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NativeX, a maker of ad technology for mobile games, has named its cofounder Rob Weber as its new chief executive. On top of that, the company told GamesBeat that it is launching its new Triad video ad format that offers mobile gamers their choice of which video ads to view.
Weber, who previously headed business development, replaces Andy Johnson, who will remain chairman. Weber cofounded W3i with his twin brother Ryan in 2007. In 2013, they rebranded the company as NativeX to focus on native advertising, or ads that are built into mobile games and appear to be a natural part of the app itself. Andy Johnson joined the company in 2007 to head the PC business, and he was appointed CEO in early 2014 to help bring more big-company discipline to NativeX.
In an interview with GamesBeat, Weber said that he prefers a flat management style, and he may make some changes to the organization as a result. He also hired Mike Wallin, formerly of PlayPhone, as vice president of business development as Weber’s replacement. Ryan Weber remains chief product officer.
“Our focus is going to be much more about mobile going forward,” Weber said. “Andy is stepping out of an operational role. My role in recent years has been driving business development, sales, and the customer experience. I hope to bring the customer voice to front and center. We’re really a mobile company now, and that is a reason for the change in the organization.”
Weber describes the Triad as a “mini multi-offer” format, where a gamer gets three videos to choose from. The gamer taps on the video he or she wants to see, and the ad plays. The ad is aimed at increasing engagement and making sure that a player’s preferences are taken into account, even in a game’s advertising.
The Triad format will be part of NativeX’s Discovery Suite, which offers other choices for native ads for both mobile games and apps.
Weber said that higher conversion rates — where a user takes a desired action after viewing an ad — and long-term-value users are a natural result when users are given a choice of which ads to engage with. The Triad ad works well as an incentivized, in-game placement where users earn rewards for watching a video.
“The user feels more in control when they get to choose,” Weber said.
NativeX has acquired more than 1 billion users across 178 countries through its partnerships with iOS, Android, and web game and app developers. Rivals include other ad tech companies such as AdColony and Tapjoy. Weber said the company showed the ad format to its partners at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last week, and it will roll out the ads in beta form in the coming weeks. NativeX has 85 employees.
“We’re pretty excited about this ad format,” Weber said. “It’s getting a lot of interest.”
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