Tips and Advice

Tips and Advice

Opt out from mobile ad tracking

Mobile ad tracking usually evokes feelings that relate to stalking, creeping and general disdain. But is the feature something we should really feel disgusted by? Or is the constant media talk of our privacy being threatened led us to start blowing into cold milk, too? Is mobile ad tracking really that much of a threat to our privacy, or is it in fact a nifty little feature which improves our mobile experience? There will also be an explanation on how to opt out of mobile ad tracking, but that doesn’t mean I am generally against such features.

What is mobile ad tracking and how does it work?

Mobile ad tracking should not be confused with online ad tracking, two different features which even confused the author of these words at first. Unlike online ad tracking, where ad networks track your browser behavior through cookies, seeing the sites you visit and how long you stay with certain content, mobile ad tracking relates exclusively to apps and not your browser. It is the way ad networks identify you through various apps you use on your mobile device, trying to form a complete picture of your behavior in order to serve relevant ads.

interstital app index

Credit: App Index

There are two elements to consider from the paragraph above: 1) multiple apps; and 2) relevant ads.

When looking at multiple apps, mobile ad tracking means basically the same ads will be served to you in all the apps you have which support ads. For example, if you used an app to find tower defense games, you might see ads for such games in other apps later on.

Relevant ads are where mobile ad tracking really shows. Here’s the deal: turning off the feature will not disable ads in apps. It will not even reduce the number of those ads – it will just (most likely) make them irrelevant, to some extent. Your mobile behavior creates your profile, and *relevant* ads are served with regard to that profile. Turn the feature off and the profile is wiped – which could mean you’ll start seeing ads for things that don’t interest you in the slightest. For example, if you’re using apps that are common with 20-30-year-old males who like sports, keeping ad tracking active might result in you seeing ads for the next Superbowl. Turn it off, and you might start seeing ads for nail polish – completely irrelevant to the target audience.

How does it work?

Turning off mobile ad tracking might mean you’ll be served gaming ads when you’re more interested in hair implants. Credit: Supersonic

Turning off mobile ad tracking might mean you’ll be served gaming ads when you’re more interested in hair implants. Credit: Supersonic

Looking at the two biggest mobile operating systems, iOS and Android, we see that both work in a similar fashion. Each device is assigned a digital identification code. These codes are similar to a cookie — they allow advertisers to know that a specific iPhone or Android user using a certain app and can serve an ad targeting that user.

For Android, the code is called Android Advertising ID, and it is used by advertisers to determine if they have already served an ad to a specific user. They also use the ID to retarget and frequency cap users.

Apple’s IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) was introduced in May 2013, when it replaced the old UDID (Universal Device ID). It was done to give the user more control in both security and privacy.

Android devices work in a similar fashion. Its code is called Android Advertising ID, and it replaced the old Android ID in October 2013, for the same reason.

The real question is should you allow ad networks to look over your shoulder and into your mobile screen or not. Here are the pros and cons of opting out:

Pros and Cons of opting out

Deciding to opt-out of mobile ad tracking means advertising networks no longer have any insight into your mobile app usage. If you don’t want to give such information away, you should turn the feature off. However, there are two important things you should also know. First, there is no private information shared here. That means you’re just a part of a larger statistic, aimed to better tailor advertising.

The second thing is – there’s not exactly some IT weirdo somewhere reading through your emails and app search history, deciding what you like and what you don’t. All those things are done by computer programs, algorithms.

Turning off mobile ad tracking doesn’t really block ads. You will still be served ads, only irrelevant ones, most of the time. There will still be ads based on the device you use, the country you live in and the keywords you use in specific app searches. However, irrelevant ads drastically reduce the chance of you actually seeing something you like and clicking it. Lower click-through rates mean less earnings for the advertiser and the app you use.

Why is this important to you, you might ask?

When you look at today’s mobile consumer world (and internet for that sake) from the perspective of an average user – everything is pretty much free. But the truth is  – nothing is free, and neither is the internet. Someone has to eventually pay the bill for all the free content and entertainment we consume, and the ones paying it are the advertisers.

They are sponsoring mobile apps who agree to lend their app’s real estate to host ads in return for revenue. This is what keeps apps virtually free. Advertising is a major driving force of the free app economy which sustains it financially.

Opting out of mobile ad tracking will allow you to keep your private information private. It will, however, make your mobile experience less than ideal, unless you completely block all ads in the first place. Keep in mind that ads are the lubricant for the internet, fueling the sites which give you content you enjoy consuming.

Whether you will disable mobile ad tracking is up to you – every major mobile operating system allows you to choose. Should you do it or not in the end depends on what you consider an ideal mobile experience.

How to opt-out of mobile ad tracking:

On iOS:

iOSGo to Settings > Privacy > Advertising.
Turn on Limit Ad Tracking.
To turn off location-based ads, do the following:
Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services.
Turn off Location-Based iAds.

 

 

On Android 5:

androidGo to Settings > General > Accounts & Sync
Locate and tap on the Google listing
Tap Personal info & Privacy
Tap Ads settings
Scroll down and tap on “Manage Ad Settings”
Find the “Ads based on your interests” slider and slide to “Off”.

 

 

 

 

On Windows Phone

windowsStart > Settings > Privacy
Look for “Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps (turning this off will reset your ID)” (usually located at the top)
Disable it

 

 

 

It is important to once again repeat that this relates only to mobile apps and not browsers. Ad networks use different methods of tracking your browser movement, mostly through placing cookies. There are methods of disabling browser-based ad tracking, but we will leave that topic for another time.

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Tips and Advice, Video

6_Tips_Panel_Participation

I recently had the opportunity to be a panelist in an industry conference. I have attended panels before and I have given many talks at conferences, but participating in a panel was a new thing, until October this year when the organizers of Casual Connect asked me to join a panel about data and analytics.

Here are 6 things I learned while preparing, participating and reviewing the video in retrospect.

#1 – Know the Questions in Advance

Very few people can wing their first panel appearance. Imagine getting the question only during the session while the audience is waiting for your response and the spotlights pointed on you. This is a lot of unnecessary pressure. Most likely the panel moderator will be happy to share the questions in advance and even iterate on them with you if you have feedback.

#2 – Disagree at least once

Panels can get really boring if everyone agrees on everything and says the same things. You can see Daniel disagreeing with me and Garrett on minute 7:30 and then in the last 10 minutes Ilja and myself arguing against re-engagement in gaming while Daniel takes the other side.

#3 – Prepare Examples that are Easy to Visualizethis-disturbing-image-of-a-chinese-worker-with-close-to-100-iphones-reveals-how-app-store-rankings-can-be-manipulated

A lot of times expert discussions can become too complicated for an audience to follow. Having an example that is easy for the audience to visualize helps you keep the audience engaged and is much more memorable. In minute 20:48 I’m leveraging the fact that most of the audience has already seen the image of an Asian person sitting in front of hundreds of mobile devices and installing apps on them to make an example of how SOOMLA can detect fraud better than anyone else.

#4 – Use Sound Bytes

Get a few sentences prepared that people can immediately agree with and easily memorize. For SOOMLA the best ones would have been:

  • It’s smarter to look at data from hundreds of games than to look at data from only a single game.
  • If 50% of the revenue is driven by whales, you should spend half your time analyzing that audience specifically.

I actually failed to deliver these sound bytes during the session although at minute 10:40 I had a pretty good opportunity to deliver the first one.

#5 – Use Acronyms to Encapsulate Systems or Processes

Audiences really like it when you give them an easy way to remember a new system, process or method. Using an acronym and explaining what the letters stand for, will get people writing your words down. An example that is relevant to SOOMLA would be: “The segments that game publishers should focus on: S – social whales that can bring you viral distribution, W – whales – these are the people who pay in your game, F – freeloaders which should be monetized with ads. The acronym to remember is SWF.” Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the opportunity to use this acronym in the discussion. I promise to do better on my next panel.

#6 – You Don’t Have to Answer the Question You were Asked

Sometimes it’s better to answer the question you wanted to be asked. At the end of the day most people would not remember the question anyway. Especially if your answer was good. At minute 2:45, I was asked “tell us something not many people know about your company.” I replied with a shameless pitch – given that we are a startup it’s likely to assume that not many people have heard about what we do so it was sort of answering the question, but not really what the moderator expected.

Measuring Success

The success of a panel is not easy to measure, but one way to gauge it is by how many people queued up for questions after. In this case, I can say that I did pretty well based on that queue, but I still know there are quite a few things I’ll do better in my next panel.

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Game Design, Tips and Advice

(1200x600) eCPM Decay

After weeks, months of hard work, you have finally completed your mobile game. Everything is set, the red ribbon is in place and you’re ready to release it into the wavy waters of the digital sea, hoping it succeeds, bringing you fame and fortune along the way.

You smash the ceremonial bottle of champagne against the computer you used to build the app, and you press “Publish”. Then, after a week of solid stats, this happens:

ecp decay
 

FREE REPORT – VIDEO ADS RETENTION IMPACT

 

What happened?

Your eCPM, your effective cost per mille, or how much money you really are making from the ads served in your app, is decaying hard. What can you do about it? You can either hold your head in your hands as you gasp in despair, or you can get to work, slowing down the eCPM decay and pulling the maximum out of your products. But before I explain the various strategies you can employ, let’s first clear out a few basics, like what CPM, eCPM and other acronyms are, in the first place.

What is eCPM?

eCPM is short for Effective Cost Per Mille, and it relates to actual advertising revenue generated for those 1,000 impressions. Even though it’s a relatively new term, it has quickly established itself as industry’s universal standard of measurement and is being used to compare how well campaigns are performing side-by-side. Here’s what the eCPM equation looks like:

ecpm-equation

Image courtesy of Appflood: http://appflood.com/blog/what-is-the-definition-of-ecpm

First thing you need to do when calculating eCPM is to divide your total advertising earnings with the total number of impressions you have been given by the advertiser. The number you get is the amount of money you earn for a single impression. However, as impressions are paid out for every thousand, you have to multiply that number by 1,000.

The final number is how much you are earning on average from the campaign.

If you’re still unclear what the difference between CPM and eCPM is, here it is in a single sentence: CPM is a pricing and reach metric, while eCPM is a performance metric.

eCPM is only part of the equation

However, don’t be tempted to measure the performance of your advertising campaign solely on the eCPM. A website with millions of visitors which ends up with lower eCPM can still earn you more money than a website with less visitors, but with a higher eCPM metric. Other parameters, such as how many people visit a particular site are equally important.

What is CPM?

In the world of mobile advertising, abbreviations such as CPM, CTR and CPC are very common. They usually revolve around online ads, how much people view them and click on them, and how much money advertisers and ad networks earn from people’s actions. CPM is short for Cost Per Mille, with Mille being Latin for thousand. So in the shortest possible definition, CPM is the price of a thousand advertisement impressions. Visitors don’t need to click on the ad for the publisher to be paid. They don’t even have to *see* the ad – if they load it, it counts as an impression.

So, for example, if a website charges $5 CPM, that means an advertiser must pay $5 for every 1,000 impressions its ad receives. The CPM is used as a reach and pricing metric, and should not be confused with eCPM.

What is eCPM decay?

As you monetize your mobile app or game and your ad network of choice starts serving ads to your users/players, sooner or later you will come to realize that your eCPM is slowly (or sometimes, drastically) declining. The trend is also called eCPM decay, and is something many developers and advertisers are struggling to control.

eCPM decay: your ad network starts serving ads to your users and your eCPM is slowly drastically… Click To Tweet

Why does eCPM decay occur?

Most will agree – eCPM decay is inevitable. There are many reasons to it – sometimes the advertiser will promote low-quality creatives and provide you with a few clicks and very few installs. Sometimes, your app or game will hand out too many ad impressions, thus driving eCPM down. User behavior is also something that should be looked at, as users are more inclined during the first few views.

eCPM decay - single network vs. ad mediation

Season to be (un)jolly

Be wary of the holiday season. As I’m writing this article, we’ve basically entered the Christmas holiday season, which is that time of year when consumers are most engaged with advertisers and the content they serve. During this time, the competition becomes fierce, and mobile ads and advertisers scramble to fill target inventory during this time. In the weeks following the holidays, a significant eCPM drop is nothing unusual to experience.

If you have decided to incorporate multiple ad networks into your game to serve ads, you might also be experiencing what’s called campaign overlap, which is also often a reason for eCPM decline.

FREE E-BOOK – TOP 10 MOBILE GAMING REPORTS

What is campaign overlap?

chartboost-interstitialIf you are using multiple ad networks, they might be serving you the same ad, a problem called campaign overlap. Many of the ad networks are working with the same advertisers and, as you might have imagined, the best performing ads could be, and often are, the same for all of them.

A network might stop itself from serving the same ad multiple times, but it is highly unlikely for networks to coordinate between themselves, meaning you will still end up with the same ad served too many times.

Adam Ben-David, VP of Supply Side Platform from Supersonic, a mobile ads company, is aware of the issue and believes the best way to tackle it is through ad mediation: “Campaign overlap and the effort to avoid it is the fundamental reason why developers use Supersonic’s mediation platform. Our ‘weighted’ optimization ensures that only the most relevant content with the highest eCPMs are served from a developer’s various ad sources, ensuring maximum ad revenue and user engagement,” he said.

He did, however, stress that sometimes repeating an ad doesn’t lead to lower engagement. Sometimes it can be quite the opposite: “Serving the same ad creative repetitively does not necessarily lead to lower engagement, perhaps the opposite, as it often takes several attempts to warm the user up before he or she engages at all.”

Slowing down eCPM decay

There is no escape from eCPM decay, that’s for certain. You can either throw your app into the digital wild and watch as it struggles for breath, or you can develop a plan and a strategy to make sure you get the maximum out of your product. Easing the effects of eCPM decay is absolutely doable and definitely something you should look into. There are a couple of things you can do in that respect: strategize on placement and timing; limit ad frequency; set up proper eCPM floors and be uncompromising in terms of minimising cost.

Slow down eCPM decay by: strategizing placement, limit ad frequency and set up proper eCPM floors. Click To Tweet

Keep in mind that these tips are not meant to be used all at once – the things you do to optimize your eCPM depend mostly on the product you have and its audience. Game genre and user engagement will have an impact on the eCPM decay. Sometimes, for example, limiting ad frequency won’t have as big of an impact as setting up proper eCPM floors. For that reason, you should think your strategy through for each individual product and set up a plan accordingly.

Placement

Think about your product: how much space does it have for an ad? Does the ad appear too often, in too many places? Is it hindering user experience? If that is the case, you can end up destroying your own produbreak prisonct, so be careful about where you place your ads. Games that offer short-length levels (a few minutes) often serve ads only after the player has finished a session, while others opt for rewarded video ads, which have proven to be extremely effective in terms of user engagement.

Limiting ad frequency

Timing is also of the utmost importance: if the ads appear at the most inconvenient moments (during the game, at the pause menu, etc.) not only will the user engagement drop, but the risk of players abandoning the app altogether rises. Pay close attention to how often the ads appear, and if you’re getting a campaign overlap.

Setting up CPM floors

When monetizing your app or mobile game, at one point you will also be asked to set up a minimum CPM, also known as the CPM floor. The CPM floor is the minimum acceptable CPM at an ad unit level. It represents the lowest possible price at which a bidder can win an impression on your app or game.

This is also a very important metric and should be treated as such. Setting up a low CPM floor, a high one, or simply trying to match it with the eCPM can all have different consequences on your monetization. A low-cost strategy might push you to later impressions, while a high one might have you ending up with significant decay beyond the second and third impression. Sometimes, matching the CPM floor with eCPM might have unwanted consequences, as you might appear too expensive for CPM advertisers. By matching these two metrics, you could cut out a lot of cleared impressions in the lower end, hurting your impressions count and revenue. So which of the three roads should you take? As with everything else, it depends on your product and your audience, but my general tip would be to be uncompromising in terms of minimising cost. In other words – avoid low-cost strategies and go for a more valuable first impression.

Avoid low-cost strategies and go for a more valuable first impression. Click To Tweet

Here’s why: opting for a low-cost strategy, you will most likely be pushed towards later impressions. Those are quite often only viewed by reward farmers – players watching ads only to gain something in return (in-game currency or something similar).

There’s no stopping eCPM decay…

…but that doesn’t mean you should let it freefall. You can use the tips written above to create a controlled, sustained fall which will maximize the monetization of your app. You can do that through proper strategy and careful planning on how the ads will be served in your product.

Proper placement and timing of the ads are crucial, as well as well-balanced CPM floors to reach those lower-paying gigs and still perform nicely. Try avoiding low-budget strategies and unique rewards obtainable only through ads, as you will most likely end up with reward farmers that are a true eCPM killer.

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Marketing, Tips and Advice

You Need an Email Address, You Say?

I’ve recently been working on email outreach. I’ve got my personalized pitch ready to go, but I’m missing one thing. The perfect email address. I’m not just looking for a generic email; I’m looking for a valuable employee email who is relevant to my search.email-2-icon

Most of my searches I’m pretty lucky and after digging around I get the email I want. I will say there are some people who are really good at hiding themselves and I give them kudos. In this day in age, it’s hard to truly hide yourself with such sophisticated tools to track people.

Not to Spam, but to Enlighten

Before we dive in let’s just be clear, use these tools for good, not evil. When I’m reaching out to leads I truly believe our service can and will benefit them. I don’t use these tools to spam, but to enlighten potential customers. Every email sent should be personalized and tailored to the recipient. If it’s not, then you should reconsider your email outreach process. Email outreach is generating valuable leads that will be genuinely interested in your service, not just shouting to the masses that you have a new product.    

Tools of the Trade

I use a variety of tools to find an email. Most are free or give me X number of searches per month. While by the end of the month I’m usually out, I still enjoy these tools and you can too as long as you don’t require significant scale which requires payment. These are the tools I use to assist me on my endeavors:

The Process

I first begin researching the company and if I stumble upon an interesting email I make note of it, but keep researching until I know that is the exact person I want to email.

While at the end of the day I’m trying to find the perfect email address, my search really begins with the company. I begin looking around, trying to figure out the structure of the company, who does what which leads me to my potential contact person. To show how certain steps work my example subject throughout the post will be our VP Marketing, Gur Dotan.

Know Your Company

Company Website

This may seem obvious, but begin your research at the company website. You will, of course, learn a lot about the company and you might even find the email you’re looking for.

Find the “Team/About Us” page. Read about the various team members and decide who is the best person to reach. If they list the employees and their job descriptions pay attention! This will give you a great starting point of who you need to target.

Also, if you can find the company’s social media pages, open them because you’re going to want to go over them.

LinkedIn – Details, Details, Details

Moving right along to my favorite tool, LinkedIn. Wow! Has LinkedIn helped me more often than not. It doesn’t always give me the email, but it helps me learn about the company and/or the person and that’s where looking at the details is important. When I begin my search in LinkedIn I have two objectives:

  1. Nailing the right contact person with the right role in a company.
  2. Exploring if LinkedIn connections permit a more personal reach out than a cold email. Maybe a coworker has a connection and can make an introduction.

I have found, that for the most part, professionals keep their LinkedIn profile up to date. There have been times I have someone in mind, but when I go to their LinkedIn account I realize they don’t work at the company anymore. It’s important to look at these details and read their job descriptions. You might have in mind that you want a Product Manager, but read their description and realize you actually need someone else in the company. Pay attention to their job descriptions and make sure they’re the right target.

I usually begin my LinkedIn search with the company page. I like to:

    • Read/skim the company page top to bottom. I re-familiarize myself with the overarching theme and mission of the company.
    • Review their location and see if they give a range of how many employees work at the company.
    • Members – check to see if you have any second or third connections, if so this is a great way to wiggle yourself an intro or connect on another level.

Google_LinkedIn

Once I’ve reviewed the company page, I find my target and hone in. Each LinkedIn profile is set up differently, so it’s important to go over the various sections to find the information you’re looking for. When looking at a personal LinkedIn account:

    • Review current and past positions.
    • Go over job experience and descriptions (the descriptions can be eye-opening and tell you if you’re even researching the right person).

Gur_LinkedIn

In Gur’s account, he has the relevant information in his summary, rather than his job description.

Facebook – Did you remember to add your email address?

Most companies list an email on their Facebook page under the “About” section. While this might be a generic email address, it is a good starting point and might even show you how their emails are structured.

soomla FB

You also want to review their latest posts and make sure they’re recent. If they haven’t posted since 2013, then sending them a direct message on Facebook might not be the best avenue to reach out.  

Make sure you pay attention to what they’re posting about. Note if they’re posting about any major events, such as conferences they’re attending or an event they’re hosting. If so, it’s unlikely they’re answering emails or, if they are, it could be at a slower rate. For example, if you look up, our VP Marketing, you’ll find that he was on vacation a earlier in the week and know not to start emailing him.

Gur_Facebook

Let’s Find That Email Address

You have now done your research, you’ve got a target in mind, yet no email. This is when the real searching begins. There are a ton of tools that can help you find the email address of your target person.

1. Your Email List – Email Addresses at Your Finger Tips

The very first email list I go to when searching is our MailChimp list. If you don’t use MailChimp, that’s fine, just go to your email list and search. What would be better if the person I’m trying to reach has already signed up! It doesn’t happen often, but I have found team members from that company signed up for our newsletter, which is a great sign! It usually means they’re interested in your company and you can begin by reaching out to that individual. Which could then eventually lead to an introduction to your target.

Gur_MailChimp

2. WHOIS data  

WHOIS data is publicly available data and is usually collected when registering a domain. Any WHOIS tool such as Who.is will generate the information you’re looking for. It’s not my favorite tool, but it has proven useful. Most professional companies will have their domain secured and registered with privacy protection, but I have occasionally found a few relevant emails.

3. Google – Why Not Google the Email Address?

Well, it doesn’t hurt to just Google it. It’s quick easy, might won’t work, but it doesn’t hurt. Have a name? Have a domain? Type them it into Google and see what you get. You might not get an email, but some other sources that can lead you to an email.

Google Gur

4. Twitter Advanced Search – (at) (dot) your way to an email address

It might be surprising, or not, that a lot of people will just ask for emails via Twitter. Use Twitter Advanced Search to help you find an email address.

  1. “All of these words” – search (at) (dot)
  2. “From these accounts” – add Twitter handle of said company

It will then pull up tweets from that company with any (at) (dot) and potentially give you the email you’re looking for.

Twitter

5. Sidekick – Your Trusty Sidekick Will Help You Find an Email Address

Sidekick is a one stop shop email extension from HubSpot. They offer a variety of tools such as tracking email opens, link clicks, how many times a person opened your email and scheduling emails. However, I took advantage of their email profile tool for this process. Sidekick generates a profile for the email recipient when composing an email. I was able to check email addresses by going over the individual’s profile.

When looking at Gur, I can see his job title, company, education and Twitter handle. If you’ve used Sidekick to track the email it will show any opens or clicks as well as mutual connections.

Sidekick

6 . Mixrank – Email Address Generator, For a Price

Mixrank is an awesome tool. We pay for the service, but it helps generate targeted lists of potential leads. You can create lists from specific keywords or categories. We use it in a variety of ways from looking at specific games to looking at various companies in our industry.

To find Gur, I would go to our main page, contacts and search for Gur Dotan. He then pops up and I have his email.

Gur_Mixrank

7. MailTester – Test Email Addresses Before they Bounce

Maybe you have an idea what the email address is, but you don’t want to send an email just to have it bounce. MailTester lets you do exactly what it says, test the address. Put your the email address in their finder and see if it’s right.

MailTester

8. Email Hunter – Email Address by Domain

Email Hunter, another life saving tool, collects and organizes email addresses all over the web. I use the Chrome Extension and it works wonders. I have a little button at the top of my browser and when I’m on the site, I click it and it compiles all the emails for the website.

Email Hunter

On LinkedIn, an Email Hunter button pops up on every account page and can generate an email (usually).

Gur_Email Hunter LI

9. Rapportive – Email Address Finder for Anyone

So you’ve gone through your tools, but still don’t have an email. Rapportive, a tool acquired by LinkedIn, shows LinkedIn profiles when you have the correct email. If I have a first name and a domain, I use Rapportive and play with different email options such as:

    • gur@soom.la
    • gurdotan@soom.la
    • gdotan@soom.la
    • gurd@soom.la
    • gur_dotan@soom.la
    • gur.dotan@soom.la

When it’s a match, you get a popup on the side of your email (like below) and you know you’ve found the right email.

Gur_Rapporative

10. Anymail Finder – Can it Find the Email Address You Need?

Still can’t find that email? There have been times I know the name of the person, have the domain, but don’t want to go through Gmail and/or Rapportive just guessing. Anymail Finder, does the guessing for me which is pretty handy.

Anymail finder

Keep Calm and Find Email Addresses

You are now equipped with a variety of tools to help you find the email address of a potential lead. While these tips will take you far, there is no 100% way to find an email address unless it’s given to you directly. Take your new found knowledge and use it wisely.

Have you ever used any of these tips and tricks? Or do you have any other tools you use? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments below!

 

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Marketing, Tips and Advice

How to Be a Work-for-Hire Game Studio?

Work for hire (WFH) is work created by an employee, but where the employer keeps all, or parts of copyright for the work done. In some parts of the world this is known as corporate authorship and it has become an important part of today’s business model.WFH

Our CEO, Yaniv Nizan, recently gave a presentation on how work-for-hire studios can drive success and inbound leads with content marketing, open-source code, community building and other marketing tactics.

There is no doubt about it – work for hire is a tough business. It is unpredictable work and there’s potential risk your reputation. Margins are low and cash flow problems are almost unavoidable.

How We Get Inbound Leads and How You Can Too

blog1

Our blog has 100,000 monthly pageviews

The tactics that we use for inbound leads can easily be applied to WFH studios trying to gain work. We focus on content marketing, community, and, as always, open source to gain inbound leads and it works.

Open Source Projects

SOOMLA is a company based in open source and we truly believe that open source is always the way to go. We open source all our code and encourage developers to use it as they need to. This can be applied to work for hire studios. Publish your projects as open source or if you’re not comfortable doing that, become active in an open source community. You’ll engage with fellow developers and gain credibility and authority for your studio.

Publish your projects and code as open source. You'll engage with other developers and communities. Click To Tweet

Blogging

We blog twice a week and we’re now getting approximately 100,000 pageviews a month. To drive maximum value we repurpose our content. A blog post can be transformed into a slide share presentation and then published on Slideshare or SlideDeck.  It can also be turned into an infographic which can be posted nearly anywhere. Use one piece of content to cover multiple mediums even YouTube. To get more ideas about repurposing content, check out Google’s “47 ways to repurpose content.”

Community

We love our community and in the beginning focused a lot of our efforts on building that community. We have a hand full of developers that have become SOOMLA advocates and are trusted SOOMLA spokespeople. Some of them have established such a strong reputation in our forum that it has led to them receiving other business opportunities.

Mailing List

It is still proven that email marketing is at times better than social media marketing. We have a growing mailing list which currently has more than 9,00 people and we regularly send out newsletters to our followers. We share major updates, announcements, and posts that we think our community will find useful. You should use your newsletter to interact with your followers and update them about announcements, offers/projects, and anything else you think they’d like to know about the company.

SDK Fatigue

community

Building a strong community opens up new opportunities

SDK fatigue is real and as a WFH studio you can use this to your advantage.  All SDK providers struggle with distribution and as a WFH you can help with this problem. You can refer customers and help them reach more customers. Most providers are willing to pay and usually a hefty sum as well. As a WFH studio, you’re well situated and should take advantage of this opportunity. We even have a partner program that addresses this problem for us. Check it out and see if it’s right for you.

To conclude, it is important to know that the success of WFH studios requires that demand is higher than the supply. Various content marketing strategies will get you inbound leads, building a community can get you to outsource your projects, and you can take advantage of SDK fatigue.

Check out these slides for more details:

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Guest Post, Tips and Advice

About the Author:

Amanda Cline currently works for Xicom – Android app development company. She is an avid IT personnel with special interest in writing blog posts that serve as handy guides for individuals looking to build a strong career in IT services and solutions.

The growing popularity of mobile game apps aren’t hidden from anyone. Thanks to the efforts put in by app developers, there are mobile games that can be cherished by people of all age groups.Amanda Cline Featured Image If you too have recently developed a mobile game or plan to build one, then stay informed that there’s a lot to achieve than simply entertaining the gaming lovers worldwide. Well, you can go ahead and monetize your game to earn a good income instantly. One of the most vital points that should be kept in mind, is that the users of your game shouldn’t get upset while you’re busy focusing on implementing your strategy of monetizing the game. Don’t fret because with this post, I aim to highlight some of the simplest tips to help you earn quick cash from your mobile game. So, let’s get on with uncovering each tip one by one!

Offer Novelty on a Regular Basis

Amanda Cline Offers

Ensure to update your game app regularly in addition to offering the app users some novel that would make them stay in your app for a duration of time. For instance, you can choose to give handy customization options, small rewards for sharing details about your game among friends and family etc. Additionally, you must also ensure the smooth functioning of different UI elements that have been incorporated within your app. Some of the key UI elements that I’m referring to include the button functions, cursors, font size, keyboards etc. Here, you may even opt for choosing one of the most renowned mobile application development companies which can help you in proper alignment of your app’s UI elements.

Choose the Pay-Per-Episode Monetization Model

Best suited to make money from serious gamers, the Pay-Per-Episode monetization model allows you to break down the mobile game into bite-sized episodes which can later be sold at discounted prices as compared to the original one-time cost of the entire game. Apart from working as an excellent option for monetizing your game, the Pay-Per-Episode model would allow your app to enjoy a higher presence on app stores which are already loaded with hundreds of look-alike game apps.

Make the Most of In-App Purchases

Another easy way to make money via your game app is to offer the players an opportunity of purchasing in-game items using the in-game currency. Here, don’t make the mistake of designing the app in context of a game where it is mandatory to grab the in-game items for playing the game. The players must be wooed via in-game content that’s available in the form of new characters with exclusive abilities, impressive power-ups that offer a unique player experience, tempting skins, new levels with distinguished challenges and a lot more.

Offering Cash Rewards Can Do the Trick

Amanda Cline_Pay-Per-EpisodeHaving worked for fitness and shopping apps, the concept of paying users real money is beneficial for monetizing even mobile games. As an app developer, you can get on with taking stake for the players by enabling them to make several bets on the result/outcome of a particular round in the mobile game. For instance, if you’ve created a bowling game, then you can offer players a unique flexibility of placing their bets starting at $0.50 about how they will perform in the game. In this way, you can conveniently augment your advertising revenue.

Embrace the Freemium App Monetization Model

While a majority of mobile game lovers prefer downloading and playing the free versions of games, there are some advanced/serious gamers who never refrain from paying a sum of cash in order to access the premium version of the game. Hence, as an app owner/developer, you can get on with offering a free “lite” version of your basic mobile app in addition to charging a specific fee from gamers who showcase their interest in gaining access to the advanced levels within the game. A vital point that needs to be kept in mind is that the premium levels of the game must include exquisite tools and features that can make the gamers say WOW. Moreover, don’t forget to mention the benefits of making payment for the entire game. Doing this will undoubtedly tempt the free gamers into upgrading to the premium version for the app.

Cross-Marketing Your App is a Viable Option

Quite similar to the ad exchange program, the trend of cross-marketing the app will serve as a contemporary method of advertising your game app to the world of game lovers. You can get in touch with renowned mobile game app developers and ask them to display your app’s download link within their app. In exchange, you too can provide a link to the app that was developed by the respective app developer. Additionally, you can also opt for an effective affiliate marketing program wherein you can advertise other developers’ mobile game apps within your app- receiving a specific amount of cash from them.  

Conclusion

Now that you know the top tips on quick monetization for your mobile game, it’s time to choose the one that will render you maximum returns on your mobile game and help you grow your income by an impressive level.

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Marketing, Tips and Advice

(1200x600) Marketing 101 for Indie

Pixels, code, and game engines. Three words game developers love. They are the passion driving the mobile gaming industry. Making characters, coding levels, and seeing it all come together in a mobile app – the best feeling ever but, now what? Games are not fun if nobody plays them. A game must be marketed and given a proper introduction to the people. There are so many amazing games, but no one knows about them. Game developers can always use the extra help when it comes to marketing. Here’s the step-by-step guide to market your mobile game.

FREE REPORT – VIDEO ADS RETENTION IMPACT

 
EDIT: As we continually find more tools to help indie game developers market their games, we will update this post. Our most recent addition is the Out of the Box Ideas section which showcases the Android App Badge tool.

Table of Contents:

Game Reviews

Word of Mouth

Press Coverage

Press Kit

Social Media

Forums

Blogging

Cross Promotion

Pre Launch Hype

Ad Campaigns

Out of the Box Ideas

Game Reviews

Game Reviews

I remember drooling over the iPhone when someone decided to unbox it on YouTube. Seeing the trendy box, the sweet headphones, and the iPhone light up on video was the deal breaker for me to buy one. The same applies to video games. Gamers love gaming websites and communities. They watch strategy guides on YouTube, view shows about which games to buy, and read the latest gaming news. Your game on these game review platforms is essential. Here are a few places to consider getting your game reviewed:

 

YouTube

There are a few channels that do game reviews. Check them out:

Blogs

Communities of mobile game enthusiasts and tech junkies such as Toucharcade, TechCrunch and Gizmodo review mobile games.

A previous SOOMLA post highlighted the importance of game reviews and provides a long list of places to consider. There’s no need to constrain your studio to this list, but it’s a good start. It may sound easy on paper, but you will need a good selling point when reaching out to different communities and organizations that you want to review your game. For SOOMLA, the selling point is using our SDK in your game. For other organizations, it may be reaching a certain amount of downloads or having an innovative game worth writing about. Some well respected communities with millions of DAU may not consider your game for a review right away. A strong press release and website to hype your game will improve your chances of getting exposure in these communities.

Disclaimer:  If a game is not competitively interesting, fun, or engaging, this strategy can flop and hurt you. Bad reviews discourage downloads. That being said, make great games, pay attention to detail, and the success will follow.

Word of Mouth

Word of Mouth

Perhaps the most underestimated means of marketing. When creating a game, it is easy to assume that the whole development process will take place in front of a computer. Developers and digital marketers, must remind themselves that their is an arena for marketing outside electronic devices. Restaurants pay the guy in the hot dog costume for a reason.

Let’s take a look at Flappy Bird, I remember my friends talking to me about how difficult it was. It got me, and many others, crazy about achieving a high score. The craze was amazing and it spread by word of mouth. Nothing can ensure a game download like a friend telling another friend to download an app. I know a fair amount of apps on my phone were downloaded because someone told me about it. Here’s a chart from App Annie showing Flappy Bird’s rise to fame:

FlappyBirdSo, how can developers encourage this? The viral case of Flappy Bird is still a mystery to many people. Dong Nguyen didn’t do much more than tweet about the game.

What more can an individual do? Attend game conventions or events related to your game. Go on the street and tell people about your game. Tell your friends to post about it. When good games obtain a loyal user, the loyal user also brings in more organic downloads for your game.

News

Press Coverage

If you think word of mouth will help your game, then you definitely want to make the news. Contact different news stations or gaming news websites and tell them about your game. This will get people talking about it.

Local news stations may showcase you as the local video game developer. If your game features a specific city, contact that city’s local station. Headlines could include “El Paso, TX featured in latest mobile game” or “Torreón local creates the next big zombie shooter for iOS.” Reach out to relevant communities for your games. If the game can help people learn Spanish reach out to language learning newsletters. If your game is about race cars, you can reach out to the large communities that support race car enthusiasts.

When it comes to the methodology, you’ll want to convince the news station to report about your game.  Journalists receive a lot of emails every day and will only spend a short time looking at yours. When emailing, be sure to:

  • Keep the message short and to the point.
  • Use a distinguishable subject line that will draw their attention.
  • In the body of the email include a brief reason why your game is newsworthy and mention aspects of your game that make it interesting and fun.
  • Make your email easy to read; use bullets, short sentences, and small paragraphs.
  • Attach a press release and relevant media for the journalists to refer to. You need to be able to quickly convince the journalist that your game is worth covering.

Press

Press Kit

Think of a press kit as a portfolio for a game. It will include all the relevant information that will summarize and sell the game to the press. The press release for every game should be different and should highlight the strengths of the game. Include some of the following to the tell the story:

Dedicated Landing Page

With 3.5 billion searches a day on Google, it is important for your game and website to get noticed. How? SEO – search engine optimization. You’ll want to have solid html, keywords, and relevant content to get noticed. The more backlinks to your website the better. Make sure you provide the url and links to different parts of your page.

PickCrafter landing page

It is also important that a website seems credible to the eye. An un-customiozed WordPress website with brackets saying [Insert Content Here] or large paragraphs of keywords are not the most appealing to audiences to say the least.

A website is an opportunity to showcase a game’s levels, characters and design at its best. It will reflect the branding of a studio. There should be interesting content that encourages people to download the mobile game. Pageviews to a website will not translate to app downloads so easily. One way to convert pageviews into app downloads is incorporating a text-to-download form in a landing page. The website can be provided to a journalist in an offline format or with a URL depending on whether or not developers want the page live at that time.

Press Release

Prepare all the content for a press release. A press release requires a few pieces of key information in order to be successful.

PressRelease

Headline

“Rodolfo’s latest game, Wreck Racers, gives a whole new meaning to road rage by blending racing and fighting. Free demo inside.”

Imagine scrolling through social media or reading through a newspaper. What headlines draw attention? What can be said about a game in 18 words? Why is your game special? Get the point across in your headline.

Introduction

Use the dateline format here and grab the attention of the reader with some captivating sentences. Engage the reader and build interest. Include the most important highlights about a game here.

An example PR emphasizing dateline format and a catchy first sentence.

Description

Elaborate on the gameplay, the features that make a game unique, and continue to develop enthusiasm for the game. Mention specific challenges in game design and how they were overcome. Suggest the importance of the game and how gamers will benefit from it. Encourage the readers to witness some features on their own and play.

Quotes

Include relevant quotes from fans, other news sources, or your team. This will emphasize the potential for positive reception. You can even quote a character in the game if it will contribute to the release.

Call To Action

The end goal of marketing campaigns is to obtain more downloads for a game. This section should encourage the reader to download the game. This should also inspire interest for journalists to visit the website and get access the exclusive content.

Contact Information

This should include information about the studio such as size, amount of projects, mission, goals, and years of experience. Moreover, it should include all means for someone to reach the studio: full studio name, email, mailing address, website, phone, Twitter, LinkedIn, and/or Facebook.

Design

Place the most important information on top. This can be a game description, the history of your studio, a background on game development, or anything that you think will help you sell the game the best. Choose appealing images and logos to catch the attention of the reader.

Media

The press kit should include high quality videos of behind the scenes work, interviews, and gameplay. Incorporate screenshots of interesting moments and key elements in the game. Include biographies of the team members and pictures of your team working together.

Many developers use presskit() to help facilitate the process of creating a press kit.

 

Social Media

Social Media

Facebook

Facebook has a ton of groups and millions of users. This is not a platform you can overlook. Here are a list of Facebook groups to join (of course only post in groups that are relevant to your game):

It is important that a studio makes their presence known on social media and maintains an updated page. Nothing says “I lack credibility” like a social media page that has been abandoned for months. Moreover, social media has a way of knowing which users are more likely to play your game. Take advantage of this when you’re launching your app and trying to get more users.

Pirate Kings Facebook page.

Twitter

They say marketing has become getting a famous person to retweet you. Twitter is a great platform to engage with users, answer questions and promote your studio. When tweeting it’s important to use relevant hashtags. To help find hashtags that are pertinent to your game use tools such as Hashtagify.me, SproutSocial, and Tagboard. Some hashtags we tend to use are:

  • #gamedev
  • #f2p
  • #freetoplay
  • #indiedev
  • #indiegame

If you use a game engine such as Unity or Cocos2d-x don’t forget to tag them. This might help you get premiered by them and opens up their network of followers.

Here are a few other places to check out on Google+ and LinkedIn.

Google+

LinkedIn

If you’re able to post on all these social media sites, you will reach a variety of people and really market your game to a diverse group.

Forums

Forums

Forums are where huge communities of gamers live. Thousand of forums exist online and focus on everything from game design to user retention and more. This is a very specialized platform where you can find users that love to play and maybe even test games. Some forums to check out include:

Blogs

Blogging

Many young gamers out there are hoping to make their very own video games when they grow up. Similar to the special features section of the War of the Worlds DVD, blogs can provide audiences with cool facts about your game. This will build your credibility with your existing users and help you with SEO. Yaniv Nizan, SOOMLA CEO, wrote an article about the importance of blogging for startups in general. Be a guest writer or build your own blog for your game. Many game studios have their own blog. Check these out:

Cross Promotion

Cross Promotion

Cross promotion can also help market your game and reach your target audience. There are plenty of ad platforms where you can share, barter, or have direct deals and cross promote your game in other apps and mobile games. As an indie developer you can drive installs and user acquisition at a relatively low cost with the right tools and platforms. For example, Chartboost was the first to offer a direct-deals marketplace and several other ad networks followed soon after.  Tapdaq offers install trading with other games in its network.  

It should be noted that mainstream in-game advertising forms will usually show ads from big publishers with huge user acquisition budgets.  The developer risks losing users to other games created by these well established gaming companies.  These types of companies wield superior analytics and marketing strategies that will likely keep the user in the company’s portfolio and therefore you’re more likely to lose that user entirely. 

Pre Launch

Pre Launch Hype

Mobile game marketing campaigns work the same way motion pictures have trailers, websites, and social media pages before their release. Chances are a lot of this was done when the press kit was generated.  Prelaunch.me helps developers pre launch their games by allowing users to register, providing potential beta testers, and receive scores for their game.

PreLaunch

The pre launch campaign will hopefully inspire many users for day one of the game.  The first few days of a games life are the most important and most crucial in determining the success of the game. We covered this observation in our e-book of mobile data reports. A pre launch campaign will improve the chances of a game thriving in the long run and create enthusiasm for its gamers. This can lead to a community of people anticipating the release of your game.

Nintendo did this well with Super Smash Brothers Brawl. Even though it’s a platform game, the pre launch campaign brought in a huge amount of enthusiasm for players. Nintendo announced a new character for the game every week until the game was released. Players waited in anticipation to learn about new aspects of the game. Nintendo sold 874,000 copies the first day in North America alone.

Ad Campaigns

Ad Campaigns

Disclaimer: Not for studios with small wallets.

The game is launched, everything is set to go, but the studio spent all the money on the license for the Adobe Creative Suite and new MacBooks. Now there’s the expense of ads. Ads can be pricey, but they are rewarding if utilized efficiently and measured with the right tools for ad revenue attribution.

Obviously, but not so obviously, you will want to target gamers, or people that will give your game a shot. Consider the first demographic – gamers. Half of the U.S. plays mobile games. This means half of the U.S. doesn’t – so you’ll want to weed out that demographic. More about this can be found in the top ten mobile game data reports e-book. This report is a must read for indie developers that are attempting to use ads.Top 10 Data Reports Book

Gamers are found playing games on their couch, in class, waiting for the doctor, or in the back seat of a taxi. These places are not specific enough to target the gamers. You can’t place a billboard or poster strategically to target these users. There is one thing all mobile gamers have in common. Can you guess what it is? They play games. Lucky for developers, mobile games are a modern arena for billboards and commercials. Games have everything from banner ads to video ads. The game you made probably has them too. SOOMLA provides a useful list of ad networks and their ad formats.  We’ve noticed a huge trend that most video ads are preforming the best.

Now let’s look at the other demographic – people that will give your game a shot. These are the fans of giraffes, Coca-Cola, fashion, and teddy bears. This demographic is a little more difficult to identify and reach. However, if your game has giraffes and teddy bears you have a good chance of getting some new gamers on board. Ads on giraffe fan pages or teddy bear stores are useful.

Offer walls can be considered a type of advertisement. They are opportunities that reward users for downloading your game. Additionally, they may compensate gamers for completing certain tasks in your game – including spending money. This is a great opportunity for cross promotion.

Out of the Box Ideas

Android Apps Badge

If your game is in the Google Play Store, use the Android Apps Badge to create yours! Plug in your package ID and you’ll get your badge. This can be placed anywhere you like such as your webpage or in an email newsletter campaign.

Temple Run

You can even include your badge as part of your email signature. This is a great tool to promote your game in a neat and concise image.

What Next?

Marketing a mobile game is not the easy part. Many indie developers know the importance of creating great games, but often underestimate the work necessary to market them. Take these tips into consideration from day one and you will save time and money while effectively marketing your mobile game. It’s important to also track your marketing efforts through analytics. There is much to consider and, if done right, the marketing and public relations part of game development can be fun for both the developers and the end-users.

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Blogging Tips, Guest Post, Tips and Advice

Interested in guest blogging for SOOMLA?Soomla Logo - Blue

We love having guest posts on our blog because it offers a new perspective and voice to our readers. To better standardize our guest posting requirements, we’ve created some quick guidelines for guest bloggers to follow. So if you have a great idea that aligns with our audience and the topics, then feel free to apply for a guest blog post!

Why You Should Guest Post

We’re currently bringing in roughly 20,000 pageviews from 11,500 visitors a month.  We also have over 8,000 subscribers to our newsletter, so if you’re a passionate blogger and love the mobile game industry than we’d love to have you post. Guest posting is valuable for a variety of reasons. For us at SOOMLA it seems like second nature. We’re an open source company that believes in spreading the love be it with code or tips and tricks for the industry. It’s a great way to get involved in a community and share your knowledge.

Our Audience

SOOMLA is geared towards mobile game developers and anyone interested in the mobile game industry. We like to gear our content to these developers by writing about relevant and helpful topics about the industry. We provide posts that are actionable, helpful and insightful!

Quality Guidelines

We hold our posts to a high standard so here are some rules we live by when we’re posting:

  1. Original content – we encourage innovation and creativity. As we all know SEO is extremely important, so make sure your post has not been published anywhere else including your own blog. When you’re getting ready to guest post for us make sure you have an original idea and if it’s not show us a new angle. Make us and our readers think and be challenged!
  2. We encourage any and everybody to post, so even if you’re not a native English speaker we still want you to post. No worries we’ll help polish it off and make it perfect for publishing!
  3. Quick logistics:
    1. Catchy title and formatted nicely
    2. 500 word minimum – let’s be real you’ve got way more than 500 words to say
    3. Please include a short (3-4 sentence) bio so we know who wrote the post
    4. Proper citation – we don’t accept plagiarism here
    5. Visuals!! Make sure you include high-quality visuals AND a featured image that should be 200X200 px. Please include all source images, so we can make sure we’re A-okay to use them.
    6. While we’re happy to help promote other great companies, please be aware that this isn’t that type of platform. Limit your links in your post and if we feel there are too many we’re not afraid to take some out.
    7. Submit your post either as a Word Doc or Google Doc and attach all photos separately.

Topics We Like to Cover

We like to have a diverse blog, but we do try to focus on some particular topics that engage more of our users. The main topics include:

  1. Mobile gaming industry – be it SOOMLA related, open source in general, or industry insights, we want to know.
  2. Data, data, data – we’re on the data train and if you’ve got valuable tools, tricks or interesting insights we’d like to hear about ‘em and so would our users.
  3. Are you a developer? Have some handy tips for fellow developers – write a post! Share your knowledge and be a pal.

Become a Guest Blogger

If you think you’ve got a great idea and you meet these requirements then feel free to email us and we’ll get you published!

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Game Design, Open Source, Tips and Advice

MegaJump

 

Mega Jump – Doodle Jump with Coins

Mega Jump is a game about Redford, a red monster that jumps really high. So high that he passes ancient cities in the sky, goes to outer space, and somehow ends up back on solid ground after 10 levels. Mega Jump is produced by Get Set Games, a game development studio based in Toronto, Canada. The studio has totaled over 50 million downloads on the Apple App Store and Google Play. Mega Jump would be just as good or better if it had SOOMLA integrated inside – and the developers could’ve saved some cash by going with open source.

Get Set Games Could Get a Mega Bargain with SOOMLA Store

Mega Jump’s store has all the components identified in SOOMLA’s Economy Model. Mega Jump has a  primary currency, lifetime goods, upgradable goods, single use goods, single use packs, and currency packs.

Currency – Mega Points

At first glance, it may seem that the currency for Mega Jump would be the coins collected throughout the game. However, Mega Jump converts every 10 coins collected into 1 Mega Point (MP). Mega Points buy most items in the game’s store with one exception:

Currency Packs

Currency Packs are the only purchasable goods in the game that are purchased with real money. Mega Jump offers multiple currency packs. The most popular in-app purchase on iOS is 1,500 MP for $0.99. A bonus deal when purchasing a currency pack from the Mega Jump Store is that it includes the lifetime good of “remove ads.”

Mega Jump Store

Some currency may be earned with a Facebook Like, Twitter Follow, or a rewarded video ad.

SOOMLA’s Economy Model does not include “purchase with social media” or “purchase with the viewing of an ad” as a form of purchasing goods. However, there are a few options to make this happen.

  1. The developer can use StoreInventory.giveItem(“MegaPoints_100”, 1) after a user does something on social media or after the user views an ad.
  2. The developer can use a social gate using SOOMLA Profile and LevelUp and reward the user for completing a social mission.
  3. For rewarding a user for viewing an ad, a developer can use a mission with a schedule gate using SOOMLA LevelUp. The start time will be the beginning of the ad and the end time will be when the ad has completely played. This is most useful if the developer knows the duration of the ad. Developers do not want to reward a user too early or too late for viewing an ad.
  4. Many developers unfortunately do not know the duration of an ad, therefore, they can also use the giveItem method to reward an ad.  SOOMLA integrations facilitates this process. Click here for an example of how this can be done if a game integrates HeyZap.

Feel free to comment your preferred solutions to this situation.

Aside from currency packs, Mega Jump has purchasable goods that fall into other categories.

Lifetime Goods Upgradeable Goods
Characters Magnet
Remove Ads Action Umbrella
World Unlocks Balloon

singleuse

Single Use Single Use Packs
Save Me Save Me x5
Save Me x10
Save Me x25

Remove ads is included when a user makes a market purchase from the store. This can be implemented easily with SOOMLA Store. A developer would most likely have a flag in the game that indicates whether the game will display ads or not. The flag can be turned on or off depending on whether or not the user has the “remove ads” virtual item. The remove ads virtual item does not have to be visible in the user’s item inventory. The user, however, will know they have this feature because there will be no ads in their game. Furthermore, when a user makes a purchase from the store, the game can check if the user already has this item in order to not provide repeat items.

Mega Jump Characters

World Unlocks are purchased with MP and as the name states – unlocks a world. This is another virtual item that is not usually seen in a store’s inventory, but through access to a feature – in this case, a world. The game could check if the user has the specific item that grants access to a world in order to allow a user to play in that world. This can be done using SOOMLA LevelUp.

Balloons, Magnets, Anti-Gravity Boots, and Action Umbrellas are examples of upgradeable goods. These have a simple effect during the beginning of game play. Once upgraded with MP, they make your character unstoppable. The magnet begins by simply attracting coins, but after a few upgrades it turns all obstacles into double coins. Not only is this a great motivation for users to buy these items, but they provide for a more interesting user experience.

UpgradeableGoods

Levels and Worlds – From Earth to Space

Mega Jump has multiple worlds with 20 levels in each world. The first ten are “easy” levels and the last ten are the “hard” levels. Worlds are unlocked with 2500 MP and levels are unlocked when a user reaches specific heights. Every time a user reaches a specific height the game notifies them that they have unlocked a new level.

Stage Clear

This is can be implemented using SOOMLA LevelUp. Worlds will be unlocked using a purchasable gate. This requires the user to purchase a virtual item in order for a world to be unlocked.

worlds

Levels on the other hand, are unlocked when certain scores are achieved. When Redford jumps a certain distance, the next level unlocks. The level unlocking system in Mega Jump can be replicated using SOOMLA LevelUp with the use of record gates. A record gate can be unlocked when a character reaches a certain distance or score. The opened gate will, in turn, allow access to the level.

Levels

Mega Likes and Tweets

As discussed earlier, Mega Jump integrates a Facebook like button and a Follow option for Twitter. These actions are rewarded with MP. This mechanism can be replicated using SOOMLA Profile and a connectivity with SOOMLA Store or LevelUp. Social Missions in SOOMLA LevelUP are perhaps one of the easier ways to get this done. Moreover, Mega Jump has the potential to include more social connectivity such as score sharing and game replays.

Jumping With SOOMLA

Mega Jump is a memorable game that has reached millions of users. Its success is due to the great user experience it provides. This experience could be replicated with the possibility of even more features if Get Set Games integrated SOOMLA. Moreover,  if you’re thinking of making a new game with great features, SOOMLA will help you get an easy start.

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Plugins, Tips and Advice, Unity, Video

(1200x600) Top 10 Unity Video PluginsUsers like videos. It’s no coincidence that video game has the word video in it. From video ads to video sharing – videos are essential to user retention. They keep users entertained, engaged, and interested. Videos will improve your game’s fun-factor and bring in more loyal users. Let’s take a look at 10 Unity Video Plugins that can make this happen.

 

FREE REPORT – VIDEO ADS RETENTION IMPACT

 

Kamcord

 

Price Supported Platforms Category
Free
Unity iOS Android
Video Recording

Kamcord allows users to record game play and share it on social media. Their website displays featured videos that come from games using Kamcord. In July 2013, Trial Xtreme, a game using Kamcord had 139 million recordings and 122,000 videos shared on social media. Notable games with Kamcord include My Talking Tom and Clash of Clans.

Everyplay

Price Supported Platforms Category
Free
Unity Cocos2dx iOS Android 
Video Recording

Unity acquired Everyplay from Applifier in 2014. Much like Kamcord, Everyplay allows users to record game play and share on social media. Users enjoy sharing these videos with friends in order to encourage them to begin playing the game. The possibility for extra exposure on social media means developers can receive more free organic installs. More installs means more revenue for developers. Notable games using Everyplay include Bad Piggies, Pixel Gun 3D, and Geometry Dash. Everyplay also intends to launch an online community with discussions, videos, and video discovery this fall.
prime31

Price Supported Platforms Category
$75
Unity iOS 
Texture

Prime 31 offers a video plugin called LiveTexture. This integration allows developers to use videos as textures for different objects in games. The video can be pre-defined or come directly from the user’s camera. The possibility for camera usage means developers can create augmented reality style game plays using LiveTexture.

Easy Movie Texture

Price Supported Platforms Category
$45
Unity iOS Android 
Texture

Easy Movie Texture is a more affordable solution to do what LiveTexture can do. It does not explicitly include a live camera texture, but it does support .mp4 playback on Android. Developers can select the time a video will start playing, customize the dimension of the video and set it as a texture for objects in a game. This tool is useful for developers that want to create cross platform games that utilize dynamic textures. The use for this plugin can range from placing a TV in a game to having a video texture simulate a changing sky. Developers can find creative ways to use this plugin to create engaging games.

UChromaKey

Price Supported Platforms Category
$25
Unity iOS Android 
Video Effects

UChromaKey Allows for the possibility of a green screen effect. It features fullscreen effects and the ability to add chromakey to materials that are lit or unlit. It also includes camera source handling. It is a good addition to a game that may want to incorporate a type of augmented reality or a fun Photo Booth option. The opportunities with chromakey in mobile games are not completely explored and could potentially allow for some interesting and engaging user experiences.

Video Glitches

Price Supported Platforms Category
$10
Unity iOS Android 
Video Effects

Sometimes a normal video is not enough. Developers might want to add creative effects to videos in games. Video Glitches is not the usual video plugin that simply allows for video playback or video ads. This plugin allows videos and scenes in games to look purposely messed up. It reminds me of this video when the pc bot tries to wake up again in the end. This plugin can be used to simulate messed up video transmissions or display a view from the perspective of a broken camera. The possible uses for this plugin are up to the developer – ideal for a Sci-Fi or Horror game.

Youtube Player

Price Supported Platforms Category
$25
Unity iOS Android windows
Video Streaming

This plugin allows users to view YouTube videos within a game. It will return an .mp4 video that can be displayed wherever the developer chooses in the app. It allows video searching functionality. Users can search for videos, channels, and set category filters. This is useful if you want to incorporate funny videos and extra interesting content into your game.

AdColony

Price Supported Platforms Category
Free
Unity iOS Android air
Video Ads

AdColony prides themself on their .13 second load time for ads. They serve video ads that can be integrated in games to reward users. Video ads served with AdColony have the highest retention rate on Android. Many developers have a strong incentive to advertise with video ads. Users that come to a game from a video ad are 13% more likely to be retained and twice as likely to make a purchase when compared to other users. Video ads have the potential to make developers millions of dollars. Crossy Road made 1 million dollars in only 45 days in video ads. They have since made a total of over 10 million dollars.

Vungle

Price Supported Platforms Category
Free
Unity Cocos2dx iOS Android aircorona
Video Ads

Vungle serves personalized video ads to different users. According to their website, no two users should be exposed to the same ads. Vungle focuses on creative ad serving with a specialty around rewarded ads. Rewarded ads are a good opportunity to keep users engaged in a game while rewarding them with resources to continue playing. Integrating Vungle in your game will give you an opportunity to monetize by giving other companies exposure. Moreover, they can also help you obtain users if you choose to advertise with them. Ads in mobile games for other mobile games are more likely to be clicked than ads for other products.

Applovin

Price Supported Platforms Category
Free
Unity iOS Android amazon
Video Ads

A data report by AppsFlyer in May 2015, found that AppLovin has the highest performance in 30 day user retention on iOS. Applovin’s high quality video advertisements encourage users to stay for longer periods of time. They pay developers only 15 days after each month. Moreover, AppLovin provides developers a dashboard that shows information on ad delivery in real time. This will in turn, allow developers to efficiently deliver ads.

The term “video” in relation to mobile games is vague. However, videos are an integral part of mobile and platform games. Developers should include videos in their game whether they are in the form of ads, live camera recordings, or funny YouTube cat videos. Videos improve user engagement and provide interesting and memorable user experiences. Not to mention they will contribute to a game’s “stickiness” factor as they retain and obtain users.

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