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Mobile advertising startup TapSense sets it sights on wearables

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.”

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