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In exchange for interacting with ads (watching videos, for example), Alpha Trainer’s Android users will be able to cash-in virtual currency in order to gain access to premium content, including a 14-week training program. (more…)
Mobile advertising and publishing platform Tapjoy today announced a partnership with South Korea’s largest social mobile platform Kakao, which will allow developers on the Kakao Games platform to monetize with Tapjoy’s advertising and monetization tools.
The Kakao Games platform allows users to play with KakaoTalk users, share game scores, and compete on leaderboards in real-time. Games on the platform now gross more than $40 million per month, the company revealed in a statment.
In March, Tapjoy revealed that approximately 100 million unique viewers who come through its network per month are international, which equates to about 75 percent of its overall unique viewers per month coming from outside the U.S.
The partnership provides Tapjoy the opportunity to deliver premium content within titles on the Kakao Games platform.
KakaoTalk currently has more than 90 million users around the globe, more than 30 million users visiting the platform every day and is South Korea’s practically ubiquitous mobile messaging app. SundayToz was the first developer to get its match-3 puzzler Anipang on KakaoTalk’s game platform. At GDC 2013, SundayToz founder and CEO Kevin Lee told us he spoke with the founder of Kakao, and proposed the idea to turn the messenger app into a game platform, which led to the launch of Anipang for Kakao. Today, Anipang is generating around $500,000 in revenue a day.
Recently, KakaoTalk also demonstrated growth outside of its native South Korea by surpassing the 10 million download mark in Japan on March 24.
Mobile apps news roundup: NARR8 gains monetization feature, Playnomics adds behavioral targeted push messaging service and more
NARR8 gains monetization and auto play features – Motion comics app NARR8 for iPad (review) added a virtual currency called NARRs tokens, which can be used to unlock new episodes from the variety of different content series that are available. Users can acquire NARRs by just using the app as well as by purchasing the currency with real money. NARR8 also added a auto play feature for its motion comic series, which lets users continuously stream content with a one tap. In the future, NARR8 plans to turn its app into a platform, allowing third-party publishers the ability to publish and sell their content through NARR8.
Tapjoy partners with Popcornflix, launches freemium movie streaming app PopcornflixGold – Mobile advertising and publishing platform Tapjoy partnered with movie streaming service Popcornflix to launch a new mobile app for Android, named PopcornflixGold, that lets users watch movies for free on their mobile devices by engaging with ads. Similarly to a monetization model seen in mobile games, the app allows users to match movies by earning a virtual currency called FlixPoints, which can be earned by interacting with ads from the Tapjoy Marketplace.
Playnomics adds behavioral targeted push messaging feature to its PlayRM platform – Predictive analytics company Playnomics added a new behavioral targeted push messaging feature for mobile games to its PlayRM platform. This new feature may increase user engagement for developers by sending targeted, real-time messages to individual players based on in-game behaviors.
Gameloft launches Dungeon Hunter 4 for Android – French mobile game developer Gameloft launched dungeon crawler Dungeon Hunter 4 for Android this week. Click here for our review of the iOS version of the game.
Former Zynga Boston employee raises $2.25M for new game studio Proletariat – Seth Sivak, a former lead designer from the defunct Zynga Boston office, raised $2.25 million for his new game studio Proletariat. The raised amount in equity funding appeared in an SEC filing. Proletariat’s first release came back in March, with word game Letter Rush for iOS.
Appolicious launches educational app discovery service appoLearning – App discovery service Appolicious launched appoLearning earlier this week, which is a new service geared toward helping parents, teachers and others find the best educational apps for children.
KakaoTalk surpasses 10 million downloads in Japan – While Line Corp’s (a new company operating under NHN Japan) messaging app Line remains the king of messaging apps in Japan, with nearly 50 million domestic users, Korean messaging app KakaoTalk recently made some headway, surpassing the 10 million download mark in Japan on March 24.
Apple implements age rating tags to Apple App Store – Apple this week modified the descriptions for apps in the Apple Store, adding a recommended age rating box that’s located below an app’s developer credits.
80 percent of time spent on smartphones is spent in apps, Flurry says – Mobile app analytics firm Flurry released a report earlier this week, which showed that, among U.S. users, 80 percent of time spent on smartphones is spent in apps and 20 percent on the mobile web. 18 percent of time spent in apps came from the Facebook app, which is a figure larger than any other individual app.
Non-gaming apps integrating with Tapjoy – In an effort to support apps outside of its core gaming base, Tapjoy announced that non-gaming apps like Top Chef University, FreedomPop, Pinger, University Wallpaper and others, have integrated with Tapjoy’s value exchange-based advertising platform.
Ludia brings Popeye Slots to iOS – Ludia, in partnership with Sarbakan and King Features, launched Popeye Slots, a slots game for iOS that’s themed after the cartoon character Popeye. The game will later launch on Android and Facebook.
App Icon Quiz hits the Apple App Store – Independent video game developer Zing Games launched App Icon Quiz for iOS this week, a quiz game on the surface for users, but an app icon testing and app promotion service for mobile game developers underneath. Basically, users play the game, and then the app collects data that is shared with game developers to help them figure out how their icon design is liked and understood. Zing Games believes as more users play App Icon Quiz, the more traffic and installs will be generated for mobile game developers’ games.
Chillingo launches Dram Chase for iOS – Electronics Arts-owned mobile game publisher Chillingo launched Dream Chaser earlier this week, an endless runner featuring 26 story-driven missions. The game is available now on the Apple App Store for $0.99.
Disney launches Mittens for iOS – Disney earlier this week launched its latest game Mittens, a physics-based puzzler from developer MetroGames. The game is available for iPhone for $0.99 and iPad for $2.99. Read our positive review of the title here.
Mobile advertising and publishing platform Tapjoy announced the launch of its Tapjoy Australia Fund, a program which aims to foster and grow mobile app developers in Australia.
Tapjoy’s consultation teams will offer select iOS and Android developers marketing, distribution support, funds and optimization support.
Defiant Development, which have released titles like Heroes Call and Ski Safari for both Android and iOS, is the first developer accepted into the program. “There’s an incredible depth of indie talent in Australia, and Tapjoy offers an ideal way to monetize their applications and take advantage of the free-to-play opportunities in the mobile market,” co-founder of Defiant Development Morgan Jaffit said. “It’s very forward thinking to focus on enabling Australian developers to reach further with their games, and it helps to take the [user acquisition] and monetization questions that all developers are tackling at the moment.”
“With the help of Tapjoy’s marketing strength and free-to-play consulting experience, as well as Australia’s $20 million Interactive Games Fund, Australia’s indie developers will find the road to success a little less bumpy,” CEO of the Game Developer Association of Australia Antony Reed said in a statement.
Developers in Australia that have released at least one iOS and Android app can find out more about the program here.
Mobile advertising and publishing platform Tapjoy today announced it hired Jeff Drobick as Chief Product Officer. Drobick was formerly President and CEO of Geeknet Media and eBay Vice President of Information Management & Delivery.
“Jeff’s combination of bidded ad platform expertise and the proven delivery of data-rich applications will have a significant impact on our product roadmap and how we serve our clients and partners,” Tapjoy President and CEO Steve Wadsworth said in a statement. “The CPO role is vital at any technology company, particularly in a sector that moves as rapidly as mobile. This addition also speaks to the incredible opportunity ahead for Tapjoy, as we refine and focus our product roadmap and position the company for our next phase of growth.”
We last heard from Tapjoy when it announced its partnership with Kontagent, a mobile app analytics company known for its kSuite platform. The partnership with Kontagent allowed the two companies to release the app analytics platform, the Kontagent Partner Edition, for all developers and advertisers working with Tapjoy.
Tapjoy also recently brought on CFO and Executive Vice President at Acxiom Corporation Warren C. Jenson to the company’s Board of Directors.
Mobile advertising and publishing platform Tapjoy today revealed data it gathered during Christmas, Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day, showing that ad revenue grew by as much as 54 percent. This demonstrates an opportunity for developers to generate more revenue during holidays.
Compared to the seven-day average for app revenue, developers saw ad revenue increase 54 percent for Christmas, 44 percent for the Chinese New Year and 34 percent for Valentine’s Day. “Major retail brand” advertisers that ran Valentine’s Day-themed ads on Tapjoy’s network on iOS and Android experienced an increase in its click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate around Valentine’s Day. Other companies like Google, witnessed a spike in ad clicks around particular holidays, where the company saw ad clicks on smartphones jump 61 percent during Black Friday last year and by more than 100 percent on tablets.
In the U.S. between the iOS and Android platforms, conversion rates on Android were generally higher than that of iOS. Both of the platforms saw its conversion rates fall after Feb. 10, most likely due to consumers having already completed their Valentine’s Day shopping by then. The CTR was also higher on Android, though the CTR for iOS spiked significantly in the first week of February.
Sponsor Pay’s value-exchange platformBrandEngage allows advertisers and developers to offer free premium content for interacting with an ad in a mobile game. It’s a concept other companies such as Tapjoy have been successful at.
Inside Mobile Apps: Rich media ads and video ads seem to be preforming the best on mobile but ad spend still isn’t there compared to other media formats like TV and web. What is it going to take to bring higher ad spend to mobile?
Janis Zech, Sponsor Pay chief revenue officer (pictured right): It depends on the “ad buckets” you look at. Whether you look at the ad world or the performance world, what we’re seeing right now is that the brand world is definitely under represented when you think about the rich audience and time spent on mobile devices and the app ecosystem. That’s due to the fact that media agencies in general are very risk averse and try to move slower than the response world which jumps on everything which gives them a good prize for acquiring users, so we’ve seen that with games in the first place but also with travel and finance and commerce categories. These players move faster into this potential customer acquisition. What it takes for these ad dollars to be spent on mobile is just time. And performance. Video and rich-video ads are not there yet from a traffic perceptive. In 2013, it will probably grow. The potential of tablets and TV being part of the whole ecosystem is also something which is already on its way but not yet on a broad or mass media scale. It’s just going to get better. That’s a good thing. The industry will continue to grow rapidly until we reach the tipping point.
IMA: Specifically for Sponsor Pay, what kind of ads are the most successful?
Zech: It depends on platform. On iOS, we see that video is the most successful. What we basically do is we help app developers acquire users by running app trailer campaigns, and optionally, you can install the application if you like it. Then we also have branded video and engagement ads where you watch a video. For example, a movie trailer and add it to your calendar, or interact with it somehow to deepen engagement. On Android we’re seeing cross-player installs, cross-play engagement and distribution campaigns working the best right now.
IMA: You mainly focus on game apps. Do you thing Brand Engage could work with other apps besides games?
Zech: Yeah. Around 80 percent of our traffic comes from games, communication apps and social networking apps that also use this kind of specific advertising model. And long term I believe that if you think about the situation with big media companies introducing paywalls, you’ll see a huge drop-off rate that will change the advertising model to let users access premium content. The same with music, if you think about the Pandoras and Spotifys of the world, there’s no reason why users shouldn’t engage with advertising and in return receive a free day, or something like that. I think everywhere you have premium content this model is applicable. Is it there yet? Not really, but we’re seeing really good signs that it goes beyond games.
IMA: Smartphones are personalized devices but ads are often not personalized. What can be done to remedy something like that?
Zech: That’s one of the very big challenges and it has to do with data and what kind of data you can supply to ad platforms. Currently the mobile advertising system is missing some data points when you look at demographic targeting. We’ve found that for direct response there are other ways of targeting that work much better like loyal-user targeting, where you take into consideration the behavior of users instead of the demographic. One of the big pushes we’re doing right now is solving this demographic challenge and what we’re seeing is that there are certain categories of apps which can aggregate and build your own demographic channels, either by interest or by demographic. But that’s not yet as exact as you can do it on the online side. It’s also something that the big data providers of the world will build an infrastructure to make that happen.
IMA: What are your thoughts on location-based ads?
Zech: I haven’t seen anyone mastering it yet but it will get there in five years. Will there be an incentive component with it that is real-time and based on the interest of the people? I’m pretty sure. I think Groupon and Google, having the merchant relations already, could pull it off, but it’s still to be seen if they’ll succeed.
IMA: Which platform is performing better for you, iOS or Android?
Zech: Currently we’re more successful on Android. From a user behavior standpoint the differences are not large from what we see.
IMA: What new kind of native app formats for mobile will emerge in 2013?
Zech: Videos are becoming much bigger than they are today. Specific brand engagement ads and location ads will be bigger.
IMA: What are your prediction regarding mobile advertising in 2013?
Zech: One of the biggest challenges right now is solving discovery and user acquisition for the app ecosystem and doing it on an ROI positive performance advertising model. A little bit like you have online for e-commerce with Google AdWords being very successful in translating users buying behavior. I think we’re seeing app developers being much more conscious of how they spend their budgets and how they achieve what they want to achieve in terms of performance. The other big trend is the whole ecosystem will get more automated. Real time bidding and ad exchanges will take off next year. They haven’t taken off but next year you’ll see much more automatization and efficiency in the system. Eventually it will help the performance change, and next year brands will wake up and capitalize and take advantage of mobile.
Additionally, the San Francisco-based Tapjoy added more than 500 million new devices to its network in the last eight months alone.
Tapjoy also revealed that approximately 100 million unique viewers who come through its network per month are international, which equates to about 75 percent of of its overall unique viewers per month coming from outside the U.S. In China, a huge market consisting of more than one billion people that’s still largely untapped, Tapjoy connected with 44 million mobile devices in July 2012.
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