The Business of Mobile - Make Money with Android, mobile advertising and App Store Optimization

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Mobile Advertising Network With 100% Fill Rate? Oh Dear!

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When advertising is your main method of monetizing your mobile apps, you want stellar fill rates.

You want to be sure that every ad opportunity is filled up. That every chance you have to show an ad to a user, you HAVE an ad to show them.

The problem is, that when it comes to some ad networks, a 100% fill rate isn't really a 100% fill rate.

Loop de Loop

Showing the same video over and over again should not be considered a 100% fill rate. 

Most of the time, when a  user has dismissed an ad, they'll most likely dismiss the same ad again.

The same goes for variations of the same ad. Yes, variations are recommended for advertising strategies. But after a person dismisses the variations too, please don't go back to the earlier variation.

Its too bad that many ad networks (even those I have highly recommended before) have removed their fill rates. Something to hide? Questions to avoid?

Mediation Nightmare

This "100%" fill rate throws your mediation plans out the window. 

Really, how will you get ads allocated to other networks when one particular network keeps showing 100%? 

Perhaps its best to go mediation via a neutral provider. Or make your own logic in your code.

(Psst! Bonus tip... its better to mediate with a mixed type of ad network. Often, the same ad campaigns are running across all the CPI based ad networks. If it makes sense to your app, then mix and match between CPI and CPC networks to get a better variation of ads for mediation.)

Here is wishing you a great fill rate!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Developing & Monetizing A New Mobile Game

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So, someone said that if you're not the top 500 developer in the app stores, you're not making it.

He might be trying to be nice.

It's tough out there. And let me relate.

My last post was about a new golf game I published. And I wanted to share its progress and how it achieved $1.3m USD in just 3 weeks.

Of course it never came close to that.

It was a disaster!

The Stats

The game got about 9k downloads in its first 30 days. And a great grand revenue of less than $100 ( didn't bother really checking exact amount ).

Now, this was a really bad performance.

I looked at giving value to users, as compared against my previous golf games.

There were 3, 18-holes golf courses to start with, and I added a 4th about a week later.

And the ads were lesser than my previous games.

I also felt, design wise, the game looked a lot better than my older ones.

Yet, it failed terribly.

2 weeks of work and really nothing to show for it. My previous hits often took just a few hours of work!

Thus, yes, its tough making it out there. The game was in top 10 of some market's new sports games category, and yet, downloads sucked.

My Aim

In the end though, this was an experiment for me. As I had aimed, this was to see if adding value to users was even worth it.

I should have instead broken the courses into 4 different games and would have made more, downloads and money wise.

There you go then.

Make your judgment. Do you go for quality or quantity?

Me, I'll stick with quality for now. I'm still looking at the long run.

More quality and fun stuff coming out.. Stay tuned!


PS - my next game after the golf game, Battle Dwarves, is looking at heading towards an even worse performance! Arrgh! But, I know, winners are those who stay on the longest... I'll be around!

PPS - I'm using Unity Ads these days... And they're performing really great... Review on them will be up soon.. If there is demand!

Friday, August 7, 2015

A New Case Study on Android Mobile Game Publishing and Monetization

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Last year I did a case study on publishing and monetizing a new Android mobile game.

Those series of posts were rather popular with you readers. Hey, everyone is interested to find out how much one can get for downloads and revenue right?

That game has garnered over a 1.2 million downloads as of this writing. Not bad for "hardly working" on it.

So, I just published about 24 hours ago this awesome Tiny Course Mini Golf Game on Google Play.

Tiny Course Mini Golf!

Development Time

It was developed over the course of a month. But I did not really spend a full month on it. It was more like a couple of hours here and another hour there.

Then there were many days not touching the project. Seriously, I need to work on procrastination.

So, if one were to consider the proper full time in development, the game probably took about a week to develop.

Peaceful golf courses filled with spikes!

Giving Users more Value

My previous golf games usually consisted on a single course only. This time around, I decided to give users a bigger value for their download.

I initially planned to release 5 courses of 18 holes each, and later on add a few more. But instead I dropped the initial release to just 3 courses.

So look out for the updates coming out over the next weeks. I'll be looking at keeping this one updated for a longer period, and hope I won't run out of resources for creating more and more levels.

Is value always going to be a positive return? Well, experience has thought me that nothing is guaranteed in this business.

A look at the desert-themed mini golf course

Monetization Strategy

The game uses Heyzap ads, both static and video inters. The ads are shown in hole 6, hole 12/13 and the menu screen. I will see how this setup goes in the love-hate relationship department with the users and my wallet.

The game has also been approved for sale on Amazon for $1.99 . Lets see how that performs there too.

One of the initial release courses

App Promotion

I've gone full blown cross promotion on this one (besides getting family ad friends to download). I need to get a new app up the charts, and I'm hoping this one will make it.

So I'm doing cross promo via Heyzap for this too. Will give you some updates on this as we go along.

I've also used twitter, and well, only 1 fellow developer was kind enough to support the game to give it a download over the last 24 hours (if you're reading this, thank you very much!). Still, better than 0.

I'm not sure what other promotion methods I'll be using going forward, keep reading this blog to see the progress , will you?

Challenging jumps and drops in the Mini Golf game

Better Stats

OK, this might sound lame, but I could use more downloads to get the stats to a better more meaningful format.

The bigger the numbers, the better and more accurate (whatever that means) the results will be.

So, if you haven't yet, go download the golf game and lets see where the game goes.

Download Tiny Course Mini Golf on Google Play


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Nintendo, The Missing Giant in the Mobile Games Scene

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Probably a new trend is about to start, and might change the mobile game space as we know it.

Going Mobile

One giant woke up a little late. Maybe they did wake up early, but decided that they aren't gonna get into the mobile gaming space.

Nintendo is probably the last big name missing in the mobile space. And as many must have predicted, sooner or later, they had to get into this space.

And now they are. The pressure must be really great, and let's face it, not keeping up with tech will surely be a tech company's demise.

Its not like we have a lack of Mario clones in the first place. There are better options sometimes out there, and updated to be great on mobile.

On that count too, any indie developers using their IP in the stores better get your acts clean. Who knows when they gonna start submitting DMCA take downs.

Late To The Party

The mobile gaming world is so far ahead, a new comer might not be able to rise to the top.

But let's not play out Nintendo at all. These guys been in the business long enough, and have great IP and moolah that they really will be making their presence felt.

It would really be awesome to see how they dethrone current leaders. (Big budgets surely).

Lots of lessons to learn from all this.

Setting A Moral Trend

Nintendo said they will be doing a free-to-start gaming style.

Now, this means that to further in the game, one has to make a purchase.

And Nintendo said that they don't quite like the free-to-play idea. Thus their IAP will have a limit.

I'm guessing this "moral", and not psychologically manipulating users to spend money, attitude might be the next on how mobile game companies be judged.

Nintendo is also looking at making only a handful of games, and continuing to improve those for the long term.  (Check out my previous post on the shift of the mobile apps game)

A great strategy we can implement in our ventures.

Interesting Times

While the initial gold rush of the mobile space might be over, or at least lessened down, its still full of great adventures ahead.

As the shift moves towards better quality against quantity, towards better user engagement, and more innovative money making ideas, the mobile gaming space really has matured.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Game's Changed: Thriving & Surviving in the Mobile Stores!

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There was a time, not too long ago, where you could release a mobile app and get much downloads for it.

It didn't matter what that app was, or how good it was. You could always be sure to get downloads for it.

Those great old days..

Harder To Be Noticed

These days, its gotten tougher. Honestly, it not only affecting you, it also affected me and that other indie developer reading this post a few minutes ago.

You see, there is a shift. The game of app publishing has changed.

Some call it the death of reskinning. I don't totally agree on that though. Reskinning is very much alive, its just  mutated. And for the better.

There was a time, when the best way to build a great revenue stream being a mobile developer was by volume releasing apps on the store.

I've committed that sin too! (And a few others, but that's for another blog post!)

These days, this doesn't get you far. With a bazillion apps on the stores (thanks much to reskinning), it is not easy to pop up to the surface.

This is where the shift comes in.

The New Shift

Now a days, quality trumps quantity. Forget mass releasing apps, the boat for that had left the jetty.
Make fewer apps and games, and build on that. For the long term! Keywords : LONG TERM!

Even if you're reskinning apps and games, add quality to it. Add long life and VALUE to it. Make users want it for a longer while. This is where the shift of reskinning has headed.

You can make more money having one successful app than you can with many unsuccessful ones. I've been there, and I know this is true. Just too bad I did not take the opportunity to build on those successes. My lost!

Plus there are other benefits too, like less stress thinking how to spam the stores, less stress updating your apps to comply with store policy changes. And good karma and love of the human race!

Some say you end up in heaven too! Oh joy!

So, how's a new developer to proceed with this?

How To Grow Your Mobile Business

Well, if you're new, then by all means build your portfolio of apps. These will be your advertising vehicle for your major apps down the road. Use this portfolio to lead users to your big game changer.

But remember, you don't need to spam with reskins. Reskin smartly! You never know, even your reskins could be that hit app for you!

Happy Dev-ing!