May 26, 2009, 12:00 AM

New program lets companies swap ad space in mobile apps to drive downloads

Mobile ad network AdMob has launched the free iPhone Download Exchange. Retailers and other companies that advertise through AdMob can have ads for their iPhone apps placed within each others’ apps at no cost. The service is designed to boost downloads.

Getting the word out is key to successful mobile apps: If consumers don’t know apps exist and where to find them, the programs won’t be downloaded onto smartphones. Mobile ad network AdMob has made it easier for retailers and other companies to spread the word with its new iPhone Download Exchange.

The free service lets AdMob advertisers swap ad space within their iPhone and iPod Touch mobile apps in order to promote their mobile apps. Advertiser A-a retailer or other company-creates an ad for its mobile app, designates an inventory slot (a location where an ad can be displayed) and sends both to AdMob. When advertiser A’s mobile app ad is displayed within the mobile app of another AdMob client, company B, an ad for the mobile app of company B or another AdMob client is displayed within the advertiser’s app. All placements are free.

“iPhone developers are clamoring for new ways to increase consumer discoverability of their applications,” says Omar Hamoui, founder and CEO of AdMob. “Everyone we talk to tells us the same thing, making this a great opportunity for us to extend another valuable service to developers. Application developers in AdMob’s network now can allocate a portion of their ad inventory to our new iPhone Download Exchange and begin helping each other drive downloads.”

In six weeks of operation, the mobile app exchange has driven more than 560,000 downloads of 700 participating mobile apps, AdMob reports.

AdMob has more than 1,400 iPhone apps within its ad network. It also has more than 7,000 mobile web sites worldwide and a small but growing number of Android apps. The company reports serving more than 78 billion mobile ads since it launched three years ago. It also says in March its ads were served on 12.7 million iPhone and iPod Touch devices worldwide.

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