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AppOnboard offers fast, playable mobile ads

AppOnboard is betting that the best ad for a mobile game is the game itself.

Co-founder and CEO Jonathan Zweig (who was previously CEO at AdColony, which was acquired by Opera) said that this addresses a big need for game developers, namely the fact that they spend lots of money promoting their apps, only to find that users give up during the initial tutorial. AppOnboard’s solution is to “take the tutorial out of the app, to the other side of the fence … before the app is ever downloaded.”

That means users try out a game before they download it, and developers can test out different versions of the tutorial to see which ones work best. And for the publishers who include AppOnboard ads in their games, it’s a way to make premium ad dollars while keeping users engaged.

AppOnboard isn’t the only company working on playable ads. We’ve written about startups like mNectar, and Google is now offering these capabilities to Android game developers.

However, Zweig said existing approaches tend to fall into two camps — they either require you to create an HTML5 version of the demo from scratch, or they stream a virtualized version of the app, which can create significant lag times.

In contrast, AppOnboard offers what Zweig called “a unique kind of hybrid approach.”