955 Dreams, creators of the highly praised Band of the Day iOS app which originally launched for the iPhone, are now opening up their publishing platform and building an ad network for high end publishers. Though it isn't limited to music-related publishers, brands on the platform have already signaled their interest in music. But whether or not a publication fits their service, they're demonstrating that mobile ads don't have to be ugly little things that people wish would just go away.
955 Dreams has established itself as an iOS app publisher focused on content rich music apps as well as the Band of the Day app. This move extends what they've developed to both publishers and advertisers.
Interstitial Ads on Band of the Day App
Band of the Day was initially sold for $1 but 955 Dreams wanted to make it ad-supported without giving up their great design and user appeal. So they developed interstitial ad delivery and worked with advertisers such as Burberry to offer ads that looked as good as the app. You can see how they work in the above video or click through to YouTube for what is marked as a private video.
This development builds off the intersection of Apple's iPad display, 955 Dreams' approach to publishing and advertisers who spend a lot of money on creating ads. As Chief Design Officer TJ Zark stated:
“Here you have the most beautiful screen displays in history and they’re being used to deliver recycled, pixilated web ads at the bottom of mobile apps.”
Such an approach can appeal to high end advertisers who are hesitant to dumb down their ads (in a design sense) to go mobile says CEO Kiran Bellubi:
“These are brands that haven’t done any extensive spend on mobile advertising. That’s because forcing themselves into a 350 x 50 pixel block is something upscale brands are never going to do.”
But of course they want to go mobile because that is where the action is and customers with money to spend are turning tablets and smartphones into must haves. And since the approach has worked well for 955 Dreams, they're offering it to others:
"by releasing a publishing platform as well as its own ad engine, so publishers can create magazine-style apps complete with, full-page glossy interstitial ads."
955 Dreams is building both a publishing platform with ad delivery and an ad network because they couldn't find an ad platform that fit their own needs. As Bellubi put it:
"Monetization is key for mobile apps but how do you introduce ads into high end products without diluting experience? We didn’t say we wanted to build an ad engine but other solutions didn’t make sense. How many ad networks actually build apps? They’re not invested in the same way as we are."
Currently 955 Dreams is working with Burberry and Red Bull and doing fullscreen interstitials as shown in the above video. However they are planning "more dynamic and interactive ads that also offer video."
Earlier this year 955 Dreams received $3.25 million in funding to pursue this path.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) blogs about business at Flux Research: Business Changes and about dance at All World Dance: News. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.