Avesair Debuts SMS Ad Server

Wireless ad server Avesair is taking the wraps off its flagship offering, with a product that aims to make marketing in the mobile arena function similarly to e-mail.

The firm, based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., is banking that its offering will pave the way for wireless marketing in the U.S., where the space has seen much in the way of talk but little in actual campaign deployment.

Much of the global market for wireless advertising, and most of what little exists in the U.S., hinges largely on SMS messaging technology, which not coincidentally serves as the core of Avesair’s product offering.

The company’s software uses two-way SMS messaging to enable marketers and wireless carriers to distribute targeted ads, while also enabling customers to respond.

“To date, the process has been rudimentary with simple one-way messages or significant manual intervention when deployed on a large scale,” said Sean Harrison, executive vice president of business development and marketing at Avesair. “This new suite is the result of industry demand for an automated solution that takes full advantage of the SMS mobile arena as a revenue-generating marketing channel.”

The company’s product suite includes a tool that incorporates ad creation, delivery, targeting (using its MATCH technology, which it unveiled last year) and reporting. Add-on modules include SMS dialog management, list management, advanced SMS and SMSC features and HTML e-mail — for use in mailing to next-generation devices, or for consolidating direct- and mobile campaigns with a single vendor.

In addition to direct-response, two-way SMS campaigns, Avesair envisions clients using the technology to add an interactive portion to offline advertising — for instance, including a number on outdoor creative to dial, so that the consumer can receive SMS updates or special offers.

Avesair also built in features to simplify marketing efforts by carriers — which it imagines being the major media players (rather than, say, WAP sites or other wireless-only publishers) in mobile marketing. One such tool is set up to help them deliver ads based on customers’ subscription plans — for instance, delivering an SMS message when a user runs low on pre-paid minutes, urging them to purchase more by responding via SMS.

While fairly audacious — considering that U.S. mobile marketing is barely in its infancy — the Avesair offering comes as only the latest product designed to link offline ads to interactive creative. 24/7 Real Media recently acquired the assets of NowMarketing, which developed an offline-to-mobile marketing solution for NBC and other clients.

Other firms, including SkyGo and WindWire (which Avesair acquired early this year) have for some time specialized in representing advertising inventory on WAP and wireless sites.

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