While Silicon Valley is home to many of the largest advertising offers companies, an increasing number are popping up overseas — and aimed at those markets. Israel-based SupersonicAds came out of stealth last April, and has been expanding in Europe. It has most recently been testing video advertising within its offer walls, and it is also eyeing expansion to more regions.
A few offer companies have been experimenting with video offers recently, including gWallet and, in some sense, Social Vibes. In SupersonAds’s tests, it ran videos for advertisers like Adidas in Spain, and Flip in the United Kingdom. The ads appeared as pop-outs from within the company’s offer walls in apps, as you can see from the screenshot in Honesty Box for Spain Adidas.
Offers, generally, ask users to complete some form of purchase, survey or other task in exchange for virtual currency. Once they earn the currency, users can buy virtual goods in games and other applications.
Video ads are “a no brainer” for SupersonicAds’ technology team, according to Assaf Vaknin, the company’s director of business development: The team worked at video site MetaCafe for years and has experience running social video campaigns. The ads increased revenue, he says, and the number of first-time offer takers — especially people who were otherwise uncomfortable taking offers that did things like ask for personal information — although he’s not providing more details on the results.
SupersonicAds has generally been focused on top European ad markets, so besides the UK and Spain, countries like France and Italy. Around 60% of its clients are social network application developers, not just on Facebook, but also on MySpace and smaller European social networks, Vaknin says; around 40% are casual and browser-based games.
In terms of inventory, it works with local display advertisers country and language-specific markets, and also pulls in direct response ads from online ad networks. Vaknin makes clear that it is contact with Facebook over ways that it ensures offer quality. The company uses filtering technology and a dedicated monitoring team to verify the quality of ads before running them, he says. Offer companies and social game developers have been criticized — fairly — for being loose with what ads they run. Many ads tricked users into sharing information or paying for services that they did not actually want — a secret $10 per month mobile ringtone subscription being an iconic example. Especially after press criticism and platform company pressure, offer companies have been working to clean up their content and provide more valuable ads to users.
SupersonicAds isn’t focused on running ads for US users, it is working to run more ads for developers with European users; it is also looking to expand internationally, especially to growing markets in Asia, and large Latin American countries like Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. While many of its ads have been from direct-response affiliates, it is also pushing its display sales in the countries it focuses on.
And, while many of its developer clients are located outside of Europe, it is also trying to work out deals with new, more local studios as they emerge. Existing European clients include browser-based game developer Upjers from Germany, Nealab Techologies in Italy (creator of Italian Facebook dating app Incontra Gente) and app and game developer Feerik in France.
Vaknin also notes the potential of other, neighboring markets. Eastern Europe is seeing a boom in social networks and gaming as more people in the region get broadband internet access. Another potential market is Turkey, which is one of the biggest Facebook-using countries in Europe and the Middle East — but a market that no one has figured out how to monetize well yet. Users there, as in many other countries, are not as used to paying for virtual goods or taking offers. Overall, however, companies like SupersonicAds, and a variety of rivals, appear to be well-positioned to take advantage of Europe as well as other emerging markets.