AppLift Review – Mobile Games Marketing Network
Overview: Who are AppLift?
AppLift is a mobile advertising platform aimed specifically at the mobile games market. They were founded in August 2012 by HitFox Group, Kaya Taner and Tim Koschella. The company is based in Berlin, with international offices in San Francisco and Seoul and their team consists of fifty mobile marketing professionals from fifteen different countries.
AppLift’s vision is to give both game publishers and developers an equal chance at success. They deliver this through sophisticated marketing and adaptable integration formats and tools that bring vital traffic installs to developers as well as monetisation services for the media partners that deliver the traffic.
Serial entrepreneur and HitFox Group CEO Jan Beckers says:
“The strong market position of AppLift is based on a world-class team, cutting-edge technology, a sustainable approach to partner relationships and an unwavering focus on flawless execution.”
AppLift is a rapidly growing company and they have raised a number of rounds of funding from venture capital and growth equity firm Prime Ventures: $13 million in June and another $7 million this October. On raising the initial $13 million (€10M) from Prime Ventures, Kaya Taner, Co-Founder and CEO at AppLift said:
“Prime Ventures’ entrepreneurial mindset is a perfect fit for us. We met them, got along immediately and agreed on a deal within five weeks. HitFox Group gave AppLift a great initial push into the market. Now Prime is the perfect addition to expand and strengthen our position internationally.”
AppLift has achieved a number of milestones gaining traction with both advertisers and developers:
- It is trusted by over a 100 game advertisers.
- It has live campaigns in over 180 different countries.
- It performs 80 million actions per month.
- More than a 1000 media partners are connected to their platform.
- They have more than 200 games live.
- Their eCPM goes up to $30.
In-game KPIs in the user’s lifecycle
AppLift’s LTV model, a guiding principle of their vision, focuses on Engagement, Retention and Virality – delivering improved monetisation and better ROI for user acquisition.
- Engagement: Average time in-app per session and total daily sessions/ DAU.
- Retention: Day 1, 7, 30. Daily active users – DAU. Daily new users – DNU.
- Virality: Facebook shares, referrals and reviews.
AppLift’s Kaya Taner at Social Gambling and Gaming Summit Berlin
Mobile Games Distribution 2.0 – Why App Stores are Not Enough
What does AppLift offer for advertisers?
AppLift offers the advertiser a variety of different methodologies to get the traffic flowing.
AppLifter – Burst Campaigns
For iOS devices they use ‘Burst Campaigns’ via their AppLifter product. What this product achieves is a healthy flow of traffic and average CPIs because it boosts the respective game into the top-ranking free games available on the App store.
ROI + Campaigns
The second methodology is using sustained acquisition campaigns which leads to an increase in the ROI at the end. These campaigns are closely monitored by AppLift to ensure that, financially, the best choices are continually being made.
Customer LTV and Optimization
Finally, AppLift uses LTV tracking and optimization tools, meaning the advertiser’s traffic is always optimised for the sources that are used; a high return on the game is the result. The best sources of traffic are then stored for positive ROI purposes, and the worst are decreased in number. Predictive tests are also run to ensure that the best new traffic sources are always being utilised. AppLift uses three parameters to achieve this:
- Retention: “What is the probability a user will be active day after day?”
- Monetisation: “How much money does a user spend within a given period?”
- Virality: “How many new users does one user generate?”
Some of AppLift’s Tracking Partners
AppLift integrates with a number of analytics and tracking services that enable accountability and transparency. Mobile campaigns can be optimised and strengthened from the data that is gathered by the tracking partners.
A few of AppLift’s Media Partners
AppLift’s media partners include a number of online services, magazines, mobile apps and games. These media partners help to generate traffic for a mobile game by utilising ads on their respective platforms.
- RTL Games
- GMO SmaAD
AppLift have a number of strengths that make them a good option for advertisers. This includes hands-on support and help with managing campaigns as well as a platform with powerful technology features and low initial financial requirements for getting started. Detailed below is a summary of their strengths:
- Cost efficient: No minimum spend and zero setup charges.
- Industry expertise: Campaigns are managed and maintained by specialists that hold industry expertise.
- Qualified support: The value of the marketing spend is optimised and carefully controlled by expert account mangers.
- Handpicked media partners: The media partners that are used are selected on their ability to perform to a high standard.
- Customized settings: Terms and conditions can be set on an individual basis.
- Cross-channel optimisation: Results are optimised through the use of millions of data points that cross through the key channels.
- Efficient budget allocation: The experience of working with 100+ games publishers and buying power at hand means prices are always the best they can be for partners. The quality is high, but the cost is minimal.
- Customer Lifetime Value approach: After the acquisition has been made the lifetime value approach, using tracking, maximizes the ROI.
AppLift at the Singapore International Convention and Exhibition 2013
5 Steps to Successfully Market Your Free-to-Play Game
AppLift offers a number of different ad formats to suit different types of advertisers and different types of campaign. This provides lots of options depending on the targeting and placement requirements. From AppLift’s variety of PlayAds to their video services, advertisers have a healthy amount of choices. The eight key ad formats are:
AppLift’s PlayAds SDK uses a variety of ad formats to bring in a flow of users. A key part of this successful acquisition is that the publishers AppLift uses have a relevant gaming audience at hand. Players are also engaged by the editorial content on offer, meaning higher conversion rates as a result.
AppLift PlayAds SDK Format Example
AppLift uses web-to-mobile integrations and a html mobile widget, allowing a game to be exposed to a website’s mobile traffic.
Mobile Web Format Example
AppLift harnesses messaging apps and works with email and SMS providers in order to utilise the power of social messaging for the mobile game. The mobile game is exposed to a social environment which means ongoing virality in turn.
Messaging Format Example
Video is a powerful tool for advertising purposes – AppLift uses this to bring in a variety of video audiences; an additional source of traffic for the mobile game.
Video Format Example
Custom App Integration
Custom app integrations, across a range of mobile apps, allow for an extended gaming-relevant audience. The formats are non-intrusive and flexible; as opposed to full advertising which may disturb the player and be detrimental to the mobile game’s longevity.
Custom App Integration Format Example
Blogs and editorial apps are allied with AppLift to ensure qualitative exposure. Campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks are also created in order to succeed the CPI target. Free and accurate exposure is a key benefit of this method.
Editorial Format Example
Numerous social media platforms are utlised by AppLift in the aim of further extending the exposure of the mobile game through enhanced campaigns.
Social Format Example
AppLift works with search engines and in-app mobile search, meaning the mobile game is exposed to natural search queries. Searching for a mobile game allows the user to find it with intention – this additional visibility is free.
Search Format Example
What does AppLift offer for game developers?
AppLift offers a range of products for developers to monetise their mobile games – depending on what the developer is looking for. PlayAds SDK, Mobile Widget, API and Custom Integration are the four key products for developers to utilise from AppLift:
PlayAds SDK is an efficient option for developers to monetise their traffic. Ad units are customisable and are integrated within the app for better user engagement.
PlayAds SDK Format Example
Benefits of this format
- Quick Set-up: Easy SDK integration and set up for the developer – both operating systems, Android and iOS, are included in this. Ad units can be changed quickly without the need for continual re-submission, as well as the ability to manage and monitor the performance directly.
- eCPM maximization: The fill rates are high, and click-through and conversion rates are maximised. Ad units are engaging for the user which drives traffic. The app store download page is easily accessible, meaning higher conversion rates.
- Churn minimization: The ad units can easily be adapted and customised to ensure that they fit within the mobile game’s content. The innovative ad units can be used in addition to more traditional formats; an additional revenue stream is the result.
HTML 5-centered technology enables the mobile widget to allow for easy and efficient monetisation of the website’s mobile traffic. This is performed through an app wall where offers from top-tier mobile game publishers will appear.
Mobile Widget Format Example
Benefits of this format
- An additional revenue stream comes from the website’s mobile traffic.
- A traffic switch mechanism within the widget attracts targeted iPhone, iPad or Android users with free-to-play mobile game offers.
- Maintenance and integration is taken care of by AppLift’s device-optimised microsites.
- Available offers are adapted by the eCPM optimisation algorithm – custom adjustments are also an option.
A flexible API integrates with AppLift’s server using any custom server side integration.
Benefits of this format
- All offers from AppLift are available from via their API.
- Manual workload is reduced meaning there is more time to drive profit.
- Data can be passed in JSON, XML or CSV formats for added flexibility.
This format allows the developer to determine where and how they want the ads to be integrated within the app.
Custom Integration Format Example
- QR Codes
- Offers are integrated with care
- Developers can determine the where and how of the ad
- Notifications can appear in-app as pop-ups
- At the end of an article there is a call-to-action button
- Interstitials and banners are available
AppLift’s Strengths for Developers
AppLift specialises in a number of areas for developers – they are good option for those looking for engaged users and a high level of customisation within their app, for example. Their strengths include:
- High eCPMs: AppLift’s high-engagement interstitials offer high-payouts.
- Customisation: The PlayAds units can adapt to match the feel and look of a developers app – the UI should be seamless as a result.
- Easy Setup: For both the iOS and Android operating systems, the integration of the interstitial SDK is easy.
- Interactivity: Users are engaged by the ad units, meaning it does not harm the user experience.
- Transparent Metrics: The metrics are transparent for easy monitoring of performance.
What do AppLift say?
AppLift’s CEOs recently sat down with the press to outline their vision with clarity. In an interview with Game Chosun, Tim Koschella, AppLift Co-Founder, Managing Director and currently heading operations at their Asian office in Seoul, spoke about AppLift’s global strengths and said:
“AppLift has a strong global team who speaks almost 20 different languages, having offices in Germany, United States and France. We are going to provide the effective marketing tool which can help our Asian clients distribute games globally.”
AppLift are known for their traffic optimisation skills on a global level. In an interview with GamesBeat, Hanno Fichtner, co-founder of HitFox, spoke about AppLift’s careful monitoring of traffic sources and said:
“AppLift optimizes traffic to drive higher customer-lifetime values. If a user is not converting, we analyze our traffic sources, and we kick out the sources that are not monetizing. Then, we focus on the interesting traffic sources and scale those up.”
AppLift Looks To China For Growth And New Partnerships
Mobile Games Opportunity AppLift
What do the Press say?
The press have been eagerly writing articles about the exciting new company – here is a selection of what they had to say:
On June 2nd, 2013, VentureBeat said:
“The company has more than 500 media partners who benefit from the opportunity to monetize in a non-intrusive and user-friendly way while receiving eCPMs (effective cost per thousand impressions) of up to $75.”
On June 2nd, 2013, PocketGamer said:
“Launched 10 months ago (in August 2012), AppLift can currently deliver up to 1 million mobile installs per month. It’s been working with 80 publishers including King, Wooga and Kabam and over 500 media partners such as RTL and Closer.”
On August 12th, 2011, Gamasutra said:
“For publishers, the start-up company says it will provide benefits via two main lines of fire: no fixed costs for the acquisition of new customers, and a target group of passionate gamers with high willingness to pay.”
On August 14th, 2012, gamesindustry.biz said:
“Being the worlds leading mobile mobile marketing platform focused only on games, AppLift meets a growing demand and will most likely find media partners and game publishers ready to listen.”
On June 2nd, 2013, TechCrunch said:
“AppLift’s platform is able to track, measure and benchmark the quality of players delivered with regards to retention, virality and, perhaps most importantly, monetisation, such as in-app purchases.”
AppLift on the Mobile Games Market
The role of a mobile game publisher is a difficult one, specifically when considering the the distribution of the games themselves. As a result of these challenges, AppLift has teamed up with Dutch game market research Newzoo to present some detailed information on the global mobile games market.
The data focuses on the six global regions and covers these key areas: revenue levels, growth opportunities, monetisation potential and user acquisition costs.
The information can be found below.
A Range of Options for Advertisers and Developers
In summary, AppLift offers a range of options for both advertisers and developers and is building one of the major platforms in the mobile games marketing and monetisation space.