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Op-Ed: Airpush comes to shove in mobile advertising

By Michael Essany     Aug 1, 2013 in Technology
On Wednesday, the latest data from App Annie showed that Google Play for Android has officially surpassed its chief rival app repository – Apple’s App Store – in the number of apps downloaded.
Although both app storefronts recently passed the 50 billion download threshold, Google Play has now – for the first time ever - pulled ahead of the App Store with regard to most apps downloaded.
All told, it’s the latest example of Android’s increasing market share. And perhaps nowhere is this influence more apparent today than in mobile advertising.
AdMob, Millennial Media, and Jumptap are among the leading mobile ad networks that are starting to feel the heat from an innovative young company that, just two years ago, was never mentioned in the same breath as these industry giants. Now, the bootstrapped Android-focused startup is emerging among the ranks of top mobile advertising networks.
From underdog to big dog, Los Angeles-based mobile ad network Airpush launched in 2011 and, within 24 months, has attracted some 100,000 apps to its network and another 5,000 advertisers. Toss in 10 billion monthly ad impressions and what you have is a recipe for an ad network that can’t help but be noticed even against a backdrop littered by fierce, well-established competition.
In an exclusive interview last month with PandoDaily, Airpush revealed some eye-opening internal numbers that have wholly shaken up the mobile ad industry in recent days. Remarkably, AirPush’s revenue has exploded 300 percent and 170 percent, respectively, in its first two years of operation, expanding from $9.5 million to $47 million.
According to company founder and CEO Asher Delug, his two-year old ad network may generate as much as $150 million in revenue this year.
So far, Airpush has shrewdly managed to avoid what some believe was Millennial Media's biggest misstep to date - going public too early. Although Delug says an IPO is not out of the question for 2014 or later, Airpush can attribute much of its recent success to the laser-like focus the company has directed toward its innovative developer and advertiser resources.
Despite longstanding projections that it would be Millennial Media that would eventually secure AdMob’s current perch atop the mobile ad industry, Airpush is generating such impressive numbers that a growing number of market watchers believe Airpush has the momentum to potentially shove MM out of the position it presently occupies nipping at AdMob's heels.
Helping to boost the optimistic outlook for Airpush is the company's willingness to pursue a range of opportunities capable of augmenting Airpush's value to its industry. Earlier this month, for example, the Android ad network unveiled its AirDSP platform to provide mobile real-time bidding capability for the company's swelling base of advertisers.
As a result, advertisers can now run campaigns across all major mobile RTB exchanges and SSPs from a single interface, Airpush says, having partnered with Inneractive, MobClix, MoPub, OpenX, Smaato and other mobile RTB supply sources to give AirDSP clients what the company calls "nearly limitless scale for RTB campaigns."
While Millennial Media appears poised for brighter days down the road on Wall Street, the major difference today between Airpush and MM, perhaps, is the immediacy of their respective successes. Airpush is seeing impressive revenue right now, and if they continue to be as innovative and developer-friendly as they have been, their bottom line will only become that much more of a spectacle to behold. What market watchers have been saying about Millennial Media, on the other hand, is that they are due for a comeback — in the future. The keyword surrounding MM for the last year, in fact, has been future. Not surprisingly, MM's CEO Paul Palmieri expects the company to continue progressing and eventually claim AdMob’s dominant position… in the future.
Unfortunately for Millennial Media, the mobile advertising industry is all about today.
Two years ago, the grand expectations for MM seemed exceedingly believable. But between the company's IPO, the arrival of Airpush, and the speed at which stellar competition across the mobile advertising landscape is expanding, MM's once "clear path" toward AdMob's empire may no longer be quite so clear.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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