February 6th, 2008

Ad Infuse Launches Ad-Serving For iPhone

By Antone Gonsalves
Information Week

The Ad Infuse server recognizes when an iPhone is requesting video and delivers the appropriate advertisement.

Ad Infuse on Wednesday said it has expanded its online ad-serving platform to deliver content formatted for the Apple iPhone.

The privately held San Francisco company’s new service can stream ads for insertion before, in the middle, or after video shown in the smart phone’s Safari Web browser. Content publishers typically pay a company like Ad Infuse to handle the complexity of inserting advertising in online video without making it look as if the separate video content was “stitched together,” Brian Cowley, chief executive of Ad Infuse, told InformationWeek.

Besides integration of the content, the Ad Infuse’s platform handles the formatting to ensure optimum viewing of the ad content in the targeted device, whether it’s an iPhone, mobile phone, or some other handheld gadget.

In the case of the iPhone, ads have to be formatted for the smart phone’s 3.5-inch touch screen. The Ad Infuse server, which is connected to the content publisher’s server, recognizes when an iPhone is requesting video and delivers the appropriate advertisement.

Content providers have two options in buying Ad Infuse’s service. They can license the company’s server and install it in-house, or they can subscribe to the service over the Internet. The latter software-as-a-service model is the typical way ads are served.

In addition, Ad Infuse can provide targeted advertising based on the information content providers share about viewers. The company will also provide reports on who’s viewing the ads, how effective they are in attracting viewer attention, the number of clicks on ad links, and other information.

Ad Infuse’s charge ranges from 25% to 50% of ad revenue, if the company handles ad sales, as well as the delivery service, Cowley said. The later service alone costs 10% of ad revenue. The company has about 50 customers in U.S. and Europe and has 30 employees.

In January, the company closed $12 million in funding from SoftBank Capital, ComVentures, and Storm Ventures. The investment brought the total amount of funding in the 2-year-old company to $18 million.

Advertiser interest in the iPhone is expected to increase, if sales of the devices continue to grow. Users of the smart phone tend to also be heavy users of data services, since the iPhone is built for surfing the Web and accessing services. 

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