AdWhirl, the startup that lets iPhone developers tap into multiple ad networks, has raised a cool $1 million in seed funding from Foundation Capital, with several angel investors participating. Launched in April, AdWhirl solves a simple problem for iPhone developers. As the number of ad networks available for iPhone apps has increased since the launch of the app store, developers were having a tough time switching between different ad networks. And after switching, developers have to issue updates to their apps, which can take days or weeks to make it through Apple’s approval process.
AdWhirl allows developers to switch between different ad networks on the fly without having to submit a new application to Apple. The service has support for five different ad networks, including AdMob, Quattro Wireless, Videoegg, and Jumptap (with Millenial Media and Google’s Adsense coming soon). In the past two months, AdWhirl (which launched under the name AdRollo) has 1,000 publishers using its publishers and has helped deliver more than one billion ads each per month to iPhone and iPod Touch users through free applications.
AdWhirl, which is available to developers for free, offers developers a platform where they rotate between ad networks and specify how often they’d like their ads to appear in their application. Developers can also set up AdWhirl to automatically switch between all available ad networks, optimizing CPM rates to ensure that their apps are generating as much revenue as possible (it can also fill an ad unit when the current network runs out of inventory, which can be a problem on popular applications). Developers can also create customized advertisements and include these in their package.
iPhone developers stand to make a good amount of cash from delivering these ads. Yam says that applications actually tend to serve 3-5 impressions each time a customer interacts with them, with even higher figures for some especially engaging applications. AdWhirl recently released a report that said that applications that crack the top 100 in the free apps list make $400-$5000 a day – a wide range to be sure, but even at the low end that works out to around $12,000 a month. Among these top apps, AdWhirl is reporting a notable $1.90 eCPM and 2.6% CTR.
Sam Yam and Ra Roath, co-founders of AdWhirl say that they are seeing a lot of developers using the platform to cross promote ads for other apps to help boost their ranks on the apps list. Yam says that there is potential to connect developers together as a collaborative community to further this cross promotion to help each other out. AdWhirl will use the funds to expand out to other potentially lucrative platforms for mobile devices such as Android, Blackberry, and Palm Pre.