Home   Archive by category "App World"

Category Archives: App World

How Creative Innovation Drives Mobile Growth

In the mobile app world, innovation and creativity is required in order to grow and survive. Unique concepts, stunning artwork, and addictive gameplay have all contributed to breakout successes for many apps. However, in the recent GamesBeat Summit, Nexon’s CEO Owen Mahoney pointed out how acquiring new players these days is difficult because so many mobile games are all alike.

With that said, innovation does not necessarily mean you have to have a completely new idea. You don’t have to be first, you just have to be better. The following are a few examples of good ideas being taken to the next level.

1.Slither.io – ing to Success:

MobileAction recently studied how Slither.io has driven over 16 million downloads since its recent release, breaking through the App Store clutter of classic Snake game clones. With a nod towards Agar.io, the developers created an updated visual appeal with vivid colors. The simple controls ensure a quick “pick up and play immediately” experience. They also kept an eye on the most requested features and improvements by listening to players feedback.

2. The Evolution of Emojis:

Bitmoji innovation

Bitmoji innovation

With mobile devices becoming a primary mode of communication amongst teens, emoji is quickly evolving into a new shorthand language that is innovating the UX design of classic functions that can transcend language barriers. As the CEO of emoji app Riffsy pointed out at the Grow MAU conference, emoji’s are the most used apps on iOS. This is no doubt why Snapchat recently paid a whopping $100 million for personal emoji app, Bitmoji.

EmojiDominos-1-300x178

Other brands are using emoji’s in unusual ways as well. Domino’s now even let’s their users tweet their pizza order with an emoji. The system is a product of Domino’s AnyWare suite of mobile ordering technology, which is developing software to allow customers to order food from multiple devices, such as smart televisions to smartwatches.

3. Deck Building Clash:

Through the years, physical deck building card games like Magic and Dominion have gained a dedicated fan base. So it was only natural for developers to create a mobile app that utilized the best of that gameplay.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is an example of a free-to-play online collectable card game which has had great success with both its theming (using the lore of the Warcraft series) as well as successfully monetizing through tempting in-app purchases giving the advantage of more powerful cards.)

SuperCell has previous found great success with Hay Day, which offered a FarmVille-type of experience without needing Facebook and many other user-friendly improvements to the experience. With just 3 games, Supercell made $924M in profits on $2.3B in revenue in 2015.

clash-royale-large-930x635-300x205

Their newest release, Clash Royale, injects the massively profitable Clash of Clans brand DNA into their own version of a deck-builder game. Instead of feeling like a copy-cat clone, the combination of genres and gameplay mechanics in Clash Royale actually works incredibly well for a mobile game. And according to CEO Ilkka Paananen, SuperCell killed over 14 game titles in their quest to find their next hit with Clash Royale. The game has been No 1 in 44 countries and now boasts over 100 Million Daily active users. This success will most likely lead to a flood of clones. The challenge for those developers will be to find how to do it better and with their own distinct twist.

4. New Growth Campaigns that Tap into the Power of App Store Search:

Innovations don’t only come from the creation of the apps, but also in marketing them. Hundreds of mobile ad networks compete for advertising dollars. We have noticed that there is a lot of copying of best practices, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of innovation in how to give advertisers the best value for their campaigns.

With 67 percent of mobile users reporting that the last app downloaded was found through an app store search, ranking at the top of searches for relevant keywords has become a critical part of the success for mobile apps and games. Yet, almost all mobile adveritising campaigns have ignored the impact of ranking high in search results which can keep an app visible and can drive organic installs from users in the critical moment when they are actually searching apps in the store with the intent of downloading.

searchspike1-300x231

NativeX launched Search Spike specifically built to drive major increase to your keyword rank. It impacts factors off-page factors like downloads and CTR. Search Spike is driving measurable increases in offer wall performance for both publishers and advertisers alike from real, engaged users.

In summary, the winners in mobile growth will be those who are innovative with original projects as well as those creative and savvy enough to recognize golden opportunities found in new twists on the familiar and who can make good ideas into great success.


Will Apple’s paid search product level the playing field for game publishers?

Following Google’s efforts in 2015 to launch paid search on Google Play, there are now rumors that Apple will be coming out with paid search for iPhone and iPad.

There are mixed opinions on how paid search will impact mobile app developers. Several of the opinions can be found on this VentureBeat post.

My belief is paid search does have the potential to create better opportunities for mobile app developers versus pure organic app store search distribution or display advertising. There are so many keywords which can drive meaningful traffic, that it is unlikely the top grossing developers would be able to design apps which would be suitable for all of them. Mobile app developers are less likely to be squeezed as much in paid search as they are in display advertising.


NativeX Launches New Video Ad Format

Sponsored Post

Introducing a new Mini Multi-Offer ad format “Triad.” Triad combines the latest mobile video ad technology with NativeX’s industry leading selection of native advertising formats to give users the choice of which ads to engage with. Triad joins the NativeX Discovery Suite to give developers the right ad format to optimize strategic placements in their apps for a more native experience with higher impact.

Read the Full Post Here.

See Video:

A New Beginning for the NativeX Team

Being an entrepreneur is very fulfilling but also a grind at the same time. Thankfully, you get to share your pioneering experiences with a tremendous team of employees and board members. You also get to establish commercial partnerships with some pretty amazing people as well.

Yesterday, we announced our plans to merge NativeX with China-based Mobvista. This merger creates a new beginning for our team at NativeX. I’d like to personally thank all of our alumni, our current employees, and all of our current and past business partners for getting on the trail with us.

Here are four posts which offer some different perspectives on the merger announcement-

I look forward to our new beginning with the team at Mobvista.


Top Factors Which Impact Google Play Store’s Search Algorithm

In this recent VentureBeat article you’ll find the following very precise illustration of how the factors for search rankings impact where apps are ranked on Google’s Play Store (Android):

ASO: Off-Page & On-Page Google Play & Android Search Ranking Factors

To expand your knowledge on the subject of app store optimization for an app you are publishing, you should study the above info-graphic.

For more in-depth details on the topic of App Store optimization, check out this free App Store Optimization (ASO) report.

To learn what factors influence Apple’s search ranking algorithm, go factors impacting Apple’s search algorithm.


Secret Factors Behind Apple’s App Store Search Ranking Algorithm Revealed

VentureBeat’s recent post ‘Boosting organic downloads: ASO in 4 simple steps’ has an outstanding image showing how the iPhone and iPad App Store search rankings work:

ASO: Off-Page & On-Page iPhone & iPad Search Ranking Factors

If you are looking into app store optimization for an app you are publishing, you should memorize this image.

For more in-depth details into App Store optimization tips and tricks, check out this free App Store Optimization white paper.


Top Tools for App Store Search Optimization

If an app is published in the App Store, and no one finds it, it is invisible. In order to prevent publishing invisible apps, App Store keyword optimization is key for most publishers. And understanding Apple’s search ranking secrets is no easy task. Fortunately, there are a number of tools out there to help app publishers maximize their App Store search traffic. Here are some of my favorites-

SensorTower– SensorTower provides a very useful free tool for selecting the right keywords to target. Not only do you learn which keywords are the most popular, but also how competitive those keywords are so you can select keywords to optimize for where you have a realistic opportunity to land in the top 3 rankings.
TUNE’s App Store Intelligence Service– One of the biggest challenges while optimizing your app’s search traffic is how to measure what keywords are driving what installs. Following their acquisition of MobileDevHQ, TUNE has a premium offering whereby they will map out your organic installs by different keywords.
Google’s AB Testing for App Store Pages– As part of Google Play, Google now providers a service for app publishers to AB their store pages. This is freaking awesome, as not only can you use this AB testing for the Android version of your app, but you can also take your winning store page and mimic in on your iOS store page.
NativeX Search Spike Keyword Campaigns– I’d also like to mention my innovative new pet project at NativeX called Search Spike. Search Spike is an innovative new ad product launched in early 2016 which has no direct competition at scale. As long as you have a budget of $5,000 per month or more, Search Spike will help you dominate keyword rankings by running keyword optimized ad campaigns proven to positively impact your rankings. Most developers using Search Spike report seeing an over 100 percent increase in their organic keyword traffic!

Got another App Store Optimization tool to recommend? Please leave a comment to expand on this list.


Apple Dots Its Privacy ‘I’s In iOS 9, While Google Appears To Back Pedal

[Originally posted on AdExchanger, September 1st, 2015]

The debate around privacy – and where Google stands – is kicking up on the eve of Apple’s upcoming September launch of iOS 9.

Why? Because though advertising revenue hardly tickles the bottom line at Apple, its decision to enable content blocking in iOS 9 affects how Google’s developers monetize.

Apple’s content-blocking feature allows developers to create extensions that block cookies, images and trackers. Apple also is implementing a security and encryption provision in iOS 9 called App Transport Security (ATS) that will require developers to use secure communication – known as TLS, or transport layer security, the successor to SSL – between their apps and web services.

Continue to read the full post here


Are You Punishing Players Who Pay? Rethinking Monetization Strategies.

Rethinking Monetization Strategies that Are Choking Valued Players Out of Your Game.

I am proud to be a ‘whale’ when it comes to free-to-play mobile games. (That means I am a player who is willing to pay for in-app purchases that help my enjoyment and progression in the games I play.) But lately, some free-to-play games have made me feel punished for paying.

Game Monetization Strategies

Game Monetization Strategies

To explain, let me share a bit of background. I used to be a big console gamer in my youth. But now that I have a family with three young kids, it’s hard for me to find time to play console games anymore. And when I do play them, I end up being destroyed by younger players who are far more skilled than me. Not fun.

So, free-to-play mobile (F2P) games now fill that gaming void in my life. I play a range of games – match 3s, arcade-style, endless runners, and tower defense; or I’ll check out whatever is trending on the charts regardless of the genre. I am quite willing to buy virtual currency or items in mobile games, as long as they add value to my playing experience. If paying a buck or two helps me crush a friend, upgrade my character, or finally get through an unbeatable level, it’s worth every penny to me.

Value Exchange Video Ads

Value Exchange Video Ads

But, I also really like having ad-funded options like watching a video to earn extra currency, as that gives me an opportunity to improve my playing experience without always having to open up my wallet. In fact, I often find that the ad-funded options to earn currency enhance my gameplay, as I can advance in the game more quickly than I otherwise could, which generally causes me to purchase items more frequently than I typically would. Rewarding me for my attention is a positive bonus that I welcome that makes me feel good about paying because I don’t feel forced to pay to play.

But there is a recurring monetization strategy that makes users stop playing. We are literally choked out of games we that we otherwise enjoy playing. How? After I make my first in-app purchase and become a player who paid for content, I am considered converted to their “paying player” monetization strategy. At this point, many games now choose to eliminate any free ad options I have that allow me to earn currency going forward. So I no longer get the same extra bonuses other non-paying players get unless I pay every time. Ugh! As a player, why should I be penalized and no longer have ad-funded options the minute I become a payer?

Logically, developers may feel that if they identify users who are willing to pay for a premium experience, that they need to remove free rewards which should push those paying players to buy more. But it’s flawed logic. First, if a user feels cheated or that the game is shaking him down for more money because he is an easy target, he will leave your game with a bad taste in his mouth. Second, there may be a misconception that users prefer ad-free games, when the reality is that many find the ad-funded options a benefit to gameplay and would encourage more ad-sponsored options to improve the free gaming experiences.

Here are just a couple of player reviews I found from some popular mobile games talking about rewarded ads and video.

“Great game! I love run games. Huge Tomb Raider fan… Yes there are ads but they don’t last long and it doesn’t interrupt game play and I love the idea of watching a ad video to revive. Works for me every time.”
M.W. June 13, 2015 (Google Play Review: Lara Croft: Relic Run)

“I really like the way they do their advertising. No banner ads to accidentally click on, no mandatory videos to watch…just a 15 sec optional video at the end of every level that rewards you with a difficulty-linked amount of in-game money if you choose to watch it.”
Nependerp, Jan 4, 2015 (Google Play Review: Tower Madness 2)

“This is one of my favourite games…Thank you for adding the new way to get extra moves with gold. It shows that you have been listening to our reviews.”
D.M. June 5, 2015 (Google Play Review: Best Fiends)

As “Crossy Road” co-creator Andrew Sum stated in a recent article, “Treat your players with respect. Make a game that people will want to share, and encourage them to come back tomorrow.”

So, in order to monetize me, you need to respect me. You can’t cut off the bonus offers you give to non-paying gamers just because I have paid once. Don’t punish me for purchasing and I’ll happily keep coming back to play.

Rob Weber,
CEO, NativeX

* NativeX is a provider of monetization and / or user acquisition solutions for the games mentions in this post, including Crossy Road, Lara Croft: Relic Run, Tower Madness 2, and Best Fiends


Apple is now rejecting iOS games which contain adverts that mention other platforms

[Originally posted on PocketGamer.biz, April 21st 2015]

Apple’s App Store Review guidelines for developers state “Apps or metadata that mentions the name of any other mobile platform will be rejected”

Developers have recently seen Apple enforcing this policy – not for the app’s name, content or metadata, but for their monetization solutions.

These apps are rejected for showing ads that feature references to other mobile platforms.

Developers are told they will not be approved until all tags, references and images related to Google Play and Windows Store are removed from the ads.

Continue to read the full post here


NativeX names new CEO and launches multi-offer mobile video ads

[Originally posted on VentureBeat, March 12th 2015]

NativeX, a maker of ad technology for mobile games, has named its cofounder Rob Weber as its new chief executive. On top of that, the company told GamesBeat that it is launching its new Triad video ad format that offers mobile gamers their choice of which video ads to view.

Weber, who previously headed business development, replaces Andy Johnson, who will remain chairman. Weber cofounded W3i with his twin brother Ryan in 2007. In 2013, they rebranded the company as NativeX to focus on native advertising, or ads that are built into mobile games and appear to be a natural part of the app itself. Andy Johnson joined the company in 2007 to head the PC business, and he was appointed CEO in early 2014 to help bring more big-company discipline to NativeX.

In an interview with GamesBeat, Weber said that he prefers a flat management style, and he may make some changes to the organization as a result. He also hired Mike Wallin, formerly of PlayPhone, as vice president of business development as Weber’s replacement. Ryan Weber remains chief product officer.

Continue to read the full post here