Sponsored data, an alternative advertisement and content marketing strategy in the digital content space, allows content providers, publishers and app developers to sponsor the data consumed on their digital content/applications as means to boost their uptake and usage. Apart from companies producing content/applications, sponsored data is also leveraged by merchants, in partnership with various content/application providers and mobile network operators (MNOs) as well as service enablers to provide free bytes or browsing minutes on selected content sites/applications in exchange for users' engagement with the brand which can include watching an ad video, participating in a survey, signing up on a newsletter, taking part in a poll or simply liking a piece of content relating to the merchants' brand, products and services.
The idea of sponsored data is to make consumption of selected content free for end-users while providing an avenue for businesses to create brand visibility and promote their offerings. In some cases, such as that of Opera which provides sponsored content services via the Opera Web Pass, sponsored data helps onboard first time mobile Internet users to mobile data service and helps MNOs expand their mobile data penetration.
Last year, a number of sponsored data initiatives were unveiled by Operators such as AT&T, marking Operators' foray into sponsored data services. In tandem with this trend, a number of sponsored data platforms that integrate the analytics on subscribers' data usage by IPs, application and content and that connect to ad networks and direct advertisers and that integrate with the 'sponsoring' application and sites, have started rolling into the marketplace. AT&T's sponsored data service for example is powered by an ecosystem of players in this segment, and one such provider, Syntonic has recently unveiled its Syntonic Freeway Development Toolkit which provides native application support for application developers. The Toolkit, said Syntonic, can be used by both application developers and brands for a wide range of marketing and promotional initiatives including pushing in-app purchases and subscriptions.
According to Syntonic, whose prominent customers include Expedia and the independent film studio BBA of Frank vs. God, the new cross-platform, multi-carrier native application toolkit expands its earlier service, Freeway by Syntonic, a consumer sponsored data service which covers mobile web content to now cover native applications available in app stores such as the Apple App Store and Google Play. What this means is that application developers can also start sponsoring data used on their applications as means to promote their apps in a world where hundreds of new apps are being created everyday; or offer their applications for third party advertisers. Towards this end, Syntonic also offers its Syntonic Data Compression℠ technology that helps deliver a leaner and less data consuming version of their applications for optimal delivery that reduces the charges to be borne by the developers and the sponsors and that ensures high quality experience for end-users.