App streaming company Agawi has launched a service it claims can deploy the world's first ever playable ads. The technology is called AppGlimpse, and Agawi is inviting publishers, advertisers and ad networks to start incorporating them into their products by signing up for the company's Lighthouse Partner program
Agawi claims the AppGlimpse platform has been operating on a trial basis since June 2013, and is now capable of serving playable "Try Before You Buy" ads inside mobile apps running on iOS and Android devices.
"AppGlimpse is designed as a better alternative to banner ads which some regard as ineffective because they take up an important part of a small screen, often appear to be annoying and are terrible user experiences, stated Rohan Relan, CEO of Agawi, in a press release.
In practice these playable ads work a bit like incredibly short game demos. Advertisers upload an app or game to the platform and AppGlimpse will generate a virtualized version that can be streamed out to client devices. The playable ad is small enough to be served to devices via Wi-Fi, LTE and even some 3G networks. These ads can typically be played for 1-2 minutes before they force the user to buy the full downloadable version to continue playing.
You can get a better idea of how these playable ads work in the AppGlimpse demo video Agawi published on YouTube last June, when the platform started its trial run.
Thankfully, there's a tiny button in the top-right corner of the World of Goo
demo ad seen above that appears to let the player close the ad at any time, which suggests that AppGlimpse will at least offer advertisers the option of allowing players to skip past their playable ads. Still, playable ads could be a risky venture for mobile developers -- pop-up ads are often even more annoying than banner ads, and a pop-up game demo seems just as bad.