Adenda has taken its time getting to market, but it is formally launching a cool tool today with the help of app marketing company Urban Airship.

The Vancouver, Canada-based company figured out how to make the lock screen on your Android smartphone more useful. The lock screen stops you from making embarrassing pocket-dial calls — or others from breaking into your device without your passcode. But Adenda has created a way to enable games and other apps to send animations and other notifications to the lock screen. It’s one more tool that can keep users engaged — but it can also deliver advertising to better monetize an app.

The feature is ideal for game companies that don’t want to put ads inside their app because they would ruin the game experience. But the so-called “out of app” ads that could be created for the lock screen are less intrusive. That would enable game companies to monetize games via ads that wouldn’t otherwise run.

Adenda is live with one mobile game now, and about 10 percent of users have turned on the app’s custom lock screen. Doumet said nongame app makers have also contacted the company in hopes of using the feature.

The Urban Airship partnership means that Adenda customers can design their own full-page rich media content from Urban Airship’s user interface. The plug-in can push notifications directly to the lock screen of those who have opted in. And the notification can target audiences based on location, history, behavior, and preferences. The feature is immediately available to all Urban Airship users.

Game companies can use the tool to draw users back into a game with a notification. That notification can be an animation that shows a village in your game burning down after an enemy attack, said Francis Doumet, the chief executive of Adenda, in an interview with GamesBeat.

“We get a lot of engagement from users by accessing the lock screen,” he said.

Doumet said that the lock screen is typically viewed 40 to 100 times a day. And content shown here is much more likely to be acted upon, he said.

The lock screen is part of the Android system software that carries restrictions. To enable the Adenda feature, a user has to give his consent to the app before it accesses the lock screen. If the user gives that consent once, the app can send messages or animations. And if the user turns it off again, then the app can no longer access the lock screen.

If you see an animation pop up on the lock screen, you can swipe right to get rid of it and return to the phone’s home screen. Or, if you want to engage with the app, you swipe left. Then the ad will run, or the game will load.

“Sadly, lock screen advertising is one of the most-hated versions of mobile advertising that exist,” says VB Insight analyst John Koetsier. “Our Mobile Games Monetization report shows that only notification ads, surveys, and banner ads are more annoying.”

However, it’s not just all about ads.

Adenda lets developers turn the lock screen into an extension for the app. Apps can now access the lock screen space for native app content, full-page rich media notifications, or even ads served through Adenda’s own ad network dedicated to lock-screen advertising.

Adenda has three employees, and it was founded last year. It has raised a few hundred thousand dollars to date from private investors. Rivals include Locket and Widdit. Adenda lets apps autonomously modify lock screen content on the fly. It also has a reward loop built into it to reward users who periodically enable the app’s lock screen.

Facebook’s Home mobile app can also display Facebook notifications on an Android lock screen. And Twitter recently bought Cover, a startup that deals with such tech. Adenda’s software doesn’t work with iOS yet as Apple has a more complex process for accessing the lock screen.

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