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(1200x600) Top 20 Ad Networks

If you want your mobile game, or any other app for that matter, to earn you money (and I’m guessing you do), then you have most likely already considered an advertising network.

A short description of an ad network is that it’s a company which connects advertisers to game developers and publishers so that the former have an easier time finding ad space, and latter earning cash.

Ad networks are an important link in the mobile game industry chain – simply sending an ad to a game is not enough. There are many parameters that need to be handled for the advertisers to be pleased with the feedback, and game developers with monetization.

That’s why you need a solid mobile ad network – one which will offer various models, flexible features, quality integration and detailed analytics and reports.

And just before you go about saying “well yeah, but all these mobile ad networks are basically the same, offering same services and just hiding behind different names”, allow me to point you towards AppsFlyer’s Ad Network & Media Partners Performance Index – a report with a detailed review of mobile ad platforms’ performance. Not only does the report confirm how different ad networks are, it also expands by showing how games, being varied and different, affect the performance of the ads.

We also recommend checking out an additional resource we have that compares mobile ad networks in a spreadsheet and gives accurate details about: revenue/payout, ad formats, mediation support and reporting API.

Google’s AdMob instantly comes to mind, and it’s no wonder – the tech giant’s network is huge and ticks all the right boxes. But there are other mobile ad networks out there worthy of your attention, and in this article we’re going to introduce them to you.

Here are the top 20 mobile #adnetworks! Click To Tweet

Below you will find a list of the top 20 ad networks for monetizing mobile games in 2016, as well as a short description of what each network can offer.

admob
#1 AdMob

Supported ad formats: Interstitial, Native, Trueview, Banner, Lightbox, Video

One of the most popular mobile ad networks out there is Google’s AdMob. The network was acquired by Google back in 2010, and has since been re-designed to better fit Google’s ad network.

Among its strongest features is its fill rate, great eCPMs and cross-platform monetization support. Users should be able to reach a 100 percent fill rate quite fast, and with a good number of advertisers, great eCPMs should always be at hand’s reach. It supports cross-platform monetization which includes Android, iOS and Windows 8, however there is still no word on Windows 10.

Among the biggest issues users have reported are the fact that you’re required to register at AdSense, and that it limits the amount of ads per static page to one. However, the latter being for web and not mobile, it can’t be seen as a setback here.

uads_logo1 (1)#2 Unity Ads

Supported ad formats: Rewarded and Non-Rewarded Video

Formerly known as Applifier, Unity Ads is also an extremely popular mobile ad network. It owes its popularity partially to the fact that it allows devs to monetize whole player bases through ads native to Unity-built games – according to the network’s website,  if you’re using the Unity Engine, no SDK is required.

In terms of formats, they offer video interstitials, both non-rewarded and rewarded; the latter of which provides the user with a reward for viewing, most usually an in-game currency or similar.

On the other hand, users mostly complain about the low fill rate Unity Ads provides, which sometimes goes down to 35 or 40 percent.

Chartboost2#3 Chartboost

Supported ad formats: Interstitial, Video, Native Ad

For mobile game developers, Chartboost should always be very high on the list, as the network focuses primarily on gamers. It works as a cross-promotion network, which was quite a big deal back when it was first unveiled. It allows game developers to sell their advertising space to other game developers directly, which allows them to set their own business terms. Some people said Chartboost earned them more money than other networks combined, basically.

Its other big selling point is on the analytics side, as it offers a huge earnings table, as well as installs and impressions data. It goes into the tiniest of details, which can be a double-edged sword – this network offers lots and lots of data. The platform supports both Android and iOS.

On the other hand, the majority of its advertisers are not what you would consider “premium” – sometimes the network allows very cheap bids per install, leaving peanuts for the developer.

Applovin_Logo_Final_Blue_Horizontal_RGB#4 AppLovin

Supported ad formats: Video, Native, Interstitial, Banner, Video

If you’re interested in seeing where your players come from, you can consider AppLovin, as that’s one of its features that isn’t seen that often. Besides allowing to track the fill rate and eCPM by country, AppLovin has a couple of other interesting features, including full-screen ads, which apparently make more money than banner ads. It also allows for very low payment thresholds ($20 for PayPal), and pays up on the 15th of the month, which appears to be both awesome and rare.

vungle#5 Vungle

Supported ad formats: Video

Vungle also has a few trump cards of its own, helping the young company stand out from the bunch. One of the main features is the recently introduced Premium – a marketplace where video advertisers can find the best-performing apps and games and target them with their ads.

Another feature worth mentioning is called Vungle Creative Labs, a London-based studio of designers, artists and filmmakers that help people make great ads for their game. An SDK for Windows 10 appears to be the icing on the cake here.

It’s not without issues, though – there have been people complaining of extremely low ad revenue.

mobileCore#6 mobileCore

Supported ad formats: Interstitial, Video, Native

As part of ironSource, the founder of hugely popular installCore, mobileCore is a good solution mostly for Android game developers. Its key feature is called AppWalls – a sort of interstitials that don’t exactly cover the entire page but, as the company puts it, “appear seamlessly in the app”. It says that with such an approach, quadrupling your eCPM is not far away, but take that with a grain of salt. Some mobile game developers have praised this network, for its minimal data consumption, while others claim you cannot use it with other mobile ad networks in the game, as it will crash it.

AdColony#7 AdColony

Supported ad formats: Video

AdColony is a mobile video advertising platform – emphasis on ‘video’. Having said that, one would expect the company is best at serving video ads, and according to a couple of user reviews – it does its job very good. The network’s strongest selling point is in the fact that it can serve high-definition instant mobile pre-roll videos, no matter the internet speed or the quality of the device in use.

On the other hand, it has a few drawbacks worth mentioning – users have complained the network forces users to watch a 30-second ad before exiting, while others say the network pays only 0.5 eCPM per completed view. If users have watched a few videos without downloading something, it can even go down to 0. The network was acquired by Opera Mediaworks in 2014, a deal reportedly worth $350 million.

Supersonic_Logo#8 Supersonic

Supported ad formats: Banner, Offerwall, Video

Supersonic is a great place for advertisers looking for some ‘serious’ games – apparently the company has some high-profile clients, including EA, Hasbro and Disney. It offers mobile video, video ad mediation, interstitial ads and offerwall, which monetizes non-paying users by offering valuable offers for virtual currency. Being an ad mediation platform it, besides serving ads from its own network, serves ads from other networks as well.

It had recently merged with another giant in the mobile monetization world, the Israeli company IronSource. With more than 550 employees and revenues of more than $300 million a year – IronSource complements Supersonic, a company with 250 employees of its own, greatly.

Its biggest weakness seems to be customer support – users sometimes claim their problems aren’t heeded, unsurprising when you have 500 million global users.

Fyber Official Logo#9 Fyber

Supported ad formats: Video, Offerwall, Interstitial

Fyber was founded in Berlin 2009 as SponsorPay, and rebranded after transforming from ad revenue sources optimization company, to a one-stop shop for developers to monetize their products. One of the features it’s mostly proud of is the Auto Pilot which, as the company says itself, “automatically optimizes ad revenue sources”. With the auto-pilot feature, the developer doesn’t need to manually control the priority of ad networks, the platform does it for them.  

On the other hand, it seems to be having a lot of trouble with customer support, with users reporting frequent issues, which in many cases go unresolved. Fyber was also recently acquired by the German RNTS Media for $190 million which is interesting in that Fyber is actually the bigger company here. It won’t affect the firm’s business, though.

inmobi_logo.JPG#10 InMobi

Supported ad formats: Banner, Interstitial, Video

InMobi seems to be one of the world’s largest mobile ad networks. It’s an Indian company that has drawn most attention to itself through MIIP – an ad discovery platform. What it does is it creates something it calls “discovery zones” within apps, where advertising content is curated, and users can interact with the content to better tailor future offers to their liking. Their approach seems to be working – tech giants such as Google and Alibaba have both shown interest in investing into the company, although no deal was yet reached. According to Crunchbase, the company has more than 800 million unique visitors in more than 200 countries.

tapjoy#11 Tapjoy

Supported ad formats: Content Lock, Interstitial, Offerwall, Video

Tapjoy is above all a CPI (Cost per install) network – it rewards its users for installing games and apps that it promotes through that network. It is a popular network among advertisers as it allows fairly low bids which go as low as $0.20 per install for advertisers, and $1 per install for bigger app studios. It also allows for the customization of ads, to a certain degree. Backgrounds and text cannot be changed, obviously, but transitioning of TapJoy views for ads can. It has acquired two start-ups so far, the analytics and marketing automation firm 5Rocks, and the global social game distribution platform Viximo. It has recently hit a billion installs.

heyzap#12 Heyzap

Supported ad formats: Interstitial, Video, Banner

For some people, like the developers on this link, HeyZap is the best ad mediation platform for Android, providing very high traffic, paying great CPM, and ultimately earning the devs serious greens. Crossy Road is another good example – apparently its ad revenue jumped 94 percent thanks to HeyZap’s ad mediation. The company has also recently updated its cross promotion tools with new features which have, according to its users, made the network more powerful. An app’s default settings, including the icon, title and description can be overridden, but most importantly – you can also change the call to action. Just like Fyber, Heyzap was also recently acquired by RNTS Media for $45 million, effectively being acquired by Fyber itself. According to the press announcements and website banners, one can predict that Heyzap will eventually be merged into the Fyber brand.

startapp#13 Startapp

Supported ad formats: Exit ad, Slider, Interstitial, Banner, Native, Video

What makes Startapp somewhat special is the fact that it’s mobile-only. Its key features include interstitial ads, 3D walls, splash and slider ads. It serves ads to more than 35 million users, and works with more than 170,000 apps. It pays per application downloaded and, according to a PostZippy report, pays $50 for each 1000 app downloads.

The network has some downsides, too – their interstitials loaded one by one, for “two-three-four times at a time”, which some developers have described as ‘annoying’. Its SDK sometimes has issues with Google Play compliance, which could leave the developers hurting.

revmob#14 Revmob

Supported ad formats: Banner, Interstitial, Video, Native Button

Back in the day, Revmob was hailed as the holy grail of mobile ad networks – the hidden gem. People were pulling insane eCPMs and earning tons of money. Since then, new and (to some, better) networks have emerged, but Revmob still remains among the best of the very best. You can pull eCPMs anywhere from $1-$50, and you can get an extra boost by adding their unique native buttons as a complementary revenue source to the classic interstitial. Revmob now supports video interstitials and allows you to add a scrolling feature to show additional products. There are also rewarded video campaigns for increasing user engagement with your game.

flurry#15 Flurry Ads

Supported ad formats: Banner, Interstitial, Video

For years now, Flurry Ads has been among the top mobile ad networks available. Launched in 2005, at first it was primarily an analytics platform, but later added its own ad network. What developers seem to be particularly enjoying is the fact that it offers Ad Spaces directly in its SDK – meaning it pre-defines areas in your mobile game where the ads will be shown. Another great feature is the depth to which ad customization is possible – devs can customize how ads are served even when the campaign is live. It is a pretty big network, with more than 250 million consumers.

On the other hand, some developers say having a lot of apps clogs the analytics side: “With a portfolio that is usually between 50 and 100 apps across iOS and Android – it is incredibly difficult to keep track of how specific changes in apps affect retention and other super important metrics,” Elaine Heney of The Chocolate Lab Apps wrote.

inneractive#16 Inneractive

Supported ad formats: Banner, Video

Inneractive is a Tel Aviv-based mobile ad network that focuses primarily on native and video ads. It covers over 200 countries, and has five offices – in San Francisco, New York, London, Tel Aviv and Beijing. It supports all the major platforms, including Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8. It offers various advertising models, including CPC, CPD (cost per download), CPI and CPM, however this being a somewhat smaller network (compared to the best players in the industry), you can expect weaker eCPMs. Still, if you’re looking for ease of use, you might want to give Inneractive a try – some developers have said it’s a breeze.

NativeX_Logo#17 Native-X

Supported ad formats: Native, App Wall, Banner, Incentive, Interstitial, Rich Media, Video

Native-X is one of those companies that started as mobile ad network for apps and then switched to games, probably realizing that mobile games are awesome and everyone plays them. Its business plan is ‘hidden’ in the company name – the mobile game ads should not be intrusive – that way the chances of user interaction are higher, they believe. Such an approach has made the media praise the company, and some older case studies have shown how games using Native-X achieved impressive results. Its key features include native advertising (ads are appearing at certain points during the game, and at certain places, making it seem less intrusive and ad-driven, and more natural), advanced analytics and an all-in-one SDK.

millennial#18 Millennial Media

Supported ad formats: Banner, Interstitial, Video

Some will call Millennial Media an intrusive mobile ad network, others will call them successful. The truth is somewhere in the middle, or should I say – both realities are true. Millennial Media does not offer tons of ad formats – it goes for banners, interstitials and video and for some, that’s a problem as those types of ads (especially interstitials and videos) take over the screen and hurt the UX. Others will say Millennial Media is a successful network as these types of ads provide highest revenues possible. The network is easy to integrate and offers real-time reporting and analytics to both advertisers and developers. In September 2015 the network was acquired by AOL for $238 million. According to a report by Tech Crunch, AOL has paid $1.75/share.

leadbolt#19 Leadbolt

Supported ad formats: Audio, Video, Banner, Interstitial, Offerwall

Going into 2015 with 5 billion ads a month served, through 65,000 apps and spanning over 150 countries, it’s safe to say that Leadbolt is one of the big guys in the mobile ad networks business. It offers different types of ads, including interstitial, in-app alerts and floating ads. It has also only recently (less than a year ago) introduced video ads, as well. Its biggest advantage is having a nice, clean and user-friendly interface. Groupon, Pepsi and Walmart are among its biggest clients, and according to mMarketing, the company has an ‘above average support’.

kiip#20 Kiip

Supported ad formats: Rewards

Everyone on one side, Kiip on the other. That’s how different Kiip (pronounced: Keep) is from everyone else. Some four, five years ago, when Kiip first left stealth mode, it sent ripples through the advertising world – it called itself a ‘Rewards Network’ rather than an ad network because, as the name suggests – it doesn’t simply deliver ads – it delivers rewards. Real life rewards, too. When players achieve something in-game (level up or complete a task), they’re the happiest at that moment – and most likely to interact with a brand, they say. At that moment Kiip, through its network of clients, rewards players with things like vouchers, samples and other promotional material. Yes, real-life stuff.  

It has received $19 million in total funding to date, according to Crunchbase.

If your company uses multiple ad-networks it’s important to know the ad revenue per user. Check out SOOMLA Traceback – Ad LTV as a Service.

Learn More

These are the top 20 mobile ad networks for monetizing mobile games we could find, but that doesn’t mean you should stick to them, especially if you already found one that suits your needs just fine. As a matter of fact, many developers will tell you the same thing: don’t get married to a network! You can utilize multiple networks for your mobile games, depending on what type of ads you want, and what type of mobile game you have.

Try out different combinations and play with various settings until you find something to your liking.

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Research

This post is part of a new series that explores the top mobile games created in a country. Here are the top mobile games in FinlandJapanIndiaIndonesiaBrazilChina and South Korea

(1200x600) Top 10 Israel

As we move around the globe, looking for best mobile games in different countries, the road takes us to a place some might find unusual – Israel.

Unusual, perhaps, as Israel is a tiny Middle Eastern state, compared to gaming powerstates like China or Brazil. But this country of slightly more than eight million people is home to more than 200 game companies and countless tech businesses and start-ups (including yours truly!). Its business is worth more than a billion dollars.

Some media say it ranks number one in start-ups outside the Silicon Valley, and is number one in countries per capital venture capital investment. You might compare it to Finland, also a tiny country, but at least Israel has better weather!

These figures show that the country is a big player in the industry, which is why it wasn’t that hard to find the best mobile games made in Israel. So without further ado, here’s the list:

*Interesting SDKs are courtesy of logo

kaz#10 Kazooloo

Android | iOS

Developer: Nordau Creative

The company was founded in 2012 by Andy Schwartz, and employs between 10 and 50 people. It specializes in making mobile games, and focuses on children’s games. Its most popular product is Kazooloo, an augmented reality mobile game.

Release Date: 2013
Genre: Adventure
About the game: Even though the game doesn’t have countless millions of downloads, it was praised for its innovative gameplay and the use of new technologies. Kazooloo is an augmented-reality game in which players fight dragons and other mythical creatures that appear, through the smartphone’s camera, on their desk or similar surface.
Interesting SDKs: 

 Unity  SOOMLA 

hunger#9 The Hunger Games Adventures

Android | iOS

Developer: Funtactix

The studio was founded in 2006, and has offices in Tel Aviv, New York and Los Angeles. Besides building games under its own name, the studio is also for hire, building games for other clients. It is best known for its award-winning game The Hunger Games Adventures.

Release Date: 2012
Genre: Adventure
About the game: Hunger Games Adventures is a mobile adventure game built by Funtactics, and based on the novels and movies of the same name. However, unlike the other media, this game does not show the brutal killing of children – instead it is created as a strategy / adventure game, depicting the life in District 13.
Interesting SDKs: 

 Flurry  Tapjoy 
 Tune  AdColony 
 Fyber  TrialPay 

slotomania#8 Slotomania – Free Casino Slots

Android | iOS

Developer: Playtika

Playtika was such a huge success that it was acquired by Caesars Entertainment Casino Group some eight months into its existence. Allegedly, the deal was worth almost $90 million. This Israeli powerhouse also recently acquired gaming venture company Big Blue Parrot. Facebook has listed a Playtika game on its top 8 games list for 2015.

Release Date: 2011
Genre: Betting
About the game: Slotomania is a betting game with all the usual betting machines you can find in a casino. Even though it focuses mostly on slots, it also features various mini-games, like the Wheel of Fortune. The game also has a social aspect, allowing players to team up with their Facebook friends.
Interesting SDKs: 

 AppsFlyer  OrmLite 

romans#7 Romans from Mars

Android | iOS

Developer: Sidekick

Sidekick is an Israeli game development studio founded in 2010. It focuses on building games using new technologies, which is why it creates games for virtual reality headsets, Xbox’s Kinect, motion-controlled PCs and so on.

Release Date: 2013
Genre: RPG
About the game: Romans from Mars is an action / RPG game in which the player is tasked with stopping countless waves of Martians from invading Earth. Aimed with nothing but a crossbow (and a couple of spells), the player must defend his base. The game has gotten great reviews all over the Web and has been praised for its use of new technologies – it works great with virtual reality headsets.
Interesting SDKs: 

 Flurry  Applifier 
 prime[31]  PlayHaven 
 Apsalar  TrialPay 

noogra#6 Noogra Nuts

Android | iOS

Developer: Bengigi

Bengigi is an indie developer studio that doesn’t build just games – it has other products as well. Even though it has made the list thanks to its addicting Noogra Nuts series, it was also praised by big media publications such as Wired, Lifehacker and CNET for creating other useful apps.

Release Date: 2012
Genre: Adventure
About the game: Noogra Nuts is an arcade game in which the player is tasked with cracking nuts using the (poor) squirrel’s head. The game employs the device’s gyroscope and features a cute little character that slightly reminds me of the squirrel from Ice Age.
Interesting SDKs: 

 Flurry  StartApp 
 Parse  AppLovin 
 mobileCore 

storm#5 Stormfall: Rise of Balur

Android | iOS

Developer: Plarium

Plarium was founded in 2009 as a developer of hardcore games for social media networks like Facebook or vKontakte. It has since expanded to mobile platforms, including iOS and Android. It employs more than 1000 people worldwide, has offices all over the world and more than 150 million registered users.

Release Date: 2015
Genre: Strategy
About the game: Stormfall: Rise of Balur is a standalone mobile strategy game. ‘Standalone’ is important here, as the game’s servers are separated from those for the Web and social media sites. It is an MMO game built for Android and iOS and features a large medieval fantasy world and state-of-the-art graphics. Players can recruit giant armies, forge alliances and enter player-versus-player battles.
Interesting SDKs: 

 Tune  Chartboost 
 Adjust 

doctor#4 Dentist Mania: Doctor X Clinic

Android | iOS

Developer: TabTale

TabTale is an Israeli game development studio with offices all around the world, including China, USA, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Ukraine. It focuses on creating mobile games for the whole family, and prides itself on having more than 850 million downloads across all its products.

Release Date: 2014
Genre: Casual
About the game: Dentist Mania: Doctor X Clinic is a children’s casual game in which kids are tasked with being “the best dentist at a crazy office”. Players get to choose their patients and fix their teeth, which includes pulling out bad ones, brushing, styling with braces and building their own toothpaste.
Interesting SDKs: 

 Flurry  Chartboost 
 AppsFlyer  InMobi 
AdColony  AppLovin 

trial#3 Trial Xtreme 3

Android | iOS

Developer: Deemedya

Deemedya is an extremely popular Israeli mobile game publisher which is most known by its racing series, Trial Xtreme. This entire list could have been made completely out of Deemedya games, as this team produced almost a dozen globally popular games.

Release Date: 2013
Genre: Racing
About the game: Trial Xtreme 3 is the third part of the series, and even though there have been newer iterations, this one has made it to the list as the best-rated and most downloaded one of the bunch. With over 50 million downloads on Android alone, it stands as one of the best Israeli mobile games ever made.
Interesting SDKs: 

 AppLovin  Chartboost 
 Applifier  prime[31] 
 Vungle 

pirate#2 Pirate Kings

Android | iOS

Developer: Jelly Button Games

Jelly Button Games is a specific mobile games studio – it was founded by five friends who have been working together for more than 10 years, and have been good friends for 20. The studio was founded in 2011, and has since then grown into an influential industry competitor.

Release Date: 2015
Genre: Casual
About the game: Pirate Kings is a combination of luck and skill, in which players are tasked with discovering, building and upgrading their pirate islands, while plundering and pillaging other players. They can do so by spinning a wheel of fortune, which then assigns them different tasks, including attacking, defending and earning in-game money.
Interesting SDKs: 

AppsFlyer  prime[31] 
Supersonic 

wosp#1 World Series of Poker – WSOP

Android | iOS

Developer: Playtika
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Card game
About the game: The WOSP is one of the best poker games out there. It features various types of poker, including Texas Hold’Em and Omaha. It also has multi-level tournaments, and players can also earn WSOP rings to climb the leaderboard. Besides, registration is not required in order to play – players can enter the game anonymously, as well.
Interesting SDKs: 

AppsFlyer 
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Game Design, Research

This post is part of a new series that explores the top mobile games created in a country. Here are the top mobile games in FinlandJapanIndiaIndonesiaBrazilIsrael and South Korea

(1200x600) Top 10 China

If we are to look at anything as a global phenomenon – including mobile gaming – we cannot exclude China. The most populated country in the world, and one of the biggest economies, as well, plays a huge role in determining who the biggest players in the industry are.

Unlike other countries in the world, China is somewhat specific, which is why it needs a bigger introduction than the rest.

Just as the country is known for the Great Wall of China for more than 2000 years, in today’s digital world, it is known for its Great Firewall. In a most sterile description, the Great Firewall is a set of laws and legislations aimed to regulate the Internet in China. However, it is more about censorship and blocking western products than anything else.

A lot of companies and countries are losing out thanks to the Great Firewall, China included, but when it comes to mobile gaming – Google seems to be the biggest loser.

Its services have been blocked from China for the past five years and more, including Google Search, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Docs, and in this case most importantly – the Play Store. The Android app store has returned to the country some half a year ago, but the effects of the ban are visible – it is no longer the number one app store in the country.

So where does one go, when one wants to download an app? He goes to either Tencent’s MyApp, the 360 Mobile Assistant, or the Baidu Mobile Assistant.  

These three stores share almost an equal amount of the mobile market in the country, rendering the Play Store obsolete and making it extremely difficult to figure out which are the most popular mobile games built in the country. They are popular places to find apps, but not the only ones – the country has more than 200 stores, according to OneSky. Jokingly, I’d say everyone and their dog has an app store in China – in reality, basically every telecom company, mobile carrier, and large corporation has one.

Thanks to a number of market researches out there, including this one by Newzoo and TalkingData, we were able to piece together a list of the top 10 games made in China.

Oh yes, before we proceed with the list, I’d also like to point you in the direction of a report by China Game Industry Annual Conference that was released two weeks ago. It says that the sales revenue of the mobile gaming industry reached 51.5 billion yuan ($7.94 billion) – it increased a stunning 87.2% since 2014.

The country has more than 366 million mobile players – the entire United States of America had 318.9 million people in 2014.

So, without further ado, here are the top 10 games made in China:

*We were unable to access interesting SDKs for these mobile games due to the limited visibility of mobile games in China.

wefly#10 WeFly (National World War II Aircraft)

Android | iOS

Developer: Tencent

You’ll be seeing a lot of Tencent in this article – it is a Chinese mobile games giant. According to a report by South China Morning Post, published last April – the company had 570 million registered users for its initial batch of smartphone-based games. Since September, it became Asia’s largest internet company. It is based in Shenzhen.  

Released: 2014
Genre: Arcade
About the game: The English title for the game is WeFly, even though a simple Google translate of the original name 全民飞机大战, says the game’s name is National World War II Aircraft. It is a cartoonish-styled, colorful arcade game featuring countless levels and multiple modes, a lot of different aircrafts and, according to a few reviews on the Apple App Store – pretty damn demanding, too.

rythm master#9 Rhythm Master

iOS

Developer: Tencent
Released: 2013
Genre: Music
About the game: The Rhythm Master is a virtual orchestra studio type of game, something like those rock band games we’ve seen on Nintendo Wii. It features dozens of songs, including some of the globally popular rock songs. Additional songs can also be obtained as an in-game purchase, and the virtual currency can be gained by interacting with friends.

dou di zhu#8 Dou di zhu

Android

Developer: GoodTeam Studio
The GoodTeam studio is based in Chengdu, China. It claims to be one of the oldest domestic game development studios building games for Android, and its products include Tightrope Hero, Empire Defense series and Crisis Mission.

Released: 2012
Genre: Card game
About the game: Dou di zhu is an extremely popular card game in China, and its origins stem way before the mobile phone. According to Wikipedia, the literal translation means “Fighting the Landlord”. This is a card game in the genre of shedding and gambling.

chess#7 Chinese Chess

Android | iOS

Developer: cnvcs
Released: 2012
Genre: Strategy
About the game: This classic game of chess by the cnvcs development team is enriched by a total of 38,000 chess puzzles divided into 13 collections. It supports online play, as well as LAN via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The game also allows games to be saved and loaded, and allows easy switching between the play mode and the analysis mode.

dan ji dou di zhu#6 Dan Ji Dou Di Zhu

Blackberry

Developer: CG Tech
R
eleased: N/A
Genre: Card game
About the game: Similar to Dou di zhu, the Dan Ji Dou Di Zhu is a poker-like card game based on the traditional Chinese “Fight the Landlord” game. The interesting thing about this game is that it is designed primarily for the BlackBerry device.

craz3#5 Craz3 Match

Android | iOS

Developer: Tencent
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Puzzle
About the game: Craz3 Match is a cute-looking tile-matching game from Tencent. It was primarily designed for WeChat users to interact with each other and play against one another. The game offers a couple of modes, including the Solo mode and the Battle mode which allows multiplayer action. It also features boss fights and magical power-ups, as well as finding and challenging any nearby players.

wechat dash#4 WeChat Dash

Android | iOS

Developer: Tencent
Release Date: 2014
Genre: Endless running
About the game: WeChat Dash is an endless running game featuring cute characters and even cuter pets. It features two modes, the PvP Mode, allowing you to challenge nearby players and friends anywhere; and the Turbo mode which brings new challenges with each new stage. The game focuses on the social aspect, integrating with various social media networks, including Facebook.

popstar#3 Pop Star

Android | iOS

Developer: GPStudio

The game seems to be built by an indie developer, as the GepaikjStudio.com website is offline, and the developer’s official email address is on Gmail. The latter makes it even stranger knowing that Gmail is actually blocked in mainland China. Other information about the developer is virtually impossible to find. Still, its hit game, Pop Star, has been updated for Android 5.1.

Release Date: 2013
Genre: Puzzle
About the game: Pop Star is a color-matching game built primarily for the iOS, but later expanded to Android, as well. The goal of the game is to tap on two or more stars of the same color in order to destroy them. There is no time limit – the player must achieve a certain score in order to proceed to the next stage.

qq#2 Happy Lord (QQ Official Version)

Android | iOS

Developer: Tencent
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Card game
About the game: Happy Landlord is another card game that’s made the list. It is among the best and most popular Chinese game, featuring different unique characters each player can choose to be their avatar in the game. Besides the classic multiplayer mode, the game also features a tournament mode, where players can compete for the Grand Prix.

anipop#1 Anipop

Android | iOS

Developer: HappyElements

Strangely enough, the most popular mobile game in China does not originate from the most popular game development studio in the country. Instead, it comes from a studio named HappyElements, which is strange in its own right – the English version of the App Store page says the developer’s name is HappyElements, while translating the Chinese version names the developer as Le Yuan Interactive, based in Beijing. It just goes to show how difficult it is to tread through the Chinese mobile game space.

Release Date: 2014
Genre: Puzzle
About the game: Similar to Candy Crush Saga and the likes, Anipop is a color-matching game. Just like anything else made in the East, it features cute characters and bright colors. There are more than 400 levels in the game, and also allows logging in from Facebook and synchronizing the game between the mobile and the desktop platforms.

While some many services were banned in China to better control the social media and censor any material that might undermine the government, others say it is a way the country protects its local businesses. From this perspective, it is hard to know if companies like Sina Weibo, Baidu or Tencent would have turned into billion-dollar businesses if Twitter or Google were still present. But we do know that China is shaping the future of mobile gaming. 

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Research, Resource

This article contains phrases taken from the machine learning and analysis world. Data scientists and algorithm engineers will feel more comfortable with reading it although it’s targeted at anyone who is interested in some deep data science learnings.


Detecting Fraud

Hacking applications such as Freedom, iAP Cracker, iAPFree, etc. allow users to make in-app purchases for free. With these kinds of hacks the player receives the coins, gems, levels or lives they purchased without paying any money. If the game developer did not implement any validation process on the in-app purchases, such as SOOMLA’s fraud protection, the purchases are recorded as real purchases in his system. As a result, the reported revenue may differ greatly from the real revenue (especially in popular games with lots of fraud).

We would like to make reports as accurate as possible, and to be able to communicate to the game developers the real state of their game. We use machine learning and statistical modeling techniques for our solution.

With help from a few big games in the GROW data network we were able to build a model that classifies each purchase as real or fraud, with a very high level of accuracy.

In-app purchase model features

The model uses a variety of purchase, user and item features.  The following table details a partial list of the features we computed:

Purchase User Item
Date of purchase Total number of purchases Total number of purchases
Time of purchase Total revenue Total revenue
Country from which the purchase was made Average revenue per day Average number of purchases per day
Currency in which the purchase was made Number of games the user played Average revenue per day
Whether the phone locale matches the country Number of games in which the user purchased Maximum number of purchases per day
Whether the currency of the purchase matches the currency in the country Whether the user was ever blocked by receipt verification Maximum revenue per day

Decision trees to the rescue

Decision trees, as their name suggests, are trees that help decision making. Each internal node of the tree tests the value of one feature, and leaf nodes are target classes. Given a new observation, the tree can be used to decide what class should be assigned to it.

In our case the tree can have two kinds of leaf nodes (classes): fraud or no-fraud, and the features are the ones detailed above. Examples for internal nodes can be “Total number of purchases > 100” or “currency matches country = true”.  To avoid overfitting the training data, tree-based techniques combine multiple trees to get a final output that is more accurate than each individual tree output.

Tree based classification algorithms have many advantages, to name a few:

  • Nonlinear relationships between parameters do not affect tree performance.
  • Decision trees implicitly perform variable screening or feature selection.
  • Decision trees require relatively little data preparation and are easy to interpret and understand.

We experimented with two tree-based classifiers. A random forest classifier is an ensemble of decision trees trained on subsets of the data, that outputs the class that is the mode of the classes output of the individual trees. Boosted trees combine multiple decision trees using the gradient boosting technique, fitting a weighted additive expansion of simple trees.

Another model parameter is the class weights, that have two forms, uniform in which all class get a weight of 1, and by-class that uses the relative size of the class out of the full population as the class weight.

Fraud classification performance

We measure the performance of our model by four measures:

  • Accuracy: ratio of correct classifications out of all test data.
  • False Positive rate (FPR): ratio of valid purchases wrongly classified as fraud out of all valid purchases.
  • False Negative rate (FNR): ratio of fraud purchases wrongly classified as non-fraud out of all fraud purchases.
  • F1 score: harmonic mean of precision and recall, a measure that comes from the information retrieval world, and conveys the balance between the other two measures.

Classifying valid purchases and users as fraud is a much worse mistake than missing a fraud purchase, thus we aim at reducing FPR to minimum, even at a cost of having a slightly higher FNR.

Our ground truth data includes purchases from 4 games. For the largest of them we have labels for 145K purchases. For both algorithms parameters were tuned using cross-validation.

Per game model

For the first experiment we built a different model for each game. The following table details the performance for different games and model parameters.

Game Classifier Class weights FPR FNR F1 score Accuracy
1 Random forest uniform 0.22 0.03 0.95 0.93
1 Random forest by class 0.10 0.08 0.95 0.92
1 Boosted trees uniform 0.09 0.03 0.97 0.96
1 Boosted trees by class 0.05 0.05 0.96 0.95
2 Random forest uniform 0.02 0.16 0.89 0.85
2 Random forest by class 0.01 0.16 0.91 0.82
2 Boosted trees uniform 0.01 0.11 0.94 0.84
2 Boosted trees by class 0.05 0.05 0.90 0.85

These results are very impressive! Per game model works very well with as much as 97% F1 score.

The second game has less ground truth data (it is a game with 100 times less purchases per month on average, and we got one month of purchases data from them), which explains the lower performance.

Boosted trees outperform the random forest algorithm, which is not surprising, since it is an optimization that normally gives you better accuracy with less trees.

Using weights tuned by the class size usually results in a lower FPR and higher FNR, with a slightly lower F1 score. As stated before, we care more about our false positive rate, so for following experiments we use boosted trees algorithm with non-uniform weights.

Cross-games classification

We have seen that we can get very good results when we build a model for a specific game. But we have ground truth data only for four games. What about the rest of the games?

To test that, the second experiment was conducted with a train set that contains data from one game and test set from a different game.
AccuracyHeatMap

The above table shows the accuracy for the cross-game experiments. All scores are 79% accurate or higher! This is great news for all of the other games.  As expected, the highest scores are achieved when the train and the test set come from the same game data (70%-30% random split). The lowest scores are when testing on the 4th game, which is the smallest of them (200 purchases).

Another interesting result is the FPR scores in this experiment.

FPRHeatMap

It also stands out that the model trained on game 4 is generating poor FPR scores. This is due to the small number of purchases, and the relatively low amount of fraud (54% compared to 77%-85% in other games). As game 1 has the largest ground truth data, models trained on the other (and smaller) games have a very high false positive rate, up to 30% of the valid purchases are classified as fraud. When training on other games we get much better results with 1-2% wrongly classified valid purchases.

This experiment has proved that data transfer between games works well in most cases, but can be problematic if your game has a very unique user behavior.  

Results

Finally, we trained a model on all of our ground truth data and used it to classify all purchases in our data base. According to the results of of the classifier, 55.7% of purchases are fraud, and these purchases constitute 72.9% of the total revenue.  

Fraud percentage by game size - SOOMLA

These numbers vary between different games. We can see a general trend of highest fraud percentage with bigger games (games with more users), even though we also see relatively small games with up to 89% fraud. The differences can be explained by different economy models, or popularity of the game in different countries.

According to our model results, fraud is most widespread in Slavic countries. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are on the top of the list, with over 90% of purchases being made fraudulently.

Fraud rate per country - SOOMLA

The model predicts that only 2% of the users have some valid purchases and some fraud. The other 98% of users are either fraudsters (always commit fraud) or not (all purchases are valid). Out of the 98%, over half are fraudsters.

Implications for game developers

Knowing which users are fraudsters enables game developers to adapt game play and take restrictive action to ensure minimum lost revenue.  Some options are:

  • Blocking in-app purchases altogether for a specific user.
  • Increasing game difficulty as a means of stalling the user’s non-legitimate progression made with hacked in-game coins.
  • Increasing ad frequency to maximize revenue from abusive users who will never pay.
  • Bricking the game e.g. disabling all gameplay with a prominent warning message to the user requesting an immediate in-app purchase deposit to unlock the game.

How can we improve?

The more ground truth we have, the better our classification results will be. Game developers and studios can get better reports and help us improve by giving your feedback or sharing your sales reports with us.

Questions? Contact ella@soom.la.

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Research

How to Find the Top Cocos2d-x Game

Creating lists and ranking things is always a difficult thing to do, but when it comes to games, it’s even(300x300) 4 Top 10 harder. We decided to do it nonetheless, and in this article you will see a list of what we consider the best mobile games built on the Cocos2d-x platform.

Why was creating this list any more difficult than any other? Gamers are very passionate when it comes to their choice of poison and can be very opinionated when it comes to their favorite game.

Our recent article on the best games ever made with Unity, which was inspired by this Infographic showing some notable examples, raised a few eyebrows and stirred heated conversations. It was a blast seeing people root for their favourites and valiantly defend the game’s honour with arguments such as “YOU SUCK” and the likes.

Nevertheless, we thought it might be interesting to see which games proved the best ones built on the Cocos2d-x platform, and after a few days of scouring the depths of the internet, we have come up with a list of the ten games worth mentioning.

Make Your Cocos2d-x Game a Success

With the new SOOMLA God Mode Analytics dashboard we’re able to show you analytics of other games similar to yours and compare overlapping user behavior. Leverage cross-game intelligence to build a better game.

View Now

Top Cocos2d-x Games

The list was built having the number of downloads, number of ratings and the average rating in mind. We also looked into which prominent SDKs were being used in these top games. So without further ado, I present to you – THE LIST:

family guy icon#10: Family Guy: The Quest For Stuff

iOS | Android | Amazon | Facebook

Published: 2014
Developed by: TinyCo
Genre: City-building/Freemium

Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff is a Freemium video game for iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.1 based on the American animated series Family Guy. It allows users to create and run their own version of Quahog using familiar characters and buildings. It features an original story conceived by the show’s writers in which Quahog has been destroyed and it’s up to you to bring it back to its former glory.
Interesting SDKs: 

 AdColony  Vungle 
AppLovin  HeyZap 

flow_free_icon#9: Flow Free

iOS | Android

Published: 2012
Developed By: Big Duck Games
Genre: Puzzle

Flow Free is a puzzle game developed by Big Duck Games and released for iOS on June 7, 2012. The game is played on a grid, where the player must connect different colored circles to fill in every square. The colored lines created by dragging from one circle to another cannot cross other lines, so the challenge is to work out a path for each color only knowing the start and end points.
Interesting SDKs:

 Flurry  Chartboost 
InMobi  Mopub 
AdColony Vungle 
AppsFlyer 

diamond_dash_icon#8: Diamond Dash

iOS | Android| Facebook

Published: 2011
Developed By: Wooga
Genre: Arcade

Diamond Dash gives players 60 seconds to match colourful gems, unleash special boosts and compete with friends. Weekly tournaments allow players to compete for the highest score and reward the top 3 players with one of the coveted gold, silver or bronze medals.
Interesting SDKs:

 Flurry  Chartboost 
Mopub  AdColony
Vungle  Fyber 

clash_of_lords_2_icon#7: Clash of Lords 2

Android

Published: 2012
Developed by: IGG
Genre: Strategy

Clash of Lords 2 is a spin-off of the popular Clash of Clans game, one which created a whole subgenre we might call The Clash. It is a strategy, city-building game in the Age of Empires style. There are many Clash games out there and as you’ll see, this is not the only one that made its way to the top ten list.
Interesting SDKs:

Tapjoy  AppsFlyer 
Fyber 

line_cookie_icon#6: LINE Cookie Run

iOS | Android

Published: 2014
Developed by: LINE
Genre: Side-scroller

Line Cookie Run is a side-scrolling game featuring Brave Cookie, a character that looks like the Gingerbread Man. Like many other side-scrollers, players run in one direction collecting coins and power-ups and dodge obstacles.

dragon city icon#5: Dragon City

iOS | Android | Amazon | Facebook

Published: 2013
Developed by: Social Point
Genre: Social Game

Dragon City is a social network game from social games developer Social Point which was launched for play on Facebook and iOS. The game targets mid-core players, allowing them to raise their own dragons and create a Dragon City on floating islands. In December 2012, The Next Web ran an article announcing that Dragon City was ranked #2 in Facebook’s 25 top rated games that year.
Interesting SDKs: 

 Flurry  Chartboost 
InMobi  AppLovin 
AdColony  AppsFlyer 

castle_icon#4: Castle Clash: Age of Legends

Android | Windows

Published: 2013
Developed by: IGG
Genre: Strategy

We’re beginning to see a pattern here. IGG has tapped into the Clash subgenre, creating a bunch of similar games and taking advantage of the “Clash” keyword which, at some point in time, became popular on the Android and iOS app stores. IGG has since created Castle Clash, Clash of Lords, Clash of Mafias, Clash of Gangs, and their versions for various markets. It just goes to show how important choosing the proper keywords when creating a game is, as well as how important it is to create localised products.
Interesting SDKs:

 Chartboost  Tapjoy 
AppsFlyer 

geometry_icon#3: Geometry Dash Lite

iOS | Android

Published: 2013
Developed by: Robert Topala
Genre: Arcade

Geometry Dash Lite is a rhythm-based running game which currently has 20 levels, with each stage featuring unique background music. Although the player is not required to complete a level to advance to the next, they increase in difficulty for the most part. Other features of the game that exist in the latest versions are a level editor, map packs, user-created levels, secret coins and a great variety of icons and game modes.
Interesting SDKs:

 Chartboost  AppLovin 
Applifier 

piano_icon#2: Don’t Tap The White Tile

Android

Published: 2014
Developed by: Hu Wen Zeng / Cheetah Mobile / Umoni Studio
Genre: Arcade

Piano Tiles is a game where the player’s objective is to tap on the black tiles as they appear from the top of the screen while avoiding the white. When each black tile is tapped, it will emit a piano sound. In quick succession, forms famous compositions such as Für Elise and Ode to Joy. If the player taps on a white tile, the player will lose the game and be signalled by an off-tune note.
Interesting SDKs:

 Chartboost  InMobi 
mobileCore  Vungle 

hill_icon#1: Hill Climb Racing

iOS | Android | Windows | Amazon

Published: 2012
Developed by: Fingersoft
Genre: Racing

Hill Climb Racing is a simple racing game, released three years ago. It has the best mix of the most important parameters, including the number of downloads, number of ratings and the average rating, which is why it earned the number one spot as the best Cocos2d-x game created so far. With a 4.4 average rating, more than 400 million downloads, and more than four million of five-star ratings, it is a smashing hit.
Interesting SDKs:

 Flurry  InMobi 
AdColony  Chartboost 

Honourable mention:

brave_iconBrave Frontier

iOS | Android | WindowsAmazon

Published: 2013
Developed by: gumi
Genre: RPG

Brave Frontier is a Japanese mobile role-playing game developed and published by gumi, originally for Apple’s iOS and later for Android and Kindle Fire. It features impressive gameplay mechanics and an elaborate storyline, but perhaps the most notable thing about it is its virtual economy. Using SOOMLA’s technology, Brave Frontier allows its players to purchase various items, gems, recipes, power-ups and bundles.
Interesting SDKs:

 Crashlytics  AppsFlyer 
SOOMLA  TUNE 

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Research

This post is the first of a long line of posts about players’ behavior in mobile games. We’ve been investigating this area for some time now and will share our insights through data reports and blog posts like this one.

Getting your users to pay in your game is never easy. Of course you need to have a great game with good Data Report Icongraphics and great design, but you also need to know how to target your payers when it matters. We’ve been asking ourselves: what if studios could find out at what time of day their users are likely to pay?

Methodology

To study the spending trends, we sampled data from over 250 games from 17 different genres, spanning 188 countries  over a time period of one year. The sample contains over 1M purchases from ~240K different users.

Prefer the Evenings

People play mobile games at any hour of the day, with their morning coffee, while waiting in line, on the bus, in front of the TV and even while walking down the street (dangerous!), but when are they likely to pull out their wallet?

Looking into data from many different games, most in-app purchases happen between 3pm and midnight, with peaks at 4pm and 8-9pm. The ride back home from work or the after-dinner play time is probably when people play long sessions and reach points where they are willing to pay.

Number of Purchases:HourDistribution Through Countries

Looking more closely at the US and Russia, we found a clear trend with sales rising from 4am onwards and dropping again at late night. While 4am is consistently a low point across countries, in the US sales peak at 8pm and then start dropping, while users from Russia tend to buy more at 9-10 pm.

In other countries the trend is not that prominent. Sales go up during the day, but much more slowly. Interesting to note, in Great Britain the peak hour for in-app purchases is actually 4pm, followed by 5-6pm, with a decrease in sales thereafter.

Number of Purchases:Hour in Different CountriesSlicing the Day into Quarters

To simplify, we divided the day into four quarters. The following plot shows the number of users and the number of corresponding purchases in each quarter. As expected the 3rd (12-6pm) and 4th (6-12pm) quarters are the highest.

Number of Payers:Purchases by Quarter of day

Now, let’s take a look at how users behave with respect to the quarters of the day. We asked ourselves: Do mobile payers always pay in the same quarter or is it distributed over the day?

The results are conclusive. Over half of all users who paid more than once always pay in the same quarter of the day!

Number of quarters a user payed in Percentage of paying users
1 53.7%
2 35.7%
3 9%
4 1.6%

Similar patterns are observed when looking at the day of the week. As to be expected, users play and pay more on the weekends, with Saturday being the peak.

Number of Purchases:Week Day


It is also the case that 81.6% of all paying users and 53% of all payers who paid more than once always pay on the same day.

So…What’s In It  for You?

These results can lead to many conclusions. One of them can be: Offer your users sales and discounts in the days and hours they are likely to pay. How do you do that?

Grow Insights allow you to learn about the specific time your users pay and it’s done in real-time! Since all the information is cross-game, you can get info on a user even on his/her first visit to your game.

Or try our new God Mode Analytics in the dashboard which allows you to see the analytics of other games similar to yours and compare overlapping user behavior.

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Industry Forecasts, Research

User retention, user behavior, ad networks, the list goes on and on. Developers want solid user retention and acquisition. For that, you will need to search endlessly for useful data reports about what keeps users engaged, what buttons they are clicking, what time of day they are playing, and so on. Lucky for you, we compiled a list of the top ten mobile game data reports and a what they can do for you.

Check out our 2015 Q4 Mobile Gaming Data Report. It shows a unique synopsis of F2P games.

Download Now

The Apps Flyer Game Performance Index – May 2015

In May 2015, AppsFlyer found a few key insights on user retention.  Video networks produce a 130% higher user retention rate in mobile games compared to other ad platforms.

The full report answers questions such as:

  • Which platform has the highest user retention?
  • What is the best media partner for user retention?
  • Which advertising platform is best?

“Know your players and you will create successful and fun games”

Full Data Report

10 Killer Insights: deltaDNA GDC Session Slides – March 2015

Lack of Appointment Setting is the main reason players are leaving games. Appointment Setting is defined by DeltaDNA as creating “appointments” for users to come back. Good examples are special events, theme changes, tournaments, double points days, and Trivia Tuesday. Push notifications and emails are a great way to remind users of these events.

  • What percent of users are leaving my game due to lack of appointment setting?
  • What are other important reasons users are leaving games?
  • How should developers drive engagement?

“The Cost Per Loyal User has a 39 percent rise year over year”

Fiksu Indexes for May 2015

Fiksu defines loyal users as users that open an app three or more times. In May 2015, Fiksu published indexes about the cost of maintaining loyal users, cost of acquiring game installs through advertising, and the cost of app launches.  The cost of acquiring a loyal user is increasing overall year to year in iOS apps.

  • What is the cost of acquiring a loyal user?
  • How do developers ensure that their games are making profit?
  • How does the cost per install compare between iOS and Android?
  • How does the cost per launch compare?
  • Is it worth it to spend more on one platform over the other?

 

Full Data Report

“In 2015 for the first time ever, over half of the US population will be mobile phone gamers.”

For Advertisers it’s Mobile Game Time – July 2015

In July 2015, eMarketer highlighted the importance of mobile games for advertisers. The mobile gaming audience consists of over 150 million different people in the US –  this broad, diverse audience is comparable to the audience of television viewers.

  • What does the large ever-growing mobile gaming audience mean for developers and advertisers?
  • How many mobile app users will pay for apps?
  • How many tablet users will pay for apps?
  • Is it worth it to develop games for tablets?

“The very first players of your game are your best. Invest resources in retaining and keeping them happy, the rest will follow as a result.”

The GameAnalytics After Analyzing 400+ Games – March 2015

Players that enter a game in the beginning have a greater chance of converting than if a player enters later. Players that downloaded a game in the first week and converted were likely to spend more in a game.

  • What methodology was used to acquire this information?
  • What is the Golden Cohort?
  • What do these numbers say about where developer resources should go? 

Included in the Full Report:

  • Key findings from TapStream, AppAnnie, Tune, Swrve, and InMobi.
  • Information that will help you improve your games.
  • Facts to consider to make profit.
  • Much More!

Full Data Report

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Research, Tips and Advice

(1200x600) Walls to Monetize Your Game

In 2013, we did a 7 Offer Walls Providers to Monetize Your Mobile Game, that laid out the top players for offer walls. Since then the industry has had its ups and downs and there offer-wallare some new players to pay attention to. Many of these companies offer various advertising platforms with offer walls being one option.

For game developers, one of the main questions is how to monetize the app. More often than not, paying users are only 1-2%. Most monetization comes from advertising be it through banner ads or native ads. Offer walls are one way for app developers to monetize their non-paying users and tap into the other 98-99% of users.

SOOMLA TRACEBACK – Ad LTV as a Service Get granular data about your ad revenue and insights into the black box of your ad revenue. Use the data to factor ad revenue in marketing ROI calculations, in product a/b tests and in ad-operations decisions.

Learn More

Top Offer Walls of 2015:

Fyber Official Logo

Founded in 2009, Fyber aims to help mobile game and app developers monetize their games by providing quality advertisements. They also assist developers execute smart monetization strategies such as utilizing offer walls. It currently serves over 320 million monthly active users. Fyber offers a Unity Plugin that integrates their Ad Monetization Platform and a Native platform for Android and iOS.

tapjoy

Tapjoy, one of the biggest companies in the industry, was founded in 2007 and currently has over 2 million daily ad engagements.  Tapjoy’s main objective is to help maximize the value for every freemium mobile app developer.  They achieve this through their Marketing Automation and Monetization Platforms, one example being offer walls. Tapjoy offers a Unity Plugin as well as an Adobe Air plugin for iOS and Android users.

supersonic-logo

SupersonicAds, founded in 2009, is a leading mobile advertising platform. They offer a cloud-based SDK for offer wall, video, interstitial, and mediation mobile advertising. Many of their ads are high quality and brand focused, so the advertisements are most likely to come from big companies such as Dove and M&M instead of Zynga Poker. Supersonic also offers a Unity plugin as well as SDKs for iOS and Android.personaly_Soom.la

Persona.ly proprietary technology supports all major platforms (Android/iOS/Unity/Adobe AIR) and has a rich video inventory, as well as a large variety of apps and surveys. They focus heavily on the user itself, smart use of data and personalization tools – like gamification engine that helps to increase retention and LTV. Lately, Persona.ly has put a great deal of effort into monetizing emerging markets such as Brazil, India, Russia, and East Asia.

InmobiInMobi, founded in 2007, is one of the leading mobile advertising companies in the industry. Offering a variety of services such as a single SDK for ad monetization, an app-install platform, and a native ads platform. InMobi’s native content ads come in a variety of formats such as a content streaming, content walls, app walls, and as a chat list. All ads are seamlessly blended into your style of game and are relevant for your users. InMobi is compatible with a variety of platforms and offers an SDKS for iOS and Android and has a Unity Plugin.

mobileCore

Part of ironSource, mobileCore was founded in 2013 to offer app developers various ad formats and engagement tools that vary from traditional display ads. mobileCore believes that each app is different, so ads and the displays should be custom designed to each app. One of their features is the App Offer Wall, In-Stream ads, Top Page Widget ads, and Stickeez (custom developed by ironSource).

TrialPay, founded inTrialPay logo 2006, developed Evergreen, a single SDK that offers app developers the ability to leverage custom solutions and third party platforms to engage the right target audience. TrialPay’s offer walls have a wide selection of categories along with unique in-store offers and in app commerce.

NativeX_Logo

Originally known as W3i and was then rebranded as NativeX to emphasize their focus on their native ad platforms approach. NativeX was founded in 2000 and has acquired over 1 billion users across 178 countries.  NativeX takes a unique approach to in-app advertising by giving mobile game developers a variety of reward and non-reward ad formats such as offer walls.SuperRewards offer walls

SuperRewards logo

SuperRewards, a subsidiary of Playerize, was a pioneer of virtual currency monetization of social games has grown since its founding in 2007.  The two main channels of monetizations are direct pay and offer walls. SuperRewards’ offer walls are highly-targeted advertisements and directed to the correct users.

Everbadge logo

Founded in 2010, Everbadge offers two types of offer walls: incentivized and non-incentivized. The incentivized offer wall is geared towards games that deal with virtual currency or have a point system in the game. The non-incentivized offer wall acts more like an added feature in the game showing off other apps.

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Events, Industry News, Research

e3Gaming and technology conferences are a great place for consumers and enthusiasts to come and get a sneak peak on what’s cooking in the near future. It’s also an instrument for developers and companies alike to showcase the results of hard work and get the much needed media exposure.

Just like everyone else, these technology conferences also live off sponsorship deals, often agreed with various game and software development studios. But just how big are the marketing budgets of such companies? How much are they willing to spend on a conference that promotes not only them, but also everyone else participating, including their competitors?

Getting the big picture

We tried to get a general image on the sponsorship deals, as well as who are the biggest spenders in the gaming and technology industry. We looked not only at some past conferences around the globe, but at future ones too, trying to understand who supports which conference, over a one year period (from late 2014 until late 2015) and to what extent.

As the results started coming in, we found that Unity, AdColony, and StartApp were the biggest spenders.

Unity was the only company with more than $100,000 spent, where both AdColony and StartApp spent more than $60,000 on various conferences. Even though there are events that haven’t disclosed the pricing of sponsorship deals, using only publicly available data, Unity spent a total of $135,000 over a one year period. With five conferences supported, Unity was also the most frequent sponsor, where AppsFlyer, StartApp and AdColony supported four.

Biggest events

The popularity of conferences can also be measured by the number of high paying sponsors willing to participate.

With such statistics, it’s plain to see that Casual Connect’s Amsterdam event (4-6 February 2015) was the biggest conference so far, attracting dozens of companies and having the biggest number of platinum sponsors (seven), out of 20 companies observed. Casual Connect’s San Francisco conference, planned for August 2015, comes as second best, with five companies willing to support the venue with platinum sponsorship deals.

Below is the table of top ten spenders in terms of marketing budget and the number of conferences attended. It’s important to notice that not all events share the prices for sponsorships, which is why these numbers are a (close) estimate.

Company Name Conferences Attended Estimated Minimum Conference Budget
 Unity Logo Unity 5 $132,500
 AdColony_Logo AdColony 4 $62,000
 StartApp_Logo StartApp 4 $60,000
 Admob_Logo AdMob 2 $50,000
 Supersonic_Logo Supersonic Ads 2 $34,000
 Appsflyer_Logo AppsFlyer 4 $33,000
 Tune_Logo TUNE 2 $27,000
 NativeX_Logo NativeX 2 $24,000
 PaymentWall_Logo PaymentWall 2 $22,000
 Mopub_Logo MoPub 2 $22,000

Getting the data

In order to get the bigger picture on the spending in this industry, we had a look at some of the biggest, as well as smaller conferences all around the world. We looked at how many sponsors they had, how the sponsorship tiers have been established, and how much each tier costs.

Most of these events have a pdf price list file with different sponsorship tiers and prices for each tier, available for download at their website. So, for starters, we looked at five Casual Connect events.

Even though every conference has the same pricing method (Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze sponsorship deals), every conference has a different pricing.

The Belgrade event, which took place in November 2014, had a four-tier system: Platinum ($15,000), Gold ($6,000), Silver ($3,500), and Bronze ($2,000). The Amsterdam event was more expensive: Platinum was €20,000, Gold €10,000, Silver €3,500, and Bronze was €2,500.

Next one up will be in Singapore in May, and its prices match Belgrade ($15K, $6K, $3.5K, $2K). The Casual Connect event in San Francisco will take place in August, and in order to become a Platinum sponsor, each company must pay $30,000. Gold is $12,000, Silver is $5,000, and Bronze $3,000.

The Tel Aviv event, planned for fall of 2015, has no data yet.

The PGConnects conference in London, which took place in January 2015, had a three-tier system: Platinum ($40,000), Gold ($16,000), and Silver ($8,000).

The Winter Nights mobile game conference, taking place in February 2015 in St. Petersburg, Russia, is one of the most expensive conferences. It is organised on four tiers: Diamond ($50,000), Platinum ($15,000), Gold (10,000), and Silver ($5,000).

Aside from these conferences, we also analyzed the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco and Cologne, the GlobalMGF (Mobile Games Forum) events in Asia (Hong Kong), and Europe (London), all of which decided not to publicly display the prices of their sponsorship deals.

The Global Mobile Internet Conferences in the Silicon Valley, Bangalore and Beijing had very little or none information about their sponsors on their respective websites, and when reached out to, decided not to reply.

The biggest gaming show, The Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, has a list of sponsors, but no prices.

Crunching the numbers

We looked at a total of ten conferences, spanning from November 2014 to November 2015, and every one of them has tens, some twenty and more sponsors.

We tried not to get lost in the forest of sponsors, so we focused on 20 companies we thought were the most relevant and / or most present in the monetization landscape of the mobile gaming industry.  So we paid special attention to Chartboost, Appsflyer, StartApp, TUNE, AdMob, NativeX, Vungle, RevMob, HeyZap, Flurry, AdColony, Unity, Playhaven, TapJoy, Supersonic Ads, SponsorPay, NextPeer, MoPub, PaymentWall, Inneractive and Fortumo.

Unlike Unity, AdColony and StartApp, which are fairly present in the world of conferences, companies like Inneractive, Playhaven, Flurry, or HeyZap have not been seen as sponsors at any of the examined conferences.  It’s very important to stress that these numbers might not represent the exact budgets of the companies involved, nor the exact prices of different sponsorship deals.  The numbers and data presented here are based on publicly available information and represent non-confirmed, estimation-only budgets.

The source data we collected is available in this Google Spreadsheet.

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Answering ERN authorization and other encryption questions posed by Apple for developers when submitting a new app

We’ve been asked a few times what games need to do in order to be approved for submission if they use encryption in their game. SOOMLA’s ios-store uses basic encryption algorithms to protect your on-device data so no one will be able to hack it and mess up your game related data.

The encryption algorithms used by SOOMLA

SOOMLA uses the AES algorithm for encryption. This algorithm is a standard symmetric encryption algorithm and we use it to secure the user’s data on the device. It’s a common approach to solve these kinds of problems.

Answering the ERN authorization question by Apple

SOOMLA’s main intention is to solve problems of game and gaming related apps. Generally, gaming apps don’t need to submit to “ERN authorization” so if you develop these kinds of apps you should answer “NO” when you see the “ERN authorization” question on itunesconnect. (You might have some specific encryption in your game. You should look into the itunesconnect FAQ to see if you need to submit your specific application to “ERN authorization”.)

One way to check if your app needs to submit to “ERN authorization”:

  • (from the FAQ)
    How do I know if I can follow the Exporter Registration and Reporting (ERN) process?
    If your app uses, accesses, implements or incorporates industry standard encryption algorithms for purposes other than those listed as exemptions under question 2, you need to submit for an ERN authorization. Examples of standard encryption are: AES, SSL, https. This authorization requires that you submit an annual report to two U.S. Government agencies with information about your app every January.
  • (from question 2)
    (i) if you determine that your app is not classified under Category 5, Part 2 of the EAR based on the guidance provided by BIS at http://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/policy-guidance/encryption/identifying-encryption-items#One. The Statement of Understanding for medical equipment in Supplement No. 3 to Part 774 of the EAR can be accessed at Electronic Code of Federal Regulations site. Please visit the Question #15 in the FAQ section of the encryption page for sample items BIS has listed that can claim Note 4 exemptions.
  • (from http://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/policy-guidance/encryption/identifying-encryption-items#One)
    Is the product described by Note 4?
    Items described by Note 4 are not controlled under Category 5, Part 2 of the EAR. See “What items are removed from encryption controls? ” for additional guidance.
  • (from “What items are removed from encryption controls?”)
    (a) The primary function or set of functions is not any of the following:
    (1) “Information security”;
    (2) A computer, including operating systems, parts and components therefor;
    (3) Sending, receiving or storing information (except in support of entertainment, mass commercial broadcasts, digital rights
    management or medical records management); or
    (4) Networking (includes operation, administration, management and provisioning);
    (b) The cryptographic functionality is limited to supporting their primary function or set of functions; and
    (c) When necessary, details of the items are accessible and will be provided, upon request, to the appropriate authority in the exporter’s
    country in order to ascertain compliance with conditions described in paragraphs (a) and (b) above.

Games usually conform to Note 4 so they are not controlled under Category 5, Part 2 of the CCL.

READ THIS: This explanation is complementary. You shouldn’t take it as a rule or suggestion of any kind. SOOMLA doesn’t take any responsibility for any damage you may have by accepting or following anything we wrote here. You should check if your specific app conforms with EAR and submit to “ERN authorization” if you see fit.

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SOOMLA - An In-app Purchase Store and Virtual Goods Economy Solution for Mobile Game Developers of Free to Play Games