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App Search Engine Quixey Now Taking a Crack at Mobile Ads

Another parry in the deep linking wars.


After raising a considerable amount of cash, Quixey, a pioneer in app search, is trying to make more. Its path? Mobile ads.

The company, valued somewhere north of $600 million, is releasing a mobile tool called Deep View Cards that allow apps to run ads within other apps. It’s a new step for Quixey, which started out enabling users to discover apps, then moved into mobile search through deep linking, a function that connects pages within and between apps.

“It’s the natural evolution of what we’ve been doing,” CEO Tomer Kagan said, explaining that the debuted cards will be the primary product for the company’s coming ventures into search and social. “Ads are the first major manifestation.”

Quixey has tested the ads with a few notable partners, such as Alibaba, the mobile ad platform Adelphic and the Twitter ad platform Flightly. The ads are bought through automated partners, with Quixey taking a cut, and can run within a slew of apps, including social networks.

 Quixey Deep View Card
Quixey Deep View Card

Quixey says these ads do very well! Part of their success is an ability to send users that click through — into an app or to install it — to more dynamic results than other in-app ad options. For instance, SeatGeek, an online sports ticket aggregator, ran cards based on time and the user’s location: A fan in San Francisco would be linked to buy tomorrow’s Giants game, rather than today’s Yankees one. SeatGeek saw a 20 percent uptick in click-through rate.

Kagan won’t say how exactly, beyond the use of proprietary technology. Here’s a hint: In February, Quixey nabbed $60 million in funding from some powerful mobile players, including Alibaba and SoftBank.

Releasing an in-app ad product now is serendipitous. It comes a week after Apple began letting developers put out ad-blocking apps in iOS, a move that could accelerate the trend of mobile ad dollars flowing from the Web into apps. Kagan said the timing is beneficial yet incidental.

But Quixey is also in a crowded market of companies aiming to profit from fixing the problem of mobile search and contained content in apps. Well-funded rival Button is taking the commerce angle. Another well-funded rival, URX, released its own mobile ad product in April. Then there are Apple and Google, the mobile gatekeepers, which are both working on their own app search tools.

Google, in particular, has aggressively been pushing app makers to allow Google to index their pages. Kagan dismissed the search giant as unresponsive to partner’s needs. “I don’t see them as the defender of the developer,” he said. For ad campaigns, he said, developers would rather work with Quixey. “You can choose easier campaigns, you can get better numbers,” he added. “We don’t get many ‘nos.’”

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