Wake The Town
Gear Seven/Arc Studios/Shift
Contemplative Reptile
  • International Edition
  • USA Edition
  • UK Edition
  • Australian Edition
  • Canadian Edition
  • Irish Edition
  • German Edition
  • French Edition
  • Singapore Edition
  • Spanish edition
  • Polish edition
  • Indian Edition
  • Middle East edition
  • South African Edition

Mobsta: the Green-Fuelled Data Wizards Using their Powers for Good


LBB’s Tará McKerr speaks to Matt Longley and James Sexton-Barrow of Mobsta: the company unlocking the power of data and championing green business for brands and agencies about what separates them from the crowd

Mobsta: the Green-Fuelled Data Wizards Using their Powers for Good

Most businesses you come across nowadays will tell you they’re different. But the unpleasant truth is: most aren’t. So, every so often, when you meet one that actually is, it’s incredibly encouraging. Mobsta is one of these enigmas. 

So what exactly is Mobsta? Put simply, the company works with brands and agencies to inform their audience insights and in turn, their strategic thinking. Founded 12 years ago by John Scorah and Darren Kietz, they’ve evolved dramatically. 

Matt Longley, managing director and James Sexton-Barrow, head of planning, told us more about the journey. The company was set up when mobile was emerging as its own standalone channel, says James. If you cast your mind back, there was a lot of conversation about the user journey and that the way people use their mobile was going to be completely different to the way they use desktop. In response to this, many agencies began to set up their own specialist mobile departments or planners; “Mobsta was founded to respond to that.”

Mobile now exists as a completely homogeneous way of using the web. It is the primary way we access the internet so it’s no longer a separate channel, it is the channel. For that reason Mobsta is no longer branded as a mobile digital channel, but instead, simply an audience platform for brands. 

When asked about what sets Mobsta apart from other companies within the media space, the answer was simple: it's the product. “We have found great ways of building audiences for brands and agencies especially in a cookie-less space. But I suppose the USP of our product is the verification piece. We are primarily a location based business; that's how we grew up. We are using the latitude and longitude of your phone to work out where it is in order to figure out what kind of person you are and which ads you’re most likely to be receptive to. Part of our unique product offering is using cell towers in order to do that.” In fact, Mobsta are using the same technology the police use to find criminals - “It really is that specific''.

It’s Not About If You Grow, It’s How

At Mobsta HQ, they’ve been talking internally for months about a concept they like to call ‘Good Growth’. All businesses want to grow; that’s the name of the game. And Mobsta are no different. “Of course we want to make more money, employ more people, pay bigger bonuses, and all that good stuff” says James. “Yes, we want to make money, but at what cost? What is most important to us is that our partners see us as a valued part of their business.” What the team really cares about is building trust and doing what they do well. “It isn’t about selling them some impressions. It is about adding to their insights and strategic thinking in a meaningful way. It’s about being a partner for good and someone they can get a trusted response from.” Rather than KPI’ing the business on whether or not quarterly targets are met, for Mobsta, it’s more important to take stock of how satisfied their partners are, what kind of thought leadership they are contributing and how genuine their sustainability efforts are. 

There is no denying their drive for growth; they are a business after all. But this lot aren’t going to compromise their values for a pay check. 

It’s Isn’t Easy Being Green, but It’s Worth It

Mobsta’s position on sustainability is one that many of us could learn a thing or two from, particularly how steadfast it is in its mission. Their B Corp status isn't a mere badge of honour but is front and centre of everything they do. “It’s something we take incredibly seriously,” says James. “It’s first and foremost about reduction, reduction, reduction, which is only then followed by offsetting as a ‘last resort.” He reckons reduction is something they have a pretty good steer on, which enables them to also advise a lot of agencies on how best to do that in their digital media. 

But where does this passion come from? James had the answer. “I don't think any company can afford not to be engaged in. Where our real passion comes from is when we shockingly discovered the truth about our emissions”.

Around two years ago, during lockdown, when most of the world was having some form of existential pondering, Matt, was doing the same. He decided he wanted to understand what Mobsta’s carbon emissions actually were. The hypothesis was that as a digital media company without warehouses and lorries and all the things one might expect a carbon business to be harbouring, Mobsta’s emissions would be somewhat negligible. After looking into the back end of various carbon calculators, what he discovered took everyone by surprise.

Most carbon calculators, explains James, only take into account the end-user device. What they came to realise after some investigation was that around 85% of the emissions produced in their end-to-end business were back-end. “That’s before our ad even appears on your device” with a large part of that being in the data transfer business stages. They realised that based on their own emissions, the industry could be undercalculating their emissions by up to 85%. This was the springboard that made the leap into action. “We shouldn't be going around patting ourselves on the back saying we are planting trees then underestimating our emissions by 85%.”

Moving On Up

Right now Mobsta is fully functioning on mobile, desktop, and audio formats. Their audio offering, now at around eight months old, uses the exact same datasets and audience targeting capabilities that they have for desktop and mobile. This runs everywhere we would expect an audio ad to appear, the guys tell us, meaning it’s effective over all podcasting spaces and the like. “It’s a really exciting time, thinking about channel expansion for us.” 

Already part of the way there, Mobsta plans to offer a fully integrated audience activation platform that will enable clients to communicate with them seamlessly. The plan is to use their geo-contextual targeting to identify where their audiences are and reach them across desktop, mobile, connected TV, as well as outdoors. “It’s about becoming an audience platform rather than purely a seller of impressions” As it stands, the exact dates are yet to be confirmed. However, the team is confident they’ll have everything up and running on those channels by the end of 2023. It’s an ambitious offering, but a challenge the team is fit for. 

As a business working in an area that many would consider rather niche, the inner workings can often seem quite complex. This is why Mobsta is focused on simplicity. They deal with the intricacies so that their services can work seamlessly. 

Mobsta is a company unwavering in its pursuit of ethical success. It's showing us that a business can work well and also hold itself accountable in synergy. It's hard-working. It's no excuses. And it's no bullshit. That’s what sets them so clearly apart. 

view more - Company Profiles
Sign up to our newsletters and stay up to date with the best work and breaking ad news from around the world.
Mobsta Ltd, Wed, 22 Mar 2023 17:41:23 GMT