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Heyzap morphs from social gaming network to ‘significant player in mobile advertising’

When Y Com­bi­na­tor-incu­bat­ed social gam­ing net­work Heyzap began intro­duc­ing mobile adver­tis­ing back in March with the launch of a new soft­ware devel­op­ment kit, the jury was out on whether the plan had legs. But those with doubts who hold media jobs in mobile adver­tis­ing agen­cies might need to start tuck­ing into their hats today, as news emerges that Heyzap’s ads are now run­ning in 800 games – more than dou­ble the 350 reg­is­tered in March.

The rise and rise of Heyzap’s mobile advertising

The soft­ware allows pub­lish­ers and devel­op­ers to intro­duce Heyzap ads to their games, effec­tive­ly turn­ing the startup’s social net­work into an ad net­work. Devel­op­ers can use it to pro­mote their games in Heyzap’s gam­ing offer­ings or to make more mon­ey. Upon its launch, the ads pro­gram attract­ed atten­tion from big names in the gam­ing world, run­ning ads from Zyn­ga, Storm 8, Com2Us and TinyCo.

Over the last six months, Heyzap claims that its ad income has soared to the point where it’s now become the main source of the firm’s over­all rev­enue, allow­ing it to start expand­ing its cur­rent 25-strong workforce.

Co-founder Jude Gomi­la says that Heyzap is now “a sig­nif­i­cant play­er in mobile adver­tis­ing.” He went on, “This does change our pri­or­i­ties. We want to offer full mon­e­ti­za­tion tools for game devel­op­ers. There’s also oppor­tu­ni­ty for a lot more automation.”

Gomi­la describes his firm’s ad pro­gram as a “game dis­cov­ery net­work”. Once a pub­lish­er pays to pro­mote their games, Heyzap sets about rec­om­mend­ing them through inter­sti­tial units that pop up in the games.

Rel­e­vant recommendations

Cun­ning­ly, Heyzap’s rec­om­men­da­tions are shaped by gam­ing data that users share on its social plat­form, which Gomi­la says puts the dis­cov­ery net­work “hand-in-hand” with the social tools.

And in his opin­ion, this has led to a far bet­ter approach for the entire mobile gam­ing ecosys­tem. Not least because Heyzap is can­ny enough to rec­om­mend games that its users are high­ly like­ly to enjoy.

In March, Gomi­la said, “There are three com­po­nents to the life cycle of a game that devel­op­ers are con­cerned with: user acqui­si­tion, reten­tion, and mon­e­ti­za­tion — we now have solu­tions for all parts of the cycle.”

Now, con­fi­dent that his data-dri­ven rec­om­men­da­tions approach is pay­ing div­i­dends, he doesn’t mince any words, stat­ing, “We think most mobile ads suck.”

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