Is Leadbolt A Sinking Titanic?

Lately, a big issue has been bugging me. And bugging a great many of you developers too. Leadbolt's revenue dropping faster than you can say Led Zeppelin. It might have been a stairway to heaven previously, it surely seems like an escalator to hell right now.

For those that are asking me about it, well, I did try getting some details about it. The bad part is the answers given really did not justify.

Lets see.

A Thank You

Before we get into the issue, I'd like to thank those 102 developers (and 2 advertisers) who have signed up with my link. Hope things are going great for you. Some of you have told me how much you're making, and stating that I should be getting 10% of what you're making.

The truth is, the statement on their dashboard is pretty misleading. I don't make 10% of what you make. I make 10% of the profit that Leadbolt makes. I was making about $0.50 a day for previous months, this month it has improved to $2 a day. That is TOTAL daily from all the referrals put together.

So no, referrals aren't making me money. All that promotion I have been doing for Leadbolt, it was for their good. Maybe I should have not promoted them so much? Probably I'd have a bigger slice of the pie today?

The Issue

Now back to the issue at hand. This issue has been raised at many places. At least when it relates too me. Basic4Android forum, Leadbolt support forum, direct twitter messages and other email/private messages asked by fellow developers.

Do keep in mind, I am a fan-boy of Leadbolt. I admit that. It will be not so easily that I would leave them, but if things continue getting bad, who'd wanna stay on the titanic?

No Ads

Check out this link. It is an issue some developers are facing. When I started with Leadbolt, I used to get notification ads all the time. Then that stopped. After that, offer walls stopped. Then fullscreen ads stopped (how do you make content unlockers with no ads to unlock the content?). Then the icon ads had no apps to show.

You see the problem? It looks like they are not getting advertisers enough on their network. It has been probably over 6 months since I got any notification ads from them.

For all you developers who are having this issue, there is nothing technically wrong with your code if test ads were showing. That white banner you see? Thats no ad available!

Gone are the days when you'd refresh your dashboard and see a sudden jump of $3 at a time. Revenues from ads has gone pretty low now.

And here is another discussion about it on Basic4Android.

Response from leadbolt

My AM informed me about the recent slowdown. On 25th June, my Leadbolt revenue dropped below Airpush for the first time since.... EVER! Oh boy. Ok, it was a weird thing that went on at Airpush on that date, and my revenue from them skyrocketed for that one day. But that still paints the horrible picture that something is bubbling in Leadbolt, probably from the leak at the bottom of the titanic.

According to my AM, (and this is what's annoying me the most) one of their large advertiser has paused campaign. Now, I have been given such reasons previously too. But seriously? ONE large advertiser pauses, and everyone's revenue gets cut by about 60 to 70%? This does not seem right. Are advertisers avoiding Leadbolt? What will happen if that ONE large advertiser stops using Leadbolt? We're screwed!

I saw the Sign..

Something to ponder on. When a main person of a company leaves, the one who has been all out running the show, is it time for us to leave too? Brian Tippy left Leadbolt earlier this year, and maybe that was a sign that the iceberg has been hit? Now, for those using AppLovin, if you see Rafael leaving, better start looking elsewhere too.

The Spirit

And in the spirit of highlighting everything that is wrong and everything that is right, in a fair and just manner, I'd like to bring you to my Leadbolt sign-up ad on the right. You will notice such ads from Leadbolt. $100 eCPM! Do read my previous posting in regards to this.

Note to Leadbolt: Please come up with realistic ads for us to use for referrals.


Honestly I really hated writing this post. Leadbolt is something that many associate with me, as I have been praising and promoting them since ages ago. We used to eat dinosaur meat together! As for all the support that I have given them, helping to test their libraries, fixing issues with missing files in their library, promoting them, it has been a wonderful ride all this while.

And it really sucks when this is going on for a while now, and we are not getting a real picture from anyone in Leadbolt.

As for me, I will still be with Leadbolt. I am gonna ride this storm with them, hope that no tsunami comes and washes me away! Really really hope things start picking up again.

A quick advice: expand your fishing net. Don't just use a single fishing rod to fish. When that line snaps, you'll be hungry for the night. Make sure your revenue sources are from many different ad networks.

Unhappy Cheers!


  1. Hi,

    I loved your article.. ;)

    Can I have a conversation with you? Please do mail me when you are free..

    nasiyafathima- is my gtalk i.d..

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Warm Regards,

  2. Yes, I'm definitely thinking of leaving leadbolt, or doing as you say, by rotating the ads each game.
    Last month I was making between 40-70$ a day from just Spain, now sometimes it's barely 2$, and there is just one ad for the country, (sometimes none appear).
    My admob adverts are making me twice that amount.

    It was good while it lasted, but to stay in the game and earning, I think you've got to be adaptable, even if that means phasing out leadbolt.

  3. Hi Nasiya,

    Obviously you'd love my writing, you're working with Airpush!

    Hi sionco,

    Wow, you're hit even worse than all the other developers using Leadbolt. I really hate the fact that they have very low inventory right now.

    And I still don't understand why 1 advertiser can have such a huge impact on revenues.

    Thanks for the feedback!


  4. I have stable income with Leadbolt, strange I did not notice any drop. I have entertainment apps, I dont have any games yet. Maybe drop that you notice comes from game related ads such as generally app walls or content unlockers. I only use app icons and push notif, they are still doing great job.

    For banner ads, what do you think about admob and leadbolt, which one brings higher revenue ?

  5. Hi Moribito,

    Good to know that not everyone is impacted. Maybe it is the type of app you have, as you've already mentioned.

    And maybe also the main geographical location of your users. There may be ads for certain locations more than others. I'm using push and icon ads too.

    I don't use Leadbolt banner ads, so can't comment on them. AppLovin banners are rocking though. Better than any other banner ads I've used.


  6. How is the ecpm and cpc on AppLovin banner ads. For example, on leadbolt, one of my app got $4.88 ecpm and $0.04 cpc from banner ads. Its too low

    How are the results on AppLovin.

  7. Here is my AppLovin June to-date stats:

    Overall eCPM: $2.10
    Banner eCPM: $1.53
    Interstitial eCPM: $4.24

    eCPM of $4.88 from banner ads on Leadbolt? Is that the monthly average? It is pretty high.

  8. I dont usually use banner-ads, I implemented couple of weeks ago.

    $4.88 for yesterday
    $3.12 for 3 weeks average

    My main users are from United Kingdom and USA and the rest of Europe.

  9. Well, that's a pretty high eCPM for banner ads. Location of US and UK might be main reason, most of my major revenues is from US.

    If you can get that rate, then I am not sure you'd wanna move away as I have not seen banner ads having that high eCPM.

  10. I dont wanna move away, I just make comparison between ad networks. If I find better, I may move.

    Anyway, I am making a game for 35 days, It is very long project I am about to finish it. Its a defender game with lots of skills. (Very early prototye screenshots here;

    I am looking for content unlocker type ads. I think about Tapjoy, not Leadbolt for my game. Any expreince with Tapjoy ?

    I heard that GLU made $610,000 in two months with tapjoy.

  11. Game's looking good. Your website is looking good too, bookmarked! And it reminds me I should post updates of my first Unity3D game too :)

    No experience with Tapjoy, but might be better content unlockers than Leadbolt. For example, what happens if someone wants to unlock a content, and Leadbolt has no ad to show?

    I am not too sure about how Tapjoy works out of the US though, you might wanna check that out.

  12. Now I was searching web, I came acroos AdColony Ad Networkd again. Man, there are too many ad networkds nowadays.

    Great article to make around $500-3000 DAILY from your games

  13. Mobile ad is a great business to be in :)

    Thanks for the link. Good read. Playhaven has a unity plugin, i MIGHT use that further down the road.

  14. ohh, Thats why my earnings dropped , I thought my apps are not getting enough downloads , somehow they made me think that it is my fault , My impression are half now of what I was getting earlier , and earnings are 1/3rd :( , any recommendations ?? , I can't go back to airpush , even their CPM is terrible, currently StartApp and Applovin are making some good money for me. But I was really enjoying leadbolt, now things are getting worse with them too like airpush.

  15. Really intresting, after all been said, I was expectiong drop in my revenue today, but it is still very good Leadbolt.

    Did Leadbolt make any announcements on the drops ?

  16. Hi padmakar,

    Recommendations? I'd stick with Leadbolt for a while more. See if things pick up. No other notification ad network has come close to it yet.


    There is a discussion on this on the Basic4Android forum, this link has an official response from Leadbolt:

  17. Well, I have no intention about leaving Leadbolt. I am sure things will get better for everyone.

    This couple of months could be troublesome, however Leadbolt still gives me the best revenue among all other networks I tried.

  18. Thats great Moribito. I too get the best revenues from them, and that's whats important.

    The concern I've tried highlighting here us that there is a drop for many of us, and hopefully Leadbolt would have a look at this.

    Lets hope for a richer July!


  19. Customer are like viruses (No Offence :D). They are evolving everyday. Now, they know about permissions of android applications.

    One thing Leadbolt lacks at is permission, too many of them. I know some ad networks just requires single permissions. These permissions drive away customers.

    Leadbolt should thinks abt permissions.

  20. Not all Leadbolt permissions are required though. While some of the other permissions are required for some actions to be done.

    And customers... well... there will always be customers who lack that knowledge, with almost a million new devices activated daily. The market is HUGE!

    Plus, we could always explain in the description what the permissions are for :)

  21. Thanks for the link on the basic4android forum, I suppose I'll see if it does go back up next month, as it would be more of a hassle to change all my old apps, and for payments and support Leadbolt seem quite realiable.

    Although, (like padmakar ojha said above) I don't like their regular emails that insinuate it's my fault for the downturn, such as in todays email they say I should try changing the colour of the ad icon.

  22. Hi sionco,

    Yep, I hate that too... sigh!

  23. Hi Bill,

    Just stumbled across your blog. Very, very helpful so far (subscribed) :)

    I'm a Leadbolt user and I love them. However, I have been noticing lower numbers and am now looking for alternatives.

    Most of my revenue comes from notifications, though the only other ad unit I use is shortcut icons. However, I want to substitute shortcut icons with appwalls, as I think they are less intrusive.

    Have you had any experience with Smaato?


  24. Hi Vas,

    Thanks for the kind words and support!

    Leadbolt is still the best notification ad network, but as you too have experienced, if the revenue keeps dropping, it makes them no different than SendDroid and Airpush.

    If you're looking at appwalls, I'd highly recommend AppBrain's walls, as I and many other developers have found out, they give the best performance in terms of revenue generation.

    And not much experience with Smaato though, used them for a very short while too long ago to remember :D


  25. Thanks Bill! Just implemented AppBrain appwall into one of my apps. I am amazed at how easy the implementation was.

  26. Google announced new policy for developers.

    "No more spam notifications". Does it mean Leadbolt push notifications are not allowed anymore ?

  27. Actually, there is no mention that notification ads is banned.

    "Ads must not simulate or impersonate system notifications or warnings."

    A bit tough to understand the above. What exactly does Google mean by "system notifications".

    Taken as a whole, I guess it is referring to ads that say stuff like "You have 1 new message, click here!" or "Battery level low, click here to optimise", or something like that.

    And that is what the ad networks are saying about it too. But, who is to say what Google actually means?

  28. What I understood is we should inform user.

    In the beginning each app, there should be

    "Terms & conditions".
    1. This app contains notification ads
    2. This app will create icon ad which you can download top apps
    3. bla bla bla.....

    Do you AGREE ? (So user must read and agree)

  29. That's for icon and browser bookmark ads. Not for notification ads.

    Or at least that is my understanding. :D

  30. Can't say I've been unimpressed or dissatisfied with Leadbolt, I've just been more impressed and satisfied by other options, specifically with Airpush. After sdk 5.0. came out, Leadbolt lost its luster with me and I know a lot of others who feel the same way. Split test gave a clear victory to Airpush. That is all.


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