How Watching Mobile Ads Could Earn You Free Data


Advertisers are pulling out all the tricks when it comes to getting your eyeballs on their mobile content. So could they be successful if the incentive is free data for your smartphone? A Boston-based startup certainly hopes so.

Aquto, which was in stealth mode until Tuesday, is working with mobile carriers to offer additional mobile Internet data, in exchange for consumers’ engagement with brands. So if you were to watch a specific advertisement, buy something or try out a new app on your mobile device, you could be rewarded with a data boost — via megabytes and gigabytes — through your cell carrier.

Marketers would either work directly with Aquto or its ad network partners to present ads to consumers via its Kickbit iOS/Android app (pictured above) or on third-party sites/apps. For mobile users who reach close to their monthly data allotment, this concept could be a workaround to those pesky overage fees.

“What I observed was as people were going away from unlimited data plans, people were starting to be more wary about the Internet usage on a mobile device,” Aquto Founder and CEO Susie Kim Riley told Mashable. “Instead of just always consuming content wherever, whenever, they were starting to go, ‘well, you know what, maybe I shouldn’t download this right now, or maybe I shouldn’t watch this right now because it’s going to chew up my cellular plan.'”

Riley said mobile marketers are trying to improve engagement in order to monetize mobile, and this “value exchange” with consumers could entice them to interact with a brand’s content.

“Mobile marketers have really failed to capitalize on the shifting of the eyeballs away from TV and Internet, or PC onto mobile devices.”

Aquto is starting their service with a gradual roll out with carriers in 2013, beginning with eligible Vodafone subscribers in Europe. The data rewards will match accordingly with how involved you are with the ad content: e.g. signing up for a service’s free trial could earn you more data than watching a simple video ad.

Whoever figures out the secrets to effective mobile advertising may be heralded heroes for many companies and brands that have ventured into the arguably rocky road of mobile ads. But some have been quite successful: this year, Facebook’s mobile ad revenue will reportedly top $2 billion. Google is expected to earn $8.85 billion in mobile ad revenue this year.

“Advertisers are looking for ways to improve brand engagement over mobile,” Phuc Truong, founder/managing director of large global advertising group Mobext/Havas Media, said in a news release. “What we do know is that consumers will engage with brands based on compelling and relevant value-exchanges.”

Would you watch an ad or engage in other brand content, in exchange for free mobile data? Let us know in the comments.

Mashable composite thumbnail image: iStockphoto, Talaj. Screenshot images: Aquto.


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