If this software actually works, it will change advertising

By: Paul Murphy

There was confirmation last week that Google and Facebook are taking just about all the new money spent on digital advertising, now everything’s gone mobile. But how much of this spend is completely wasted? Are corporates enriching a couple of digital duopolists for little or no obvious return?

In the case of mobile search in particular, appearing at #1 on a search engine results page is said to be three times more valuable to an advertiser than being #2. But for an advertiser, paying to constantly be top of search results 24 hours a day is a lot of wasted $$$$ — spurring the hunt for ways to predict when a consumer might make a relevant search.

A couple of years ago, Google produced some research on what it christened ‘Micro Moments’ — those instinctive occasions when people pick up their phones to check or learn something. It was nice branding, with lots of eye-catching stats, and a downloadable guide to ‘winning’ or something.

But there’s been an intractable problem: advertisers need to know when these Micro Moments might happen if they are to align their advertising. And intelligence on that front has been slow in coming.

Step forward a little London-listed company called Mporium.

It has a platform called ‘Impact’ that takes in feeds from TV, news, social media, sports, weather, and so on, analysing the content for likely Micro Moments. If and when the platform finds one, it triggers short-run online ad campaigns on behalf of clients — monetising Micro Moments, if you will.

Whether this involves teams of Mporium staff, watching the likes of Mary Berry Everyday on TV to see what products or ingredients the food maestro might mention, we’re not so sure. The firm may use computers instead.

Either way, the tech is now being rolled out to clients of two big digital agencies — Essence, which is controlled by WPP, and Jellyfish, know for it’s close relationship to Google.

Mporium looks like one to watch, especially when a glance down the existing shareholder list throws up the name Robert Keith, with a 10 per cent holding.

Keith is a low-profile, hi-tech investor best known for his past involvement with Eidos (which gave us Laura Croft). But he also co-founded, in Oslo, what used to be known as Fast Search & Transfer. It’s now called Microsoft Development Center Norway after Microsoft bought the business for $1.2bn nine years ago, and made it the centrepiece of its enterprise search offering.

Also on the Mporium shareholder list is a company called Cxense, with just over 20 per cent. Cxense is another ad data tech company, headquartered and listed in Oslo. And a glance down its shareholder register throws up the name Charles Street International, a private UK company that is owned by… Robert Keith.

Are we saying there’s some soft of deal in the offing here? No. But developments here may prove interesting.

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