What: Kickads, a strategic mobile agency led by Pedro Forwe and Exequiel Arriola, has launched Sidekick, the first 100% mobile supply-side Platform (SSP) for Latin America.
Why it matters: The platform was created to sell premium mobile advertising for Spanish media as well as applications through programmatic buying.

SidekickIMG_3365 (4), launched this month by Argentine mobile agency Kickads, is aimed at publishers, media, and app developers who want to monetize their inventory. The platform will allow them to connect with the world’s largest Demand Side Platforms (DSPs), where advertisers and brands seek and buy audiences for their advertising campaigns in an automated way.

With this bet, Kickads seeks to grow programmatic buying in the Latin American as well as the U.S. Hispanic market, where it currently stands at 10%, compared with 50% in more developed markets.

As the market leader for the past three years, Kickads works as a creative agency for mobile advertising campaigns, and also as a media or ad network agency, offering mobile premium advertising inventory, as well as mobile web and mobile app campaign execution.

According to Business Insider, programmatic advertising is growing at an average rate of 20% annually, with Real Time Bidding Mobile platforms showing the fastest growth—up to twice that of general programmatic buying.

Programmatic advertising is growing at an average rate of 20% annually.

“There are several reasons why programmatic buying in Latin America still represents only 10% of advertising inventory purchases,”

Pedro Forwe, co-director of Kickads and Sidekick.
Pedro Forwe, co-director of Kickads and Sidekick.

says Pedro Forwe, co-director of Kickads and Sidekick, together with Exequiel Arriola. “On the one hand, the development of [programmatic in] the Latin American market is still at an early stage, about five years behind the United States. We started later, so we are lagging behind.”

“There are also other technological, knowledge, and cultural barriers. Technological barriers are linked to the fact that there are not as many SSPs or DSPs exclusive to Latin American audiences. In addition, many publishers and advertisers still do not have a good understanding of how this technology works or how to connect to it,” he says.

Technological barriers are linked to the fact that there are not as many SSPs or DSPs exclusive to Latin American audiences.
Exequiel Arriola, Kickads co-founder.
Exequiel Arriola, Kickads co-founder.

Sidekick will cover a gap in the industry—which is the ability to sell and buy premium mobile traffic in Spanish, in Latin American media and apps.

“We don’t believe that programmatic will replace traditional media buying in its entirety, but over the years, the proportion will be reversed. If the ratio today is 90-10 in favor of manual media buying, in 10 years this proportion will be inverted and programmatic buying will account for 90% of all advertising inventory sales,” adds Forwe.

How does Sidekick work?

Sidekick is a platform that offers advertisers millions of premium mobile impressions from Latin America, thanks to an agreement with more than 500 Latin American mobile app publishers and developers.

In turn, Sidekick is connected to the world’s largest DSPs, which guarantees publishers will have access to the largest media buyers or audience buyers, thus allowing them to monetize their advertising inventory more efficiently.

Sidekick works with multiple formats, allowing the running of traditional banner campaigns, such as rich media, on both desktop and mobile websites and applications.

In addition, it offers personalized and free customer service at the hand of a local team, a service that is harder to find among Logo-Kickads-mginternational SSPs or sometimes involves having to pay for a premium account to be able to access it.

Although programmatic buying posted its greatest growth worldwide in 2014, in markets such as Latin America this technology is still at a much earlier stage.

Programmatic represents a huge opportunity for publishers to market and monetize their advertising inventory at a much larger scale.

Programmatic represents a huge opportunity for publishers to market and monetize their advertising inventory at a much larger scale. In traditional ad sales, each media outlet has a sales team that sells fixed advertising space to direct advertisers or advertising exchanges, based on a media kit and an arbitrarily established rate. The possibility of marketing a sales plan is reduced to the scope of the media’s commercial strength, which can be local or regional, and the links it may have created with direct advertisers or media agencies.

With programmatic, each media outlet can connect to an SSP, such as Sidekick, and offer its advertising inventory for sale automatically, to be purchased by any advertiser anywhere in the world that has a DSP connection. The scope is thus global and does not depend exclusively on the sales capacity of its sales team. In a matter of milliseconds, thousands of bids and deals can be made that would otherwise take a sales team much more time and expense to carry out.

Q1 out, Q2 in. After the year’s busy takeoff, we are now at cruising speed, with clear skies with no turbulence in sight. Its t’s perfect moment to recline your seat, read the month’s news and adjust your seat belt (just in case). This new digital world never ceases to surprise us.

Nestlé and Crisis Management on Social Networks

Ines AttalesI was at the first breakfast of the year thrown by AMDIA, at which Ines Attales (a digital specialist at Nestlé) spoke about the seven things you need to know about crisis management on social networks. During the presentation, she shared recommendations (from her own experience managing concrete situations between the brand and its users). If you are interested in learning more, you can see the whole presentation here.

MEC Argentina Hires New Digital and Data Director

Leila Beraja-2Recently, MEC Argentina added Leila Beraja as the director of digital and data. She comes from an operations manager role at Intellignos, a Google partner and consultant. Good luck, Leila!

From IMS to SocialLive

Agustín Gimenez 2SocialLive, a company that specializes in monitoring social media in real time, recently incorporated Agustín Gimenez as their regional commercial  director. Previously, Agustín worked as a senior sales manager at IMS. This move is a part of SocialLive’s regional expansion efforts in Latin America.

ShowMe Buenos Aires

gonza arzuagaGonza Arzuaga invited me to the 2016 edition of ShowMe Buenos Aires, at which seven Internet entrepreneurs talked about the secret to their successes (and some of their failures). I was at the 2015 edition, and I left very inspired. Save me a spot at the next one, Gonza. Let me see if I can finally come up with a good business idea!

Kicks Takes Off in Mexico

ale duranThose Kickads guys are killing it! Now it looks like they have opened an office in our lovely, beloved Mexico. The operation will be under the direction of Alejandro Durand, ex Havas Media Mexico mobile advertising specialist. Let me know if there’s going to be a launch party. I have my passport ready.

Turner Will Purchase Telefe

It seems like Turner, the American TV giant, is interested in buying an open TV channel in Argentina, and everything is indicating that they are in advanced negotiations with Telefe (the signal operated by Grupo Telefónica). Apparently, the idea is to launch an CNN Argentina. We’ll see how this unfolds.

That’s all for now, friends. We’ll “read each other” again next month with more news!


In Latin America, as in most of the world, phones have stopped being devices to exclusively make phone calls to become “everyday problems solvers.”  We talked to Juan Carlos Göldy, who leads the Argentinian Education Program at the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA),  Gaston Fonzo, Co-Founder & CSO of StartMeApp and Fernando Acinapura of KickAds, who provided their views on the evolution of the Latin American mobile marketing landscape in 2015.

celulares.ministerio.TIC_.colombia1Mobile phones have become “everyday problems solvers” and hardly anybody is willing to leave home without carrying theirs.In addition to their original functionality, which is basically to facilitate communications with others, these devices have become an essential tool to perform various activities we do every day. Smartphones not only allow us to consume content and information, but also make our purchasing decisions easier and allow us to carry out an infinite number of operations (such as bookings, transactions, payments, etc.)

Considering that the penetration of smartphones in Latin America continues to grow, it is not surprising that brands are interested in reaching users particularly through these devices.

YYeRMprU_400x400-250x250To shed light on the current state of mobile marketing in Latin America, we talked to Juan Carlos Goldy, from the Argentinian  Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), Gaston Fonzo, Co-Founder & CSO of StartMeApp and Fernando Acinapura of KickAds.

Portada: How do you perceive the current state of mobile marketing in Latin America?

Juan Carlos Göldy: “Since 2012, mobile marketing in Latin America is constantly growing and changing. The first advertisers who began to use mobile marketing tools were those of performance (content aggregators and application developers) which boosted investment greatly. Then in 2013, branding advertisers joined this trend experimenting with tight budgets. Thanks to the results achieved, mobile marketing turned into a “must” in digital media strategy.

This shift was made after advertisers realized that:

  1.  Consumers changed their pattern of media consumption. According to the latest study by Millward Brown,  the average time spent per user of smartphones in Argentina exceeds the time spent watching television with 166 minutes vs. 104 minutes respectively.
  2. Consumers are “multiscreen” and the main screen that is being consumed simultaneously with the rest is that of mobile devices.”

Portada: How do you perceive the current state of mobile marketing in Argentina?
Juan Carlos Göldy: “The situation in Argentina is not different from what we are experiencing in the region. At this stage of the evolution of advertisers it is no longer about evangelizing the market, there is no need to convince anyone that mobile is one of the main channels to reach customers, everybody knows that. Towards the end of 2014, there were more than 12 million smartphones in Argentina , which account for almost 36% of the population.”

Key Mobile Media Decision Makers and global Brand Marketers will provide actionable insights and the latest intelligence on Mobile Marketing in Latin America at Portada’s upcoming #Portadalat: The Latin American Advertising and Media Summit and the Latin Online Video Forum on June 3-4 in Miami. Tickets are going fast. Early Bird Tickets expire tomorrow Tuesday April 21 COB.

Portada: How do you think mobile marketing will evolve in Argentina particularly and Latin America in general in 2015?
Juan Carlos Göldy: “Brands are moving and expecting a year of exponential growth in mobile advertising investment and consolidation in the region.

Brands are moving and expecting a year of exponential growth in mobile advertising investment and consolidation in the region

Regionally, there is no company that does not have digital marketing as one of its top priorities for this year. Also to build a multiplatform strategy maximizing opportunities to reach consumers with advertising on multiple channels simultaneously, amplifying their message and improving disclosure, and in this way increasing their return on investment in relation to advertising spending.

motorola.mobileNever before have marketing professionals been in the presence of such a powerful communication tool, as is mobile phone, allowing them to personally influence the behavior of their current or potential consumers.”

Gaston Fonzo, Co-Founder & CSO of StartMeApp, considers that: “Latin America is one of the regions with the greatest growth potential regarding mobile marketing; in fact, it is already beginning to have its own metrics and ceasing to be an emerging region within the industry. Latin America has evolved in terms of market and global presence within the mobile ecosystem; specifically, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina are leading countries in this regard.”

Regarding 2015 landscape, Fernando Acinapura of KickAds, predicts that “in Latin America, m-commerce (making payments via mobile phone) will have greater relevance, while mobile applications will remain in the spotlight. Mobile Video will continue to be one of the best engagement strategies. We are facing a wide range of options for mobile advertising to keep on growing and create lasting bonds with audiences.”

It seems that advertisers should start putting forward their mobile strategies from the very beginning, instead of simply adapting ideas originally intended for other media or devices. As they suggest from the MMA, is not about being “mobile friendly”, but to be “mobile first.”