Appssavvy’s Chris Cunningham on activity-based ads, mobile advertising and brand advertisers

Mobile advertising company Appssavvy wants to give app developers and publishers the ability to rethink the way ads are both delivered and received on smartphones through its activity-based ads. Since Appssavvy released its Adtivity mobile SDK last September, the company has seen rapid growth on its platform from both mobile games and other apps.

Recently, Inside Mobile Apps sat down with Appssavvy co-founder and CEO Chris Cunningham to talk about how mobile developers can find their natural breaks to deliver ads, what’s broken with mobile advertising and how brand advertisers’ perception of mobile ads needs to change.

Inside Mobile Apps: Since the launch of the Adtivity by Appssavvy mobile SDK last year, how successful has it been for mobile game developers?Chris Cunningham

Chris Cunningham, Appssavvy co-founder and CEO (pictured right): Since our platform launched we have experienced rapid growth from the publisher community, specifically in gaming. Since then, we have released a few other variations. It’s been getting more momentum and more speed. The biggest learning that we’ve had is to enable a lightweight, flexible SDK that gives publishers the ability to work with other revenue channels.

IMA: How do you help developers know where their activities are and determine what’s a good spot for an ad?

Cunningham: Our team will generally try to find natural breaks. Television has its natural break, it’s called a 30-second spot and it’s somewhat effective. Digital has failed to recognize its 30-second spot. We will proactively let developers know that we think their natural break is between level three and level four, or after a game over, or after you send a gift. More importantly we give the game developer the ability to help determine what their natural break is based on data. The next step is to identify and call out the last thing that the user did in between that natural break. When we implement our API, what’s very distinct about our platform versus other companies is the frame dynamically pulls the last thing that the user did that provides greater context. For example ‘congratulations, you completed level three, good luck in level four’ or ‘here’s a word from our sponsors,’ that makes the user feel more intuitive to ‘ah hah, I know why this placement is here.’

In addition to that, the platform and the data that we’re collecting ultimately goes back to the publisher, so they can actually understand ‘well should we frequency cap at three or four?’ ‘Does frame X or Y work better?’ As far as ‘sponsored by’ or ‘thank you.’ What we’re trying to give them is the toolset that gives their users the best experience to when that ad appears.

IMA: Who are some of your mobile game and mobile app partners and who are some of your advertising clients?

Cunningham: The DNA of the company has always been brand dollars, less about [direct response]. In categories such as [consumer packaged goods] or beverage — Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark, General Mills. Categories such as finance, we do extensive work with the American Expresses and Samsung. Entertainment in some categories — Sony Pictures, Universal — but the strongest category for our company is technology and finance and consumer packaged goods. Within the publisher set it includes companies like Disney, Scopely, Dice with Buddies… Jango is another top publisher that we work with. We’re beginning to see more outside of the gaming realm, other companies such as LA Times leveraging their gaming environment such as crossword puzzles or say AOL Games. We’re excited to see not only the traditional mobile gaming community adopt the platform, but also the old guard media companies beginning to identify the value of activity-based advertising.