You’ve created a great mobile app. Now what? Most new app developers—that is, someone developing his or her first app for an Android or iPhone—have a hard time getting “discovered” and making money from their apps, according to Pontiflex CEO and cofounder Zephrin Lasker and Moonbeam CEO Richard Harris. Both advise a strong ad strategy based on Google’s AdSense for Mobile Applications (AFMA) program, Pontiflex’s AppLeads, or Apple’s iAd platform.
Pontiflex, a tech startup located in Brooklyn, N.Y, creates in-app ads called AppLeads that collect user data to send to app developers so that they can reconnect with customers to discuss new releases or updates. Advertising companies pay between US$80–100 clicks per thousand users on average, Lasker said.
Moonbeam currently has six apps (of the 45 Android and 25 iPhone apps it has written) in the Pontiflex advertising program, which is an SDK available free on its website to app developers. The SDK provides the coding to include AppLeads in any application for Android or iPhone. Ninety percent of the company’s apps use Google’s AFMA program, which is currently in closed beta since 2009.
Harris said he’s only been working with Pontiflex AppLeads for three months, but that it has been a “productive and fast” three months, with his monthly revenue for all apps at $25,000 and steadily increasing with the addition of AppLeads to the company’s application advertising strategy.
“No one has created ads that will work for apps,” said Lasker. “For most ads, you have to leave the browser [by clicking on the ad located in the app, usually at the bottom of the screen], and it’s really slow.”
With Pontiflex, he continued, the user never leaves the application to sign up for, and view, an ad.
Brian Long, vice president of mobile development at Pontiflex, said in his presentation at the company’s AppNation conference held late last month that end users are fully aware of what they are signing up for when they have their information sent to advertisers and the app developers’ database. For an AFMA app ad, users click the ad (not always intentionally as explained), and they are removed from the application, unaware of whether or not their data has been collected by a third party, he said.
Developers and development companies can also advertise their own applications within AppLeads so that they can alert users of updates and new products.
Lasker said the in-app AppLeads have a higher response rate because the sign-up process is simple and people don’t have to leave the application. There is also less of a chance for mistaken clicks, something Harris said happens often with AFMA.
Although Harris said the company likes many things about the AFMA program (which reportedly made Google $2.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to an earnings report released Jan. 20), there were some things they disliked, including the fact that Google gets to determine what is a valid click. Harris said the amount of clicks, and the success of that method, often depends on the placement within the app itself.
“We tried bottom placement and top placement in the app screen itself, but bottom just seemed to work best [for Google ads],” Harris said. Apple’s program does not provide an ad every time the app is opened on a mobile device, while Google and Pontiflex do.
Drew Ianni, president and event chairman of AppNation, said that these mobile apps, and apps in general, are becoming the platform of the Internet. He added that apps will soon be ubiquitous across devices and platforms, and that these will usher in the age of “Net 3.0,” what he referred to as the “third wave of computing.”