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.
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.”