Sprint and Telefonica Form Mobile Advertising Alliance

Sprint and Telefonica are joining forces to increase the reach of their respective mobile advertising networks and collaborate on targeted ads for brands around the globe. The carriers’ alliance reaches a combined 370 million customers, with Sprint servicing 55 million customers in the US and Telefonica counting more than 314 million customers across 25 countries in Latin America and Europe. As teams work with advertisers and agencies to plan more multi-national campaigns, the alliance is also expected to expand to Asia.

Carriers own some of the richest and most relevant data on their customers for the purpose of marketing, but there is a disconnect between that data and the third-party ad networks that most advertisers push their mobile marketing campaigns through. The differences between the data sets are so stark, says Mike Cooley, VP of New Ventures at Sprint, that it’s like pinning “inferences and modeling versus actual data.”

Sprint launched its own mobile advertising network, Pinsight Media+, in October and although it hasn’t named any brand partners yet the group’s directors tell ClickZ that it is determined to prove the value of the data it holds on its customers through deeper targeting.

“We’ve got a really interesting relationship with the customer in that we obviously have a lot of relevant rich data about them,” Cooley adds.

“From the Sprint perspective, the key is one of the things that we believe has prevented mobile advertising from growing as rapidly as a lot of people would have expected or hoped, is this major gap around targeting,” says Dan Polk, head of sales and marketing at Pinsight Media+.

Although many advertisers are still hesitant to jump into the mobile space because of the “broad, shotgun-based approach” that typically follows campaigns on mobile, Cooley says carrier data on demographics, location and other characteristics is paving the way for more granular targeting that increases performance for advertisers and publishers alike.

“It’s a very chaotic time right now, and there’s really a lot of opportunity,” says Cooley. “If you look at this industry, it reminds me where e-commerce was in 1999… There seems to be a tipping point opportunity.”

The relationship between Sprint and Telefonica also extends to their mutual adherence to opt-in targeting. “We are letting customers tell us what data we are allowed to use to drive them relevant messaging,” Cooley says.

“On the surface, global reach and scale are key to the partnership. We’re partnering with a carrier that has a similar view of the world as we do,” Polk adds, calling it “a consent-driven program.”

Telefonica held a half-day event at Mobile World Congress today to discuss how it is building a cross-operator ecosystem for mobile advertising and m-commerce. Later this year, Sprint plans to do a more focused campaign to encourage its customers to opt-in to targeted ads in order to receive more relevant offers and content.

180LA Blows Up Seasons Passed in New Adidas Spot

Mobile Drives 11 Percent of E-Commerce in 2012 Holiday Quarter