Feature Article

July 16, 2013

Upstart Offers Solution That Trades Mobile Data for Consumer Engagement

Startup Aquto today went public with a new solution that offers people mobile data in exchange for buying or trying products or watching advertisements.

Vodafone is the first user of the solution; others are will be announced later this year. Organizations can get the solution direct from Aquto, as well it through its ad network partners. Consumers, meanwhile, are presented with offers via Aquto's Kickbit App on the Android and iOS app stores and through third-party publisher sites or apps.  

The mobile Internet has become a central component to most of our lives, so usage is exploding, as is the cost to provide the service, says Susie Kim Riley, founder and CEO at Aquto. As a result, she says, facilities-based Internet service providers have implemented data plan limits and sought out new ways to drive revenues from their networks so that they can continue investing in them. The good news is that the high mobile usage presents an opportunity for advertisers and businesses to reach end users, she says. 

“To bring mobile to the next level, we have to crack the code on improving user engagement with mobile advertising and commerce by making the experience frictionless and rewarding,” Riley adds. “Aquto's mission is to bring businesses, operators and consumers together to unlock new sources of value in order to grow the entire mobile ecosystem." 

Boston-based Aquto, which is funded by venture capital firms Matrix Partners and North Bridge Venture Partners, already has been working with both advertising partners and mobile service providers on this front.

"Advertisers are looking for ways to improve brand engagement over mobile. What we do know is that consumers will engage with brands based on compelling and relevant value-exchanges. To that end, Aquto's approach is an innovative way to deliver tangible benefits to consumers," says Phuc Truong, founder/managing director at global advertising group Mobext/Havas Media.

Mobile consumption of music, video and media continues to climb, reaching more than 29 percent of all ad requests, up from 21.4 percent the previous quarter, according to a report issued in April by mobile advertising platform outfit Opera Mediaworks. The United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France and Spain are experiencing some of the fastest growth on that front, according to the report.

“Mobile advertising, which is expected to exceed 10 percent of all digital advertising this year, will become a vital facet of every major ad campaign in the upcoming year,” says Mahi de Silva, CEO of Opera Mediaworks. “The size of the audience, combined with rich media and engagement rates, shows we will continue to see a shift of ad dollars away from traditional media and desktop digital media to tablets and smartphones. Overall, Q1 2013 was another record quarter for mobile advertising across the world – with a particularly strong March.”

Edited by Ryan Sartor

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