Internet colossus Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) , already dominant in the Internet advertising niche, is heavily into the mobile advertising market as well -- currently hogging 24% of that increasingly lucrative business through its AdMob division. But an up-and-coming mobile ad agency could change all that, and soon: Google, meet Velti (Nasdaq: VELT ) .
Velti is a relative newcomer, having gone public just a tad over a year ago. Its path hasn't been strewn with roses, and its stock descended from its post-IPO highs of nearly $20 to around $7 per share, where it hovered for most of last fall. Just this week, however, the company shook up the market with its brilliant earnings report, showing 63% growth year over year, and 52% growth in just the fourth quarter. Not surprisingly, Velti has also bumped up its guidance for 2012, expecting revenues of $280 million to $295 million.
Business ventures are paying off in a big way
Velti spent a bundle on expansion efforts in 2011, and they are already proving to be profitable investments. Last September, the company purchased mobile marketing entity Air2Web for $19 million, and then shelled out another $25 million for European software company Mobile Interactive Group in November. The acquisition of MIG alone added substantially to Velti's bottom line, having all by itself brought in revenues of $20 million for the previous calendar year.
The mobile advertising market is expanding as well, expected to top $7 billion this year -- up from $2 billion just two years ago. ABI Research estimates the market to be in the neighborhood of $24 billion by 2016, a value that represents the sum total of all types of online advertising as of midyear 2011. This forecast seems a bit overstated, particularly since mobile ads aren't as profitable as online ads, but it does emphasize the importance of mobile marketing.
The mobile ad market is not that easy to dominate, which makes Velti's meteoric rise all the more spectacular. Even heavy-hitter Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) has not been a dominant player in this field, stumbling in its efforts to elevate its iAd network to the lofty heights attained by Google's AdMob. As for smaller competitor Motricity, which lost more than 90% of its value over the past year, the struggle to stay afloat is one the company appears to be losing -- even after an infusion of cash from Carl Icahn last September.
Velti's recent report proves that the company has what it takes to grab a significant portion of the ever-increasing mobile advertising pie. Its recent acquisitions have already begun adding to its bottom line, and the company is particularly well-positioned for expansion and growth in Europe when the economic climate begins to brighten. It's probably not going to topple giant Google anytime soon, but the titan might want to watch its back -- because it looks like Velti is loading the slingshot.
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