Mobile ads help reach 15 million young women

Nov 02

Anyone claiming access to the important 24-34 year old women’s market in Japan is going to get attention. A new start up backed by @cosme and Itochu’s Excite Japan claims not only access to 15 million young women but also a sure fire way to get their attention: curated ads on their smartphones as they consume content.

A new mobile video ad network is helping brands and retailers reach the key co-called ‘F1’ market of 24-34 year old women. Although there are many ad networks, the new company, called Open8 (open8.com), has been founded by iStyle, the company behind @cosme, and Excite Japan, itself part-owned by Itochu Shoji, giving it both solid financial backing and access. More valuable are the consumer databases of @cosme and Excite, a claimed 15 million female users. Open8 says it has also negotiated with other key online sites and services, which will double the user base to 30 million – it already claims 40 million unique users per month.

Open8 sees a major opportunity in mobile video advertising; although prices for online ads have declined markedly, and their effectiveness is increasingly disputed, Open8 says the better targeting, understanding of users, and ad control mean smartphone delivery of video ads should have strong appeal, including to the kind of major brands that buy TV spots.

Open8’s mobile video ad network is called Videotap and works quite simply. Brands send a 15 second video clip to Open8, and its Videotap system will handle streaming through its subdomain and control user impressions. Ad copy will be placed as inserts matching the form and layout of articles and other content. When the user clicks the ad, the video clip appears at the top of the browsing screen and stays visible even when the user scrolls down the page. At the end of the ad, the video rolls up into a link to the advertiser’s landing page.

The user cannot delete or skip the video – and if the ad is within an app such as @cosme’s, ad-blocking won’t work. Given that ad-blocking features are increasingly common on smartphones – and for some analysts spell the death knell for browser-based banners and other ads – this is a major advantage of the service.

Not surprisingly, TV and other media companies are interested; TBS Group invested in the start up last month. TSB plans to link its group resources with Open8 and will create new ad planning and online media departments to work with Open8. In particular, it wants to promote a package of TV spots and mobile video ads to major brands. If this sells, it will provide a major boost to the mobile video ad market.

Overall, Open8’s Videotap ad network looks promising for brands and retailers wanting to reach 24-34 year old women. As well as its huge database of women users in the target range, Open8 will allow advertisers to deliver media rich ads to users with well defined relevance in a way that is hard for normal banner ads thanks to Open8’s metadata on user profiles and keyword links in the content being consumed.

@cosme upgrades shopping site

iStyle unveiled an updated shopping site, @cosme shopping (cosme.com), last month. The new site sells everything from department store cosmetics brands to cheap mass market beauty accessories. In total it sells 1,500 brands and 15,000 SKUs.

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