Twitter acquires MoPub for US$350m to up its game in mobile advertising

10 Sep 2013

Twitter has acquired mobile advertising start-up MoPub for an estimated US$350m in stock in a move that will enable it to compete against Facebook in the burgeoning field of mobile by bringing a real-time ad-bidding marketplace into the Twitterverse.

In recent days, social networks Twitter and Facebook have been manoeuvring themselves into place for a grand battle for a greater slice of the advertising pie. Yesterday, for example, Facebook launched two new APIs for media companies to add commentary from users to TV coverage and online coverage around keywords; a move that echoes similar efforts by Twitter around key sporting events like the London Olympics and the Super Bowl.

No doubt Twitter, which is gearing up for an IPO next year, took a great interest in Facebook’s second-quarter revenues of US$1.8bn, out of which 41pc came from mobile devices.

MoPub’s technology lets mobile application publishers manage their inventory and optimise multiple sources of advertising — direct ads, house ads, ad network, and real-time bidding through the MoPub Marketplace — in a single product.

Real-time ad bidding on Twitter

Writing in the Twitter blog, the social network’s VP of Revenue Product Kevin Weil said: “The two major trends in the ad world right now are the rapid consumer shift toward mobile usage, and the industry shift to programmatic buying. Twitter sits at the intersection of these, and we think by bringing MoPub’s technology and team to Twitter, we can further drive these trends for the benefit of consumers, advertisers, and agencies.

“The MoPub team has built a leading mobile ad exchange, and their focus on providing transparency to advertisers and publishers aligns with our values. We’ll continue to invest in and improve their core business. In particular, we think there is a key opportunity to extend many types of native advertising across the mobile ecosystem through the MoPub exchange.

“We also plan to use MoPub’s technology to build real-time bidding into the Twitter ads platform so our advertisers can more easily automate and scale their buys. We’ll maintain the same high quality standards that define our platform today. Our approach is to show an ad when we think it will be useful or interesting to a user, and that isn’t changing,” Weil said.

“We’re excited to bring the MoPub and Twitter teams together, and we’ll be sharing more in the future about our joint vision for mobile advertising.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years