I-Corps: AdsProphet: Full-screen Delay-aware Mobile Ads Display

Project: Research project

Project Details


NSF I-Corps Application AdsProphet Executive Summary Project Overview: Mobile app developers who rely on “in-app” advertising for revenue are losing out on up to 50% of their achievable ad revenue, because they cannot take advantage of the “freezing time” or (lag time) while the app loads data. AdsProphet is a novel mobile ads library that finds these valuable windows and displays full-screen ads, thereby creating a massive and totally new revenue opportunity for app developers. Specifically, AdsProphet can accurately predict the delay of each networking operation when users can do nothing but wait. If a delay is expected to be longer than a threshold, AdsProphet will play a full-screen ad for the estimated length of the delay. AdsProphet is particularly powerful because it creates a window for full-screen ads, which are very profitable but often avoided by app developers because they compete with app content. Composition of the Team:Entrepreneurial Lead (EL): Xiang Pan is the EL of our team. Xiang is a third-year PhD student at Northwestern University in computer science. He has sufficient research experiences in networking and security areas. His papers are published on top networking/security conferences such as NDSS and ACSAC. Xiang is capable to support transition of the technology: one of his research project, JShield, is deployed by the world's largest telecommunication equipment maker, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. I-Corps Teams Mentor: Nathaniel Harrison is the Mentor of our team. Harrison is a serial entrepreneur with experience founding and managing early stage technology businesses. His currently an Entrepreneur in Residence for Northwestern and previously worked for TetraVitae Bioscience and The Boston Consulting Group. MBA, MIT Sloan; BA, Harvard University. Principal Investigator (PI): Yan Chen is the PI of our team. Yan is professor of computer science at Northwestern University. He leads the Northwestern LIST (Lab for Internet and Security Technology). He won the DOE Early CAREER Award in 2005, the DOD (Air Force of Scientific Research) Young Investigator Award in 2007, and the Microsoft Trustworthy Computing Awards in 2004 and 2005 with his colleagues. Based on Google Scholar, his papers have been cited over 7,000 times, and the h-index of his publications is 35. Related NSF award: Professor Yan Chen received NSF award for project “TWC: TTP Option: medium: collaborative: identifying and mitigating trust violations in the smartphone ecosystem” in October of 2014 with Sponsor Ref Award number being CNS-1408790. Potential Commercial Impact: AdsProphet can potentially double the revenue of mobile app developers who rely on advertising. Given that mobile app ad revenues were ~20 billion in 2014 US, this could be a ten billion commercial opportunity. The key to the revenue potential of AdsProphet is that it enables app developers to display full-screen ads, which are rarely used today. Full-screen ads have a 25x higher Click-Through Rate (CTR) than banner ads (5.7% vs. 0.23%), and are therefore more valuable. We predict that mobile app developers can use AdsProphet to display full-screen ads at a rate of 10% of banner ads, which would result in a doubling of advertising revenue. Current Commercialization Plan: We plan to integrate the major ad libraries such as AdMob and InnMobi into our software, and give app developers our software for free. AdsProphet will generate revenues by taking a share of the ad commissions that the app developer normally receives from advertisements.
Effective start/end date9/1/155/31/16


  • National Science Foundation (IIP-1558209)


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