Three hours and 15 minutes. That’s the average amount of time people spend on their phones each day.
As a result, mobile marketing has become increasingly important, with businesses seizing the opportunity to deliver more effective promotions.
But with the development comes a major challenge: advertising fraud.
This occurs when companies are tricked into paying for fake traffic and leads or ineffectual and misrepresented ad placements. It’s a major concern in the industry, costing businesses an aggregated US$22 billion globally.
New technologies have been put forward as solutions to these woes, and AI in particular has proven to be effective.
One startup that’s banking on AI is Affle. Founded in Singapore in 2005, the firm aims to use mobile technology and data science to offer “consumer-acceptable” advertising – campaigns that are relevant to customers and those that they will engage or transact with.
Affle – short for “affordable mobile” – maintains a global presence, operating in emerging markets like India, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East and Africa and servicing customers in established geos across the globe. Outlining his vision for the company, Affle founder & chairman Anuj Khanna Sohum explains that Affle focuses on mobile because for consumers, it’s the central connection point to all other forms of media and other connected devices. “The mobile device is an indispensable part of our lifestyle,” he says. “Through that, we want to create an integrated and intuitive ads experience for the consumer.” He also emphasizes offering “consumer-acceptable” advertising even in emerging markets.
Enhancing advertising with AI
According to Sohum, Affle helps its clients in two main areas.
Firstly, the firm developed a data management platform to identify potential customers from a wide pool of mobile devices profiled. “Imagine an ocean of data, and you need to deep dive in that ocean of data to find the 15 out of 100 precious pearls,” Sohum explains.
The solution is particularly useful in emerging markets, shares Sohum, where despite the high rate of mobile phone penetration, only 15% of users are actually shoppers who will transact with the advertiser.
To maximize advertisers’ return on investment, it’s vital that advertising targets these users effectively. Affle’s proprietary consumer intelligence platform helps marketers in consumer acquisition, engagement, and re-engagement to drive conversions through relevant mobile advertising. By using AI-based algorithms to detect behavior analysis from various sources, the company can derive data to determine users’ interests and identify whether they’re fraudulent.
Secondly, Affle tackles non-human or bot-based traffic with its fraud detection and prevention platform, mTraction Fraud Analytics As a Service (mFaaS). The tool helps spot scams in real-time and ensures that the company’s data management platform runs on cleaner and more accurate information. It pinpoints and blocks fake or non-human traffic, and also checks for instances of click, install, event, and IP address-based ad fraud.
According to Charles Yong, Affle’s chief architect and technology officer, the platform leverages AI technology, such as regression models and deep learning, to improve its services.
“We’re always fine-tuning the data science-based algorithms,” explains Yong. He adds that there are various factors that influence the firm’s algorithms, such as customer purchasing behavior, time of day, and even seasonal events like Black Friday sales, all of which are used to train Affle’s systems.
The two solutions create a win-win situation for both advertisers and consumers. The former benefits from reaching a more targeted audience, while the latter has a better mobile surfing experience and receives only relevant ads.
For example, Affle worked on a campaign with India-based social commerce platform Meesho to target millennial women in the country’s most populous cities. By analyzing factors such as how much time users engage with apps, app installs, app store data, and other consumer behavior, Affle’s targeted advertising solution helped Meesho to connect with 1.2 million of the desired users during the campaign period.
Furthermore, the Bengaluru-headquartered company experienced a 117% month-to-month growth and had seven times more orders per install as a result of Affle’s focused advertising strategies.
Accreditation and IPO
Affle also works with companies like Grab, Viu, and Zalora on consumer-focused marketing campaigns, and has solutions deployed in several government projects in Singapore.
Its accomplishments led Affle to execute an initial public offering on both the National Stock Exchange and the Bombay Stock Exchange in July. The IPO performed very well, and was oversubscribed 86 times.
The company’s successes were aided by obtaining accreditation from the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) of Singapore in 2017. The IMDA Accreditation@SG Digital program helps disruptive startups in the communications and media sector to establish credentials as a solution provider and connect with potential customers.
According to the program’s director, Edwin Low, what made Affle eligible for IMDA accreditation was its innovative use of technology and its solutions which he said could solve many problems in digital advertising.
Landing the credential “is quite valuable in terms of what it can do for the business,” says Sohum. Aside from getting opportunities to work with the Singapore government and related agencies, Affle was able to expand its potential base of customers around the world.
Being accredited by the Singapore government, Sohum explains, has increased Affle’s credibility among potential clients, boosting customers’ trust in the company.
Moving forward, Sohum hopes that Affle will become a market leader by using data-led technologies that drive quality conversions on mobile and other connected devices as well.
“We are expanding our vision to all connected devices, for an integrated and intuitive experience for the consumer,” shared Sohum.
Affle is a global technology company that delivers consumer engagement, acquisitions, and transactions through relevant mobile advertising. They aim to enhance returns on marketing investment through contextual mobile ads and reducing digital ad fraud.
Find out more about Affle on their website.