Advertising technology startup Appsfire provides some of the best interactive advertising formats on mobile devices. Yet, on mobile, Facebook, Google and now Twitter seem to be the overwhelmingly dominant advertising networks. To counter this idea, Appsfire just announced some of its first advertising publishers, and it looks like the startup is becoming a solid alternative network.
When I first covered its new units, I praised the product design and wondered whether a small startup like Appsfire would be able to convince major advertisers and publishers. For the latter part, the startup just announced that it is working with Opera Media Works, Cut the Rope developer Zeptolab, Viadeo, Cheetah Mobile, Taringa, Jogatina, NaturalMotion, TF1, Lagardère Interactive and La Place Media (representing some of the most important publishers in France, such as France Télévisions Publicité and Figaro Medias) to display Appsfire ads in their respective apps.
Some of them are better-known in France than the rest of the world, but Appsfire’s ads will reach a very large audience of people with these partners. I’m sure these publishers work with multiple advertising networks, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction for the startup.
Now, all of this doesn’t answer the other important question — does Appsfire work with enough advertisers, and can it fill its inventory? Co-founder and CEO Ouriel Ohayon told me that the company signed advertising contracts with the New York Times, Uber, Tencent and more. The inventory is now five times larger than it was 5 months ago.
Appsfire manages its own inventory. It doesn’t buy ads from existing advertising networks. In other words, it’s a “true advertising network,” and not just another intermediary between the advertiser and the app publisher. As Appsfire develops new ad units, everything runs on top of its in-house SDK and API.
“One of the reasons why we also pay our publishers well is that we manage to take advantage of our past work on our app recommendation engine to find the right app ad for the right user depending on the app where the ad is displayed. It lets us limit inventory waste,” Ohayon said.
And of course, its interactive advertising units are probably much more efficient than a standard banner. Iterating on a tech product is much different from signing new advertisers and publishers all the time. Now that Appsfire has enough ad units to convince mobile advertisers and publishers out there, it needs to prove that it is more efficient to run Appsfire ads than, say, Facebook ads. It’s a long and windy road, but definitely an interesting challenge.
Disclosure: Appsfire co-founder and CEO Ouriel Ohayon used to run TechCrunch France. I didn’t work for TechCrunch at the time, so we never worked together.