InMobi, one of the world's largest independent mobile ad networks, just announced that plans to enter the U.S. advertising market. The company - which already has offices in San Francisco and has currently served about 2 billion ad impressions in the U.S. following a soft launch in January - is currently one of the strongest mobile advertising players in the Asia Pacific market and also has a strong presence in Africa and Western Europe. In the U.S., InMobi will go up against entrenched players like AdMob, which was recently acquired by Google, and relative newcomers like Apple's iAd and Quattro Wireless.
InMobi started its business in Asia, so it doesn't come as a surprise that this is also the strongest region in the company's portfolio. Looking across the other regions where InMobi is currently active, the company announced that it managed to double its inventory of available impressions from 7.5 billion to 16.7 billion worldwide over the last six months. Looking at InMobi's current numbers in the U.S., it is worth noting that - without trying too hard - the company currently serves more ads in the U.S. than AdMob did two years ago (though arguably, the mobile advertising market itself has also grown exponentially since then).
The company's U.S. team is currently compromised of roughly 80 people. InMobi targets brand advertisers and also offers a self-serve tools for smaller advertisers. The company offers services for advertising on feature phones and on modern smartphone platforms.
When we talked to Ann Frisbie, InMobi's , VP and managing director for North America last week, she argued that so far, most players in the U.S. market treated the mobile Web as just an extension of the desktop Web. The company hopes to be able to differentiate itself from other players in the U.S., as its international experience has already taught the company where mobile advertising is heading in the near future. Abroad, Friebie said, the mobile phone was always seen more as an entertainment device, while users in the U.S. are only now starting to regard their phones in the same way (in no small part thanks to the iPhone). We should note, however, that AdMob also has a major global presence, and that it will likely profit from Google's own international expertise as well.
InMobi also hopes to differentiate itself through its analytics tools and its adROIt product, which allows advertisers to track and optimize their buys in real time.