App search engine Quixey launches its Sponsored Apps program in beta today. The Sponsored Apps program allows app marketers to target users during the app discovery process, as they are searching for apps relevant to their search queries.
The program aims to give app marketers an alternative to traditional in-app ads. This is the company’s first foray into monetization. EVP of Product, Guru Gowrappan, told me, “The natural evolution is to go into sponsored apps.”
“We are applying Functional Search, our core organic search product, to the Sponsored Apps program. Advertisers can target by keyword and reach users at the intent level.”
Quixey’s app discovery platform works across platforms and can perform app search for mobile, desktop, Web and browser apps. The company has its own Web and mobile interface, but its main focus is on powering app search for others. It’s partners include app stores, search engines, carriers and Web platforms such as Microsoft (including Windows phones), Ask.com, Sprint, DuckDuckGo, and Skyfire (with its toolbar for AT&T and Sprint).
“At this volume of monthly searches, advertisers’ ability to target by keyword and category provides a unique opportunity for their app to be discovered in a manner not available through any other app advertising solution.” Jim Delli Santi, Quixey’s Product Director of Monetization, said in a statement.
Gowrappan says most of the engine’s 100 million queries per month come from the US because of its current partner base, but says they will be expanding into other markets. The top app categories are lifestyle, games, entertainment and utilities (like task managers), and the company expects these area are where they’ll see the most advertiser interest, as well.
Sponsored Apps will start as a CPC and CPM program, with plans to eventually add CPI (cost per install) bidding, according to Gowrappan. Pricing will be based on the app category. They are currently testing tracking users who start their app search on desktops and eventually download apps on their mobile devices.
The company plans to continue testing relevancy, the number of ads that appear per query and the ad unit itself through Q3 and Q4, says Gowrappan. They are also testing slotting–showing sponsored ads again when you scroll down the list of app results.
Advertisers interested in joining the beta can sign up here.
Update: The original story stated that CPC bidding would come later. Quixey says the Sponsored Apps program is launching with CPM and CPC bidding options, and the story has been updated to reflect this.