Mobile marketing companyTune has raised US$27 million in funding, it announced Thursday. Icon Ventures partner Jeb Miller will join Tune’s board. Icon led the funding round; Accel Partners and Performance Equity Management also participated.
Tune will use the proceeds to grow its engineering team, introduce new products and generally invest in the services it offers.
Its products to date have focused on attribution analytics to help mobile users determine the value of their advertisers — i.e., to see which ads are working and why.
A Track Record and a Shift to Mobile
There are many reasons for the investors’ confidence in Tune, not the least of which is the company’s track record: It originally launched as HasOffers. By 2013, it was able to raise $9.3 million.
It changed its name to “Tune” to better reflect the new direction of the company, according to Anthony Iacovone, founder and CEO of AdTheorent. HasOffers focused primarily on affiliate marketing tracking for online display media.
When the online ad industry began shifting toward mobile, Tune and other companies morphed their offerings to compete in that space.
They had to “compete with built-from-the-ground-up mobile companies,” Iacovone told CRM Buyer. “These changes require investment in technology and resources.”
Competition is indeed intense in the mobile marketing space, and Tune’s $27 million haul does provoke speculation about whether that piece of the online ad market may be becoming overhyped and overinflated with investment.
It is true that mobile consumer marketing is cannibalizing traditional and digital media budgets, Iacovone said. “There is always a reflex reaction by investors to catch the train, so many bad bets will be made — but overall this market is here to stay.”
A Robust Space
There are many reasons to be confident that mobile marketing is robust enough to support new entrants.
Users are getting more and more comfortable with — and attached to — their devices, according to Timothy Malefyt, clinical associate professor of marketing at Fordham University. That translates into more and better targeted ads.
Handheld devices are the perfect remote selling machines for advertisers, he suggested.
“Mobile phones are the most effective way to reach consumers with offers at the precise point of purchase — specials and offers can appeal to them directly as they are in store locations,” Malefyt told CRM Buyer.
Companies are hungry for as much information as possible about these users, said Shawn Myers, VP of marketing for StrongView.
“The explosion in constantly connected consumers has, on one hand, created new opportunities to engage customers,” he told CRM Buyer, but it “has also created new challenges to understand and improve those engagements.”
Perhaps the strongest sign of market support for mobile marketing now comes from Facebook, which removed Tune as an official measurement partner last year, Kochava CEO Charles Manning told CRM Buyer.
“Given Facebook’s revenue growth in mobile and the significant percentage of ad buys that advertisers place with Facebook for mobile,” he pointed out, “I think it’s impressive that Tune raised this large of a round.”