French startup Playdigious is announcing Adtrial, a mobile ad platform that enables the embedding of game demos in playable mobile ads.

The company said early tests show that such ads can double or quadruple the download rate of a game, mainly because players get to really see what a mobile game plays like in the ads. If it continues to work as intended, it could go a long way toward addressing the high costs of user acquisition, which is making a lot of games unprofitable because it takes so much spending to get noticed.

In doing so the company is mimicking the business of mNectar, a San Francisco company that pioneered the “playable ad” business. But it also shows that the business is becoming bigger and perhaps more competitive.

Playdigious is launching a limited early adopter program for qualified developers and publishers to use the new playable ad format. Players will be able to play a demo directly in mobile ads, without needing to download a game. The content delivered via AdTrial provides a seamless, true gaming experience that allows gamers to have a new level of “predownload” interaction never experienced before at this scale, the company said.

The first game to be featured using AdTrial technology is Pirate Power from Godzi Lab. More games using AdTrial will be announced in the coming weeks.

Like mNectar, Playdigious says that playable ads have an advantage over video ads because players get to see what the actual gameplay is like in a demo. That is a more compelling way to educate the public about a game, and that can lead to higher downloads.

Early tests of the platform have shown a much higher click and install rate (anywhere from 200 percent to 400 percent) and a retention rate that increases by over 20 percent.

“With the user acquisition market estimated at $5.6 billion in the U.S. [BI Intelligence estimates] in 2016 on mobile phones, any new tool that can increase downloads will be a major benefit to publishers and developers,” said Xavier Liard, cofounder of Playdigious, in a statement. “AdTrial is poised to fundamentally change how game developers and publishers reach potential new customers. While our technology will also work for apps in general, we are 100 percent focused on driving downloads for free-to-play games.”

AdTrial wants to offer an SDK-free technology that allows for these “playable ads” to be experienced on all devices and within all apps.

Playdigious recently raised 600 000€ ($659,000) in France from BPI France, FIRA Nord-Est and La Caisse d’Epargne Lorraine Champagne-Ardennes to develop the Adtrial Technology. Playdigious has seven employees.

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