Top mobile ad world acronyms you should know

CPI, CPM, Fill Rates, SDK…Interstitials…#*&$!

There are acronyms that everybody is fluent in and uses every day, even in business contexts, like TBC (To be confirmed/continued), ASAP (as soon as possible), TTYL (talk to you later) and other more casual (or, useful) acronyms like OMG, LOL, BTW and TGIF. And then there are acronyms used in the mobile advertising world that confuse and make lives difficult for everybody, and the fact that new ones keep cropping up all the time just isn’t helping. 

“Since we run on a CPI basis, the CPM is just for your reference, but if you update to our latest SDK in all your freemium apps, our new algorithm will better optimize your impressions and with our high fill rates, your ROI will definitely improve.”

If you’re thinking “is this person speaking in English?” - trust me, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. We know how painfully annoying it is to figure out what each of those acronyms really mean and that’s why we’re here to help you get through the mayhem and become fluent in mobile marketing geek speak.

Advertiser – the person or company that advertise their apps in other apps

API – Application Programming Interface. Specifies how software components should interact with each other

Campaign – details which types of ads to show over a period, budget and target market

CPC – Cost Per Click. A pricing model in which advertisers pay a certain amount each time the user clicks on their ads

CPI – Cost Per Install. A pricing model in which advertisers pay a certain amount each time their advertised app is installed (downloaded and opened the app)

CPM – Cost Per Mile. Mile ‘thousand’ in Latin. CPM is a pricing model in which advertisers pay a certain amount for every 1000 views of their ads

CTR – Click Through Rate. The percentage of people clicking on the ad. (Number of clicks on an ad divided by the impressions)

CPA – Cost Per Action. A pricing model in which advertisers pay a certain amount each time a user performs a specific action (like reach a certain level in the advertised app)

Fill Rate – how many ads are delivered compared to how many ads are requested. The higher the fill rate, the more ads that are shown

Freemium app – A freemium app is free to install and use but have locked features that require users to pay to use

F2P game – Free 2 Play game. A game that is free to install and play but offer in-app purchases for virtual goods, features and upgrades

Impression – A view or an appearance of an ad on a mobile device

Interstitial – a full-screen ad

IAP – in-app purchases

Non-incentivised traffic – no reward given to the user for clicking on the ad or installing the advertised app

Publisher – developer who shows ads within their apps

SDK – Software Development Kit. A piece of code that permits developers to smoothly integrate ads into their app

OK, now that you’re fluent in mobile marketing geek speak, you’re ready to venture into the exhilarating and highly rewarding world of mobile advertising!

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. 

iOS or Android, that is the question.

iOS or Android?

All developers, be them first time newbies or app developing gurus, have come across this crossroad at one point or another.

Come on, iPhone and iPad users are richer

Common wisdom among the mobile app developers and publishers has it that while Android has an ever growing market share, iOS apps are more profitable. iPhone users are richer; they earn more; they spend more on apps and in-app purchases. The advertising rates are higher. 

Does that mean it’s a no brainer then? Go for iOS first of course!

Not so quick. If we take a look at the data released in February 2015 by Opera Mediaworks, we’ll see that Android doubled its share of ad impressions worldwide, far exceeding - in fact, tripling - that of iOS.

Wait…it costs less to advertise on Android

Although we see that iOS still has a higher revenue share, we must not forget that advertising rates are between 20-50% lower on Android devices. So when all things are taken into account, some Android apps are as profitable (if not more) as iOS apps. The Android revenue share is also clearly on a growing trend.

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 18.16.54

In fact, in certain countries like Germany, the monthly app revenue on Google Play has exceeded that on iOS.

But of course, money isn’t everything…

Needless to say, revenue and profitability shouldn’t be the only considerations when deciding where to launch your app first. Other things must be taken into account. E.g. Development environment, configuration, language: Are you more comfortable with Java or Objective-C?); Publishing: would you like to have your app publish quickly - with the risk of being booted from the Play store later  - or endure a month-long wait for the stamp of approval (or disapproval) from Apple?

What do you think? What other considerations do you have when deciding which platform to start on? Drop a comment to share with us your thoughts!

A 3-step guide to treating app users like your lover

In the beginning, we believed that if a user downloaded our app, they’ll use it forever. Nowadays, with thousands of new apps popping up every single day, it’s getting more and more difficult to keep users loyal.

A successful app is like a great relationship. Obviously, it has to begin with a good first date, making a good first impression; but more importantly it has to be good consistently - so that your lover is happy each time she/he sees you, and wants to meet again and again, maybe even with their families and friends, and shares with the world on social media.

Here are a few popular strategies to help engage users long after they’ve downloaded your app:

1. Make a good first impression: User Onboarding

A first date, a first kiss…like any first impressions or experiences, the user onboarding can make or break the relationship. The key is to keep it clean and simple. If your app requires a login signup, simplify it by using social logins (Facebook, Twitter…); if you have a tutorial, keep it under 1 minute. Some apps are simple enough that they don’t require an explanation. According to Useronboard - a site dedicated to exploring the best practices of user onboarding - the best onboarding hack is having an interface that doesn’t need explaining.

2. Communicate: Use Notifications

Constant communication is key to maintaining any relationship. There are two types of notifications, push notifications and in-app notifications. Push notifications are pop-ups sent to users when they are not using the app (and thus more pushy). If used strategically, push notifications are like cute “I miss you!” messages you send to your lover, encouraging the user to re-engage with your app. However, it is important to bear in mind that push notifications require users’ permission, so bombarding them with notifications like an overly needy lover will only cause users to turn off notifications, or even stop using the app all together. In-app notifications are much less intrusive. They might not help bring back inactive users, but it’s a good way to engage and communicate with your users while they’re using your app nonetheless.

3. Share the love: Build a Social Media Community

A relationship is not official until you tell your friends and family. The same goes for an app and its users. There are two ways to go about integrating social media - 1) allowing users to share updates from the app to their social platforms, and 2) creating social pages where users can follow your updates and interact with fellow users. An added plus - this not only helps retain users, but also helps recruit new ones. After all, worth of mouth remains the best and most effective form of marketing, and no one wants to miss out on the hot app that everybody is using and talking about.

With user acquisition getting increasingly competitive and expensive, it is more important than ever to be able to keep the users you do get. What’s your take on this? Do you have other tips for keeping users happy and loyal? Drop a comment to share with us your experiences!

Where should you market your game in Asia?

Asia accounts for 48 percent of the total global games market. In order to succeed in your mobile games marketing in Asia, it is crucial to know the numbers and figures and understand the key specific characteristics in each of your target countries. Just before you start investing all your time, money and effort in joining the ranks of game studios trying to break into the Chinese market, it may be worth your time to take a look at this Newzoo report:

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 18.14.23

Southeast Asia isn’t getting the attention it deserves

Thanks to the rapidly growing economic development and dramatically increasing internet-access rate, Southeast Asia is one of the fastest-growing regions for gaming. In just 2014, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand spent $1.1 billion on games, and the growth shows no sign of slowing down; quite the contrary in fact, as Newzoo estimates a continued annual growth rate of 28.8%, doubling spending to $2.2 billion by 2017. Much of the growth is brought about by mobile usage:

“Between 2004 and 2014, Internet access in the Philippines grew more than 800 percent, the fastest rate in the region due primarily to the boom in mobile internet.”

By the same logic, it should come as no surprise that mobile games are catching up with PC and MMO games in terms of spending and revenue generation:

“Vietnam is quickest on this trend, with mobile-phone games seeing a compound average growth rate from 2013 to 2017 of 87.7 percent, becoming the biggest segment in terms of revenues by 2017.”

More cities = more Internet users

One driving force of this rapid growth is the metropolitanization of these Southeast Asian countries. As more people migrate to cities, more people get access to the Internet and many of them start playing games.

According to the report,

“The sheer size of the Southeast Asian population, and its rapid rate of urbanization of 1.4 percent average annual rate of change compared to China’s 0.5 percent, and its young and tech-savvy demographic, are all factors favorable for growth.”

The cherry on top? Unlike in China, there’s free and unrestricted access to Google Play in these Southeast Asian countries. In order to really succeed in these regions, however, it may be worthwhile to spend some time looking into localizing your games to adapt to the very diverse and distinct cultures of these specific countries, and taking language barriers and mobile usage habits into account.

So what’s the takeaway? Next time you think about where to launch your next game, or where the hot Tier 2 market opportunities are for you to expand your games’ reach in Asia, don’t forget to take this data into consideration! ;-)

Top 4 tips for placing mobile ads

In a previous article, we’ve talked about how we don’t believe in bullying your users into clicking your ads. We know from experience that a developer always has much better chance of making money by using honest ad tactics.

That being said, using honest tactics doesn’t mean there’s no strategy needed. There is a very delicate balance between respecting user experience, and having the ads serve their main - and perhaps single - purpose, which is to drive you revenues. So how should we do this?

Keep in mind that when you’re on a CPI (cost-per-install) model like on AdBuddiz, revenues are generated only when the ads convert into installs. Therefore, you need to place your ads at moments when the users are most open to discover the apps advertised. For games, it’s important to pay attention to the emotional state of the player. We recommend placing interstitials in between levels or stages. That way, the player connects fully, with no distraction during the game play. After each level, when he feels accomplished and his mind relaxes a bit, he is more open to diversion. That’s when an ad will get the highest chance of being clicked on.

For other types of apps, we’d recommend putting ads where there is a natural break, like in between pages, after finishing an activity, while an app is loading or just before a user closes the app.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 16.27.16Be mindful also of where you place your first ad. From our experience, we know that 75% (or more) of the advertisers app installs are made by the first 3 ads shown. Our algorithm also ensures that the ads that are shown first are the ads with the closest match to your app, so that the chances of generating an install are highest.

We advise against showing an ad at the very first launch of an app, as it may cause annoyance and frustrate users, putting them off from using or discovering your app right from the get go. A general rule of thumb is to determine how long your average session time is. Placing ads from midway towards the end of the session is more likely to lead to user action (installs); that way they would have had enough time to enjoy your app, and be more receptive to ad contents and downloading other apps.

It’s important to always keep in mind, more impressions doesn’t always lead to more installs (or revenue). Overwhelming the user with constant ads can be plain annoying, and result in lower app satisfaction and usage. As they say, when in doubt, K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple and Short ;-).

Mobile World Congress 2015 - Meet us in Barcelona!

We’re very excited to announce that AdBuddiz will be attending Mobile World Congress 2015, the world’s largest annual gathering of mobile and related industry C-Level executives, in Barcelona (!!!) to share and learn industry insights from fellow mobile world experts.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to meet up with developers, mobile advertisers, journalists or influencers - feel free to drop us a line to schedule a meet up at [email protected] with the email titled “Meet up at MWC 2015” !

See you there!

The 3 Secrets to Creating an Addictive Casual Game

“I’ve never heard of candy crush”, says no one ever.

Developing a viral casual game is many developer’s dream. In the past, game studios used to sell us $40 a game, and didn’t care how long we played it, as long as we liked it enough to buy the next one. With the rise of freemium games, the gaming industry has to shift their strategy to make sure that players stay in the game as long as possible; to make sure that we play and eventually, pay.

As a developer, you can either make games targeting specific groups or go for the whole world… and go casual.

And what exactly makes certain games so addictive?

We all love encouragements.

Nobody gets praised enough. We as human beings yearn for approval and acknowledgement. Like a kid who keeps doing the same task that his mom compliments him for doing, we naturally get hooked on the game that keeps saying “Sweet!” and “Excellent job” and offers positive reinforcements generously each time we clear a level. Dopamine is released in our brain every time we’re rewarded, and over time, we need more and more ‘game fixes’ to enjoy the same level of dopamine release and gratification.

Keep it light and crispy!

The majority of the most viral casual games have really short levels - Candy Crush, Angry Bird, Flappy Bird…as each level is short, players go from level to level quickly; like eating potato chips, we take one after another and before we realize, we finish the whole bowl in no time (and want another refill).

Good things come to those who wait…

Candy Crush, for example, lets us go through levels really quickly in the beginning, but the higher level we go up, the longer we have to wait once we run out of lives. Instead of being discouraged from continuing playing, the game designers know that we would’ve reached a level where we’re too addicted to quit, and like the allure of the forbidden fruit, we’d be longing for it so much that we’re quite likely to spend money to cut the waiting time.

A really successful casual game has to be universally loved. Instead of trying to make your game appeal to a certain demographic, a better way might be to approach your target inversely. Is it going to turn off a female player? When you struggle with adding or taking away a certain feature, think - Will it make a certain category of people not want to play the game?

The bottom line: don’t limit yourself to one type of player. If both your 10 year-old nephew and your 70 year-old grandma love playing it, the world will probably love it. ;-)

Who is playing your game?

How would you describe your typical gamer?

Frankly, it is arguable whether “the typical gamer” even exists anymore.

The profiles of gamers are evolving rapidly. The stereotype of gamers being the anti-social teenage boy, or the middle-aged man with no life, has never been further from the truth.

The fact is, smartphones and tablets have made gaming portable and readily accessible to everyone, and with the increasing variety of mobile games out there, more and more people, both men and women of all ages, (including moms and even grandmas!) are spending more time delving into the world of mobile games.

This study done by the IAB shows that, contrary to popular belief, people of all ages play games. If we take a look at this other study done by The Washington Post below, we will see that women are almost as addicted to games as men. We see almost equal shares of men and women spending time playing games.

With the profiles of players diversifying, there is a lot more room for different kinds of games and apps that target audience with different tastes and spending capacities.

That’s exactly why so many different kind of advertisers are willing to spend big money on advertising in apps and games, and why it makes sense for all the talented developers out there (yes, you) to monetize your games and apps with a smart ad solution that adjusts and targets the right ads to the right apps and audience!