App Developer Slide Shifts Sales Focus to Sponsorships

San Francisco-based social network app developer Slide is letting go much of its advertising sales team as part of a strategic realignment that will place more emphasis on custom ad integrations, a spokesperson confirmed. GigaOm first reported the news yesterday.

The company’s new focus will be on landing big-brand, big-money sponsorships for its apps in lieu of more plentiful but less expensive display ads. The goal will be deals in the $500,000 range.

The changes at Slide are a response to broader changes in the online advertising world. There is “an advertising glut on the market” these days, with too much undifferentiated ad inventory, said the spokesperson, Lily Lin. The rapid growth of social media sites is adding to the imbalance. Slide’s new focus will be “helping companies leverage social media through product placement and more immersive experiences,” she said.

The layoffs at Slide affect less than 10 employees. The company intends to hire new staffers with experience in long-term relationship building. “Higher-premium advertising takes a lot longer and involves working with CMOs at companies versus ad agencies or agency execs,” Lin said.

Slide, formed in 2005 by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, is reportedly valued at $500 million and is backed by funding from ayfield Fund, Blue Run Ventures, Khosla Ventures and Founders Fund. Its advertisers have included Starbucks, Sunkist, Activision, and AT&T Wireless.

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