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Mobile ad network Vserv.mobi has introduced Circle-specific ad targeting for its In-App Network. The circle based targeting will allow advertisers to target specific telecom circles in India through targeting that has been enabled through the identification of Short Messaging Service Center (SMSC) number, Dippak Khurana, CEO & MD of Vserv.mobi told MediaNama. Vserv claims a portfolio of over 7000 mobile games and apps across Java and Android Platform. Prior to this, Khurana said, they were doing national level targeting, and sharper targeting will now allow for customization of spends.

In our view, this works in two ways:

– The Indian market is divided into 23 telecom circles, and circle-level targeting will allow the company to deliver – in most cases – state specific ads, and also specifically target two metro circles – Delhi and Mumbai. Since this is the festive season in India (with Diwali just a couple of weeks away), ad spends are likely to be higher, and brands might be willing to experiment with a part of their budget.
– This also potentially opens the door for Indic language based advertising on mobile. However, Indic language advertising has few takers in India, as most Indic content websites will undoubtedly confirm.

Note that Vserv’s technology is only applicable to mobile applications, and not the mobile web/WAP network. Khurana said that one gets far richer information when the network is integrated into apps, vis-à-vis the open mobile web.

However, we’ve noticed that some sites, for years, have delivered different advertising in different cities, and have had circle level targeting. Khurana said that telecom operators have white-labeled some websites – for example, of a mobile content company with billing through the telecom operator – and were able to do circle targeting because the carrier was providing the information. In case of Vserv.mobi’s App network, they’re not going through the telecom operator.

The opportunity

This just validates what I’d said earlier this year – that telecom operators need to lead the mobile advertising charge. From my discussion with Khurana, it appears that telecom operators can allow city specific targeting for ads. As an alternative, I wonder why an ad network doesn’t tie up with a location based services company for such information.