Compete for coupons and prizes in Harvest Snaps’ ChamPEAnship on Facebook

champeanship-650

Healthy snack company Harvest Snaps has launched a custom advergame on Facebook called ChamPEAnship. Inspired by the world of Winter sports, the game sees players competing in events like downhill skiing and snowboarding, while learning more about the Happy Snaps brand.

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Stick & Play lets you create games playable in Facebook News Feeds

Image via Stick & Play

Image via Stick & Play

Stick & Play has announced its new Facebook feed gaming service of the same name, allowing brands and developers to create games that can be played directly within the Facebook News Feed.

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Facebook unveils mobile discovery platform to help smaller game developers

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Facebook has today announced the launch of a new games discovery program that will work to help players discover titles from smaller, independent developers, which are normally hidden behind the larger and dominant companies in the space (Zynga, King, etc.).

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appnext aims to improve game discovery and ad revenue for developers now on mobile

f95780e42d9290a80bc75e424264f340Social games network appnext has announced that it has brought its in-game advertising network to mobile. Game developers will now be able to bring players to other games and applications through unobtrusive in-game advertising in their mobile applications. With Facebook’s heavy emphasis on mobile in the last year, the addition of mobile advertising looks to solve the pain points of app discovery and interruptive advertising.

With appnext’s mobile game monetization and discovery network, game developers can present advertisements through an in-game event or with the branded “More Games” tab. The company has shared that this network can generate up to a 25 percent increase in engagement rates. When clearer game descriptions were included, the complementary games offered results in higher quality clicks meaning a better conversion rate. (more…)

Guest Post: King.com’s move to pull ads more about user experience and less about the effectiveness of in-game advertising

PapayaMobile Chris Hanage Oct2012 colour

King’s decision to pull all its in-game advertising from mobile, web and tablet shouldn’t be seen as a judgement on the effectiveness of advertising, but rather as a decision to put the user experience ahead of advertising revenue. With the rise of freemium and paymium apps, we’ve seen rapid growth of in-app advertising both as a key discovery channel and way to drive installs. In addition to this, it signifies advertising as an earner in its own right for any publisher with a big installed base. At first glance then, King’s decision seems to run contrary to the trend of using more advertising, rather than less. After all, with the daily spend on install based advertising passing $80,000 in order to get to the top of Apple’s app store, many developers are prioritizing advertising spend above everything else.

The reality is that King understands very well that there’s a trade-off between in-app ads and retention rates. High retention rates are vital for getting to the top of the app stores if you’re not willing to spend your way to get there. Yes, by reducing advertising spend you may decrease the flow of new users and lower your ARPU, if the number of highly engaged, loyal players that spend more on IAP rises to more than the amount lost from the decrease, the net revenues will be higher.

For a game that is engaging and monetizing as well as Candy Crush Saga, there is an opportunity cost to showing advertising. Poorly integrated advertising can be very jarring and deliver a poor overall experience. This has certainly been an accusation leveled at many freemium games in the past, even those from chart-topping developers. For an app to be successful, retention is as important as acquisition. Retention drives the majority of IAP over time. So King may well have seen that there is a far bigger upside in terms of keeping users playing its games than there in generating revenues through advertising. In response, it has adjusted its strategy to fit this new model.

Perhaps one of the lessons here is that effective In-app advertising isn’t about cramming ads into every spare inch of a game; it’s about fitting into the UI in an unobtrusive way that doesn’t detract from the user experience or gameplay. Done well, advertising is a vital part of the business model behind the majority of apps. Some developers create a user experience which is actually optimised so that the display of adverts like interstitials is seamless within transitions and loading screens, while some will look to focus on in-app purchasing for revenue instead. There is no set method for turning a popular app into a cash-generating one: any developer that takes the advertising route needs to think carefully about how and where in-app ads appears in their games, in the same way they would think about in-app purchasing or the price strategy for a premium title.

Chris Hanage is Managing Director for Europe at mobile distribution and monetisation company PapayaMobile. Prior to joining PapayaMobile in September 2011, Chris spent two years as Business Development Director at branded mobile internet and operator portal site developer Momac.

MediaSpike goes mobile, hires Manny Anekal as CRO

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In-game product placement advertising company MediaSpike today announced it’s making its services available to mobile developers and that it has hired Manny Anekal as Chief Revenue Officer. Anekal, who formerly led in-game advertising sales at Zynga, EA and Microsoft, will also “initiate” the company’s presence in New York City

MediaSpike is geared towards letting developers and advertisers work together to put product brands into games with a minimal amount of fuss. The way the system works is developers can apply two-dimensional images with product advertisements to parts of their game.

MediaSpike allows advertisers to use lightweight SDKs to target specific user groups while the company’s background servers do the lion’s share of the work. An advertiser selects the target audience’s demographics (which determines which partner game the content will appear in) and the length of the campaign. From there, the SDK lets a user select what type of item would sport a brand image, with arbitrary sizing being automatically supported.

Now iOS and Android game developers can join MediaSpike’s platform lineup alongside offerings for Flash and javascript developers. Mobile game developers can add this new revenue stream by dropping in the appropriate library and declaring which objects can become placements. MediaSpike then works with major brands to place the appropriate ads.

MediaSpike also revealed that a recent campaign for Pepsi which placed virtual vending machines in Gaia Online had players interacting with the machines and even complaining when the campaign was finished and the machines removed.

Director of Digital Brand Marketing at PepsiCo Beverages Andrea Harrison said “We love seeing these kinds of results.”

Director of Sales & Business Development at Gaia Interactive Christopher Castagnetto was also pleased with the service. “For a small, one-time integration effort you get a new, on-going revenue stream that also enhances the user experience,“ he said. “We’re looking forward to many more product placement campaigns.”

Director of Sales & Business Development at Gaia Interactive Christopher Castagnetto was also pleased with the service. “For a small, one-time integration effort you get a new, on-going revenue stream that also enhances the user experience,“ he said. “We’re looking forward to many more product placement campaigns.”

Tapjoy hires Jeff Drobick as CPO

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Mobile advertising and publishing platform Tapjoy today announced it hired Jeff Drobick as Chief Product Officer. Drobick was formerly President and CEO of Geeknet Media and eBay Vice President of Information Management & Delivery.

“Jeff’s combination of bidded ad platform expertise and the proven delivery of data-rich applications will have a significant impact on our product roadmap and how we serve our clients and partners,” Tapjoy President and CEO Steve Wadsworth said in a statement. “The CPO role is vital at any technology company, particularly in a sector that moves as rapidly as mobile. This addition also speaks to the incredible opportunity ahead for Tapjoy, as we refine and focus our product roadmap and position the company for our next phase of growth.”

We last heard from Tapjoy when it announced its partnership with Kontagent, a mobile app analytics company known for its kSuite platform. The partnership with Kontagent allowed the two companies to release the app analytics platform, the Kontagent Partner Edition, for all developers and advertisers working with Tapjoy.

Tapjoy also recently brought on CFO and Executive Vice President at Acxiom Corporation Warren C. Jenson to the company’s Board of Directors.

SupersonicAds aims to make social/mobile game advertising more manageable with Ultra server

SSA_logo_BLACK_n_READ_FOR_BRIGTS_BGs copyOne of the ongoing issues we hear about from developers is how difficult it is to monetize the free players who don’t convert. While in-game ads are often the default solution, it can be difficult to manage the content provided by ad services, especially if more than one network’s been partnered with. Mobile and web ad monetization group Supersonic Ads Media Group is looking to streamline the experience with its newly-launched Ultra server.

Ther server is a Supply Side Platform (SSP) powered by SupersonicAds. Using Ultra, publishers and developers can use a single ad server for all their social game ad formats. In layman’s terms, that means devs can perform multiple tasks without having to deal with multiple integrations and reporting systems.

“The ad formats in social games are focused on rewards-based advertising,” SupersonicAds CEO Gil Shoham tells us. ”These are basically offers that provide virtual currency and incentivized videos. There isn’t any ad server out there to deal with these formats in terms of optimization, virtual currency, and fraud.

“We’ve discovered that social game developers have some very specific needs and requirements different than other content providers. Every ad network that a publisher would like to integrate includes a technical aspect,” he further notes. According to Shoham, dealing with these multiple software integrations takes time away from game development, something many smaller studios can’t really afford due to limited resources.

Shoham tells us Ultra’s been in development for over a year, though it soft-launched about six months ago. So far, he says approximately 30 developers are currently using Ultra’s toolset to help manage their advertising. While a complete list of these developers hasn’t been released, one high-profile partner already making use of Ultra is King.com. The Candy Crush Saga developer has been working with Supersonic Ads for years, we learn.

Both Ultra and SupersonicAds’ established services are clearly paying off for the company. So far, the company’s been venture-funded, though Shohan reveals it was profitable in 2012. For more information about SupersonicAds and Ultra, check out the company’s official website.

Gameforge reveals SponsorPay helped convert 16 percent of non-paying users

sponsorpayfeatureMassively Multiplayer Online Game provider Gameforge today revealed it saw a dramatic increase in user conversion due to SponsorPay’s advertising platform.

Gameforge’s data comes from a yearlong study it conducted, which shows 16.4 percent of non-paying users converted to paying users within the 12-month period. Additionally, the study shows 3 percent of these converted users purchased virtual currency and/or premium content in these games over 20 times during the study.

In a statement, Gameforge Payment Product Director Andreas Schulze noted his company expects to see continued conversion growth. He also said he thinks SponsorPay has positioned Gameforge to take advantage of the direction the market’s headed.

One of the biggest concerns among social and mobile companies is how to increase user conversion and increase monetization, so data like this will likely make the platform an appealing potential partner for developers. This is the second time in as many weeks that SponsorPay’s had results to brag about: Earlier this month, the company reported it more than doubled revenues in 2012 thanks to a 479 percent growth in transactions on its platform.

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SponsorPay grows by 126% in 2012

Value-exchange advertising company SponsorPay today announced it more than doubled revenues in 2012 thanks to a 479 percent growth in transactions on its platform.

SponsorPay credited this growth to its BrandEngage platform, its mobile ad network and user acquisition campaigns for Fortune 500 brands and app developers.

“Mobile became the dominant growth engine for SponsorPay last year,” CRO and co-founder of SponsorPay Janis Zech said. “It’s still early – mobile ad spend will grow exponentially over the next few years, and our aim is to continue to outgrow the market significantly.”

SponsorPay also touted conversion rates on social engagement were as high as 76 percent, and click-through to online retail pages were often greater than 30 percent. The company cited its Domino’s campaign specifically, which integrated video ads into social games, resulting in 36 percent clicking through to the Domino’s online ordering page.

You can read our full interview with Zech about SponsorPay’s plans for mobile in 2013 here.

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