarely mentioned in the pantheon of display ad networks.
Specifically, Nielsen pegs 4Info at 63 million uniques, reaching 75 percent of the active mobile population. On this measure it beat out AdMob (Google), Quattro (Apple), Jumptap and Microsoft’s mobile ad network. It came second only to Millennial, which reaches 71 million uniques.
Besides all of the implications for growth and diversification, the thing that jumps out of this list is the eligible receivers for acquisition. We expect M&A activity among mobile ad networks to continue as online giants look to buy their way into mobile ad distribution and positioning.
The remaining independents on this list include Jumptap, Millennial and 4Info. There have been rumors about RIM eyeing Millennial and we could see activity in the space from other potential suitors that include Microsoft and the media companies further down Nielsen’s list.
M&A activity aside, 4Info is clearly on an impressive path and making the right decisions when it comes to positioning its network for growth. Zaw Thet will join us on stage at our upcoming Interactive Local Media conference to tell us more. Hope to see you there.