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Algorithms for Mobile Advertising with Big Data

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Published on Friday, 22 May 2015

SnT and the company OLA mobile sign a new partnership agreement today. With this agreement, they are initiating a long-term strategic collaboration on research into so-called self-learning algorithms. These shall allow better and more targeted marketing of mobile applications, better known as apps. OLA mobile is a company that provides services in the field of commercialisation of apps.

“I'm m very happy about our new partnership with OLA mobile,” says Prof. Björn Ottersten, director of the SnT: “It shows that through our expertise the SnT increasingly attracts R&D investments to Luxembourg.” “Indeed this expertise is very important for us,” adds Antoine Moreau, CEO of OLA mobile: “We are acting in the rapid developing area of mobile games with tremendous economic potential. Here a cooperation with one of Europe´s leading ICT research institutes is extremely valuable.”

The business model of many apps is based on advertising. Users get a game or a service, such as a navigation service, for free. In turn, the app producers use these apps as an advertising platform: The users are shown ads at regular intervals. At what time a certain product is purchased is the key to the secret – the more customer-specifically this happens, the more valuable the advertising time and thus the higher the price the app developer can demand.

For the most part so far, ads would appear essentially randomly. In some circumstances, it is known whether the user is male or female and what applications are used by preference. In principle, however, there are much more data that could be used, under strict observation of privacy, to make advertising more specific and thereby also less intrusive. For instance, the time of day, the gaming habits with the app (for example frequent or irregular use), the location, or the user’s anonymised purchase history could deliver valuable indications as to what products the user is interested in. “This data must be processed in large quantities and in real-time,” explains Dr. Radu State, who is coordinating the project partnership with OLA mobile at SnT: “And the algorithm must learn to understand the user ever better and to make the advertising messages increasingly customer-specific.” Together, SnT and OLA mobile will develop the algorithms in that direction – so that they can be used as soon as possible in OLA mobile’s products.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Engel, Vice-Director of SnT and head of the SnT NetLab in which the cooperation with OLA mobile is taking place, describes SnT’s benefit from the joint research and development work with OLA mobile: “We have the opportunity here to advance and verify our development on real data. That is far more realistic, and so far more relevant, than if we were to work with data that were generated artificially for a research project.” Consumer protection also benefits from this, Engel asserts: “The algorithms so far used for these purposes are strictly confidential. That will also be the case for the codes that OLA mobile ultimately uses. As is usual in public research, however, we will publish the fundamental insights that we generate in this collaboration in scientific journals. This promotes greater transparency.”

About OLA mobile

OLA mobile is a global mobile marketing company specialised in User Acquisition and Mobile Performance Marketing. Its mission is to assist mobile applications and games developers acquiring users in 5 continents, maximising their business value creation. Headquartered in Luxembourg, with offices in Portugal, Romania, Mexico and France, we have a multicultural and cross-functional team supporting advertisers on the promotion their applications and helping publishers generating revenues with their mobile audience.