App Monetization

Adding ads as an app monetization source can be complex - here is a checklist to help you

There are many companies who are adding in-game advertising these days. Apps that have built in-game currencies are now adding rewarded videos and offer walls and more casual games are relaying more on native ads, banners, static interstitials and video interstitials. If your company is considering ad based monetization here is the ultimate checklist of things to do:

1 – Identify potential hooks for ad-integration

The first step in this process is to figure out what are good places to put ads in the game. For rewarded video you are looking for virtual goods that the user might want so you can give them in return for a video view. You would need 2 or 3 virtual goods like that. For example in a match 3 game it could be both lives and boosters. You also need to figure out in what times would you prompt the user to let him know about the option. Integrating interstitials, static or video, is more straight forward and just requires you to figure out some break points. Banners are a bit trickier. You want to make sure they are not confusing the users into false clicks.

2 – Integrate a few ad networks

You should plan on using multiple networks. At least 3 for video ads and probably 2 more for banners and interstitials if you are doing both. By adding more than one network you are making sure that if one network doesn’t have an ad to serve the other ad-network can serve an ad instead. This is often referred to as the waterfall. Ad-networks will often have strengths and weaknesses in different countries and ad-formats so combining a few allows you to pick the best one for each situation. You can build a basic waterfall system in-house but if you are serious about monetizing with ads you should use a mediation platform.

3 – Use a mediation platform

A mediation platform goes beyond the basic waterfall in 3 ways:

  • It dynamically configures the waterfall based on historic results of the ad-networks
  • It allows to plugin in real time time bids that might yield higher eCPMs
  • Managing providers becomes much more plug and play

For a comparison between different mediation platforms – use this link.

4 – A/B test the impact on other KPIs

Once you go live, you should check the impact the ads have on KPIs such as retention and conversion to paying users. You want to make sure you manage these and minimize the negative impact of these. It’s highly recommended to track the impact individually for each ad-network, ad-format and campaign type. This requires specialized analytics platform.

5 – Set up analytics for advertising revenues

By nature, ad-networks keep their cards close to the vest. Getting data out of them is not easy and requires specialized analytics platforms such as SOOMLA TRACEBACK. Some of the things you would want to track:

  • Aggregated revenue numbers per country and segment as well as ARPDAU and ARPU
  • Impact on other KPIs at different exposure levels and by different ad-networks
  • Compare revenue in different configurations of the waterfall
  • Ad LTV of specific cohorts and user segments

6 – Check reviews and forums

Advertising can negatively impact reviews and might lead to retaliation by user base. In games that rely on balancing of the economy it’s also good to check the forums and monitor for indications of balance problems.

7 – Periodically call the ad-networks to improve terms

The default deal you would get from the ad-networks is far from optimal. Publishers that do well with ad revenue are known to call on ad-networks to ask for better terms. You will discover that getting 10% or 20% more by simply asking is not uncommon. Once you get a decent volume of impressions it’s also possible to apply leverage like telling your rep at the ad-network know that you are switching them to the bottom of the waterfall or adding other sources that promised you better terms.

 

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Fun Stuff, Game Design

A finger of a user clicking on a banner that says top 10 idle clicker games and refer to incrementer games where coins are falling from the sky

I recently came across this article in Gamasutra about the psychological profile of gamers who play Idle clicker games that are also known as incrementer games. His findings are super interesting and explain the commercial success of some of these games.

What are idle clicker games

Idle clicker games are games that allow the user to generate virtual wealth by doing two simple things waiting or clicking (hence the name). Once the player accumulated enough virtual currency the game becomes more about the meta game of buying things that help you accumulate more wealth faster. The meta game part resembles mechanics that are found in RPG games, Strategy games and City Simulation games but the core game is so simple that it almost feels like a parody. This genre is considered one of the hottest genres in mobile games today.

The success of clicker games with in-game ads

One of the reasons why we see so many incrementer games recently is that they work really well with the rewarded video format. This is hapenning from two main reasons:

1) Great audience for top grossing games

Like the post about the psychological profile suggests, the gamers audience who like idle clicker games is overlapping mostly with the one of core games and hardcore games. Since both these genres are paying very high CPIs for new users the ad LTV per user is typically very high

2) Rewarded video fits in very naturally

Rewarded video is today the most effective format. The eCPMS are 20 times what you get with banners and the users tend to love them. However, to get many users to opt-in to the videos your game needs to ability to offer many rewards to the user. In incrementer game the meta game revolves around achieving more and so they offer many opportunities for rewarding the users.

If you are making an idle clicker game you will need to track your ad revenue to be successful. Check out SOOMLA TRACEBACK – ad LTV as a Service.

Learn More

Here are the top 10

Icon Name Publisher Ratings in Google Play Downloads
adventure capitalist is the most successful mobile idle game. It is made by Kongregate Adventure Capitalist Kongregate 835,659 5M-10M
cow evolution by tapps games is the most downloaded mobile idle clicker game Cow Evolution Tapps Games 435,933 10M-50M
make it rain - love of money. This game reached the top spot in the Apple App Store Make It Rain: Love of Money Space Inch, LLC 290,941 5M-10M
cookie clicker is first idle game in mobile that reached mass appeal Cookie Clickers redBit Games 249,816 5M-10M
image Billionaire Alegrium 175,835 1M-5M
Bitcoin billionare is a cool clicker game where you can click to collect coins Bitcoin Billionaire Noodlecake Studios 183,350 1M-5M
image Pocket Mine Roofdog Games 117,524 1M-5M
PickCrafter Fiveamp 141,468 1M-5M
tap tycoon is an incrementer game Tap Tycoon Game Hive 116,307 1M-5M
money tree by tapps games - money does grow on trees - click to get it Money Tree Tapps Games 106,934 1M-5M

 

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Game Design, Startup Tips

15-Ideas-for-Game-Bots

Lately I have been hearing more and more buzz about bots being the new apps. Many of my friends who until recently were working on new apps are now working on new bots and Facebook announced recently that there are already 11,000 bots on its messenger platform. This led me to ask myself what kind of game bots can be build on messenger – what is going to be the Angry Birds of bots?

What game bots can you find today

I reviewed the discovery channels for bots and came back quite disappointed. The only games I could find were trivia questions and a poker game that was almost impossible to play. I thought it would be nice to share some ideas and see if they become a reality. If you end up pursuing one of these you can give me credit or not – up to you.

Ideas for game bots

Screenshot 2016-07-14 16.21.591- Spot the difference – this game has been around for as long as I can remember and it’s fun for kids as well as adults. The user gets two pictures that are identical with a few small exceptions and has to find the differences.

2- Personality quizes – In this game the user answers a series of questions about himself and once he finishes he gets to know a new aspect of his personality. This one has many flavors: “What Disney charachter are you?”, “What pop star are you?”, “What type of guy will you mary?”, ….

3- Drawsomething like game – this is a game that has to be played in pairs where one player doodles a picture and the other person has to guess it. Due to the highly social nature of this game it should work well on Messenger.

4 – Who said that (usually politician vs. villan) – in this genre of games the player is presented with a sentence and has to guess if it was said by famous person A or famous person B. When confronting a polititation with a super villan this is lot of fun.

5 – Guess the image (2 options) – guessing what’s in the image can be lots of fun to play in messenger and makes a great fit as it’s highly sharable. In this version the player has to only chose between 2 options. Some popular version of this game in web where:

6 – Guess the image (list) – this one is very similar to #5 but here you have more options to chose from and has to progress through a list. Some popular flavors of this game on web and mobile were:

  • Name the logo
  • Guess the Emoji
  • Guess the picture in the closeup

7 – Spot what’s wrong in the picture – in this game the user is challenged to spot something that defies the common sense in the picture. This OCD test is a good example

8 – What food has less calories – this game is slightly educational – the user is presented with 2 pictures and has to guess which one has less calories.

9 – Sports betting – placing bets on sports matches is a huge business in countries where it’s allowed. A messenger bot can be the perfect way to do that without worrying to much about installing apps and creating accounts.

10 – Song guessing – identifying songs has always been a fun thing to do. In mobile, Songpop made millions on this but there are no bots that offer this type of gameplay yet.

Screenshot 2016-07-14 16.10.1611 – Wordwhizzle – This popular mobile game could be easily turned into messaging based interaction. The bot presents an with the letters and the user has to make the word with a single hint.

12 – Would you Rather – There are a few successful mobile games in this genre: “Either”, “Would you Rather” and more. The user is presented 2 options for example:

  • Be in a car accident that kills only you
  • Be responsible for a car accident where you live but your family and friends die

Once the user makes a selection he is presented with the statistics about the distribution of the responses.

13 – True or False – The bot presents 2 sentences to the user who has to guess which sentence is true.

14 – Sports betting – This is probably the most profitable bot service you can make in countries where betting on scores of games is regulated. Sometimes a messaging interaction could be the

 

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App Monetization, Research, Resource

the top 6 mobile ad mediation platforms compared and reviewed in great detail. The image includes the logos of Ironsource, Mopub, Fyber, Appodeal, Heyzap and AdmobFollowing the success of our recent posts comparing ad-networks, offer wall providers and push notification platforms I’m happy to provide you this research about the leading mediation platforms. We reviewed many candidates and only included platforms with demonstrated market traction and selected to include only platforms that have at least one thing that is unique and great about them.

I highly recommend reading this list alongside our post about the difference between ad-mediation, SSP and ad-server.

We reviewed each of the different providers from a few aspects:

  • Do they mediate on the client side, server side or both
  • Platform and Game Engine support
  • Ad format specialization – video, banner or interstitials
  • Monetization technique – do they charge a fee or place their own ads in return for a free service
  • Reporting user interface – can you understand what needs to be done for optimization
  • Ad network support – how many ad networks from the top 20 they support and are there any big providers missing
  • Special features worth mentioning

We ended up with two lists: one for video mediation and one for banner and interstitial mediation. Here are the top 3 in each category.

Video Oriented Banner Oriented
Fyber Admob
Heyzap Appodeal
Ironsource ( formerly Supersonic) Mopub

 

If your app is monetizing through ads you should get better tools to track your ad-revenue. Check out SOOMLA Traceback – Ad LTV as a Service.

Learn More

 

the logo of fyber, an ad mediation platform for mobile apps with a focus on mobile games and rewarded video

Fyber

Fyber took a strategic decision to put gaming publishers at the focus of the company. Their mediation platform definitely deserves a premium spot in the top 6 list. They focus mostly on SDK level mediation and support every meaningful video ad provider with the exception of Supersonic / Ironsource. Their list for banners and interstitials on the SDK side is a bit shorter but they can source these ads by making the inventory available through their SSP platform. Fyber’s hodling company RNTS recently bought Heyzap and Inneractive but so far they seem to be keeping the brands and the platforms separate.

Fyber’s monetization technique is to make the inventory available to their ad-network. This is the most popular method today but it creates a conflict of interest for the mediation providers who can’t maintain neutrality

Fyber’s reporting interface is easy to use and include important KPIs and metrics. It includes information about active users that is important for publishers to track impression frequency but it fails to track the opt-in ratio and doesn’t provide a good way to track the waterfall optimization. The ability to view performance by segment is also lacking.

Their Unique Advantage: Best coverage for video networks and best coverage for top 20 ad-networks

Platform support: iOS, Android, Unity, Adobe

Ad networks supported out of top 20: 13

Total ad networks supported: 16

the logo image of mediation provider heyzap, the company was recently bought by RNTS who are also the owner of fyber

Heyzap (Acquired by RNTS/Fyber)

Until recently Heyzap was an independant provider with no ad-network affiliation but since the begining of the year they are in the same family as Fyber and Inneractive and they are all held by RNTS. Their video network coverage is excelent and is done mostly on the client side through SDK adapters. They also have a nice support of interstitial and banner providers.

Fyber monetization technique is to place ads from their own ad-network which is mostly coming from placing the inventory for RTB. They also added demand from Fyber as a default setting in waterfall.

Heyzap’s reporting dashboard is very graphic and includes good visualization of the waterfall configuration alongside the historic eCPM and fill rates. It’s a bit lacking on the metrics and doesn’t include any data on unique users so it’s impossible to analyze ad frequency, opt-in and segments.

Their Unique Advantage: Waterfall visualization and interface simplicity

Platform support: iOS, Android, Unity, Adobe, Cordova, Buildbox

Ad networks supported out of top 20: 9

Total ad networks supported: 12

Ironsource (formerly Supersonic)ironsource mediation platform came to the company via the acquisition of supersonic. The platform is focus on rewarded video and doing well especially in the gaming sector

Supersonic mediation started as a rewarded video platform but since the acquisition by Ironsource the company have added interstitial and banner support. However, their focus still remains on mediating video through SDK adapters and the only provider not supported on that front is Fyber (and vice versa).

Like Fyber, the mediation technique here is also by placing ads from both Supersonic and Ironsource own demand sources.

The reporting interface is not as shiny as others but still effective. It includes 2 important metrics not supplied in some of the other platforms:

  • The number of active users – this allows to optimize the ad frequency
  • The number of “engaged users” – these are users who engaged with the rewarded video (opted in)

Another cool feature is that the management section indicates the historic eCPM of each ad-network and makes it easy to make waterfall management decisions. The platform is still missing a good visualization that includes fill rate alongside eCPM and the priority that the algorithm gave the ad-networks. Another miss is the lack of breakdown to segments in the reporting dashboard.

Their Unique Advantage: Reporting per user and indication of historic eCPM in auto-pilot mode

Platform support: iOS, Android, Unity, Adobe

Ad networks supported out of top 20: 12

Total ad networks supported: 13

admob by google is a popular ad mediation platform with great network coverage

Admob by Google

Like the ad-network, Admob’s mediation is better for banners and interstitials and not as good for rewarded video. Their coverage on the video side is lacking Mediabrix and Tapjoy but for banners and interstitials they have the best coverage for both SDK based integrations as well as S2S.

Their monetization method is to place their on ads in the bidding mix. These ads are coming from advertisers on Admob and from Adsense as well so their backfill sometimes includes text ads that might look very random in the context of your app.

Their reporting interface is not good. Google’s line of visually boring reports is a topic on it’s own but on top of that there are some serious challenges in getting the information you will need to see in order to understand what actions to take. The only hope is that Firebase is going to fix all that but we will have to wait and see.

Their Unique Advantage: The widest ad-network coverage

Platform support: iOS, Android, WP7

Ad networks supported out of top 20: 12

Total ad networks supported: 43

AppodealAppodeal are an up and coming mediation player with nice features and great features for small developers

Appodeal is a fast growing startup who already made a name for itself in the mediation space. The company doesn’t have an attached ad-network so can maintain unbiased position and focus on helping the publishers. It support all ad-formats and covers all the important players for banners, interstitials and native ads. On the video side they are missing Fyber, Mediabrix and Supersonic Ads.

One of the unique features about Appodeal is the ability to create custom segments and apply a different logic in this segment. For example, you can decide that females will see less ads or that people with older devices will not get video ads. Another important feature that is not available in all other platforms is the ability to define house ads for cross promotion or direct campaigns. There are also some great features for small developers like auto-registration and advanced payment.

The way Appodeal makes money is by brokering your backfill inventory. This means that when there is no fill from the ad-networks you selected, Appodeal will allow place the inventory on an exchange and allow other networks to bid on it. From this revenue, Appodeal will take their commission.

The reporting interface of Appodeal is simple and effective but it’s lacking on a few aspects. The ability to see the number of clicks is an important feature that other platforms don’t have. However, there is no visibility to the actual waterfall configuration that was set up in a specific day. The ability to track impressions per user and to monitor opt-in ratios for rewarded ads is also missing.

Their Unique AdvantageSegmentation feature and other advanced capabilities

Platform support: iOS, Android, Unity, Adobe, Cocos2d-x, Cordova, Marmalade, tvOS

Ad networks supported out of top 20: 11 through SDK and 2 more through S2S

Total ad networks supported: 25

Mopubmopub mediation and SSP platform provides a combination of ad network optimization alongside access to RTB markets

Mopub are combining an SSP with mediation in the same SDK. The company was acquired by Twitter in 2013 so adding your SDK allows you to receive ads from Twitter advertisers like Facebook Audience Networks gives you exposure to FB advertisers. The platform focus is on banners and interstitials more than on rewarded video. On the video networks they are missing: Applovin, Fyber, Mediabrix and Supersonic and on the banner and interstitial side they are missing Flurry.

Mopub monetization method is to bundle their SSP along side the ad mediation so they get access to the inventory and can get their cut through the ads they are placing.

The dashboard offered for managing the ad-networks is good overall and makes all the main functions easily accessible. The reporting is pretty good but lacking a few features to understand what’s happening on a user level.

Their Unique Advantage: Best access to RTB ads

Platform support: iOS, Android

Ad networks supported out of top 20: 10 through SDK and 1 more through S2S

Total ad networks supported: 11 through SDK and 9 more through S2S

 

These are the top 6 but there are plenty of other platforms out there so feel free to explore and try others. One platform that was pretty close to getting included is Ampiri by Glyspa we recommend checking it out as well.

 

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Tips and Advice

in house vs. outsourced tech platforms

The gaming industry is notorious for having a strong NIH syndrome. In mobile games there is more openness for external solutions compared to previous gaming ecosystems. You can even find super successful companies like Supercell who outsource almost everything and are able to keep very lean while on the other hand companies like Wooga who even keep their ad-tech platforms in-house.

What not to outsource

The rule of thumb for outsourcing is that you don’t want to outsource the core functions of the company. This is obviously different from one company to another but in the gaming space almost all successful companies keep in-house is the game backend and BI. There is no lack of services offering BAAS (backend as a service), Game servers and off-the-shelf analytics solutions but there is a strong concenseus among the top tier companies that these should be kept in-house. The situation is different with two types of companies:

  • Companies like Ketchapp are focused on super casual games that don’t have a backend
  • Gaming startups sometimes make short term compromises and outsource components that they are later on hoping to internalize

Outsource your ad-tech platforms

On the other side of the spectrum – the ad-tech platforms are mostly outsourced. Even if you look at top tier companies it’s hard to find companies who built technologies around measurement, optimization and placement of ads. Here are some examples:

  • Attribution platform – most gaming companies outsources to Appsflyer, Kochava, Adjust or Tune
  • Ad Mediation – there are many solutions in the market and only a few companies built their own
  • Ad revenue traceback – companies were not able to build platforms to attribute ad revenue to the user level

Consider the TCO – total cost of ownership

One of the aspects that companies often miss when it comes to in-house development is the on-going maintenance costs. In a typical scenario the vendor will pitch his product and will present a price of $5,000/month. The VP of engineering will say – I can build this in a month. Obiously, the price of 1 month of engineer work should be considered but there is actually a lot more:

  • The alternative cost of the engineer should be considered – if you are delaying a feature that could be worth $50,000 than the price is actually more than just the engineer salary
  • The full overhead – The G&A expenses are correlated to the number of people in the company
  • Maintenance cost – bugs, responding to changes in the industry, upgrades, …
  • Hosting costs can ramp up quickly in ad-tech products
  • Dev-ops costs
Once you add up all of these, most likely that the price the vendor will be the lower one compared to the in-house option.

The hidden price in ad-network sponsored products

One area where companies fail to perform an accurate cost analysis is the area of ad-mediation. In this area there are companies who use in-house solution and others get a ‘free’ one from an ad-network. Here, the price of the ‘free’ product is actually a lot bigger than a paid product would have cost. One of the secrets of the ad-networks is that they are the ones deciding how much to pay the publisher, it’s very easy for them to withold 10% as a cost for the mediation. The publisher will never know. Now imagine a company with $10M in annual revenues. You have 2 options:
  • Get a free service (it actuall costs $1M/year)
  • Develop in-house
Most companies will choose the free service and only a few will build an in-house solution. However, in this case, the price of outsourcing is actually much higher compared to in-house.

Recap

The dicision to build or buy in the gaming space has two main aspects:

  • Know what is the core of your company and keep that in-house
  • Consider all costs including total cost of ownership and the hidden cost of ‘free’ gifts from ad-networks
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Marketing

ltv calculation for Apple subscription models

Apple recently announced a new model is available in the app store and apps will no longer be sold for a $1 but will charge a monthly subscription instead. The subscription model is a middle ground between the premium model and the free2play model with in-app purchases. It doesn’t force users to pay upfront for apps they are not sure they are going to need long-term and on the other hand it lets users evenly share in the monetization instead of relaying on psychological models that exploit people’s weaknesses. This model still requires LTV calculation but it works a bit differently than with free2play (Or IAP models for non-games).

What’s the difference in LTV calculation

With the subscription model the amount paid every month is fixed.  This makes things simpler for us when it comes to LTV calculation. It also works in monthly intervals where churn requires an action. In other words, once you started it’s an opt-out model vs. opt-in in free2play / IAP. This means that we can look at churn as a static ratio. The formula is this one:

Screenshot 2016-07-03 16.25.44

Using an LTV calculator is easy

The calculator below can give you a feeling of how the LTV is affected by these two parameters. You can put in the numbers and get the result.

  • Monthly subscription fee – here you can put whatever value you configured in the app store
  • Monthly churn rate – this is the number of people canceling each month as a ratio of the number of people who started that month

 

UA aspects of subscription models

The main use cases of LTV calculations are in marketing and user acquisition. One thing to know is that in subscription models the retention is much longer compared to free2play. It’s common to see monthly subscriptions with a lifespan of 3-5 years whereas in free2play we usually calculate LTV for 180days or 365days. This also means that you would be able to run campaigns that only get to ROI after 6 months or even 12 months if you have the right funding resources.

 

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Analytics, Research

header image of 7 analytics platforms with ltv reporting

If you want to know your LTV and is using a free analytics platform you might find our online LTV calculators interesting. You can also see our guides for Calculating LTV with Flurry and with Google Analytics.

However, another approach is to upgrade to a paid analytics platforms that offers LTV reporting out of the box. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find this feature in any of the free analytics platforms so I guess the only way is to pay the premium. Below you can find 7 tools that offer this option and the following details about each one:

  • Depth of LTV reporting they offer:
    • Historic LTV – this is a report that summarizes the amount of revenue per install. If you wait 180 days
    • LTV prediction report – this is an algorithmic calculation that predicts the LTV early on in the user lifetime based on a formula such as this one
    • Guide for LTV prediction – Some providers offer a resource for using their reports to calculate LTV
  • Platform and engine support – Mobile operating system as well as app building tools and game engines
  • Popularity – based on number of apps that use the platform
  • Price for 1M MAU based on the pricing presented on the provider
Vendor LTV Reporting Platforms and Engines Popularity Price (1M MAU)
Swrve analytics offers ltv reporting out of the box in addition to many other features Historic LTV,  Guides for Prediction iOS, Android, Windows, Unity, PhoneGap Mid  Undisclosed
Historic LTV iOS, Android, Unity High $1,800
DeltaDNA do offer LTV prediction report Historic LTV,  LTV Prediction Report iOS, Android, Unity, GameMaker Low  $15,000
DevtoDev is a new player in the game but they are offering LTV prediction as one of their flagship features Historic LTV,  LTV Forecast Report iOS, Android, Windows, Unity, UE4, Adobe, PhoneGap Low  $2,500
Localytics is a popular platform that offers lifetime value reporting Historic LTV iOS, Android, Windows, Unity, PhoneGap High  Undisclosed
Kissmetrics provides ltv prediction based on the churn ratio Historic LTV,  LTV Prediction Report iOS, Android Mid  $5,000
Omniata offers 60 day and 90 day ltv prediction Historic and Predictive LTV iOS, Android, Unity Low  Undisclosed

Honorable mention goes to Upsight. The company is offering a very flexible solution and are trusted by some of the industry leaders. Before they merged and rebranded their Kontagent platform did have LTV prediction and while the current platform don’t support this feature I’m sure it will be added back in the future.

If you want to also analyze and predict the LTV for your advertising revenue – now there is a solution. Check out SOOMLA Traceback – Ad LTV as a Service.

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Analytics, App Monetization

knowing who is advertising in your app could have multiple benefits for you

In-app ads are getting more and more popular these days. The increase in CPI levels alongside the penetration of brands have made it possible to build a successful ad-support app company and many are doing so. Given this trend, it’s becoming increasingly important to understand who is advertising in your app but that’s not an easy task today. Most likely, an app developer will be using ad-networks to place ads in his apps and so this setup doesn’t allow the him to get reports on the identity of the advertisers.

Verify that you are not helping your direct competitors

One reason to track the ads in your app and reveal the advertisers’ identity is to make sure you are not helping your direct competitors. You might be able to manually check this by opening your app and using it yourself until ads are shown but keep in mind that the ads you see in one country are different than the ads shown in another country and sometimes campaigns even change by time of day. To do this right you need a 24/7 operation in 249 countries which is quite impossible to do manually. Luckily, there are several tools to do this. On mobile web, Adclarity and GeoEdge are providing this service and for Mobile Apps you can check SOOMLA Traceback.

Monitor ad integrity

Another reason to know what ads are running is to enforce policies you may have in-place with regards to ads been shown. In ad-supported apps, ads are part of the overall experience and ads that are in-appropriate would damage your brand, lead to bad reviews and hurt your retention. Here are some of the ads you want to weed out:

  • Inappropriate ads such as ads with nudity
  • Ads with deceiving UX and false promises
  • Offensive ads

Understand what’s driving the eCPM you are getting

Knowing what campaigns are been run by ad-networks allows you to improve your monetization strategy and up your ad-operations game. Lets think about a situation where you are using Vungle and Unity Ads and Vungle’s eCPMs have been higher in the last few days and they are on top of the waterfall. Tomorrow, their biggest campaign might end and the eCPMs would drop. If you would wait for the ad-mediation to pick up on this change you might get 2 days of low eCPMs until the waterfall configuration is changed by the mediation auto-pilot. Knowing about a campaign that just ended would allow you to respond more quickly.

Get ideas for direct deals you can make

You might have heard that direct deals with advertisers can bring higher monetization levels by cutting out the middle man. Knowing who is currently advertising in your app can give you tips about the best advertisers for your app and can give you the information that the advertiser would ask about.

If you are using ad networks to monetize your app you should check out SOOMLA TRACEBACK. In addition to advertising revenue attribution you can also get information about the campaigns running in your app.

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Fun Stuff, Uncategorized

Ad networks are an important link in the mobile game industry chain. Below you will find a list of the top 20 ad networks for monetizing mobile games in 2016. Which is the best in your opinion?

 

To do

 

 

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Marketing, Tips and Advice

cross promoting between your apps requires creativity - here are 9 ideas how to do cross promo

Most companies in the mobile app ecosystem today have more than one app. Once your company reached this stage, you should start considering cross promoting your new app in the existing apps. You should probably read The Complete Guide to Cross Promotion ROI in addition to checking out these 8 awesome ways to cross promote your apps.

Interstitials and App Trailers

This method is the most obvious way and has been in use for as long as people were making apps. You have one app, you launched a new one. Simply make an app trailer or at least a full page banner ad and add them in the existing app. Most mediation platforms supports this practice and it’s easy enough to do. Keep in mind however that you are taking away from your potential ad-revenue with this method.

Virtual goods / coins bonus

This method is for games only. Virtual goods and currencies are an integral part in most mobile games today. Once your new game is ready you can offer the virtual goods or coins of the new game as a bonus to the users of the existing game. This way the cross promotion message makes the users feel special and has more chances of attracting the users.

In-app notifications

While google and apple are not allowing using push messages for cross promotion, in-app notifications are still allowed. The in-app messages a simple yet effective tool that pops up a “system notification” style message to the user which immediatly grabs his attention.

More games button

This is a classic but still very effective, simply plant a button in your lobby/home screen and allow your users to check what other games you developed for them. Users normally assume that if they liked one of your games they are likely to like another.

Email messages that cross promote a new app

If your iOS app asks users to login or use a social network to connect, you should be able to leverage this method. Android apps can ask a permission to access the user email in the operating system or revert to social login. Once you have a long list of user emails you can leverage them to announce the coming of a new app. If you do this, make sure you include a way to unsubscribe in order to comply with Can Spam Act

Retargeting on Facebook and Google

This method costs some money but could still be effective if your new app monetizes well. Both Facebook and Google allows to target a list of customers and promoting a new app to them. You will need to either integrate an SDK in your existing app in advance for this or if you are a using an attribution provider you can probably ask them for a list of identifiers you can upload for this purpose.

crossy road cross promo method is to introduce avatars from other games

Adding the new game avatars in the existing game

Another method that can only used by games. It was first used by Hipster Whale in their game Crossy Road very effectively except it was used to promote other games. The users get acquinted with the new characters and are interested to explore the new game.

Bonus levels featuring the new app

This method is inspired by the playable ads that are getting a lot of momentum lately. The playable ads allow a user to play a few moves in the existing game before deciding to try the advertised game. Since your company is the developer of both games, you can actually build a better experience and incorporate a short bonus level in the existing game to get the users interested in the new one.

Name hints as a cross-promo tool

This is a generalization of sequales. Obviously, adding the number “2” to the title is an effective way to get users of an existing app interested in the new app. However, sequales requires the apps to be very similar and is a method only for games. Creating a name that hints to the other app creates a softer association that allows the new app to inherit the trust that the users generated towards the existing apps. Some examples:

  • Candy Crush Saga – King created at least 5 more games with a name ending in “Saga”
  • Clash Royale – Supercell hinted that their new game is related to their top game – Clash of Clans
  • Du Apps Studio – Android utility apps maker is dominating the top free charts while all their apps start with “DU”

 

If you would like to measure the tradeoff between cross promotions and ad revenue you should probably start attributing your advertising revenue. Check out SOOMLA Traceback – Ad LTV as a Service.

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