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China’s mobile advertising market is one sector that has bloomed among the China startup scene. With more and more foreign and local players looking to take a cut of China’s 500 million smartphone-enabled citizens, the market has progressed hugely in a short amount of time. AdsMOGO CEO Peter Wang chronicled the history of China’s mobile advertising market during the KEY Platform conference held in Seoul at the end of last month, detailing the key points in the development of ad tech.

Previously, advertisements were primarily posted on social networks or websites. It was in 2011 when China’s mobile market started to evolve along with the boom in smartphones. Mobile network platforms started to provide in-app advertising by seamlessly adding ads while users performing their regular tasks. Like many other players, AdsMOGO was founded then as a mobile aggregator to enable an app to connect with these multiple ad networks and DSPs for ease of monetization. The in-app advertising model went viral along with the growth of automated advertising software platforms in 2012.

Many Chinese internet giants started to roll out mobile advertising in 2013. Baidu and iQiyi started supporting cross-platform advertising across PC and mobile, while Youku and Sohu started monetizing their mobile traffic. Mobile advertising market heated up with a mobile advertising platform like Youmi announcing new funding while Guohe shifted into mobile game cross-promotion.

In 2014, the mobile advertising market saw the quality and substance of growth in two primary areas, diversified ad formats and programmatic buying.

Exposing banners inside the app was popular method, but it developed to a larger scale, covering more than half of your screen. This has attracted even more advertisers into mobile advertising, welcoming brands, local and small business advertisers join in the benefits. 

Cheetah Mobile was one of the beneficiaries of it, achieving 10% revenue growth driven by mobile advertising. Direct competitors in this category are Baidu and Qihoo, developing the same strategy of building a large user base through free utility apps, then monetizing through advertising and revenue shares from third-party content or service providers.

As for programmatic buying, which enabled advertisers to reach targeted audience based on their demographics, behaviors, expectations, time and locations for the advertising, 2014 saw an influx of new platforms. In keeping with this trend, provider of multi-screen programmatic buying Yoyi Digital received a US$20 million strategic investment and AdsMOGO moved from mobile aggregator to mobile ad exchange in 2014, which provides a platform for transactions between these mushrooming supply side provider (SSP) and demand side provider (DSP) conducted in an RTV model. mobile advertising reached a huge milestone with these advanced technologies, making ads smarter and more efficient. 

Hero Apps, a company who until this point were resting on their VC funds, entered the mobile ad market in 2015. E-commerce advertisers like JD.com and Yihaodian are now posting ads with increasing frequency in their marketplace to lock down multiple revenue streams, while WeChat released an advertising program for Moments, charging per impression.

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Image Credit: AdsMOGO