Five-minute interview: Carsten Frien, CEO, Madvertise

Founded in 2008, Madvertise, an advertising network for German language mobile sites and applications, has grown to 700 million ad impressions per month (from 60 million impressions one year ago). We find out what makes the CEO and co-founder Carsten Frien, tick. Prior to Madvertise, Frien worked for Tipp24, a lottery company, and AOL.
He is a regular speaker at industry events, catch him at M-Days in Frankfurt, Germany on January 27-28, 2011 (mobiThinking has two free tickets to give away for this event).

Q1. What is the one thing that gets you most excited about mobile Web, mobile services and/or mobile marketing?
The most exciting thing about the mobile Internet is the speed with which things change and develop. Things that needed ten years to evolve in the online world only need one year in mobile. That is pretty fast! I feel that mobile senses many trends right away and I love working at the pulse of time.
Q2. What are your favorite (and least favorite) mobile sites, services or campaigns?
Instagram (see video demo below) has definitely changed the way how we consume and share pictures. It is also a good example of how important mobile is for these small companies and how naturally mobile becomes part of their product offering. It is one of the best examples for small niche businesses that grew fast by using the mobile Internet. Instagram proves that niche products don’t remain niche for long as mobile gives them access to a much larger target group.

Q3. Who is the new kid on the block – the mobile site/business to watch for the future?
Everything in mobile is happening in the location-based space right now. I think we are just at the beginning of a major a shift towards an emphasis on location-based services (LBS). There are a lot of possibilities especially for small businesses and its creating quite a buzz. When Madvertise launched its location based advertising service (one of the first one in the German speaking countries), there was a lot of interest from the press and marketing specialists. Any German speakers may be interest in this LBS white paper (in German).
Q4. What (vertical) sector would you say is furthest ahead in mobile Web/mobile marketing? What can the rest of us learn from this sector?
That is the automotive industry for sure. The kind of configuration tools to configure your own car on your mobile device, the services (such as the Mercedes Benz Mixed Tapes) and the innovative ways to reach the customers using mobile devices, podcasts etc are all things we can learn from this sector. Recent mobile apps for the German market include Ford S-MAX Active, which guides you to 3,000 leisure activities/facilities in Germany with driving directions and interactive maps, and Volkswagen Effizienz Tool, which calculates the most efficient route for you to complete all items on your to-do list.
Q5. What’s the most exciting/inspirational country/part of the world for mobile Internet/mobile marketing?
As trends often start in Japan or the US, these two countries probably are the most interesting for mobile marketing trends. Both countries show extremely high mobile Internet usage – this means trends can turn into standards very quickly there. This large basis of users provides plenty of opportunity to try out a lot of exciting marketing ideas.
Q6. What technology or initiative is most likely to revolutionize mobile Web/marketing? What sites/brands use this to maximum effect?
HTML 5 will lead to growth in mobile usage – especially of rich media content. This technology will make the mobile Web more user-friendly and could make applications redundant at some point in time.
Q7. If you could wave your magic wand and change one thing what would it be?
I would not change anything, but if I had a wish I would like to see mobile traffic worldwide become more affordable so that everyone can profit from the mobile advertising.
Q8. What’s the biggest mistake in mobile Web/marketing?
The biggest mistake is not having clearly defined goals – i.e. what you want to achieve – from the start of the mobile campaign/venture and/or having goals that cannot easily be measured.
Q9. What are the most useful resources – sites, books, associations etc – for mobile marketers?
BVDW, a German association for digital companies; Gründerszene, a German magazine for start-ups; Distimo, a Dutch company that provides reports on apps across various app stores; Twitter; and the following tech/mobile news sites: Mashable; Techcrunch and Mobile Marketer.
Q10. Which mobile-marketing guru would you like to do our five-minute interview with next?
I would like to meet Steve Jobs because he started what I would call the mobile revolution by developing mobile devices which make mobile usage simple and easy for everyone.

Don’t miss:
• Mobile research (m-research): the insider’s guide
• Mobile barcodes: the insider’s guide
• Most popular content on mobiThinking in 2010
• The false economy of vanity apps
• Guide to mobile agencies
• Guide to mobile ad networks
• Guide to mobile industry awards
• The insiders’ guides to world’s greatest mobile markets
• Conferences & awards for mobile marketers, with offers
• The big page of essential links

Follow mobiThinking on Twitter: @mobithinking

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