Success Story Series : Star developer – Anthony Cardinale

This week, we’re glad to present to you Anthony Cardinale, a French indie developer and Unity specialist. He has released over 30 games on the Play Store and the App Store, many of which have more than a million downloads.

Today he’s releasing his book: « Creating games with Unity from A to Z » (in French), and he’s happy to share his thoughts on mobile development and gaming here. Please welcome Anthony :)

Doll Dismount OriginsCan you tell us a bit more about yourself and how you became a game developer?

I have been passionate about video game development since I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted to create my own games. It’s not always easy to start as a developer, but thanks to my studies and new tools like Unity 3D, I’ve been able to fulfil my dream. This software gave many indie developers a chance to create multiplatform games at lower costs.

You are a Unity expert and enthusiast, how did this game engine become your favourite? 

I discovered Unity in 2008 when they released its 3rd version. This version hurt its competitors because it was delivering a truly powerful and free tool. The new versions brought even more features to the software which is, in my opinion, the best compromise of the market. The community is gigantic, there are many resources, well-written documentation, and handling it comes naturally. Unity is available to all and anyone can start developing quality games without any difficulty. I’ve never found such ease with the other engines.

AB: You’re even releasing a book about Unity game development, can you tell us a bit more about it?

I’ve always loved sharing my passion through video tutorials on miscellaneous platforms such as Youtube. In recent years, people have been training themselves with my videos, I wanted to offer a new way to learn, and writing a book seemed like an excellent alternative to video. Books offer the readers the advantage of being held while coding without having to pause a video every 30 seconds.

This book allows the reader to learn how to create games with Unity and to go even further: monetization, maintaining and updating your game… This book answers all the questions you could have when you start creating a video game with Unity.

What is your most successful game? What do the players love about it? 

I developed several games with various thematics in order to find what the players were looking for. It turns out that my most successful game is the quite violent « Doll Dismount Origins » in which the player pushes a puppet to make him fall down. He gains points relatives to the damages taken by the puppet. The game is available on Android and iOS.

How did you learn about AdBuddiz, and what is your experience with us so far? 

When you’re publishing an app, you can’t help but ask yourself: « How can I monetize my game ? ». I had the chance to discuss with a consultant from Google several times, and he told me the best way to make money with a game is to offer it for free on the stores. Indeed, 95% of the games are free. The usual way of monetizing a free game is to display ads within it, and that’s when AdBuddiz comes in. AdBuddiz is a excellent mobile ad network for several reasons:

  • The SDK is very easy to integrate.
  • The quality of the ads
  • The documentation and example APK
  • Great customer service

Thus, I chose AdBuddiz to display ads in my Android and iOS games. The revenues generated up until now are more than decent and it’s enough to talk about a small success for an indie developer.

How do you monetize your games?

I’m mostly relying on ads. I decided to stop publishing paid games because it is not the best strategy anymore (at least for indie developers or small studios). So, I display ads in my game, between two levels for example. I also tried in-app purchases in order to offer bonuses to players who like the game.

What is the game that started it all for you, and what do you think mobile development and gaming will be like in 5-10 years?

The most successful game was also the one that allowed me to discover the potential of the market: « Doll Dismount ». That game gave me the means to finance several projects afterwards.

The mobile market is evolving very quickly, and I think that in a few years it will be totally different from today. Smart watches are coming to the market, along with virtual reality devices compatible with our smartphones… And virtual reality is growing as well… What is sure is that players will always ask for more, and they need even more sensations, immersion and features.

Would you like to add anything? :) 

I hope that the indie developers community will keep growing and that my book will help people embark on creating video games with Unity. I also wish a prosperous future to AdBuddiz, which helps developers to make a living out of their passion and create even more original new games.

 

Anthony’s book « Creating games with Unity from A to Z » is for now only available in French. You can find it here: http://www.d-booker.fr/unity3d/250-concevez-vos-jeux-de-a-a-z.html

 

Top mobile ad world acronyms you should know

CPI, CPM, Fill Rates, SDK…Interstitials…#*&$!

There are acronyms that everybody is fluent in and uses every day, even in business contexts, like TBC (To be confirmed/continued), ASAP (as soon as possible), TTYL (talk to you later) and other more casual (or, useful) acronyms like OMG, LOL, BTW and TGIF. And then there are acronyms used in the mobile advertising world that confuse and make lives difficult for everybody, and the fact that new ones keep cropping up all the time just isn’t helping. 

“Since we run on a CPI basis, the CPM is just for your reference, but if you update to our latest SDK in all your freemium apps, our new algorithm will better optimize your impressions and with our high fill rates, your ROI will definitely improve.”

If you’re thinking “is this person speaking in English?” – trust me, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. We know how painfully annoying it is to figure out what each of those acronyms really mean and that’s why we’re here to help you get through the mayhem and become fluent in mobile marketing geek speak.

Advertiser – the person or company that advertise their apps in other apps

API – Application Programming Interface. Specifies how software components should interact with each other

Campaign – details which types of ads to show over a period, budget and target market

CPC – Cost Per Click. A pricing model in which advertisers pay a certain amount each time the user clicks on their ads

CPI – Cost Per Install. A pricing model in which advertisers pay a certain amount each time their advertised app is installed (downloaded and opened the app)

CPM – Cost Per Mile. Mile ‘thousand’ in Latin. CPM is a pricing model in which advertisers pay a certain amount for every 1000 views of their ads

CTR – Click Through Rate. The percentage of people clicking on the ad. (Number of clicks on an ad divided by the impressions)

CPA – Cost Per Action. A pricing model in which advertisers pay a certain amount each time a user performs a specific action (like reach a certain level in the advertised app)

Fill Rate – how many ads are delivered compared to how many ads are requested. The higher the fill rate, the more ads that are shown

Freemium app – A freemium app is free to install and use but have locked features that require users to pay to use

F2P game – Free 2 Play game. A game that is free to install and play but offer in-app purchases for virtual goods, features and upgrades

Impression – A view or an appearance of an ad on a mobile device

Interstitial – a full-screen ad

IAP – in-app purchases

Non-incentivised traffic – no reward given to the user for clicking on the ad or installing the advertised app

Publisher – developer who shows ads within their apps

SDK – Software Development Kit. A piece of code that permits developers to smoothly integrate ads into their app

OK, now that you’re fluent in mobile marketing geek speak, you’re ready to venture into the exhilarating and highly rewarding world of mobile advertising!

What do you need to look at when choosing an ad network?

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Getting a high eCPM is nice but I recommend the developers who are looking for the right ad network for their apps not to forget to ask themselves the following questions:
– is the ad solution easy to integrate?
– is it going to create bugs in my app(s)?
– am I going to get paid on time?
– will I get charged with extra payment fees?
– will I get a good support when I have questions ?

At AdBuddiz, we are obviously working hard to get the highest paying campaigns and bring high eCPMs to our publishers. But we are also paying a lot of attention to these questions. And here is how we answer them:

– the integration of our SDK requires only 2 lines of code. Simplicity is our motto
– we have thousands and thousands of apps running with our SDK and they are running like a charm
– we always pay on time (and even in advance in the case of wire transfers in order to make up with the transfer time)
– we are not charging payment fees (the fees you might get when receiving a payment come from Paypal or the banks involved in the wire transfer)
– we make sure everyone gets a reply from our support team within a day

Your problems are our problems. That’s why we have a poster at the office with a Steve Jobs’ quote that says : “If a user is having a problem, it’s our problem”. Since I am the CEO of AdBuddiz, I am at your service if you have any problems or suggestions. My email is public. Feel free to drop me a line: jonathan at adbuddiz dot com

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

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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!

Where should you market your game in Asia?

Asia accounts for 48 percent of the total global games market. In order to succeed in your mobile games marketing in Asia, it is crucial to know the numbers and figures and understand the key specific characteristics in each of your target countries. Just before you start investing all your time, money and effort in joining the ranks of game studios trying to break into the Chinese market, it may be worth your time to take a look at this Newzoo report:

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Southeast Asia isn’t getting the attention it deserves

Thanks to the rapidly growing economic development and dramatically increasing internet-access rate, Southeast Asia is one of the fastest-growing regions for gaming. In just 2014, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand spent $1.1 billion on games, and the growth shows no sign of slowing down; quite the contrary in fact, as Newzoo estimates a continued annual growth rate of 28.8%, doubling spending to $2.2 billion by 2017. Much of the growth is brought about by mobile usage:

“Between 2004 and 2014, Internet access in the Philippines grew more than 800 percent, the fastest rate in the region due primarily to the boom in mobile internet.”

By the same logic, it should come as no surprise that mobile games are catching up with PC and MMO games in terms of spending and revenue generation:

“Vietnam is quickest on this trend, with mobile-phone games seeing a compound average growth rate from 2013 to 2017 of 87.7 percent, becoming the biggest segment in terms of revenues by 2017.”

More cities = more Internet users

One driving force of this rapid growth is the metropolitanization of these Southeast Asian countries. As more people migrate to cities, more people get access to the Internet and many of them start playing games.

According to the report,

“The sheer size of the Southeast Asian population, and its rapid rate of urbanization of 1.4 percent average annual rate of change compared to China’s 0.5 percent, and its young and tech-savvy demographic, are all factors favorable for growth.”

The cherry on top? Unlike in China, there’s free and unrestricted access to Google Play in these Southeast Asian countries. In order to really succeed in these regions, however, it may be worthwhile to spend some time looking into localizing your games to adapt to the very diverse and distinct cultures of these specific countries, and taking language barriers and mobile usage habits into account.

So what’s the takeaway? Next time you think about where to launch your next game, or where the hot Tier 2 market opportunities are for you to expand your games’ reach in Asia, don’t forget to take this data into consideration! ;-)

Top 4 tips for placing mobile ads

In a previous article, we’ve talked about how we don’t believe in bullying your users into clicking your ads. We know from experience that a developer always has much better chance of making money by using honest ad tactics.

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That being said, using honest tactics doesn’t mean there’s no strategy needed. There is a very delicate balance between respecting user experience, and having the ads serve their main – and perhaps single – purpose, which is to drive you revenues. So how should we do this?

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Keep in mind that when you’re on a CPI (cost-per-install) model like on AdBuddiz, revenues are generated only when the ads convert into installs. Therefore, you need to place your ads at moments when the users are most open to discover the apps advertised. For games, it’s important to pay attention to the emotional state of the player. We recommend placing interstitials in between levels or stages. That way, the player connects fully, with no distraction during the game play. After each level, when he feels accomplished and his mind relaxes a bit, he is more open to diversion. That’s when an ad will get the highest chance of being clicked on.

For other types of apps, we’d recommend putting ads where there is a natural break, like in between pages, after finishing an activity, while an app is loading or just before a user closes the app.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 16.27.16Be mindful also of where you place your first ad. From our experience, we know that 75% (or more) of the advertisers app installs are made by the first 3 ads shown. Our algorithm also ensures that the ads that are shown first are the ads with the closest match to your app, so that the chances of generating an install are highest.

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We advise against showing an ad at the very first launch of an app, as it may cause annoyance and frustrate users, putting them off from using or discovering your app right from the get go. A general rule of thumb is to determine how long your average session time is. Placing ads from midway towards the end of the session is more likely to lead to user action (installs); that way they would have had enough time to enjoy your app, and be more receptive to ad contents and downloading other apps.

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It’s important to always keep in mind, more impressions doesn’t always lead to more installs (or revenue). Overwhelming the user with constant ads can be plain annoying, and result in lower app satisfaction and usage. As they say, when in doubt, K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple and Short ;-).

New AdBuddiz SDK for Cordova & PhoneGap launched!


The AB tech team is very excited to announce that we’ve just released our SDK for Cordova and PhoneGap with support for both Android and iOS.

We’re always striving to open up our solution to more of these growing communities so as to make AdBuddiz increasingly accessible for developers using different frameworks.

Like we said, we like to keep it simple.
Integration is as easy and quick as our existing SDKs. Try it out right now and don’t hesitate to send us your feedback! ;-)

 

Who is playing your game?

How would you describe your typical gamer?

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Frankly, it is arguable whether “the typical gamer” even exists anymore.

The profiles of gamers are evolving rapidly. The stereotype of gamers being the anti-social teenage boy, or the middle-aged man with no life, has never been further from the truth.

The fact is, smartphones and tablets have made gaming portable and readily accessible to everyone, and with the increasing variety of mobile games out there, more and more people, both men and women of all ages, (including moms and even grandmas!) are spending more time delving into the world of mobile games.

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This study done by the IAB shows that, contrary to popular belief, people of all ages play games. If we take a look at this other study done by The Washington Post below, we will see that women are almost as addicted to games as men. We see almost equal shares of men and women spending time playing games.

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With the profiles of players diversifying, there is a lot more room for different kinds of games and apps that target audience with different tastes and spending capacities.

That’s exactly why so many different kind of advertisers are willing to spend big money on advertising in apps and games, and why it makes sense for all the talented developers out there (yes, you) to monetize your games and apps with a smart ad solution that adjusts and targets the right ads to the right apps and audience!