Market-leading phone maker Nokia on Sept. 17 moved to bolster its mobile advertising front by agreeing to acquire Enpocket for an undisclosed sum.
Boston-based Enpocket makes a mobile advertising campaign management and delivery system that uses analytics technologies to draw a bead on consumer interests and deliver mobile advertising via SMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) and video.
Nokia, based in Espoo, Finland, said in a statement that it plans to leverage Enpockets mobile ad platform along with its partnerships with advertisers, publishers and operators, including Vodafone, Telefonica and Pepsi.
The multi-billion-dollar potential of putting ads in front of consumers via their smartphones and other Web-enabled gadgets has made locking down mobile ad technologies a key focus for phone makers, content providers and search specialists.
Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL all enable mobile search to help consumers find what they need on mobile gadgets, and The Kelsey Group said in a recent report that the mobile search ad market will blossom over the next five years, topping more than $1.4 billion in 2012.
Tech giants scramble for the mobile search advertising dollar. Click here to read more.
For Nokia, Enpocket plays into the companys increased focus on leading the market for consumer Internet services, which the phone maker has lumped under the brand name Ovi.
Ovi includes Nokia Music Store and N-Gage, which allow people to discover, try and buy music and games through Nokia. Also part of Ovi is Nokia Maps, a navigation service that offers maps and city guides to compatible mobile devices.
"We believe that mobile advertising will be an important element in monetizing those services for our customers and partners," Nokia Chief Technology Officer Tero Ojanpera said in the statement. "Enpockets mature leading edge platform and people expertise are a strong fit with Nokia existing capabilities in the mobile advertising market."
Ovum analyst Eden Zoller wrote in a research note that Enpocket is a good catch for Nokia, noting that Enpocket is well established in the mobile advertising market and is one of the stronger players in an increasingly competitive, consolidating market.
"[Enpocket] has an award-winning technology solution with strong analytics capabilities," Zoller wrote. "Enpocket gives Nokia a leg up in mobile advertising and credibility that it needs to be taken seriously in the space."
Pulling the trigger on the buy assures Nokia an advantage over fellow phone and communications device makers Samsung, Motorola, Research in Motion and even Apple, whose iPhone made the biggest industry splash this year. The deal also comes in the wake of Microsofts purchase of mobile ad provider ScreenTonic and AOLs acquisition of mobile ad specialist Third Screen Media earlier this year.
Read more here about the mobile advertising market.
The Enpocket purchase is not Nokias first move into mobile advertising. In March, the company rolled out the Nokia Ad Service as a managed service for advertisers to conduct targeted advertising on mobile services and applications.
Nokia Ad Service includes a group of mobile publishers forming a mobile ad network and a platform, which will no doubt now be Enpocket, to deploy, manage and optimize mobile advertising campaigns.
Nokia also introduced Nokia Advertising Connector, a private label service to help third-party publishers and advertisers choose between text, visual, audio and video ads and feed the ad to the device.
"The move was greeted with interest but given a cool reception—the Enpocket deal should create more heat," Zoller wrote.
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