Sell your app or run ads in it?

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Sell your app or run ads in it?

Postby ErnestoGuevara » Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:18 pm

So over here I started asking about the feasibility of serving ads in apps and such. The thread wasn't really about that originally so I think it's better to pick up in a new thread.

My basic question is: Should you sell an app for $.99 in the adnroid market, or distribute it for free and try to make money off of advertisements.

I'm assuming here that ads are not that tough to integrate into an app, even though this is not at all a foregone conclusion - I still don't fully understand how I'd put ads into my non-web-based app.

Regardless, here are some numbers I pulled out of thin air. Obviously, I could be way off, especially since this is going to be unique to each app.

Let's say I can get 50x as many players with my app if it's ad-supported compared to if I charge $.99USD on the android market.

1 user that pays $.99 is worth $.69 to me (I get 70%).
So what are 50 ad-supported users going to do for me?
I'll assume my average user opens the app 8 times. Most will open it less than that, but some will open it 50 times, balancing a lot of short-time users.
If I just sneak in ad once per activation, that would be 400 impressions for every one paid user I could have had.
Keywords relevant to the stuff I'm developing have fairly healthy cost per click on adwords, so I would expect my eCPM (income per 1000 impressions) to be relatively healthy as well - perhaps $5.

Which would lead to $2 of ad value for every $.70 of value a sold app would generate. Of course, I just pulled all of those numbers out of thin air. Users may not tolerate ads at all, or I may not get that many more users with a free app, or it may just be that android game players never ever ever click on ads, killing my CPM. On the other hand, maybe users will use my app more, or might not even balk at one ad shown every 5 or 10 minutes after startup, or maybe my game is very relevant to the advertising shown and my eCPM surpasses $5. Tough to say.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, particularly from anyone that is serving ads now - When/how do you show them? From what network? What do your users say about the ads? Care to share what your revenue per download is? Also I'd love to hear from anyone with experience with adsense - what kind of eCPMs would you expect from what kind of ad-serving situations?

Btw have you guys checked out Papijump? I think this is a pretty decent model - when you submit your high score you get a page with sponsored links. Of course then you have to build a web infrastructure around your app. At least this way you don't have to interrupted the game experience at all. My issue is that many players will never submit their high score at all, and those who do may submit once, then realize how far down the ladder they are, and not submit very often after that.

Che
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Postby MrSnowflake » Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:24 pm

I think integrating ads is relatively simple if you have a Google ads account (forgive me for not know the correct name). You can integrate a webview in you activity, which loads an add like you would load an add on a webpage. If the add isn't found (no connection) you hide the WebView. When the user clicks the link, you have the browser started with your reference information (again, like the link on a webpage). Wouldn't that work.

As for your revenue. I don't know.. :)
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Postby ErnestoGuevara » Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:36 pm

I was thinking the WebView is the way to do it, but in order to get ads from google, you have to supply them a web page that they can use to determine what ads are relevant. So if all you want to show is ads, you'd have to create a dummy webpage that you don't even plan on showing anybody and stuff it with a bunch of keywords. That's where I start to worry- I'm not sure google would be really happy about showing ads based on content that isn't even displayed. Might be against their TOS or something.

The more I think about it the more I like Papijump's model using a game to drive website traffic. I'm sure it's making a non-negligible amount of money with more than 50000 downloads and a 4.5 star rating (suggesting people will keep playing).

Che
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Postby egyptian » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:48 am

Search the Android Market for "ForeverFall" and you will find my game. I've incorporated a webview for my high scores which loads a page from my server. in that page, i serve ads. I've made quite a bit off the ads (much more than I expected). I'm also going to sell the game with less ads and increased functionality. I'm keeping the free version fully functional just because of how much money I've generated from the ads and clicks.


btw.... You should look into Microsoft's ad center... https://beta.pubcenter.microsoft.com/

I got banned by adsense a while back because my friend's curiosity got me in trouble (he kept clicking thinking I wouldn't get in trouble). So i started looking else where... Microsoft's is earning much more than I ever expected.
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Postby ErnestoGuevara » Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:15 am

Egyptian, thanks for the information, I really appreciate it. I will check out the MS ad center.

I like how you've integrated your in-game ads. They are relatively unobtrusive but still get noticed. The decision to post a high score and get a new set of ads at the end of each game looks like a good one. I'm going to try to incorporate a high score mechanism in my future efforts. I find it amusing, but totally reasonable, that you've built so much infrastructure around a relatively simple game. I envy the big advantage you'll have in being able to re-use it all in future titles.

If you'd like to see an alternate strategy, check out Beat The Joker Slots. I have admob feeding me ads and showing a little drop-down text box across the top of the screen during game play (the game doesn't really have an "end" where I could show ads before starting again). The killer is that on some days my fill rates get as low as 60%, so if I release another ad-supported game I'm going to make a point to integrate multiple ad networks to up the fill rate and give users more ad variety.

Your in-game ads --- are they formatted that way when you get them from Microsoft and Bidvertiser? Or do you take fields that they provide and format the ad yourself? Do they expect a web page to draw keywords from, like Adsense does?
Search "Awesome Android Apps" in the market
http://www.awesomeandroidapps.com
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Postby egyptian » Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:24 am

I'll admit I sat there for a while playing your game. It's pretty fun! I don't like AdMob for one reason... The focus goes away from the game which I think may annoy players. That's why I went with a WebView for high scores is so that the player is always within the application.

I didn't have to input any keywords, Microsoft and BidVertiser read the content of the page and display ads depending on what's there. What's neat about this being in a high scores page is the players have all sorts of names and this draws a huge range of ads to the page. I'm disappointed in BidVertiser, their CPC is really low (around .05/click at the moment) and their ad selection is HORRIBLE... I've had this Rachel ray ad as basically the only one for the last month. I'm VERY impressed with Microsoft however. Their ad quality is great and very visually appealing. Also, they have a great selection and their statistics are definitely up to par! I've suggested to Microsoft to allow a fallback option to put in JavaScript. This will allow me to show another publisher's ads when Microsoft doesn't have anything to serve. For now, I have it falling back onto a php page which generates an image with tips & info I would like to give my players.

About the formatting, the ads from Bidvertiser and Microsoft are actually pre-formatted this way. I don't modify their code in any way. I tried to use AdBrite ads, but they're not very feasible for a mobile web-browser. They also drug in some square banner ads which killed the loading time and frustrated several players.

I do have a lot of work to do on increasing the visual appeal to the game, but I'm happy with the use I'm getting right now from the game. I'm averaging about 2000-3000 games played per day! :)
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Postby ErnestoGuevara » Thu Feb 26, 2009 7:13 am

Glad you like the game. Rate me good ;)

I kind of worry about losing focus with admob as well, but I haven't had many complaints about it. I think it annoys users a little more that it kills fps during the 1-2 seconds it takes to load. I'm getting about 4c per click from them ( :-( ) , with a CTR that runs between 1.0 and 1.6%... I'm most annoyed that I only get a 73% fill rate, and it will probably get worse as my user base becomes more stable, because I'll be requesting ads for the same users over and over again (My CTR will probably drop lower too).

I notice your ads have a bit of a UI black hole from when you click on them to when they pop up... kind of leaves me feeling stranded. Is it possible to throw up another indefinite progress bar while you're waiting for the page to load?
Search "Awesome Android Apps" in the market
http://www.awesomeandroidapps.com
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Postby egyptian » Thu Feb 26, 2009 7:22 am

What you're getting with AdMob sounds a lot like what i'm getting with BidVertiser. With Microsoft however... man.. I can't even begin to compliment their earnings!!!

Just to give you an idea....

Clicks: 22
Impr.: 10,511
CTR: .209%
eCPM: $4.02
Revenue: $42.26

Today's a bit much as far as revenue... average days are around $10.00 or so. But yeah... that's much more than I expected of ads... I wish I could e-mail every person that clicks and say "THANKS!!!!!" lol I've had some clicks that generated $10+ FOR ONE CLICK.... yeah... Microsoft's met and beat my expectations and I HIGHLY recommend them.

Well, I don't know if that's a lot or not compared to other developers serving ads... but to me it's plenty to help out with my upcoming wedding (not cheap... not cheap at all!) :)

As for the UI black hole... I'm definitely going to have to do some research on that. I definitely want my sponsors to get something for what they're giving me!!
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Postby droozen » Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:27 am

So, how did you guys manage to embed Microsoft ads into your apps, if you're willing to share? Before I sign up anywhere, I'd like to know how the code and process works a little better. I'm pretty new to the mobile app developing market, after all.
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Postby ErnestoGuevara » Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:28 am

Probably best to check out our apps and see for yourself. I'm using the AdMob SDK exclusively in Beat The Joker Slots, which can show ads inside any activity. Egyptian is using a variety of mobile ad networks inside a webview in his 4Ever Fall, which is a widget that can display web content. He can speak for himself, but I imagine he's getting the entire page from a web server and displaying it as-is.
Search "Awesome Android Apps" in the market
http://www.awesomeandroidapps.com
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Postby droozen » Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:31 am

ErnestoGuevara wrote:Probably best to check out our apps and see for yourself. I'm using the AdMob SDK exclusively in Beat The Joker Slots, which can show ads inside any activity. Egyptian is using a variety of mobile ad networks inside a webview in his 4Ever Fall, which is a widget that can display web content. He can speak for himself, but I imagine he's getting the entire page from a web server and displaying it as-is.


All right. Well, that was kind of what I was curious about, since the Microsoft ads looked like it needed to be a web page.

Unfortunately, I don't think I can get your apps yet. I still don't have a G1, I've just been developing with the emulator so far...
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Postby egyptian » Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:06 pm

Yeah. I couldn't imagine programming games and apps with just the emulator. Hats off to you for being able to do that! I have to constantly compile the app to see progress.

As for the ads, ErnestoGuevara is right. I am using the WebView widget with a progress bar to let the view know that the page is loading (I found that to be essential). Also, you have to enable JavaScript.

I submit the scores to the server using a posting script so that the player doesn't see anything being transferred or the page it's going to if the network goes down.

Microsoft's adCenter can be a bit confusing at first but spend an hour playing around and you'll have it down pat. Some tips are:

1st: create a property (a property is a web page... they have to be approved by Microsoft before you start getting good ads to show up on that page)
2nd: create ad units (these are the ads themselves. You can have a max of THREE per page. You can create ad units and put them in a page before Microsoft approves the property (the page they're on). After Microsoft approves the property, I've noticed that profits from that page grow more.
3rd: Create channels to keep track of which page is doing better or whether the top is doing better than the bottom on average and what not.

If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me: ODSLabs@GMail.com
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Postby droozen » Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:15 pm

egyptian wrote:Yeah. I couldn't imagine programming games and apps with just the emulator. Hats off to you for being able to do that!


Yeah, not too bad actually, but it would be nice to have a G1 to show people, and thoroughly test them so I could publish to the market. When I get the money...
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Postby egyptian » Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:19 pm

Feel free to e-mail me the apk for testing. You can put some code in there to make it stop working at a specific date if you're worried about anything. I'd love to help a fellow dev.
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Postby Emmanuel7 » Sat Feb 28, 2009 3:30 am

That's really interesting, thanks for sharing !!

And what are the constraints on your web page ?
Is it complicated to have something with the ad that fit in the android WebView ?

Is it possible, by the way, that you give us the URL of the page the webview point at, so we can see what it looks like in a classic browser ?

Thanks again,
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