Socialize’s New Ad Platform Turns Passbook Passes Into Mobile Ads

Let our Passbook obsession continue! Since the debut of Apple’s pseudo-mobile wallet in iOS 6 earlier this month, the extended developer community has rushed to deliver value-add solutions built on top of the platform. There have been Passbook loyalty card and coupon creation apps, tools to send Passbook mobile coupons via SMS, and now this – a solution that turns a Passbook pass into a 320×50 mobile ad unit that can be shown anywhere.

The Passbook Ad Platform comes from Socialize, the startup offering developers a drop-in social platform for their mobile applications. Passbook ads, however, are currently a separate initiative from the company, though CEO Daniel Odio says the expectation is that the two products (ads and social) will be merged in time. That is, the company plans to use data from the social SDK to target ads on the platform at some point in the future.

“We’ve built the infrastructure and we’re launching Passbook ads today – nobody on it yet,” Odio says of the ad network. “We believe that Apple’s Passbook is a revolutionary new way to conceptualize mobile ads,” he adds.

The company, for those unaware, had recently begun focusing on an ad platform due to demand from its developers – that’s the infrastructure Odio is referring to.

Passbook Distribution, Not Just Creation

While the other Passbook-related initiatives we’ve covered over the past week or so have primarily been about Passbook creation, the Passbook ad platform is about distribution. It can leverage any mobile inventory, and it doesn’t require an app in order to create and use the pass.

Passbook’s early adopters – big brands – have only integrated Passbook cards and coupons into their native applications, meaning that for users to take advantage of the features, they first had to download and install the brand’s app. But as Woobox showed yesterday, there are ways to distribute passes without the need for a standalone application. But Woobox is focused on bringing passes to businesses that don’t have advanced point-of-sale systems or barcode scanners, whereas Socialize’s Passbook ad platform is about making passes a new type of mobile ad inventory.

To get started, advertisers give Socialize the details of their offer, and Socialize will turn it into a pass. The ad is then run across its network of 1,000+ publishers, which generates 15+ billion impressions per month. Socialize charges on a CPM basis, as per usual. When users see the ad on a mobile website or in an app, they just tap to install it as a Passbook pass.

For TechCrunch readers interested in trying it out, you can use the promo code “TC500” here. It’s good for $500 in free advertising for the first 100 people to use it.