Qriously Raises $3.5 Million Led By Spark Capital For Its Question-Based Mobile Ad Network

Qriously, the “question network” that’s trying to reinvent the mobile ad, has announced that it’s closed a $3.5 million Series A round led by Spark Capital. Previous backer Accel Partners also participated. This brings the total raised by the London/New York-based company to $5.1 million, having closed $1.6 million in seed funding in March 2011.

Meanwhile, Qriously says it will use the new funds to expand its U.S. and European footprint and, more interestingly, to push its new mobile ad product based on what it calls “opinion targeting” — an approach that essentially uses sentiment as the basis for targeted advertising.

When Qriously originally launched, CEO and co-founder Christopher Kahler described the startup’s mission as wanting to “democratise mass insight”. Through an SDK offered to mobile app developers, Qriously lets advertisers display questions instead of traditional mobile ads so that they can measure sentiment in realtime but also based on a user’s location. Advertisers can be ad agencies, marketers, research companies, or anybody who wants to sample the opinions and sentiment of mobile app users. A cost-per-answer revenue model is used rather than CPM or CPC.

Key to Qriously’s proposition is the User Experience it employs when displaying questions. Onscreen controls enable a participant’s sentiment on a particular issue to be measured on a sliding scale as an alternative to a purely rigid yes or no or multiple choice. Additionally, users can see how their opinion differs from the sample overall. And crucially, all of this takes place without the user leaving each app in which Qriously is deployed, which I originally likened to Apple’s iAds concept. An app within an app, if you will.

Since launch, the startup has extended its offering with products aimed at helping app developers get feedback and helping advertisers measure the effectiveness of an ad by displaying a related question after a set amount of time that it’s been on display.

Which brings us nicely to the company’s latest product, dubbed “asQvertising”, being announced along with today’s new funding. Terrible name aside, it works by displaying a question, and based on the answer given, a subsequent sentiment/interest-based targeted ad is then shown. In this way, says the company, consumers get to “self-select” mobile ads by answering questions.