Why comparing eCPMs can lead you to compare apples and tomatoes?


Some developers are using the eCPM metric to compare the performance of ad networks. Let’s take the example of a developer who is testing 2 ad networks.
On network 1, he gets a $2 eCPM.
On network 2, he gets a $3 eCPM
It could be tempting for this developer to conclude that network 2 is better.

The problem is that if you do that, you are most likely comparing things that are completely different by essence.

If you are sending Eastern Europe traffic to network 1 and US traffic to network 2, it’s quite normal that the performance is not the same. The reason for that is that advertisers are willing to pay more for US than for Polish traffic. Generally speaking, there is a high chance that your traffic breakdown per country evolves over time so you won’t be comparing the same thing if the 2 tests are not conducted at the exact same time.

eCPM is nice but revenue is better!

I have talked to several developers who were reluctant to display ads if their eCPM was too low. They were simply thinking it was not worth the shot. However, a developer who has a lot of traffic in countries where advertisers propose low payouts can still make significant revenues ! So low eCPM doesn’t mean necessary low revenues !

So what other things you should look at when choosing an ad network ?
I will discuss this in my next post. Stay tuned!

eCPM: an important metric but hard to predict!

As the CEO of AdBuddiz, I have the immense pleasure to discuss with many talented developers all over the world. I also enjoy the chance to see the impact of various ad monetization strategies on their revenues. I thought it would be interesting for me to share some of the lessons I learned.

My first series of posts are going to tackle issues related to a metric that is key in this industry: eCPM.

eCPM is an important metric…

CPM stands for Cost Per Mille. It is basically your revenues for 1000 impressions.
You probably also came across a slightly different acronym, “eCPM”.
eCPM (which stands for effective CPM) is the average CPM for all your traffic volume. For instance, if you generate $1000 with 100 000 impressions, your eCPM is $10. The eCPM is a nice way to evaluate the performance of the ads in your app(s).

As a result, when choosing an ad network, many developers want to know in advance what their eCPM will be. Problem is: it is impossible to predict.

Most of the ad networks in our industry (including AdBuddiz) work on a CPI model. Indeed, it’s the most profitable model for both the advertisers and publishers. CPI (Cost Per Install) means that our publishers make money each time they generate installs for our advertisers.

Our publishers’ CPM will depend on 2 factors :
– how many installs they generate for 1000 impressions
– how much the advertisers are willing to pay for each install

Problem is : these 2 parameters can fluctuate greatly. Why is that ?

Imagine a developer who spams his users by displaying one ad every 2 seconds. Imagine another one who displays one ad every 10 minutes. With the same number of impressions, the first one will generate much less installs for the advertisers than the second one because the more frequent the ads the less likely the users will interact with them. When you watch tv, your brain is more receptive to the ads that just follow the ending of your program. If you end up on a tv channel that displays a new ad every 2 seconds, you’ll simply ignore them and change the channel. It’s the same with mobile ads :)

Advertisers propose different install payouts depending on several parameters (country of the install, device of the user, OS versions…).

Thus, it’s impossible for anyone to know the eCPM in advance. As we realize it can be quite frustrating for some developers not to have this info, we decided (at AdBuddiz) to communicate an eCPM based on observations: the calculated eCPM that we are observing among our publishers can be up to $10. We even have some very high quality publishers that sometimes reach more than $15.

Next week I’ll discuss why comparing eCPMs can lead you to compare apples and tomatoes. Stay tuned!

Success Story Series: Star advertiser – XiMad

This is the second post in our success story series, which spotlights the real heroes of the mobile gaming community — advertisers. This week, we’re very pleased to introduce…

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1. Would you please present Ximad to our readers? Your philosophy and your goals?

XI: Our company appeared in San Francisco in 2009 thanks to massive efforts and boundless enthusiasm of a group of entrepreneurs who decided to explore an absolutely novel and inexperienced area of mobile development. They managed to assemble a rather unique team of world-class creative and engineering talents and inspire them with a goal of bringing to life revolutionary concepts and ideas, redefining conventional mobile gaming as it exists today and making the world a bit better. And after 6 years of existing we can announce loudly that WE ARE PROUD OF MAKING GREAT APPS!

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2. In what countries are your games available? Do you have plans to expand to more countries?

XI: From the very beginning we try to create games worldwide in order to allow every person in the every corner of the world to have an opportunity to try our games, form his own opinion, like or criticize them and maybe share ideas on how we can make them even better. We at XiMAD are always open to listen to our users and constantly working on improving, updating and polishing our titles.

3. How did you find out about AdBuddiz?

XI: I am afraid this story is pretty ordinary and usual. One day our management team decided that it was a high time for us and our apps to expand the base of users and present our products to a wider audience. So marketing managers received a very important task to find those partners who could possibly help us to make our goals come true. Thanks to magic spell and Google Search we came across AdBuddiz portal and made a wise decision to have a test. I believe since June we have never got tired of looking at the volumes and quality of users acquired with your help.

4. What are your criteria in choosing partners for user acquisition?

XI: As we are very interested in expanding both a user base and long term partners and always try to launch as much as possible test campaigns. In order to start loving this or that network and giving them more and more budgets, we should have rather good users, who are really interested in playing our games and the more we get the more we want. So if our partner is ready to give us plenty of high quality users at our payouts, we are ready to move to long-term collaboration on more dynamic and beneficial conditions. To reach this goal and check the quality we use AppsFlyer. They help us to evaluate acquired users and decide with whom to work and they do their job very professionally and competently.

5. How does the volume + quality of traffic from AdBuddiz compare to your other partners?


XI: We are very satisfied with both volumes and quality of acquired users for our title Magic Jigsaw Puzzles. If to check via AppsFlyer, from June the level of loyal users is about 70%-75%. And to tell you the truth that this result is one of the highest among other partners.

6. What parameters do you think play the highest role in the campaign’s optimization?

XI: I think that the main parameter for optimization is the number of loyal users, I mean those users who open the app more than three times. I understand that during the campaign we should also pay a high attention to the revenue we receive from you, but in my honest opinion this is not enough. If we look at any our product, it can be clear that we have two ways of monetization – in app purchases and in game advertising. And about 30% – 50% of revenue we see from advertising. So even if acquired user is not going to pay, more likely he will watch the ad and click it. The more often he opens the app the higher the probability to earn on advertising.

7. What do you like most about working with AdBuddiz and our service?

XI: We really appreciate your dedication, competence and willingness to help. I understand that sometimes we ask you to do almost impossible things – and you know what? You almost always managed to do it!

8. What do you hope to see improved with AdBuddiz?

XI: I think you know that mobile world is constantly changing and improving. And always something new and interesting also in advertising appears. I think it would be great if you can expand formats you are now using and add for example video or playable ads, animated and rich media formats. It’ll be great if you may set up campaigns within Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest infrastructure. If you need any assistance from our side – we’re here to help. It is always interesting and fascinating to try something new. In case if you have something new and interesting, please, keep us in mind as beta testers.

9. Do you plan to launch any new games soon?

XI: Yes, sure, we are always working on creating something innovative new and interesting. We are almost ready with a new title called Bike Rush, an endless 3D runner with cute graphics. Also in our roadmap is to release a card RPG game Star Crusade. As far as you know our basic app is Magic Jigsaw Puzzles and we’re rather familiar with the app’s audience. And specially for them we’re releasing the solitaire app – Cat Solitaire. We expect it to appear at the middle of the spring.

10. What’s your experience regarding using Appsflyer as a tracking solution? Are you satisfied with its service? How does it compare to other solutions you have used before?

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 17.49.23XI: What I most value in this service is an intuitive and  friendly interface. It is very easy to work with AppsFlyer, all settings are adjusted, all necessary KPI’s are at hand and in case if there is some issues or questions, Appsflyer support will provide the feedback within a couple of hours. And what is more important they are constantly working on updating and improving the system.

11. What are your considerations when choosing a tracking solution?

XI: It should meet all our requirements such as showing the revenue, ARPU, ARPMAU, loyal users, active users and be easy in use and setting up campaigns.

XiMad has been working with AdBuddiz to acquire mobile players since May 2014. 

A 3-step guide to treating app users like your lover

In the beginning, we believed that if a user downloaded our app, they’ll use it forever. Nowadays, with thousands of new apps popping up every single day, it’s getting more and more difficult to keep users loyal.

A successful app is like a great relationship. Obviously, it has to begin with a good first date, making a good first impression; but more importantly it has to be good consistently – so that your lover is happy each time she/he sees you, and wants to meet again and again, maybe even with their families and friends, and shares with the world on social media.

Here are a few popular strategies to help engage users long after they’ve downloaded your app:

1. Make a good first impression: User Onboarding

A first date, a first kiss…like any first impressions or experiences, the user onboarding can make or break the relationship. The key is to keep it clean and simple. If your app requires a login signup, simplify it by using social logins (Facebook, Twitter…); if you have a tutorial, keep it under 1 minute. Some apps are simple enough that they don’t require an explanation. According to Useronboard – a site dedicated to exploring the best practices of user onboarding – the best onboarding hack is having an interface that doesn’t need explaining.

2. Communicate: Use Notifications

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 12.20.13Constant communication is key to maintaining any relationship. There are two types of notifications, push notifications and in-app notifications. Push notifications are pop-ups sent to users when they are not using the app (and thus more pushy). If used strategically, push notifications are like cute “I miss you!” messages you send to your lover, encouraging the user to re-engage with your app. However, it is important to bear in mind that push notifications require users’ permission, so bombarding them with notifications like an overly needy lover will only cause users to turn off notifications, or even stop using the app all together. In-app notifications are much less intrusive. They might not help bring back inactive users, but it’s a good way to engage and communicate with your users while they’re using your app nonetheless.

3. Share the love: Build a Social Media Community


A relationship is not official until you tell your friends and family. The same goes for an app and its users. There are two ways to go about integrating social media – 1) allowing users to share updates from the app to their social platforms, and 2) creating social pages where users can follow your updates and interact with fellow users. An added plus – this not only helps retain users, but also helps recruit new ones. After all, worth of mouth remains the best and most effective form of marketing, and no one wants to miss out on the hot app that everybody is using and talking about.

With user acquisition getting increasingly competitive and expensive, it is more important than ever to be able to keep the users you do get. What’s your take on this? Do you have other tips for keeping users happy and loyal? Drop a comment to share with us your experiences!

The 3 Secrets to Creating an Addictive Casual Game

“I’ve never heard of candy crush”, says no one ever.

Developing a viral casual game is many developer’s dream. In the past, game studios used to sell us $40 a game, and didn’t care how long we played it, as long as we liked it enough to buy the next one. With the rise of freemium games, the gaming industry has to shift their strategy to make sure that players stay in the game as long as possible; to make sure that we play and eventually, pay.

As a developer, you can either make games targeting specific groups or go for the whole world… and go casual.

And what exactly makes certain games so addictive?

We all love encouragements.


Nobody gets praised enough. We as human beings yearn for approval and acknowledgement. Like a kid who keeps doing the same task that his mom compliments him for doing, we naturally get hooked on the game that keeps saying “Sweet!” and “Excellent job” and offers positive reinforcements generously each time we clear a level. Dopamine is released in our brain every time we’re rewarded, and over time, we need more and more ‘game fixes’ to enjoy the same level of dopamine release and gratification.

Keep it light and crispy!

The majority of the most viral casual games have really short levels – Candy Crush, Angry Bird, Flappy Bird…as each level is short, players go from level to level quickly; like eating potato chips, we take one after another and before we realize, we finish the whole bowl in no time (and want another refill).

Good things come to those who wait…


Candy Crush, for example, lets us go through levels really quickly in the beginning, but the higher level we go up, the longer we have to wait once we run out of lives. Instead of being discouraged from continuing playing, the game designers know that we would’ve reached a level where we’re too addicted to quit, and like the allure of the forbidden fruit, we’d be longing for it so much that we’re quite likely to spend money to cut the waiting time.

A really successful casual game has to be universally loved. Instead of trying to make your game appeal to a certain demographic, a better way might be to approach your target inversely. Is it going to turn off a female player? When you struggle with adding or taking away a certain feature, think – Will it make a certain category of people not want to play the game?

The bottom line: don’t limit yourself to one type of player. If both your 10 year-old nephew and your 70 year-old grandma love playing it, the world will probably love it. ;-)