Location-based mobile advertising network JiWire announced the launch of a new program called “Mobile Ads for Access” at Street Fight Summit West this morning. The service allows advertisers to provide users with WiFi access after seeing a piece of content.
“As mobile advertising matures, solutions need to go beyond the standard banner to drive engagement,” the company’s interim CEO David Staas said in a release. “By offering mobile consumers a value exchange, brands can make mobile advertising useful, creating a win-win for both consumer and brand. We created Mobile Ads for Access with that in mind, and by tying in social media, brands can maximize their exposure with a solution that combines social, mobile, and location into one experience.”
Staas went further during a phone interview with Street Fight, saying: “The brands we work with want to reach a mobile audience, a group of people constantly on the go. They shouldn’t be limited by the type of device they are connecting with. The brands kept saying to us that they’d like to reach people no matter how they are connecting. ‘Mobile Ads for Access’ provides that solution.”
The aim is to capitalize on the growth of non-laptop Internet connections. “What we’re finding is an incredible growth in the number of non-laptops connecting to Wifi,” Staas said. “In the last quarter across our network we saw about 45% of all WiFi connects were from smartphones and tablets.”
The service creates a solid value proposition for mobile users, making it more likely that these kinds of location-based ads will have resonance. A user looking for WiFi will certainly sit through a short video in order to get it, especially on tablets, and especially in places where they previously had to pay. The program might be a harder sell in somewhere like a Starbucks where consumers are used to getting Wi-Fi for nothing, but a 15- or 30-second clip is hardly too much to ask.
Noah Davis is a senior editor at Street Fight.