SingTel-Amobee deal: What’s on offer

SingTel’s acquisition of Amobee could be the game changer for the mobile marketing space with industry players looking at it as the “much-needed injection.”

Mobile marketing has seen exponential growth in the past few years with the trajectory only set to look up in the future. According to the Association of National Advertisers and the Mobile Marketing Association, a majority of marketers intended to engage their target audiences using various mobile channels and platforms in 2011 and that 75% planned to increase their spend on mobile marketing initiatives by an average of 59%.

However, the growth in mobile marketing ad spend is not in tandem with the returns on investment the medium is capable of offering.

From an advertising standpoint, the deal which potentially is a fusion of service provider data and mobile content publisher data together with mobile behavioural targeting capabilities could open up a host of opportunities for the ad industry.

SingTel can now commercialise its own assets such as the Skoob mobile bookstore, and that of its publishing partners through Amobee’s solution – thus generating new revenue streams. And given SingTel’s co-marketing partnerships with almost every major handset manufacturer, Amobee is likely to benefit from these co-marketed dollars.

Another big opportunity for SingTel is the monetisation of its remnant mobile inventory through the Amobee’s mobile DSP (in betaphase), according to Ruth Stubbs, president, iProspect & Digital Media, APAC.

“Amobee is expected to turn up the heat on everyone now. And we welcome it. This could be the injection mobile marketing needed,” Stubbs said.

According to Ian Loon, head of mobile practice, Southeast Asia, Starcom MediaVest Group, the acquisition of a US firm demonstrates the value of foreign IP that needs Asian-business manifestation to reach its potential. “This opportunity can be scaled to the six other operators that SingTel has a stake in including Optus, Airtel, Telkomsel and Globe.”

Amobee’s growth plans are clear. The mobile marketing firm has hired ex-Samsung, ex-Nokia and ex-Microsoft talent locally and is going after telco relationships, large scale mobile CRM marketing opportunities, scaling up its tech capability in the DSP space and mobile inventory relationships with Telcos.

“The acquisition cash will now help Amobee further develop its mobile DSP technologies  to name just one of its intellectual properties. We believe this will put them streets ahead of local companies and give the agency in house operations a run for their money. Google will be in good company,” Stubbs said.

Telcos, in general, while sitting on a massive amount of consumer data are grappling with the challenge to datamine effectively for cross sell, or upsell opportunities to any of their customer base. Given such a situation, SingTel needs the tech platform capabilities of Amobee as much as Amobee needs Singtel’s cash to fuel its expansion, Stubbs added.

“If successful, this partnership could spark a long-term trend in Telco-mobile tech companies partnerships in the region,” she said.

Rohit Dadwal, managing director of Mobile Marketing Association Asia Pacific, too feels it is a sign of the consolidation of the industry.

“Telcos have always been leaders in the mobile space and Singtel’s acquisition of Amobee is a natural part of the growth of mobile as a medium. Telcos will continue to stay in the forefront, as they are closer to mobile users as customers,” he said.

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