Israeli startup innerActive has been chosen by ICQ to power the service’s offering of free mobile content to its worldwide users, now amounting to 42 million. The content—videos, games and applications—will be subsidized using innerActive’s in-content ad injection technology.
Over the past year and a half, innerActive has been busy carving out a name for itself as a company aggressively pushing its monetization offering to mobile carriers and portals in Europe. The company’s core technology is the ability to dynamically inject advertising into mobile games, applications and video—content which has strong user engagement, but has yet to live up to its revenue generating potential (at least in the amounts players in the mobile industry hope for). The company has strategically chosen to stay clear of any attempt to monetize the mobile Web and focuses specifically on the monetization of content.
innerActive describes its solution as an “Ad-funded AppStore,” a sort of agnostic platform for mobile operators that provides everything from the hosting and delivery of the content, to the campaign management and media planning, to the actual ad serving. The company also works directly with content publishers to create an ad-funded catalog. Co-CEO Offer Yehudai explained to me that it was this end-to-end solution that was key in having ICQ select its solution over alternatives. Under the terms of the deal, both innerActive and ICQ can sell ad space and there’s a flexible rev-share model to support such an arrangement.
The content requires a certain amount of prep work in order to be “innerActive ready”. An SDK is available to publishers, allowing them to tag areas inside their content for ad injection (view the video embedded below to see a typical end result—billboards in a game with real, clickable ads). The SDK supports all mobile OS’s and does not require any porting—”hundreds of handsets” are supported. Ads can be configured for click-to-WAP, calling, coupons, polling and the download of content
ICQ will make all this free content available to its community from its mobile client, from a soon to be launched ‘ICQ Mobile Portal’, and through the desktop application. The latter will require the entering of a mobile number and then receiving a free SMS with a link to download the content. No client will be required to be installed on the handset.
All-in-all this sounds like good news for ICQ’s users. The big question of course is whether offering ad-supported mobile content is a financially viable model. I guess we’ll find out soon enough because if innerActive can deliver CTR’s of up to 15% (as they claim), advertisers will be knocking on their door in droves and users will benefit from a growing selection of free content.