Good day for mobile ads: Millennial IPO soars

Mobile advertising’s best days are likely still off in the future, but that hasn’t stopped investors from snapping up shares of mobile ad firm Millennial Media(s mm) on its first day as a public company, nearly doubling the company’s value in a few hours.

Just after Millennial’s stock made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange, it doubled its introductory price of $13 a share to nearly $27 a share, giving back some of those gains over the course of the morning but trading at a very respectable $25 a share around midday ET. The company could be worth over $1 billion if that price holds by the end of the day.

Millennial is perhaps the best known of the independent advertising companies trying to challenge Google and Apple in mobile advertising. Google, with its AdMob subsidiary, is the big kid on this block, and while Apple has struggled to attract big money to its iAd platform, advertisers generally like Apple’s implementation.

Millennial works with both app developers and advertisers to place mobile ads within applications and on mobile Web sites, a market that pales in comparison to the broader online advertising market but is increasingly attractive to marketers who are captivated by the amount of time we spend staring at our smartphones. This market is definitely shaking out and probably ripe for further consolidation, but Millennial’s new funding could give it the footing to establish itself as a solid player.