We´re not sure if Nico and Andi plotted their big business plan in the sandbox, but what we do know is that their friendship started there. It all began with an eager Nico in marketing class who came up with the idea and a supportive Andi who jumped on. Along the way they realized they also needed, in addition to their creative and finance savvy brains, some IT prowess. That´s when Dominik and Chris became part of the gang and from there was no stopping them. While they all continued to finish their specific degrees, the idea remained a side hustle – albeit a very successful one.
First Funding and first Pivot
Now we struggle to imagine a desktop version, but exactly that was the case between 2012 – 2014. Users interacted in a playful way with advertisements and received rewards as an incentive. And guess what, that´s where the name was born: WATCH – GAMBLE – WIN, or as we know it: Wagawin. 2014 was the year where the dinosaur aka desktop version converted to an App based model. With this big step came also some financial support in the form of their first investor.
Second Pivot – from Publisher to Monetization Solution for App developers
Remaining curious and always looking for ways to improve, our founders realized there was much more untapped potential for their product. Despite nearly 500.000 users in Germany the reach of their technology was still quite limited. From 2014 – 2016 the performance of the ad technology was continuously outstanding, so the next step was a no-brainer: Tweak the technology and make it compatible across all apps! That’s why they launched their own SDK (software development kid) in 2016, giving app publishers the possibility to benefit from simple but highly interactive ad formats. This was also the birth of what we know today as LivingAds – engaging consumers within mobile advertisements.
Global access to every mobile device
More and more app developers integrated the Wagawin SDK, but that still wasn’t enough for our founders. They wanted to get access to all mobile devices worldwide with their LivingAds. After much trial and error, they came up with a way to beautifully integrate LivingAds with programmatic ad buying. This made it possible to use LivingAds on any shopping platform (demand side platform).
Ease of use and learned behavior
Slowly the founders seemed to get the hang of it. Advertisers really liked the easy usage and benefits of LivingAds. Learning from this, simplicity became a core component of product development. LivingAds should merge with all current marketing technologies to become part of every marketing strategy. At the same time, LivingAds were increasingly adapted to daily user behaviors on mobile devices to ensure high interaction rates. To make it really appealing and easier still, interactive elements known and loved on social media came into play.
1st party data access
The most important part – the secret sauce – was only discovered in 2019. Up to this point interactions were used to solely generate awareness. Awareness is a nice to have, but the real must have is direct user feedback. Every LivingAd interaction is translated into direct user feedback and therefore becomes immensely valuable. This is the most important component of LivingAds. We give brands sovereignty over user feedback which they can use to address potential customers in a personalized way on almost all digital platforms. All thanks to LivingAds.
Growth despite a global crisis
Wagawin continued to grow year over year, until 2020 hit us. Like almost every company around the globe, it also affected us. Reduced marketing budgets everywhere forced us to focus on the essentials – Learned Behavior, Ease of use and 1st party data access. Despite some sleepless nights we were even able to continue our growth trajectory through 2020.
And the data trend keeps on growing. More and more brands need access to reliable 1st-party data sources. LivingAds play into this trend and help brands not only to get more exposure for their ad campaigns on the open web, but also to turn them into a data source. That’s why more and more brands are turning to LivingAds and we have made it our goal to make LivingAds an integral part of every digital marketing strategy! This is best put with the words from our company vision: We’re creating the world’s leading mobile marketing technology for brands and users to communicate to each other without restrictions.