Mobile Games Sidestep Banner Ads

As advertisers and developers realize mobile games probably don’t provide the optimal environment for straight-up display ads, numerous ad-tech startups are now approaching the issue from a different angle: rewards.

The latest is San Francisco-based Gimmie, which is following a similar path as firms like Kiip and Appssavvy, offering marketers the ability to interact with users based on their in-game achievements.

Players of games that integrate Gimmie’s technology are rewarded with points, which they’re then encouraged to redeem for coupons or real-world products picked from a marketplace. Advertisers, meanwhile, will ultimately pay for having their offers or products included, Gimmie hopes.

As users’ engagement with mobile games continues to increase, there’s a growing opportunity to help monetize those properties more successfully. Many developers complain that display ads don’t generate enough revenue, partly because commoditized inventory means their fill-rates are dismal, but also because users don’t want to interact with ads while they’re in the middle of flinging birds or playing word puzzles.

Efforts from the likes of Gimmie and Kiip, therefore, look like they might be able to gain some traction in the gaming market. If they can convince marketers to pay for the privilege of inclusion, there’s a good chance consumers will be more receptive to the format, and developers could benefit as a result.

Marketers need scale, though, so the success of the model will rely on the ability of these companies to attract developers and publishers with substantial audiences.