Where to next with mobile app monetisation? ExchangeWire speaks with Petra Vorsteher, chief alliance officer and co-founder, Smaato, about mobile-only, the diversity in ad tech, and why Hamburg is an exciting place to watch, when it comes to ad tech.
ExchangeWire: Where is mobile app monetisation heading?
Petra Vorsteher: The number of apps, especially those financed through in-app ads, shows no signs of slowing. The trend is very prevalent in the gaming sector, but in other sectors as well. The mobile-only principle is by no means limited to China; apps are now used to control most everything in our lives. Countries like Estonia (traditionally speaking a digital trailblazer in Europe) will show us what the next big things are.
Does that mean that mobile monetisation is only lucrative for gaming developers?
Not at all. It can be lucrative for service programs and utilities – i.e. apps, that people use frequently. That group also includes travel and weather apps, eBay, Amazon, and other retailers, and of course social media apps.
Is it all about mobile video?
Definitely, yes. Videos continue to gain in importance and that applies to mobile, too. This is due to the fact that videos evoke a stronger emotional reaction and viewers see them as a more credible source.
You are one of the very few female C-level executives in ad tech and are one of the first women to found a tech company. Have you noticed changes within in the industry as regards diversity over the last 10 years?
I have lived in Silicon Valley for more than 35 years, and have experienced firsthand the wonderful diversity that makes this amazing ecosystem work. It was, and still is, the recipe for its success. Fortunately, there are more women now in the tech industry and there are also good networks to support each other.
Despite your global expansion plans, Hamburg is to remain the centre for Smaato’s tech department and one of the company’s headquarters. What is it about Hamburg that is attractive?
Lots, actually. Hamburg is one of the most important industry and trade locations in Germany and has gained a reputation as a commerce, service, and transportation hub with international recognition. It is the second-largest port in Europe, the third-largest aviation location in the world, after Seattle and Toulouse, and has the most consulates in the world after New York and Hong Kong. It is a cosmopolitan, tolerant, and modern metropolis. In Hamburg, the digital economy plays a massive role; and there are numerous IT and digital companies headquartered here: The Otto Group; social media networks Xing, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Dropbox all have their main European offices here; global Consulting firm Accenture recently clustered its German activities in Hamburg; SAP, Adobe, and IBM have offices here; and MyTaxi and Bigpoint were founded in Hamburg.
In September, the world’s strongest x-ray laser beam, the XFEL, launched operations in Hamburg. And the list goes on. Hamburg seeks to be, and will continue to be, a world-class location for companies in the media, IT, digital, and computer science sectors. It also has world-class universities. The TUHH (Technical University Hamburg) offers masters programmes in English and attracts many international students. It also has, with ‘Hamburg@work’, a successful International Business Network that has over the past 20 years effectively connected startups, corporations, universities, and organisations through events and global activities to create a unique global ecosystem. And, of course, Hamburg is one of the most beautiful and attractive cities in the world, offering a variety of cultural and sporting events that makes it easy to attract talent from all over the world. At our office in Hamburg, we employ people from over 30 different nationalities. And, in my roles as Hamburg Ambassador in San Francisco and global Ambassador for the TUHH, I will proudly continue to support Hamburg in the years to come.