Millennial Media & The Sucky World of Adtech

Apparently ad tech really, really sucks.


Millennial Media goes public like gangbusters, buys Jumptap, stumbles, gets acquired by Verizon/Aol for something like 1x revenue.

How does that happen?

Millennial Media was the biggest stand-alone, 100% dedicated mobile advertising business in the industry. How can they be declared a failure?

eMarketer says that this is the year that mobile spending exceeds all other forms of digital advertising.


So the biggest company (de facto market leader) in the biggest, best, fastest, most awesome market is worth 1x revenue?

The really terrible thing is that it is hard to argue. Revenue was declining when it should have been growing 60% YoY. Profits were sinking,

Why was this? Probably some combination of poor products, poor marketing, and poor sales. The strange thing is that I know so many people over at Millennial Media that are all totally awesome. Some of the best operators in the industry. This business should have been lighting ad tech on fire. Right market, right place, it takes abysmal execution to not be incredibly successful.

If a company like this can’t succeed, how can any company in ad tech have hope? You could not hope to pick a better market and time things better. And when you look at the people, the crew was an A+ team. Did Jumptap screw it up? I don’t know, I don’t know those people.

Now, I know nothing about any of this. In fact, my previous posts have highlighted my ignorance by being wrong all the time. And I recognize that the mobile market is complicated and diverse: Jumptap was huge in CPI right before that business kind of imploded. So that is bad and backfilling $80m in revenue is really, really hard.

But you are the market leader! Can’t we work it out?


Let’s be clear, this is really just a quick sour grapes by proxy post. If you guys can’t hit it out of the park, how am I supposed to do anything worth anything? Better market, better execution, and that is the end?

P.S. It is worth noting that when you google, “You were the chosen one”, you get a ton of Pokemon results, but I manned up and did not include one. That is the essence of stable and well-balanced.

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