Mobile advertising startup TapSense has announced that its mobile ad exchange will now support wearable apps, starting with Pebble.
There can’t be many people with media jobs in mobile advertising agencies who haven’t noticed the progressive rise of wearable gadgets. And TapSense figures that can only mean one thing: another frontier for mobile advertising to conquer.
The smartphone as hub
But the ads TapSense will run won’t actually appear on the Pebble itself; instead, app developers will be helped to target ads at Android and iOS users who also own the smartwatch. The ads will link directly to the relevant promoted apps on offer in the Pebble appstore, so that wearable app developers can use TapSense to promote their offerings through the same kinds of ads that other mobile developers use.
Visitors to the Pebble store can download apps onto their smartphones, whereupon they sync with their smartwatches. According to TapSense’s CEO and founder, Ash Kumar, the latest development represents a new model in which smartphones become hubs for wearable gadgets.
As he points out, “the wearables market will remain fragmented for some time.” In a market where no single device dominates, the hub concept becomes important. If and when that market starts to take off, TapSense will have created a legs up for itself by this early foray in wearables.
A wise first step into wearables
And Pebble happens to be a good starting point for a firm aiming to capitalize on an emerging new mobile advertising market: its popularity and sheer diversity of apps (over 3,000) make it ripe for the startup’s new strategy.
As an example of the reach of Pebble, consider this: Pebble-optimized apps now include big names like ESPN, Foursquare, Pandora and Yelp, all of them with the core functionality of the equivalent smartphone app but each of them noticeably faster (they require less interaction). The ESPN app, for instance, offers sports lovers not only the scores for their favorite teams’ games, but the current score and the minutes left, too.
Kumar believes TapSense is the first mobile advertising firm to create this kind of support for Pebble. Further along the road, he envisages running ads on the wearable apps themselves: they’re another opening for delivering relevant, real-time advertising that won’t jar like, as Kumar puts it, those “annoying banner ads.”