Get your app featured by Google Play!

A case study of how Puppet Soccer 2014 was able to get their app featured by the Play app store

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As an addendum to my previous post (How to get Apple to feature your App), I’ve decided to write about how to get your app featured on Google Play!

Since I don’t have direct experience getting my apps featured by Google, I spoke with NOX Games which released Puppet Soccer 2014, an immensely popular (1,000,000+ installs) soccer/football game.

Jiri, the co-founder and CEO of NOX Games shared great insights that will be helpful for app developers looking to get featured on Google Play.

Tip #1  Google is looking for games with at least 50,000 downloads and a 4.5 rating. This is their minimum threshold for featuring games.

In order to get your app to this minimum threshold, read our previous posts about developing your pre-launch buzz & hype campaign and learn as much as you can about App Store Optimization.  Additional resources: The Marketing Guide for Game Developers & The Big list of Indie Game Marketing courtesy of Pixel Prospector.

Jiri and the NOX Games team lead up to their Android launch with a large flash game release that promoted their mobile releases. Prior to this game, NOX had no experience releasing games on mobile.

They were also able to piggy back off a super popular event, and launched simultaneously with the World Cup in June!

The key despite having huge competition, was the addictive nature of the game.  The casual mechanics and player caricatures hooked users.  They leveraged the initial publicity of the event, which propelled an influx of organic downloads!

#2  Do your research, find a contact.  Jiri contacted a personal connection that a developer had shared with him. He suggests doing your own research to find the right contact through referrals.  Join in browse one of the many Game dev forums and approach those who have been featured before.  NOTE: Don’t selfishly ask for handouts, make sure you are engaged and providing value to the community before asking for contacts.

The way Google features games is by region, by country. It’s often best to work on a localized contact, and if the game does well in X country, that contact can nominate your game for future promotion.

In Jiri’s case, after being nominated, the Google Play team requested UX changes based on requirements, and they had to build a new update to the game adhering to their new specifications.

According to Jiri, the updates weren’t very difficult to complete, but we thought it was interesting to see Google take a proactive stance on improving the quality of the game.

#3  Getting featured by Google wasn’t the end of the road for Nox Games. Jiri went on to mention that he had really high hopes for the feature, but it really wasn’t as big of a deal. In his own words “but I have to say, Google feature is not a big deal like App Store featuring”.

It’s one “bean in the basket” and indie developers need to actively market their games on a multitude of channels in order to be successful on the mobile markets.

Do you have any tips for fellow game developers?  Share it in the comments!

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7 things you need to know about App Previews

With the widespread roll out of iOS 8, developers now have the option to include an App Preview video on their app store listing! Good bye static images, hello new world!

By having a 15 – 30 second video you’re able to highlight the best features of your game and convince a user to click the illusive download or buy buttons. App Previews are the future of App store optimization and help developers convert potential users into paying users!

Here’s 7 things you need to know about App Previews.

  1. 15 to 30 seconds of length
  2. Compressed with H.264 MPEG-4 AVC or ProRess 422 (HQ) codecs
  3. 30 frames per second (30p)
  4. Final file needs to be under 100 MB
  5. .mov extension

  6. Device resolutions vary, and you’ll need to submit individual videos for individual devices. In order to upload the video, you’ll need to submit on an iMac or MacBook with OS X Yosemite with Safari.

  7. Device Resolutions (portrait, flip the dimensions for landscape):
    iPhone 6   750 x 1334
    iPhone 6 Plus   1080 x 1920
    iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPod touch 5th generation   640 x 1136
    iPad Air, iPad 4th generation, iPad mini with Retina display   900 x 1200

Apple suggests that you should feature on 3 of your apps best features or game play. Best practices are to use footage from the app itself. Don’t overlay the video with hands or fingers!

Make sure when your compiling your video that you also don’t use copyrighted materials that you don’t have the license for. This includes music, graphics, and animations.

For additional information about apple’s suggestions, technical details and further information, please refer to the official App Previews page on Apple.com.


Here at Game Brokerage, we’ve assembled 9 video editing teams ready to tackle your App Preview project. We have the proper software, equipment, editing and marketing experience to make a quality video that convinces your users.

Examples of videos we’ve produced for clients:
Go Go Sunshine
MailTracker
Swing Soccer (which spawned Pewdiepie)

In addition to using these videos as App Previews, you’re also able to use these as trailers and post them to youtube, vimeo and further bolster your marketing exposure (build buzz & hype)!

We have a number of options and price ranges to help you find the most suitable partner to create your App Preview:

Note: for every App Preview order, we provide a free 1-time App store optimization analysis!


Basic Package – $119

- iPhone OR iPad aspect ratio. Includes all ratios within the device type group
- Purely gameplay. 3 featured aspects of the game to be provided by developer/publisher
- In game audio used, provided by developer/publisher
- No voice over or scripts needed
- No custom animations
Delivery time – 10-14 days


Advanced Package – $249

- Both iPad + iPhone aspect ratio
- Purely game play, 3 featured aspects of the game to be provided by developer/publisher
- Audio provided by developer / publisher
- No voice over
- No animations
Delivery time – 7-10 days


Professional Package – $499

  • Individual iPhone & iPad videos promoting 3 unique features
  • Customized Video and Voice over, includes creating a script
  • Enhanced with animations
    Delivery time – 3-7 days*

*pending information from the client!

We look forward to helping you with

Template: DMCA Take down notice

DMCA Take down notice

There’s a serious problem with the App Stores.

Apple, Google Play and Amazon [among others] are distribution giants for hundreds of thousands of apps. The ecosphere has opened up excellent opportunities for indie developers and large corporations alike.

The result of this massive growth and opportunity however, is a chaotic market with clones, rip offs, and purely stolen work. There are no app police, and anything goes in the wild wild west of apps.

Even with Apple’s review process and team in place, many pieces of stolen content end up on the store.

A recent example:Cloud Wars by developer StaalMedia was originally developed as a flash game.

Randomly searching the store Yoeri Staal, the developer and owner of Staal Media, had found his game sitting there without his approval.

Here at Game Brokerage, we hear the same story hundreds, if not thousands of times.

“Our game was decompiled, decrypted, and rebuilt for one or all of the app stores!”

It’s frustrating for developers, who have worked countless hours building their games from the ground up. From concept, to execution, to distribution.

From a creative perspective, these apps are completely butchered versions of their games. Containing excessive advertisements, sloppy mechanics, and some don’t working at all (but load advertisements perfectly fine).

These copies also claim titles and secure ranks for a brand that has already been built elsewhere, either on the web or an alternative platform.

Transitively, this impacts the true developers and innovators financially and emotionally.

The purpose of this post is to help developers worldwide tackle this problem, and get direct copies of their games removed from the stores.

In order to get your app removed from the store, you’ll need to report the infringement with a DMCA take down notice. Each of the app stores have their own process and place to submit DMCA requests. Visit the following pages to start the process.

Apple App Store
https://www.apple.com/legal/internet-services/itunes/appstorenotices/

Google Play
https://support.google.com/legal/troubleshooter/1114905?hl=en

Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/reports/infringement

For official DMCA take down notice requests, our legal team here at Game Brokerage has put together the following Digital Millennium Copyright Act template.

Feel free to use this template and get your cloned app removed from the store!

/////////////// Template

DMCA TAKE DOWN NOTIFICATION

This email serves as notification under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 512(c), or equivalent notice provisions of your local law, that content currently residing within your computer system infringes on the copyrights of [Your Company Name] which is the original creator of [Your App / Game Name].

[INSERT URL TO INFRINGING APP / GAME]

The copyright material is an [INSERT CATEGORY & PLATFORM TYPE OF GAME] in which artwork, sounds, graphical animations, and characters are all copy-written in the United States.

The infringing Apps are profiting from my copyrighted materials. Including, but not limited to, advertisements and in app purchases within the game.

Please remove the material identified in the Notice within 24 hours, or we
will take further legal action.

Thank you,
[NAME]
Director of Operations
[PHONE NUMBER]
[EMAIL ADDRESS]

[ADDRESS]

This template has helped me get over 18 apps removed from the Apple app store. I continue to use this template and report DMCA infringements whenever I notice stolen content.

If you would like help getting your app removed from any of the app stores, you can message me via Twitter or via Email

Did you find this template useful? Share it with your fellow game developers and lets stop the perpetrators together!

How to pitch Apple your App!

How to pitch Apple your App!

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Getting featured on the App store is a critical step in marketing your game. By getting featured by Apple, you’re ultimately getting the holy grail of advertising: wide visibility, lots of installs and subsequently– revenue!

In addition to this, getting featured opens many doors with the press and can be leveraged further in your marketing and promotional campaigns.

So how do you actually pitch Apple your game?

First off, it’s all about the approach. Apple is looking for apps that take advantage of their hardware and software in a unique way. Design your game around an innovative game mechanic, and add a high degree of polish to your game.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus just recently launched and the App review team is eagerly waiting submissions that take advantage of hardware improvements and new features.

One major feature that I think is very underrated is the improvements to the Slow motion camera. Apple improved the slow motion camera 2x, and now features 240 frames per second! Figuring out how to use this new technology in a unique way is challenging, but will be rewarded by the App review team.

In addition to hardware, iOS 8 is rolling out widely and contains a number of new features. From improved messages to spotlight, there are new and unique ways to integrate iOS 8 features into your app, or inversely, promote your app through.

So what’s next? You’ve identified new features and built out your game to leverage Apples new amazing technology.

Well, Apple is like your 4 year old and you’re goal is to hook them immediately. Goal #1 is to get them into playing as quick as possible.

The look and feel of your game is paramount to it’s success on the App store, and especially to Apple’s review team. Design your game to be the best in it’s class from UI to playability.

Now you’re ready to form your pitch.

Sharing your App with Apple is all about story telling. As with all major press outlets, having a clear story about why, how, and who built the game is critical.

You want to leave a lasting impression, so make sure you end with a bang. Everything leading up to the punchline is to keep readers engaged, but shouldn’t give away your punchline.

Plan your pitch strategically and spend time crafting the right angle for your app.

Pro tip: test it on someone you know who isn’t directly in gaming or the app business. How did they react? Were they smiling at the end and couldn’t resist giving you a hug? Or were they ambivalent, and reluctant to say “good job”?

Test this on at least 5 subjects and see the results. If you need to rework your pitch, take the time to retest your new content and make sure it impresses people on their first read.

Once you’re ready to pitch Apple, make sure you also have all the info for your app review contact details specified in itunesconnect prior to emailing the App review team…. and then send your pitch via email to AppStorePromotion@apple.com or appoftheweek@apple.com!

Good luck Publishers & Developers! As always, I’m here to help get the word out about your games, please let me know if you’re releasing any apps and I’d be more than happy to help promote your game free of charge!

/ Kyle
Twitter
GB Twitter

CPA Optimization

CPA Optimization Spreadsheet and Professional Tips to monetize ad inventory

Introduction

The contents of this post teach you the fundamentals of optimizing Cost Per Action (CPA) campaigns. Publishers and affiliate marketers can use this information to generate more revenue from their advertising inventory.

There are two main parts of this post. The description and understanding the analysis metrics, and the spreadsheet.

If you would like to start off by learning the basics of CPA ad units and where they can fit on your website or mobile app, click here to view the original adding incremental revenue with CPA ad units blog post.

Optimization Spreadsheet

Access my hand-built CPA optimization spreadsheet, built for A/B testing your performance ad sales inventory.

To download the spreadsheet, all I ask is that you share this essay on your favorite social network.

This financial model was developed based on years of experience developing sophisticated monetization models for digital publishers.

The main objective of this spreadsheet is to understand & synthesize data from a variety of sources.

Click here to download the spreadsheet, share
with twitter, facebook, linkedin, google+, vkontakte, etc

  • Weighted average cpm, cpc, ecpm
  • Efficiency metrics
  • Clear a/b testing on ad sales allocation

Column Definitions

Column A – Allocation is grouped by Country Champ = Champion campaigns, test campaigns go up against already proven campaigns with strong eCPM, EPC and Efficiency (column o)

Column B – Campaign title For the suffix, I usually add 1 word description of the thumbnail / creative. This way you can further optimize high performing campaigns by testing creative differences in an effort to increase CTR.

Column C – % of country The % of impressions allocated within the counrty

Column D – % of total The % of impressions allocated compared to the total amount of impressions across all geographies.

Column E – Impressions This column is pre-conditioned by dividing by 1,000 (CPM formulas use Impressions / 1000 frequently).

Column F – Clicks The number of clicks generated on the individual campaign. This figure can be taken from either your ad server or an ad network / advertiser dashboard.

Column G – CTR Click through rate. Determined by the number of clicks divided by impressions

Column H – Conversions Data taken from an ad network or advertiser.

Column I – Conversion % number of conversions divided by the number of clicks.

Column J – Revenue data taken from an ad network of advertiser.

Column K – % of country revenue revenue from the campaign divided by total revenue of the country

Column L – % of total revenue Campaign revenue compared to the total revenue from all campaigns

CPA Analysis Metrics & Overview

Column M – EPC. Earnings per click. Earnings divided by the number of clicks.
Column N – ECPM. Earnings per 1,000 impressions.

Column O – (+/-) Eff. Efficiency. Comparing the % of impressions allocated total, to the % of revenue total.

Why are these analysis metrics important?

Earnings per click. Understanding earnings per click helps us identify poor converting campaigns. If EPC is low, it means that you’re sending too many clicks without converting users.

Action point: look into the creative, text, description and make sure the landing page matches the ad perfectly.

Also, some campaigns run on a CPC basis, where optimization is focused on improving the CTR of the creative. It does not require any conversions, and with this type of campaign you can easily price out direct CPC ad sales by looking up your current campaigns EPC.

ECPM is the biggest indicator of a high performance CPA or CPC campaign. It’s also the metric monetization pros understand as being the holy grail. Since we directly influence the amount of impressions allocated through our ad server, optimizing on a CPM basis is easy.

For example, if we know campaign #1 has an earnings per thousand impression (eCPM) of $3 and it’s filling 50k impressions per day, while campaign #2 has an eCPM of $6 filling 10k impressions per day… we would prioritize campaign #2 on our ad server, maximizing the higher earning potential as identified by eCPM metric.

eCPM is a universal metric, but requires you to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples on a campaign by campaign basis.

All analysis metrics require controlled tests.

For example, comparing US Campaign 1 vs US Campaign 2.

(+/-) Efficiency compares two percentages to understand individual campaign performance relative to one another. More specifically, this column analyzes the % of impressions of the campaign in relation to the total number of impressions…compared to the % of revenue of the campaign, compared to the total earnings. The result is a + / – from 0, which identifies successful campaigns as receiving low volume but yields high revenue.

If that doesn’t quite make sense, take a look at the formula’s on the spreadsheet and conceptualize the initial percentages.

Macro View

At the bottom of the spreadsheet, there’s a macro view which shows the ad unit we’re optimizing on a macro geotargeted level. By organizing the spreadsheet into both micro and macro views we can understand the details and how they impact the ad unit earnings as a whole.

By reviewing the macro view, monetizing experts can quickly identify undervalued aspects of the inventory, prompting a new test.


Setting up your CPA ad inventory

Read our previous blog to learn how to pick a location for your CPA ad unit, and setting up your inventory.

Blog Summary

Customize your ad with HTML / CSS
Configure your campaigns with an ad server
Get live campaigns from recommended Ad Networks
Go live, and test!


Assuming that you have already setup your first round of campaigns, and have 3 geotargeted campaigns setup already for US or your largest traffic source… then we’re ready to move forward designing our first A / B test.

Let your current configuration run for at least 3 days initially to get data. Update your spreadsheet after 3 days with the number of impressions, clicks, conversions and revenue (Column E – Column J).

Having this initial data set will update the analysis figures and provide deeper insights into the performance of each campaign.

Update all geotargeted campaigns, check formulas and review the macro performance

Use the following questions to stimulate your thinking:

What countries campaigns are performing best on an eCPM basis?
What’s the most efficiency country?
What’s the lowest Earnings Per Click (EPC)?

When you’re finished with this, look at your micro geotargeted view above.

Of the country with the highest earnings:
What’s your top earning campaign?
What’s the highest eCPM campaign?
What’s the lowest EPC?
What’s the most efficient campaign?

Action point, choose your champ. What’s the absolute best campaign? Move that to the top of the country grouping.

Find the 2nd champ, or the lowest performing campaign.

Note: In general, I’m a firm believer in having at least 2 campaigns per geo within your top 5 geo sources. This way you can see which campaign is converting, deactivate the lowest performer, and then run another campaign against the champ.

Another train of thought. If you’re reviewing the campaigns, to further optimize a campaign that’s working — change up the thumbnail, title, description and further test CTR & Conversion rate.

The objective is to relentlessly test every option, every angle, to drive up yields.


Running your first A/B test

“In marketing and business intelligence, A/B testing is jargon for a randomized experiment with two variants, A and B, which are the control and treatment in the controlled experiment” Wikipedia

In practical terminology, we’ll structure our first A/B test to challenge one of our champion campaigns that we’ve identified above.

Practical example, make sure your spreadsheet is opened.

Let’s look at the micro view of the US allocation.

In this scenario, I have 2 different campaigns running but Campaign 1 has 4 different creativies: Character, battle, walking and fire.

I’ve marked the spreadsheet to show the action points and test.

Row 10, the “Lose” Campaign 1 – Fire campaign was identified as the lowest earnings per click, eCPM, and efficiency. The action taken is to deactivate the campaign. In it’s place, I’ll be testing a new Campaign to fill the 11% total impressions that were being delivered to [Fire].

I’ve marked a row in this US grouping as “Test”.

Ad server action needed. In order to run a new test you’ll need to get dirty in the ad server, and setup a new campaign based on the initial HTML / CSS that was deployed.

By setting up a new campaign you’ll need to take a new thumbnail, add a description & title, get new links and setup subids to track the details of the campaign.

Once the banners has been setup, then you can link the live ad zone or ad unit and test to make sure it’s working.

The above description really ran through the process quickly, if you’re confused at all reference the CPA setup document, located here:

Timeline

The test campaign should run for a minimum of 48hrs before running the CPA optimization document. This allows for more data to accumulate, which you can safely make assumptions from.

The US example above is not exactly an A / B test where 50% inventory is allocated to 1 campaign and the remaining 50% is dedicated to another campaign, which is yet another reason why the analysis metrics are important. As mentioned before, these metrics provide a way to compare campaigns on a relative basis.

So you’ve added your first test, updated the data for the first 48hrs, what’s next?

Back to asking your spreadsheet questions.

How did the new campaign perform on a EPC, eCPM and efficiency basis?
Is it performing better than the champion campaigns?

If you’re test campaign is performing better, bump up it’s priority in your allocation and run the test again for 48hrs. Try to bring it to an even 50/50 distribution. Then you can further determine if you want to prioritize the campaign over the champion, and downgrade your original allocation.

The moral of the story is, testing and keep testing. Optimizing ad units is a bit tricky to get the hang of, but once you understand the fundamentals and testing methods, it’ll become easy to zero in on various components of your inventory and explore different ways to challenge and take advantage of campaign performance.

Next week I’ll be updating my document to analyze week to week performance and drilling into just how well you can optimize your inventory over a long term basis.

Through this same process, I was able to generate over 800% growth on my initial week setup. Get after it you data science guru!

If you found value in this post, please share it!

Disclosure: I have yet to edit this post and will be refining the strategies and organizing the article better. – Kyle 8/27/14

App Marketing Checklist

You’ve made a really awesome mobile app, and now you’re nearing the finish line! Congrats, you’ve made it this far… and you’re about to be rich & famous (hopefully).

Maximize your apps visibility by running through our Pre-launch App Checklist. It’s important to note that even if you’re app is launched, you can always refine and add to your app store listing. It’s not set in stone, so if it’s not working… upgrade it!

This Pre-launch App Checklist covers the following:

Overall
Icon & Screenshot
Persuade
Keyword targets
Social
Virility
Analytics

If you need deeper expertise, check out our previous posts

App Store Optimization (ASO) Tips & Tricks pt. 1

7 Expert tips to monetize your app

and of course, lead up to your App launch with a Buzz & Hype campaign!

Click here to view the App Marketing Checklist, courtesy of Kyle Waring

Incremental Revenue: Monetizing your website with CPA campaigns

Monetizing your website with CPA campaigns

This action post is part of a larger series on the Science behind monetizing websites and mobile apps.

Key learnings from this post can be applied to increase your web advertising revenue by 10-20%!

In addition to driving up revenue, you’ll also diversify your businesses revenue stream.

What are CPA campaigns?

We’re focusing our deep dive session today on CPA campaigns, otherwise known as “Cost per Action”. Typical actions on CPA campaigns require users to enter email addresses or purchase an item.

As the Publisher and ad seller, we’re paid a fixed amount per conversion driven by our audience.

Advertisers like performance based advertising because they reduce their advertising risk in purchasing media.

Why?

When advertisers buy on a CPM (Cost per thousand impressions) or CPC (Cost per click) basis, they may or may not generate their desired campaign conversion… e.g. a sale or email lead.

There is a common misconception however, that advertising on a CPA basis removes all advertising risk. Earning revenue from your audience is a constant moving target, in turn, requires advertisers to constantly adjust their payout amounts so ensure they are paying out less than the revenue accrued. Effectively creating arbitrage.

Let’s take a step back and understand where CPA ad units fit on your website or mobile app, and how it contributes to your revenue.

CPA ad units are not your typical advertisements. They work best by blending into your content and provide incremental value to your users. Though, it’s worth mentioning that relevancy is paramount in keeping your CPA revenue and audience healthy and happy.

Examples of CPA ad inventory (ad zones or ad units) on popular Gaming websites:

Bored.com
Bored.com CPA advertising inventory

ArmorGames.com
ArmorGames.com CPA advertising inventory

Even major publications and publishers like CNN.com use CPA advertising to further bolster their advertising revenue. example page

CNN.com CPA advertising inventory

When the above ad is clicked, the user is redirected to a landing page which is designed to upsell users
CPA ad inventory landing page

Setting up your Inventory

Now that you’re acquainted with performance campaigns and see the potential, let’s get down to business. Setting up your CPA inventory.

CPA ad units that blend in with your content can be managed by an Ad Server like OpenX or Google DFP.

First steps in setting up your inventory is to identify the location of your ad unit.

Protip: Make it visible. Add your placement above the fold in a spot that gets attention.

Once you have zeroed in on a location, design the html / css to reflect the look and feel of your site.

Once you have a working prototype, extract the html and css and import your code into your ad serving platform.

Protip: Style your css inline, avoid referencing an external stylesheet.

Ad Server setup

To deliver and monitor your CPA campaigns performance, you’ll need to serve ads via an ad server. If you need further clarification on what an ad server is, visit our previous monetization blog.

TL;DR Monetization pros choose OpenX or Google DFP to manage ad inventory allocation.

Let’s get back to the action!

OpenX > Create a new zone
DFP > Create a new ad unit

By creating either a zone or ad unit, you’re basically creating an iframe-like section that’s filled by your linked banner or creative.

In this case, the objective is to fill CPA html and css you designed in this ad zone or ad unit. The ad server is critical in the equation as you’ll be able to manually fill specific ads based on certain parameters and conditions.

For example, if you have a campaign that pays out only on US conversions, you will configure the ad server to serve only to US visitors.

Action points:

1) Add a banner or creative using your extracted html.

OpenX > Create a new advertiser > Create a Campaign > Add banner
DFP > Create new line item > New Order > Add creatives

Note: Each banner or creative can be targeted by any number of parameters

Openx > Inventory > Banners > Click on your created banner > Delivery Options > Add limitation

A few of the limitations can be setup to target US only visitors, or be shown X number of times in 24hrs. This is how you’ll control your CPA ad units delivery, and is the backbone of your optimization strategy. Getting nitty gritty in geo settings will add value into your inventory.

2) Link the banner or creative to your aforementioned ad zone or ad unit

3) Generate tags for your ad zone or ad unit, copy these

4) Paste your zone or ad unit onto your website!

5) Test, test, test!! Make sure your ad units are loading properly, and the html/css renders exactly like your page.

Huzzuh! You’re inventory is now setup.

Performance [Affiliate] Ad Networks

The following list is built from years of monetization experience in the flash games industry, and is ordered by priority. Meaning, the best performance affiliate ad networks for games are on top. There are hundreds of other affiliate networks that span niche markets, and here are the top 20 affiliate networks.

The Definitive Games CPA list

Motive InteractiveRegister for an account here

CPMstar
developer registration
publisher registration

Ad4Game

Revenue Share Partners

GoodGame Studios

Big fish games

Bigpoint MMORPGs

Do you have mobile traffic?

Linkshare by Rakuten — monetize your mobile traffic!

Rakuten is the only iOS affiliate network. Drive paid installs to popular apps like Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, Game of War, Kim Kardashian, etc etc and earn a revenue share of the users you refer!

This is a great way for flash game sites to monetize mobile traffic. Setup a mobile specific landing page, adjust 1 line of htaccess and link to popular apps!

Identifying Campaigns & Running your first test

Each affiliate network has their own campaigns and offers. It’s up to you to identify and test the performance of individual campaigns. Campaigns targeted at developed countries will pay higher rates for conversions, for example: US UK CA AU.

Many of the popular MMORPG companies from Kabam all the way to Nexon, will have accessible campaigns that payout a fixed CPA rate for individual countries. It’s important to note that CPA performance campaigns are run on a manual basis, and from time to time expire!

Make sure when registering for each ad network you specify an active email address, and you’ll be notified if anything changes.

“So I’m browsing through all these campaigns, but have no idea where to start! It’s overwhelming.”

The best way to identify where to start is by looking at your traffic’s top 5 geos.

In Google Analytics:
Audience > Geo > Location

Action Point: Start a list of countries you need to find campaigns for. For your top country (especially if it’s US) find 3 campaigns. On the remaining 4 countries, find 2 campaigns.

By reverse engineering your traffic, you’ll be able to focus your optimization energy on top countries, which will yield the highest results.

Pro Tip: What I’ve found to work well is to zero in on your most popular games via Google Analytics, and find offers that are similar to those games in your affiliate network dashboard.

Campaign Setup Overview

  1. Create thumbnail
  2. Get the link, title and description
  3. Setup the banner, add geotargeting!
  4. Link the banner, go live!
  5. Test!!

Campaign setup details:

  1. Once you have finalized picking the campaigns you’re looking to run, you’ll need to create thumbnails.

Most of the time creatives will have already be made for the campaign. However, these ad sizes will most likely not fit your customized campaign placement. Clarify with your performance network, but most of the time you can resize the campaigns creatives or take a new screenshot of the landing page.

  1. Get the link, title and description of the campaign. This information is provided by the affiliate network and can be copied and pasted into your ad server banner or creative.

  2. Create a new banner or creative in your ad server with the copied html/css template.

Import the path of the thumbnail (upload separately to your server), link, title, description

Setup the geotargeting via delivery options or creative settings

  1. Link the banner to the live zone or ad unit

  2. Test!

Setup 11 campaigns, and reuse thumbnails and assets as you see fit.

Critical component: If you are setting up a campaign for 1 individual game, targeted to 3 different countries, make sure you have 3 separate banners for each country. Links for each countries conversion will differ, as the payouts, tracking and information are completely different.

In summary, you should have 11 unique banners setup linked to your 1 zone. The zone or ad unit should also be rendering properly when you load your website, and should look as though you designed it! If you have any problems with setting up your CPA ad inventory, you can write us in the comments below or reach Kyle Waring on Twitter.

Voila! You’ve setup your first CPA ad unit, linked campaigns and are now adding incremental revenue to your website! Awesome work, now it’s time to wait for the data to come in and to optimize campaigns.

Coming Tuesday 8/26, we’ll be providing optimization spreadsheets and assistance understanding the data behind your CPA inventory, and how to generate further revenue gains by changing up campaigns and prioritizing them based on conversions.

The Science Behind Monetization

The Science Behind Monetizing

We received a huge amount of feedback on our previous post 7 Essential Mobile App Monetization Tips!, that we decided to kick off a deep dive series dedicated to monetizing websites & apps.

We’re data scientists at heart, and want to share our approach to analytically improving your revenue by optimizing ads and in app purchases (IAPs yo!).

The first episode of the series we’ll dive into Performance monetization solutions. Performance advertisements are Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) or Cost Per Install (CPI) campaigns, which pay out fixed rates for an action. These are most likely registering for an account, filling out a form, or downloading an app.

We’ll cover the basics on setting up your ad inventory and using an ad serving platform. These monetization fundamentals will empower you to drive up revenues on your existing mobile & web traffic.

We’re excited to share our proprietary A/B testing models, and explain how we use big data to drive revenue decisions and increase our effective CPMs.

Next week, we’ll cover in detail how to analyze display revenue. We’ll even plug in CPA inventory into the display model to really understand who’s paying the best rates.

[Game] App Discovery Upgraded!

App Discovery Upgraded!

Here’s an app discovery idea that jumped out at me mid conversation with Ben Olding (you know, the dev behind Warlords!).

Game developers need App discovery upgraded! Get your act together Apple… (and Google)

Context:

Ben and I were discussing our plans to launch Warlords Epic Conflict on mobile. We’re in the process of reverse engineering App discovery, which is a unviversal problem for all app game devs.

Searching is ambiguous, who knows what to look for?

Top charts are cluttered by big spenders, AAA titles, and celebrity driven– monetized junk.

It has been, and is furthering becoming, a nightmare to get excellent quality games visible in the markets.

iOS 8 promises to tackle App discovery by:

  • Adding an “Explore” tab

  • Adding related searches to individual search keywords

  • Improving search results by bringing back scrollable results, seeing more apps in the viewable area

I believe these will certainly help ease the problem, but don’t go far enough.

App discovery needs to empower influencers, not companies with the largest advertising budgets!

A Better Solution:

In our conversation, we both got sidetracked by music. Arguably, both of us have quite different musical tastes, but use SoundCloud to discover new music in similar ways

We look to our favorite artists, and check out the songs they like and are listening to. Most of the time, I’m able to discover a brand new artist that has infintesimally small fanbase… but have produced unbelievably amazing music!

Examples: Nacho Picasso Ioston Ariel Gumora

How would this look on the App Store(s)?

When you view a game, instead of promoting related games by default, showcase games that particular developer has specified or is playing. Then build this into the top charts and ranking algorithms to socially curate results!

An ongoing list of games being played or recommended by a developer already has my attention much more than related titles, categories or keywords. Being that it’s name is similar, doesn’t necessarily mean I want to download it!

Apple, please help us indie developers get the visibility our Apps deserve! Because we can’t eat, let alone pay rent with $500 / month.

It’s time for you to reciprocate the love, and we eagerly await iOS8!

@Gamedevs, let’s bind together and share this post to promote solutions for App discovery! We can shape the future, we just need the “right” people to see it!!!

Publishers work for Developers

Publishers work for Developers

Developers are constantly asking, do I need a publisher? Are publishers worth their share of my revenue?

Being that any developer can signup for the App Store or Google Play for a nominal yearly fee, and self publish their own game… it’s a valid question.

Why give up revenue and control on your hard work?

Well for starters, it might be the only way for you to build momentum behind your studio. For first time mobile developers, launching a game on the App store or Google play and becoming successful is infinitesimally small.

50% of iOS developers and 47% of Android developers earn less than $500 per month [according to a recent survey of 10,000 developers conducted by Developer Economics.

Even for larger Publishers, breaking into the charts isn't easy and hasn't been for years!

So what's a Publisher actually going to do for me?

In short, Publishers are working for you. Their your business manager, QA team, and marketing coach.

More often than not, Publishers have a team of specialists that review your app and improve your game to build a sustainable business.

Mobile Publishers in particular have grown with the market, and have learned how users interact with apps. They understand short attention spans and how to monitor and improve user engagement.

By having a Publisher work for you, you're able to leverage their accumulated knowledge, and learn things "the easy way" -- versus the obvious alternative... testing, breaking, learning, failing-- time and time again.

Not to mention leveraging their audiences and advertising budgets.

Retention
Having an external review team fully assess your games UX/UI dramatically increases your odds of hooking users and retaining them over the long haul.

Retention is by far the most overlooked metric by indie game developers. Everyone seems to be fixated on the number of installs you're able to generate. But that's just the top of the funnel.

If you have a leaky funnel, lets say on level 2 or 3 where everyone abandons your app... you're in trouble!

You can have millions of downloads but if you don't have active users, you in turn have no sustainable business.

By having a publisher who is actively monitoring your apps performance and honing in on making improvements, you're in a much better position.

Reviewing the statistics and synthesizing the data takes time and effort, and it's paramount for your Apps success!

Are you going to drill down into the data? If you're self publishing, you better be! Most developers find this aspect of managing an App launch boring, they'd rather be developing new features or experimenting with a new project.

By having a Publisher do this leg work for you, you're able to spend more time doing what you want, instead of looking at graphs trying to extrapolate development decisions.

Outside of improving retention and your app, Publishers also have extensive audiences that are used to drive players to your game.

This in itself is worth the revenue share of your game, especially for the larger Publishers. The essential point I'm trying to make here is, what's better:

100% of $0 or 50% of $100k?

The revenue share is just a percentage. Most mobile deals completed on Game Brokerage do not include IP or require exclusivity. Publishers are most interested in promoting a game that works to compliment their existing portfolio.

Reiterated, Publishers are looking for new games to feed their existing audiences demand.

Advertising. For first time indies to seasoned veterans, advertising budgets and managing those campaigns is costly and time consuming. Allowing your Publisher to foot the bill and manage campaigns is a major advantage to you.

It's guaranteeing that you're app will be played and seen!

And let's face it, Publishers know better, more efficient places to buy traffic than you probably do. Get educated and learn from your Publisher. You can replicate their User Acquisition strategy on your future releases!

In sum, a "Great Publisher" will be able to

  1. Improve your app performance, retention and monetization
  2. Cross promote existing audiences
  3. Commit an advertising budget, and manage + optimize

But also add additional value by:
4. Rolling out PR & Hype campaigns
5. Q/A + tracking
6. Technical Assistance

If you haven't read our previous post, Don't get snaked signing a Publishing deal take a look! A couple of great tips there to make sure you don't sign a contract with vague terms. It'll save you both financially and emotionally!

If you remember one thing from this post, please remember, Publishers are working for you. Leverage and learn invaluable lessons from their experiences, and build momentum behind your own studio!

// Disclaimer

We have yet to edit this post, and will be working over the next few days to expand and elaborate on key elements.

// Credits & Acknowledgment

This post was inspired by "Whats the point of a mobile game publisher" by Mike Rose who interviews the COO Ed Rumley of Chillingo [who's an active Publisher on the Game Brokerage market].

Mr. Rumley writes eloquently
“Ultimately, we work for the developer: they don’t work for us.”