Tapjoy has just unveiled its platform for publishing advertising on mobiles. The service is based on rewarding the user for looking at advertising apps.

Mobile advertising still short on innovation


A marketplace of 70 million users a month: this is the claim of Tapjoy, whose platform is designed for publishing advertising on mobile devices. Its Mobile Value Exchange, which had been running in beta version, was opened up on 31 January to all advertisers and users. The platform hosts advertising applications - videos, surveys, forms, an invitation to look at a brand’s Facebook page, requests for comments, subscriptions to services, etc - from advertisers ranging from major brands to small independent developers. Each user is offered a selection on the basis of the applications s/he has already downloaded and can then choose what s/he downloads from the selection. The Tapjoy platform enables advertisers to adjust the parameters of their campaigns - cost per click, number of users contacted, etc - in real time according to consumer response. If the advertiser wishes to increase his expenditure, Tapjoy widens the target group, if he wants to lower it, fewer users will receive the advertising.

Rewarding engagement

The service is based on rewarding the user, who is asked to get far more involved that simply being a passive target on the receiving end of an ad.  S/he can earn 'credits' by for example filling in a questionnaire, answering a survey or looking at a film trailer from beginning to end. Originally, Tapjoy focused on mobile games, the idea being that the credits enable users to acquire game components – weapons, in-game goods or access to game levels. This is still the case, but Tapjoy has widened the concept. Ads can now entitle the user to a voucher, a DVD, the online version of a newspaper, a subscription to a site – whatever the advertiser has decided. The lowest remuneration value is the equivalent of 10 cents.

The here-and-now channel

"There are many possible mechanisms. Some apps developers even use our system just to widen their audience," explained Guillaume Larrieu, international publishers sales manager at Tapjoy. There are between 10,000 and 15,000 applications in circulation, and the many different ways of advertising on mobile devices are still under-exploited. "In actual fact you always have a customer who comes up with a budget, a target audience and ROI goals," Patrick de Carvalho, co-founder/owner of the Wayma Group, a mobile marketing consultancy, told l'Atelier. The sector is still short on real innovations and generally still thinks in terms of 'performance', i.e. click rates. "The iAd (mobile advertising platform for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch) was interesting from a technical point of view," says Patrick de Carvalho, "as it provides a very rich media experience for advertising. But few advertisers were actually capable of creating advertising on the platform." In the beginning, an iAd campaign cost $US1 million, before Apple dropped the price to $US500,000. "Mobile is the here-and-now advertising channel, the personal advertising channel. If you're just going to offer the same advertising as on TV, there's no point," he stresses. There is one problem, however. When a brand personalises its ads, it can easily come across as intrusive. So it is vital to use the 'opt-in' approach, whereby the user’s approval must be obtained before s/he is sent anything at all.