Mobile advertising took off in 2011, as tablets went mainstream and it seemed as if half of the world woke out of a daze to find they were holding some sort of Apple device. Meanwhile, advertisers and developers are increasingly relying on mobile and in-app advertising to boost revenues as consumers become more comfortable with being served ads while on the go.
The mobile app community needs to monetize via ads, which is why San Francisco-based startup, Chartboost, launched a direct-deals advertising marketplace for mobile gaming in May of last year. For those unfamiliar, Chartboost’s mission is to enable mobile app developers to use cross-promotion to increase the size of their user base (and in turn, revenues).
Created by former Tapulous employees (Tapulous was acquired by Disney in 2010), Maria Alegre and Sean Fannan, the marketplace differs from traditional mobile ad networks in that game publishers have the ability to construct direct deals amongst themselves, allowing them to bypass the hefty price of revenue-shares with ad networks. As Sarah wrote last month, Chartboost offers a freemium model, meaning that “the ad-server technology is free when used for direct deals or internal cross-promotion, but the opt-in ad network offers revenue sharing with publishers.”
Chartboost’s play has represented big potential for mobile game app developers, filling a serious need with its direct deals marketplace model (by providing an alternative to mediating deals through ad networks with technology and an SDK), enabling developers to easily fill unused spots with ads when the need arises. Not to mention the most disruptive part: It’s free and claims to give developers a 50 percent boost in revenues.
This has led to fast growth for the young startup, as its network already spans more than one thousand iOS and Android apps, leading Chartboost to begin rolling out its network in Asia last month, with plans to pursue further international expansion in both Europe and Latin America over the course of the year.
Since its launch in May of last year, just nine months ago, the startup announced yesterday that it has served up more than one billion impressions. According to the Chartboost team, the marketplace’s traffic has seen a jump in traffic over the last few months, contributing the bulk of its one billion impressions.
The company is off to a promising start, signing a deal with TinyCo in November, bringing its marketplace to Android in December, and has forged partnerships with Nexon, Com2US, and Devsisters. Gaming has become a global market, and Chartboost is well-served by expanding its reach into hot, developing markets, allowing its developers to buy and sell traffic on an international playing field (in localized versions of the marketplace), while cutting user acquisition expenses.
That being said, it’s a competitive and bustling gaming ad market out there, with some big, well-established players in the international gaming space looking to gobble up more marketshare. With bright prospects, it will be interesting to see if it becomes an acquisition target.
Chartboost raised $2 million in Series A financing in October from Translink Capital, SKTVC and XG Venture, though the team said it was already profitable in August.
For more on Chartboost’s direct-deals mobile ad marketplace, check ’em out at home here.