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Mobile advertising startup mNectar lets consumers test-fly apps

Mobile adver­tis­ing start­up mNec­tar has recent­ly tak­en a big step for­ward in its mis­sion to change the way we relate to mobile apps.

The San Fran­cis­co-based com­pa­ny was found­ed in 2012, and ear­li­er this month closed a Series A round amount­ing to $7 mil­lion dol­lars (it had raised $625k in seed fund­ing back in Sep­tem­ber last year). So, what is it about mNec­tar that’s inspired such investor con­fi­dence?

From ban­ners to inter­sti­tials to video – where next?

Any­one with any degree of expe­ri­ence of media jobs in mobile adver­tis­ing agen­cies will be aware that an evo­lu­tion has been under­way. To begin with, mobile ads took the form on itsy-bit­sy ban­ners but then came full-screen inter­sti­tial ads; more recent­ly mobile video ads have come to the fore, as has adver­tis­ing through Facebook’s huge tar­get­ed mobile ad net­work. The next step, accord­ing to mNec­tar, is to let con­sumers test fly mobile apps they might be inter­est­ed in from the ad itself.

mNectar’s CEO Wal­ly Nguyen told TechCrunch jour­nal­ist Kim-Mai Cut­ler about his company’s start­ing point:

“When you buy music, I like to lis­ten to a song for 30 to 60 sec­onds before buy­ing an album. I thought this was fun­da­men­tal­ly bro­ken for apps. Mobile adver­tis­ing is bro­ken. With sta­t­ic inter­sti­tials, there’s not enough infor­ma­tion for a user to make a deci­sion.”

A nifty solu­tion for a hyper-crowd­ed mar­ket

Vet­er­ans of mobile adver­tis­ing agen­cies will prob­a­bly see where Nguyen’s line of think­ing is head­ing: mNec­tar pro­vides full-screen, inter­ac­tive ads that allow con­sumers to try out an app or a game for a short time win­dow before they decide whether to buy/download it. And as a mea­sure of this ad strategy’s suc­cess, one only needs to look at the company’s client ros­ter, which includes names like Zyn­ga, Zep­to­lab, Wooga, King, GREE, Buf­fa­lo Stu­dios and Big Fish Games. Each install costs between $3 and $7.

As Nguyen con­cedes, “It’s a high range, but we don’t force or pre­set pric­ing, and adver­tis­ers keep com­ing back to buy again.”

There’s lit­tle doubt that app devel­op­ers have faced a huge­ly dif­fi­cult task in work­ing out how their mar­kets work as both the Android and iOS app stores have become mind-bog­gling­ly crowd­ed. Increas­ing­ly, ultra-spe­cif­ic tar­get­ing has become indis­pens­able, as have new vari­eties of inter­ac­tive mobile ads. mNec­tar is already there, ready to deliv­er both.

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