eCPM: an important metric but hard to predict!

As the CEO of AdBuddiz, I have the immense pleasure to discuss with many talented developers all over the world. I also enjoy the chance to see the impact of various ad monetization strategies on their revenues. I thought it would be interesting for me to share some of the lessons I learned.

My first series of posts are going to tackle issues related to a metric that is key in this industry: eCPM.

eCPM is an important metric…

CPM stands for Cost Per Mille. It is basically your revenues for 1000 impressions.
You probably also came across a slightly different acronym, “eCPM”.
eCPM (which stands for effective CPM) is the average CPM for all your traffic volume. For instance, if you generate $1000 with 100 000 impressions, your eCPM is $10. The eCPM is a nice way to evaluate the performance of the ads in your app(s).

As a result, when choosing an ad network, many developers want to know in advance what their eCPM will be. Problem is: it is impossible to predict.

Most of the ad networks in our industry (including AdBuddiz) work on a CPI model. Indeed, it’s the most profitable model for both the advertisers and publishers. CPI (Cost Per Install) means that our publishers make money each time they generate installs for our advertisers.

Our publishers’ CPM will depend on 2 factors :
- how many installs they generate for 1000 impressions
- how much the advertisers are willing to pay for each install

Problem is : these 2 parameters can fluctuate greatly. Why is that ?

Imagine a developer who spams his users by displaying one ad every 2 seconds. Imagine another one who displays one ad every 10 minutes. With the same number of impressions, the first one will generate much less installs for the advertisers than the second one because the more frequent the ads the less likely the users will interact with them. When you watch tv, your brain is more receptive to the ads that just follow the ending of your program. If you end up on a tv channel that displays a new ad every 2 seconds, you’ll simply ignore them and change the channel. It’s the same with mobile ads :)

Advertisers propose different install payouts depending on several parameters (country of the install, device of the user, OS versions…).

Thus, it’s impossible for anyone to know the eCPM in advance. As we realize it can be quite frustrating for some developers not to have this info, we decided (at AdBuddiz) to communicate an eCPM based on observations: the calculated eCPM that we are observing among our publishers can be up to $10. We even have some very high quality publishers that sometimes reach more than $15.

Next week I’ll discuss why comparing eCPMs can lead you to compare apples and tomatoes. Stay tuned!

Just because it’s fun doesn’t mean it’s not a real job

On March 20, a 7 year-old’s dreams have been crushed. When asked by his teacher the age-old question of ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’, the son of TechCrunch senior editor Matt Burns, dressed proudly in his Minecraft T-shirt, said,

‘a game developer’.

And guess what? He was told off by his teacher that it’s not a ‘real job’ and was excluded from his school’s career day.

As much as we share his dad, Matt Burns’ fury, the sad truth is, this teacher is not alone in her backwardness regarding career choices. It is popular belief among many that the gaming industry is not a serious business.

‘What do you mean you work in games?’

‘You play games all day?’

Game development is no child’s play. 

Developing a game is hard work. Making a game that’s fun and addictive involves blood, sweat and tears. It requires not only creativity, but also planning, meticulous calculation and analysis, all of which are usually done by a whole team of talented professionals - game designers, graphic designers, engineers, analysts, marketing…the list goes on.

There is real (big) money.

Most people don’t think game development is a serious job because they don’t understand the business model. Just because people downloaded and played Candy Crush for free doesn’t mean there’s no money generated. Television is free, and nobody judges the actors and actresses for not doing a ‘real job’. We all know it’s a ludicrously good business. It’s the same for the gaming industry.

As fellow developers and game lovers, we know that thousands of developers make their living on creating amazing games to bring joy and excitement to everybody. It is a huge market that is bringing a lot of business and employment.

The maker of Candy Crush, King, was valued at $7.08 billion last year. And why else would Supercell have spent a whooping 9 million dollars on a set of commercials with Liam Neeson for Clash of Clans if they are not making money?

With mobile phone usage skyrocketing, the business has a lot of room for growth and a sparkling bright future ahead.

At AdBuddiz, we see developers making a living through creating games that they are proud of and passionate about every day. We know that it is a viable, rewarding business. So, teacher, just because it’s fun doesn’t mean it’s not a real job.

Success Story Series: Star advertiser – XiMad

This is the second post in our success story series, which spotlights the real heroes of the mobile gaming community — advertisers. This week, we’re very pleased to introduce…

1. Would you please present Ximad to our readers? Your philosophy and your goals?

XI: Our company appeared in San Francisco in 2009 thanks to massive efforts and boundless enthusiasm of a group of entrepreneurs who decided to explore an absolutely novel and inexperienced area of mobile development. They managed to assemble a rather unique team of world-class creative and engineering talents and inspire them with a goal of bringing to life revolutionary concepts and ideas, redefining conventional mobile gaming as it exists today and making the world a bit better. And after 6 years of existing we can announce loudly that WE ARE PROUD OF MAKING GREAT APPS!

2. In what countries are your games available? Do you have plans to expand to more countries?

XI: From the very beginning we try to create games worldwide in order to allow every person in the every corner of the world to have an opportunity to try our games, form his own opinion, like or criticize them and maybe share ideas on how we can make them even better. We at XiMAD are always open to listen to our users and constantly working on improving, updating and polishing our titles.

3. How did you find out about AdBuddiz?

XI: I am afraid this story is pretty ordinary and usual. One day our management team decided that it was a high time for us and our apps to expand the base of users and present our products to a wider audience. So marketing managers received a very important task to find those partners who could possibly help us to make our goals come true. Thanks to magic spell and Google Search we came across AdBuddiz portal and made a wise decision to have a test. I believe since June we have never got tired of looking at the volumes and quality of users acquired with your help.

4. What are your criteria in choosing partners for user acquisition?

XI: As we are very interested in expanding both a user base and long term partners and always try to launch as much as possible test campaigns. In order to start loving this or that network and giving them more and more budgets, we should have rather good users, who are really interested in playing our games and the more we get the more we want. So if our partner is ready to give us plenty of high quality users at our payouts, we are ready to move to long-term collaboration on more dynamic and beneficial conditions. To reach this goal and check the quality we use AppsFlyer. They help us to evaluate acquired users and decide with whom to work and they do their job very professionally and competently.

5. How does the volume + quality of traffic from AdBuddiz compare to your other partners?

XI: We are very satisfied with both volumes and quality of acquired users for our title Magic Jigsaw Puzzles. If to check via AppsFlyer, from June the level of loyal users is about 70%-75%. And to tell you the truth that this result is one of the highest among other partners.

6. What parameters do you think play the highest role in the campaign’s optimization?

XI: I think that the main parameter for optimization is the number of loyal users, I mean those users who open the app more than three times. I understand that during the campaign we should also pay a high attention to the revenue we receive from you, but in my honest opinion this is not enough. If we look at any our product, it can be clear that we have two ways of monetization - in app purchases and in game advertising. And about 30% - 50% of revenue we see from advertising. So even if acquired user is not going to pay, more likely he will watch the ad and click it. The more often he opens the app the higher the probability to earn on advertising.

7. What do you like most about working with AdBuddiz and our service?

XI: We really appreciate your dedication, competence and willingness to help. I understand that sometimes we ask you to do almost impossible things - and you know what? You almost always managed to do it!

8. What do you hope to see improved with AdBuddiz?

XI: I think you know that mobile world is constantly changing and improving. And always something new and interesting also in advertising appears. I think it would be great if you can expand formats you are now using and add for example video or playable ads, animated and rich media formats. It’ll be great if you may set up campaigns within Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest infrastructure. If you need any assistance from our side - we’re here to help. It is always interesting and fascinating to try something new. In case if you have something new and interesting, please, keep us in mind as beta testers.

9. Do you plan to launch any new games soon?

XI: Yes, sure, we are always working on creating something innovative new and interesting. We are almost ready with a new title called Bike Rush, an endless 3D runner with cute graphics. Also in our roadmap is to release a card RPG game Star Crusade. As far as you know our basic app is Magic Jigsaw Puzzles and we’re rather familiar with the app’s audience. And specially for them we’re releasing the solitaire app - Cat Solitaire. We expect it to appear at the middle of the spring.

10. What’s your experience regarding using Appsflyer as a tracking solution? Are you satisfied with its service? How does it compare to other solutions you have used before?

XI: What I most value in this service is an intuitive and  friendly interface. It is very easy to work with AppsFlyer, all settings are adjusted, all necessary KPI’s are at hand and in case if there is some issues or questions, Appsflyer support will provide the feedback within a couple of hours. And what is more important they are constantly working on updating and improving the system.

11. What are your considerations when choosing a tracking solution?

XI: It should meet all our requirements such as showing the revenue, ARPU, ARPMAU, loyal users, active users and be easy in use and setting up campaigns.

XiMad has been working with AdBuddiz to acquire mobile players since May 2014.