Let’s talk about ads for a moment. Looking back in history, advertisement was pretty much always there. Egyptians used papyrus for sales posters and political campaign messages were found in ancient ruins of Pompeii and Arabia.
However it has been the last 70 years or so when advertisement really shaped up. Mad Men TV series shows us how commercial television changed the game in the 60's, from there cable TV opened new horizons in the 80’s. Finally in the 90’s we were introduced to the Internet, where the game changed completely once again.
Today, we are on the verge of yet another shift of epic proportions - the increasing use of mobile devices and the fight for getting advertising right on this new medium. However the whole concept of advertisement is getting increasingly out of control. According to some research we see up-to 5 000 ads per day, compared to about 2 000 just 30 years ago. There is no empty space anymore, if it is empty - chances are it will soon be filled with ads. People have become ad intolerant, banner-blind and overly suspicious. So with that in mind, how do you win the mobile ads war?
One way of doing it is trying to find and nonintrusive and functional approach. Adtile Technologies is a company that is trying to achieve just that with their product - Adtile. Adtile Technologies was founded by Nils Forsblom, who was also the founder of Fruugo and a number of other companies.
According to Forsblom “Most banner ads do not serve any needs. They are more of an annoyance than anything else and looking at the industry leaders like Google AdMob, everybody replicated the banner from the web and made it even smaller.” So how is Adtile different? In simplest terms, it is non-intrusive. The trick is not to push ads straight in your face, like everybody else does. Instead, Adtile ads are on the back of any content, be it image, text, video or anything else for that matter. They utilize the unseen, the backside of content, the sides of your screen.
For instance, you might have an article with a large top image, as usual. However this one would have a colored ribbon, a logo or a tagline in the corner that might attract your eye. If you click the ribbon or slide the image, it will display the back side of the image, which would actually be a beautifully designed ad.
Since the ad is designed using native code and is also completely responsive - it always looks the part, no matter which device it is viewed on. What is most important is that it feels like a natural extension of the app or content being viewed.
The best part of this experience was that I was told nothing about how Adtile ads work. Yet, I found and clicked the ad all on my own. It felt natural and I was interested. My complete and utter banner blindness did not filter it out.
This is when I remembered Forsbloms words from the interview: “It is a seamless extension of the application. The ad does not feel like an ad anymore” and I found myself surprised to experience exactly that.
Since Adtile is native to your app, and the SDK (Web & iOS) allows you to make it work with anything: games, apps, publishing, etc. Think of them as images. So if you have a game, the whole screen can be an image and by pushing/pulling you can reveal something else, like an ad. Those images or “panels” as Forsblom calls them, can be anything: text, image, full-size screen of a game, etc. They do not feel like ads because the way they are displayed seems functional to the app itself, a natural extension.
To make things simple, they have also developed a design desk and guidelines on how the ads should look like. With pretty much anyone can design an ad in no-time and also manage a campaign using Adtile. If you want to find out more, check out their white paper here.
One neat thing about the platform is that it allows to sell ads based on content that Adtile figures out all by itself. So for example if you want to advertise on ArcticStartup and you only want to target articles about gaming, you can do that. This means that the publisher can charge more because the ads will be more targeted, while the advertiser can spend a smaller budget on them, because they are more effective. This also allows the publisher to sell to a lot more clients, as the ads can stay there for a long time.
To accomplish all of this, the company raised over $3 million in May of 2013 from private investors. Since then and in just seven months, the Adtile team developed the whole platform from scratch and also filed for nine patents in the process. Which is impressive in its own right.
Previously, Adtile Technologies worked on location based services aggregation and also on Photopoll, an app for polling your friends using pictures. At the time the company was known as Tenfarms.
According to Forsblom, they were never focused on building just one product and wanted to try different ideas and see where the market needs are and from the looks of it Adtile is currently the top choice. Personally, I am very curious to see where they go with this technology, as I have not seen a good mobile ads solution until now and if they make it work right, the potential could be enormous. Especially if they start scaling through partnerships like the one they just made with MobyD advertisement network.
Naturally, the same type of banner-blindness that we have developed for normal online ads might not escape Adtile and in the future you might be Adtile-blind. But hey, if you are Adtile-blind that means that Adtile has done very well for itself already. Also, they were kind enough to show me some of the things under the hood that they only just filed for patents for and I am honestly impressed. Keep them on your radar.