madvertise Acquires Turkey’s Mobilike, Sets Sights on Middle East

Berlin-based mobile advertising company madvertise announced its acquisition of Turkey’s largest mobile ad firm Mobilike this week, in a move designed to give the company presence in one of Europe’s fastest growing mobile markets, as well as better position it to continue its Middle Eastern expansion plans. Carsten Frien, madvertise co-founder and CEO, told BetaKit that the move made sense as a first step towards capturing a mobile market that could be among the global leaders in the next ten years.

Turkey is in fact the second fastest growing economy in the world, with 8.5 percent growth in GDP in 2011, behind China’s world-leading 9.3 percent growth. And an increasing number of Turkey’s residents are using mobile devices, leading to increased opportunities in mobile marketing. Turkey has other advantages as an expansion target for madvertise, too, according to Frien.

“It’s a relatively big market, with 76 million people, and a relatively high per capita income,” he said. “There’s mobile adoption of about 100 percent, and it’s a very young market; 50 percent of the population is under 26. So it has all those characteristics of a high-growth market, and it’s relatively politically stable and positioned as a sort of beachhead between the rest of the European market and the Middle East.”

“There are 400 million potential consumers in Saudi Arabia and in the Mesopotamia area,” Frien added. “The market is extremely interesting, because a lot of people have jumped from the offline world to the mobile world, because they don’t have access to hardware like laptops and internet infrastructure at home.” As a result, Frien thinks there’s significant opportunity to get in early on a market that he thinks will show considerable growth in the next few years in terms of advertising revenue opportunities.

The company also has designs on further global expansion, and Frien said they’re in the process of evaluating whether effort will be better spent going after the North American market, or turning their attention to the up-and-coming Asian mobile space. The company will be debuting a real-time bidding platform in May, Friend said, which will help with more international presence, and give the company something larger competitors like Google and Apple aren’t even offering as part of their own mobile ad systems.

Strategic M&A activity like this move by madvertise is likely going to be key to unlocking the potential of mobile advertising in international high-growth markets, since localization is a key element to advertising success – something international travellers who’ve watched any TV will no doubt recognize. Still, Apple and Google are unlikely to ignore mobile ad opportunities in any market where mobile tech has a strong presence for long.


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