Bringing Video Ads to Games: Supersonic Raises $4.2M and Crowdstar Partners with Jun Group

Israeli social game monetization platform and Facebook approved offer partner SupersonicAds today announced that is has raised a $4.2 million first institutional round of funding led by Greylock Israel. The money will go towards building a sales team so it can solicit more European and Middle Eastern game developers and advertisers using its BrandConnect product. This  allows brands to place video ads in games and reward users with virtual goods or virtual currency such as Facebook Credits.

In related news, major social game developer Crowdstar has partnered with social video ad network Jun Group to allow its gamers to earn rewards for watching commercials. The SupersonicAds funding and Crowdstar deal should both help expand incentivized view video ads to more Facebook games, and accelerate the shift of ad dollars away from television and towards social games, particularly those on the Facebook Platform.

Supersonic Ads came out of stealth in April 2009 to provide offer walls for european games. It later added video ads to its offer walls, but with time discovered that serving opportunities to complete video offers during gameplay caused more users to partake so it launched BrandConnect.

The product places a widget within a social game that displays signage such as “Earn Free Credits”, and when clicked opens the video offer. It has been used by Kellogg’s, Intel, and Disney, and boasts stats including over 50% (and up to 80%) of people exposed to a campaign view the entire video, 20% then Like the Page of the brand advertised, and 40% later visit the brand’s website.

In May of this year, Facebook announced that it would deepen its partnership with TrialPay to serve video offers from the Facebook sidebar and within games, and that SupersonicAds and several other video ad networks would contribute inventory. Then in June, SupersonicAds became Facebook approved offer partner, meaning it could reward users with Facebook Credits for completing “hard offers”  – direct response offers that require a user’s personal information such as making purchases or signing up for subscriptions.

These partnerships make SupersonicAds one of the only companies allowed to serve both hard offers and soft offers (those that don’t require user personal information such as video offers) on the Facebook Platform. Now to fill this inventory SupersonicAds needs a bigger sales force, so it secured this round of funding.

Meanwhile, Crowdstar’s partnership with Jun Group will bring video offers to popular games such as It Girl and Happy Aquarium. However, since the Jun Group is not an approved offer partner, it can’t distribute Facebook Credits to users that completing any type of offer. Crowdstar will be able to distribute its own earned currency or virtual goods to users that watch Jun Group video ads, though.

With television watchers increasingly using digital video recorders that let them skip commercials, advertisers need to consider where else they can place their compelling, high-production video ads. Along with video streaming services such as Hulu, which recently implemented Facebook Connect, social games are becoming lucrative real-estate. By solving a gamer’s needs by providing virtual currency or goods for watching ads run through services such as SupersonicAds and Jun Group, brands can not only make users watch the entirety of their ads, but instill a positive impression on them as well.

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