Xyo, the Berlin-based firm that’s working on ways to surface useful but less well-known mobile apps, has opened up the trials of its Contextual App Advertising beta program to the public.
The company, a rival to the likes of Quixey, already bases its contextual app search technology on behavioural and social data rather than keywords. It reckons users aren’t very good at searching for apps with useful terms (“cool game” and “fun” are popular efforts, apparently), so it tries to guess the user’s intent instead.
Now Xyo is getting into the ad creation and planning side of the business, pitching to developers who want their apps advertised to the right people at the right time. Ads can be promoted in search results or when users search for similar apps.
According to Xyo CTO Marcin Rudolf, the behavioural data comes from mapping views, click paths, search queries and installs on Xyo’s platform and those of its partners, then combining the resulting “app persona” with Xyo’s interest-based and very granular taxonomy.
“We also have a technology that creates social profiles of users,” Rudolf said via email. “There’s different data sources one can use for that like YouTube or Twitter. We believe that Facebook works best — the ‘likes’ of users are a very rich source to identify preferences of people.”
Xyo’s technology is certainly very interesting and the company has a good track record – it’s been wrangling data since 2009, originally as a consultancy of sorts, then on its own terms – but the one gap in this picture remains Xyo’s reach. Unfortunately, co-founder Matthäus Krzykowski wouldn’t be drawn on that point when I asked him, though he did promise an update in a few months’ time.