Global restaurant discovery service Zomato pulled in $60 million in fresh funding just ten days ago, and now it’s time to ramp up its monetization efforts after the India-headquartered company introduced advertising within its iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry apps.
Zomato, which covers more 100 cities worldwide, already offers ads on its website, but it says mobile accounts for more than half of the 30 million monthly visits it sees across all platforms — that makes this move (potentially) very significant. Keeping in mind that advertising is particularly tricky on small screens, Zomato says its ads spots are designed to add context rather than hinder the user experience.
Ads only appear for search — labelled ‘sponsored’ inside the search results page, to be precise — and are served based on a user’s location and the type of restaurant that is being searched for. Zomato hopes that this combination will allow ads to be effective for restaurants and valuable for users.
“Merchants have been eagerly waiting for this for a while, but we took our time as we wanted the ads to be as relevant to the consumer as possible. We experimented a bit over the past few months, and we believe we have the right product in place now,” Pankaj Chaddah, Zomato Co-Founder and COO, said in a statement.
That’s not quite all that Zomato is doing to increase revenue. The company is preparing to begin a cashless payments trial — initially in Dubai — and it recently added a ‘Zomato for Business’ app to help restaurants get more from its platform, presumably with the aim that they will spend more there too.
Zomato makes all its money from advertising. The company said it has more than 4,500 paying advertisers across 15 countries, but we can expect that number to increase with this rollout and the continuation of its aggressive internationalization.
The service just went live in Dublin, as Chaddah told TechCrunch’s Steve O’Hear it would earlier this month, and Malaysia and Australia are next in line.
An expansion to the U.S. is a longer term plan which Chaddah said should happen in the second half of next year. It’s interesting to note that Zomato is introducing mobile ads now, before that move on to U.S. soil — presumably it could be a significant money-spinner there and also, potentially, a good hook to get businesses away from its many rivals in the States.
This month’s early fundraising activity took Zomato to more than $113 million in investor money to date, and it will be interesting to see how soon it comes back for further capital once its mobile ads are in full swing.
Article source: TechCrunch.com