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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Latvian startup raises $4M to replace intrusive in-game ads with engaging brand experiences

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Monetizr, a platform for advertising experiences based in Riga, has successfully raised $4 million through a fundraising round led by Change Ventures. Techstars and Ludus Ventures also participated in the funding, along with notable angel investors including Ari Paparo, who is the CEO of Marketecture Media and a former executive at Google and Beeswax, and Jared Schrieber, the Founder of InfoScout/Numerator. The startup’s platform replaces intrusive in-game ads with engaging brand experiences seamlessly integrated into gameplay, fostering authentic connections between brands and gamers while enabling effective monetization for game publishers. The funding will be employed by Monetizr to scale its US sales team and expand its European development hubs in London, Riga, and Helsinki, enhancing their capabilities in delivering engaging brand experiences within mobile games and driving innovation in the realm of in-game advertising.

Advertising budgets are increasingly shifting towards gaming, with more than 3 billion gamers world-wide and successive generations moving increasingly away from television. The market for in-game advertising is projected to reach $32 billion in 2023 and $46 billion by 2027, and data shows a broad demographic, with more than half of mobile gamers over 35 years old. In addition, gaming accounts for 43% of smartphone use, soon to overtake social media. Given the apparent robustness of opportunity here, one might be surprised to learn that most brands and marketers still find it very difficult to develop scalable ad campaigns, while game publishers find it difficult to monetize their products. Today’s in-game advertising consists of either highly intrusive video ads or background billboards that amount to impressions but not engagement.

Monetizr is looking to unlock mobile games’ advertising potential by delivering targeted, engaging brand experiences without disrupting gameplay. It allows brand managers to buy scalable and cost-effective ads across its data-driven consumer engagement platform while helping publishers monetize their games by defining a new class of in-game ad assets. Monetizr offers brands repeated and varied storytelling opportunities throughout a single gameplay and does so via game-enriching experiences rather than background decorations. On the backend, the same SDK delivers valuable, anonymous consumer behavioral data that is critical in the wake of new Apple privacy rules that will soon eliminate the use of cookies and eliminate advertisers’ access to consumers’ in-app data.

“Instead of providing stagnant and siloed digital ad units, Monetizr integrates brand stories into the actual games, increasing attention engagement ten times that of antiquated digital advertising and creating meaningful connections with consumers,” said Andris Merkulovs, CEO and co-founder of Monetizr. “We are connecting the brand story with the game story. For brands, the opportunity to be part of the game rather than a roadblock is incredibly powerful. We want to help brands tell authentic stories that enhance gamer experiences.”

Monetizr’s engagement metrics are measurable by independent third parties, including Nielsen and based on IAB standardized formats, and the technology is compliant with marketing automation solutions such as Oracle Moat Measurement, and is OMSDK compliant and SOC2 certified.

Andris Berzins, Partner, at lead investor Change Ventures, says: “We’ve been following Monetizr for a few years and we are delighted to be investing now as we believe it is the last chance to get on board before the company embarks on an explosive growth trajectory. Speaking to Monetizr’s clients, they tell us it is the only ad platform delivering engaging, scalable in-game advertising that gamers don’t hate. We believe Monetizr is the spark that is going to ignite global mobile games advertising.”

The new investment will be leveraged in two areas: Monetizr will build out its sales teams in North America, with new hires in Atlanta, New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. The second focus area will be technical and product development, where Monetizr will be making key hires in the development hubs in London, Riga, and Helsinki.

Click to read more funding news.

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Nurcin Metingil
Nurcin Metingil
A permanent student, a passionate first reader and nowadays doing master’s degree in Publishing Management. Beside these, I am up for games! I have been playing games since I was 6. Now, I am whispering "Business. Business. Numbers. Is this working?"

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