Advertising Network Traffic Marketplace Gets Into Social Offers and Ads

Traffic Marketplace is another big advertising network getting into the offers business. It’s doing so in hopes of using its relationships with brands, agencies, and other advertisers, along with its targeting technology, to try to make developers more money — and to broaden its core business.

Today, in terms of social networks, TMP both provides ads from its network to other offer companies and sells ads within its own social ad network and offers services. Right now, it is focusing on providing a new feature: an offer window that can be added within applications. The window provides a few offers in the usual offer-wall style, but also includes display ads. It is already live on “a couple dozen apps,” the company claims, and is currently reaching around 40 million monthly active users. While TMP isn’t providing names of clients at this point, it also plans to launch the window with a dozen developers within the month, some of whom are quite well-known, according to Sheldon Owen, the company’s general manager of TMPSocial and performance advertising.

And, the company’s targeting tech is working well so far, he claims. The window is seeing “greater than 10x performance levels” within applications versus traditional display ads it has run in the same location, according to Owen.

TMP itself has been around for years, it’s the result of a variety of mergers and acquisitions in other parts of online advertising and its main business is targeted display advertising. Like rival Adknowledge, it has recently been buying and partnering its way in to the social advertising business. While Adknowledge has been on a social buying spree spanning years and culminating in the purchase of Super Rewards this past summer, TMP made its first social purchase (that we know of) last March, when it bought social ad network fbExchange. Then, in September, TMP launched TMPSocial, a set of services for advertisers and developers that includes “a display banner network, custom widget and application development, app link exchange and alternative payment solutions for social applications.”

This is all an extension of TMP’s existing business. It offers a wide range of ways for advertisers to reach potential customers.

The public is not too familiar with many big ad networks, although the average web user has surely seen remnant ads running on content sites, or landed on a content-like page full of ads, or received an advertising email. The industry has long attracted some entrepreneurs who among other things perpetrate email and search engine spam, provide adware, or induce users to buy or sign up for services using deceitful offers. The last item, unfortunately, was a significant component of most offer companies’ inventories until recently. This sort of advertising, as a concept, is fine, but the quality ranges from Netflix subscriptions all the way down to scammy mobile ringtone quizzes.

TMP currently provides advertisers with the following range of ads, according to the company web site: display, email, lead-generation and co-registration, custom marketing and hosted solutions, search, rich media, and mobile. It is pointedly trying to increase the quality of its social ads by working with advertisers, as Owen explains — don’t expect it to run any mobile quiz-style ads, for example. The company’s sales team is larger than many of the entire staffs of some of its social rivals, as he describes it, and already works with many major brands and 90 percent of advertising agencies across the country.

The other component of TMP’s differentiation is also interesting. It targets ads based on “consumer interest, behavior, demographic and psychographic information and data from more than 600,000 proprietary websites, publishers and market research providers.” While there is increasing scrutiny around online advertising industry data sources and targeting practices, TMP says that its practices fall within the guidelines set by the Network Advertising Initiative, a self-regulating online ad industry cooperative. What’s interesting is that TMP has so much experience in collecting and targeting ads based on user data, and is now attempting to apply it to social offers. (Also, to be clear, the company says it will not be using Facebook data to do any targeting.)

TMP, like many other companies in the online ad industry, has received almost zero press coverage, yet has built itself into one of the largest independent advertising networks, and now appears in comScore’s rankings of the largest ad networks in the United States. Overall, it says it reaches 142 million unique users ever month through 30 billion advertising page impressions, and “delivers more than 20 million leads and customers a year.” The parent company, Connexus Corp, also owns FirstLook, a company that specializes in “domain traffic optimization and monetization” — the business running ads on generic domain landing pages, basically.

In sum, the combination of size, advertiser relationships, data and targeting make TMP an interesting new competitor to Adknowledge, Offerpal and the range of other companies in the offer and social advertising business. These competitors have long-standing relationships with social game developers and other advertising clients, and now we’re getting a chance to see if veteran advertisers can fight their way in.