One of the most enjoyable things about covering the mobile space is that it’s constantly evolving at breakneck speed. Start-ups are identifying things that are either broken or have gaps in what’s available to advertisers and publishers, and set about fixing or filling them.
Button sees much of the current mobile advertising landscape as broken, citing figures from Forrester that say 66% of people find ads in apps annoying — more so than television or Web ads, in some instances.
Its solution is a very specific type of mobile affiliate scheme. It helps publishers monetise their mobile apps and Web inventory by adding a “button” to them to enable the app user to easily connect to the service the button is promoting. The Button Web site currently lists 19 partner companies, including Uber, Ticketmaster, Hotels.com, and OpenTable.
So a publisher could choose to include a Ticketmaster button in the music reviews section of its app, for example, enabling the reader to link through to Ticketmaster to buy tickets to see the artist in question live.
Here’s how it works: When the user clicks a Ticketmaster button, he sees a preview of the inventory in a native card that shows up, still within the hosting publisher site or app.
This would show what tickets are available for the artist in question. One of the nice things about Button is that it is native in style, so these cards look and feel like part of the regular experience of using the hosting app.
After the preview, if the user clicks again and has Ticketmaster installed, he is deep-linked to the relevant section of the Ticketmaster app so he can buy the tickets. If the user doesn't have Ticketmaster installed, he will see an install modal from the relevant app store prompting him to install.
If he chooses to install, when he opens the app, he will be deep-linked to the relevant section of the app. The publisher then receives a commission payment, both when the user installs the app and when he completes his first transaction.
Currently, Button tends to be integrated into what you might call mobile-first apps, such as Foursquare, Hotels.com, and Triposo. But there’s no reason why mainstream news publishers could not use Button to monetise their content, particularly around music, theatre, and food reviews — all of which might put a reader in the mindset to book a ticket for a show and a meal beforehand, not to mention the taxi to get him there.
In fact, Button is in the process of signing up a number of tier-one media companies right now. So if you’re not one of them, don’t be surprised to see one or more of your competitors running buttons in the not-too-distant future.