Android users will soon see their mobile home screens filled with ads. Glance, an India-based mobile ad company owned by InMobi, plans to roll out its lock screen platform to Android devices in the U.S. in the coming months.
When an Android user turns on their screen when the device is locked, they’ll be met with a slew of new content; they might see video content and recent news stories — alongside ads. When the device is unlocked, the dynamic display will disappear.
Glance is already pre-installed on devices around the world, acting as an extension of the Android operating system in many markets.
A new prospect for brands
For advertisers, the prospect of lock screen ads is attractive. “Lock screens are seen hundreds of times a day and free from any visual noise, they are primed to be high-impact and high-engagement ad placements if done the right way, which Glance seems to be willing to do,” says Julien Verdier, the general manager of advertising at social engagement platform OpenWeb and cofounder of adtech firm AdYouLike. “Mobile home screen-based advertising is a concept that has been around forever with small startups trying to capitalize on this unique piece of real estate, but it never took off. Glance seems to be onto something and has relationships with brands and agencies to make it successful.”
Skeptics Aren’t Sure Consumers Want More Ads
Other industry players are more skeptical, pointing out the risks at stake. As Paul Roberts, chief executive officer at adtech company Kubient, puts it, “This has the potential to backfire.” The main issue, he argues, is that consumers are already weary from digital market saturation. “Consumers already feel bombarded by digital advertising and have shown concern with things like digital tracking. For example, 96% of users have opted out of iOS tracking [via Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency framework], which is a big sign there is a reluctance for more ads.”
Acronym’s Vice President, PPC, Oscar Au weighs in:
“This opportunity offers the potential to help advertisers to cut through the noise and to be seen by consumers before they even open their phones. By enabling ads on the Lock Screens, prospective customers can begin to engage with all sorts of content, especially if it is targeted well.
However, this is another opportunity to test to the U.S. consumer base to determine how open and accepting they are to ad placements everywhere they look, especially on their phone’s lock screens.”
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