Meet Motionlead, a French startup that wants to make mobile ads sexy again. When the team first developed a meme reader for the iPhone, it got really frustrated with the state of mobile ads. Traditional ad banners are both ineffective and ugly. That’s how Motionlead started.
“On all our campaigns, we have a click rate above 10 percent for call-to-action buttons,” co-founder and CEO Arthur Querou told me in a phone interview. “We are significantly above the industry average.”
A typical Motionlead ad is interactive and animated. For example, you will see a new phone pops up from the bottom of your screen. It doesn’t interrupt your navigation like interstitials, and it looks better. Here’s what it looks like:
The startup was part of Y Combinator’s Winter 2014 batch and is just opening its own advertising network. Before that, the company started selling its technology to potential advertisers who would then talk to media partners and ad networks, with a revenue share model or flat fee depending on the contract.
Licensing Motionlead’s technology was a good way to start in a mobile advertising landscape dominated by giants, such as Google, Facebook and now Twitter. And the startup will keep operating under this two-headed model for the foreseeable future.
“When we started developing our technology, mobile ad formats weren’t really mobile and rich media,” Querou said. “We worked on it for a year so that it wouldn’t slow down your apps and block your navigation.”
Now, the company is launching its own advertising network, and in particular a mobile gaming ad network. Game developers pay between $2.50 and $4 per install, which is on par with other advertising networks, such as Facebook mobile ads.
To speed things up, advertisers can use pre-designed formats or build a custom design with the company’s tools. Instead of using web technologies, Motionlead relies on the LUA scripting language and has its own internal tools to design campaigns.
Motionlead’s technology works on Android, iOS and the web. The company now wants to expand its ad inventory for its own advertising network, and find new media partners in the U.S. to sell its technology. “Our goal is to create the standard when it comes to mobile rich media advertising,” Querou said.