Marketing and Monetization Interview Series #12. NONOGRAM2 – classic game in Modern UI

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As Evgeniy Vodnev, the creator of NONOGRAM2, says this game is another realization of classic game – nonogram, also called griddlers or hanjie. Game was built in accordance with Windows Phone design guidelines and looks rather well.

NONOGRAM2 was announced as one of our 4th Birthday contest winners. And here we are talking with Evgeniy about the ways he uses to acquire users for his first Windows Phone game.

How would you describe NONGRAM2 to someone who is not familiar with it at all?

NONOGRAM2 is the time killer for smart guys – well-known classic game in Modern UI.

I know that NONOGRAM2 is the first game that you’ve developed. How did you decide to make this type of game? There are 300 nonograms. Have you created it all by yourself?

I like this type of games but existing nonograms for Windows Phone have different shortcomings. So I decided to make my own game to be the best one.  

I took all nonograms from old sources. It is a hard task to make resolvable and at the same time interesting nonogram puzzles from scratch.

NONOGRAM2 

What is the key point that helps NONOGRAM2 to stand out against other similar games?

This game was built in accordance with Modern UI design guidelines. It has lightweight and simple interface at the same time adapted for large puzzles. NONOGRAM2 contains large amount of puzzles, maybe the largest among other nonograms for Windows Phone. All this can give user many hours of playing.

This game is supported only on Windows Phone. Do you plan to move it to other platforms? Why?

On my full-time job I am Windows developer, so I used my familiar tools and known technologies. I live inside Windows ecosystem for years, it is my contribution in its development. If users will like my app I will think about moving it to other platforms.

Don’t you think that it is hard to create a really successful game working just several hours per week?

Game development is just hobby for me but, as I said earlier, I am professional Windows developer. From my experience I do think that really great products can be made only by teams working 24/7 on the project.

NONOGRAM2 just recently joined AdDuplex cross-promotion network. What other marketing methods did you use before to acquire all users?

AdDuplex is the first and today the only one method I use to promote my application. It gives very interesting experience and useful statistics and, of course, attracts new users.

What’s the most difficult part for you about making Windows Phone game?

As for me as a developer, promotion is the hardest part. You already have a product and … oops… nobody downloads it. It is frustrating and you don’t know how to change the situation.

Are there any other games on the way? If yes, do you plan to change your marketing strategy and how?

Yes, there is one more game in the development process. The difference is that now I work not alone but with my colleagues. I think we will try to use the power of social networks to increase the popularity and downloads of future product. And, no doubt, we will integrate AdDuplex into it.

Thank you Evgeniy for sharing your experience. Looking forward for your new game!

 

And we encourage everyone to download this game and try to solve at least some of these 300 nonograms!

Getting the Best Results from Your Ad Campaigns

We have tons of happy customers and then we have a few unhappy ones. Every time someone is not getting the expected results we feel bad and would love to help you succeed in every possible way. While every situation is different there are quite a few common tips that can help you get the best results and I wanted to share them here.

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Advertising is not a suitable user acquisition strategy for every single app or game out there.

The most common source of advertiser unhappiness is campaigns that just can’t achieve positive ROI “by definition”. If you are advertising a paid app or game with no extra sources of income, most likely that it would be very hard for you to profitably acquire users via paid advertising. A free-to-download Windows Phone app/game can acquire users for about $0.5 or more per user (depending on a lot of factors). Industry data says that only 1% to 5% will ever pay for anything in a free game/app. So even if you get downloads at $0.5, convert them at 5% and you can only do it once you are looking at a ~$10 price per buyer. Clearly this doesn’t work for a $0.99 app. Unless, obviously, you believe that your app is so good that one “bought” user will bring 10+ organic users via word-of-mouth.

Now if your app is a free-to-play game or is monetized with advertising (meaning you monetize every user) or other ways of recurring revenue, it could very well be a different story.

This topic, obviously, deserves a separate long-form blog post, but the point is that you should think about the reasons you invest in the campaign. You may want to do a burst campaign to boost your store rankings and disregard the ROI in such case, but if you advertise to acquire users, just make sure that the math works for you.

We are all about helping indie developers succeed and we are happy to help you be successful. Even if it means that you don’t spend your money with us.

Test your ad copy before running a full scale ad campaign

We see many developers creating campaigns with just a single ad. While a few of them have tested this ad elsewhere, the vast majority are just willing to place the whole bank on their gut feeling about a single banner ad.

The reality is that your gut feeling is more wrong than right. So you should allocate a small portion of your campaign budget to figure out a couple of “winning” ads. Run a campaign with 5-6 dramatically different ads for a couple of days to figure out a couple that produce the best results before you set out to do your “real” campaign.

General “winning” ad copy tips

We’ve seen quite a few successful and unsuccessful campaigns and here are a few things that we’ve noticed:

It’s not about the beauty

Most of the times (for an indie developer) the same person who designed your app will design your ad. While you can be sure that they will make an ad that is as beautiful as your app or game is, it doesn’t mean that it will be the most effective.

A good ad attracts attention. So in a way you can say that the ugliest ad attracts the most attention. Obviously “ugly” is not the message you want to send to your potential users, so you have to find a great balance between representing the aesthetics of your game and attracting user’s attention with bold statements and calls to action.

Try text ads

Initially we’ve started as a text ads only network and when we introduced support for image ads, graphical banners were few and far between. But right now it’s text ads that are more rare. Additionally, unlike image ads, they are animated. So try including a couple of text ads in your test run.

Be concise

Ads are not books, they aren’t articles or even tweets. People don’t read sentences in your banners. Try to distill your message into as few words as possible. Shorter ads get more clicks.

Include a store logo

Including a Windows Store logo/badge in your banner ad sends a signal to a user that this is an ad for an app. They are more likely to pay attention to app or game ads, than to random stuff they’ve learned to ignore. They will also know what will happen after they click on the ad (they’ll be taken to the store) which gives them more confidence.

Run a separate campaign for each of your goals

While it’s easier to manage a single campaign targeting all the regions and store categories you care about, it doesn’t give you actionable insights into what is going on and where.

Define granular goals and create a separate campaign for each of them.

For example, if your goal is to reach English-speaking users, running a single campaign targeting all the English-speaking countries could be fine. But if your goal is to move up the charts in all the English-speaking countries, targeting all of them at once doesn’t give you enough control of what happens in every one of them. So in this case create a separate campaign for each country and adjust them as needed.

Localize

The rule of thumb here is this: your ads should be as localized (or more localized) as your app is. If you’ve invested time and money into localizing your app, screenshots and store listings it doesn’t make sense for you to undermine these efforts by promoting it with a “generic” English ad.

This is a list of tips I wanted to share at this point. If you have any other tips we, and the whole community, would appreciate if you could share them in the comments below.

Happy advertising!

AdDuplex Windows Phone Statistics Report for February 2015

In the month where AdDuplex introduced support for interstitial ads, the global trend has seen tremendous growth of the Lumia 530 and the Lumia 635. Also of note is the first Lumia made by Microsoft, the 535, entering the global top 10.

We also look in detail at Mexico, UK, Spain and India.

And finally we cover the new phones you can expect to be announced at Mobile World Congress.

Data Source

This report is based on data collected from 5,090 Windows Phone apps running AdDuplex SDK v.2. The raw data analyzed was collected over the day of February 19th, 2015 (UTC time) unless otherwise stated.

Let’s meet at Mobile World Congress!

_MWC_Logo_R4March 2nd, 2015 AdDuplex team is on voyage again and this time we would love to meet you at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona!

Mobile World Congress is the world’s largest annual gathering of mobile and related industry executives. The event will take place over the course of four days, 2-5 March 2015 and it will welcome almost 100 thousand attendees while featuring more than 1,900 exhibitors from all around the globe. If you want to be a part of the mobile revolution – MWC is definitely the place to be.

Our team is looking forward to meet every Windows Phone app or game developer just to share ideas or discuss the best practices to grow your apps on Microsoft platforms.

What is more, we have prepared a couple of nice surprises for all the WP developers who will meet us at the event. Be sure not to miss this opportunity!

So, if you want to schedule a meeting to discuss the ways you can grow and monetize your WP apps, make sure to drop us a line at dominykas@adduplex.com.

See you in Barcelona!

And Lumia 1520 goes to…

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Big ads – big presents! And here goes the first one. We promised to give away a Lumia 1520 for 1 of the first users who add interstitials to their apps and games. First 10 developers published 12 Windows Phone apps and games on AdDuplex interstitial cross-promotion network.

We randomly selected one winner and it’s the developer of drawing app Didlr! Congratulations and thanks for using AdDuplex!

Check out other 11 apps and games that are already serving AdDuplex interstitial ads (alphabetic order):

All these apps get a permanent 90% exchange ratio (which is 10% more than regular) as all other apps that join AdDuplex interstitial network by the end of February. And be sure to participate in our contest to win an all expenses paid trip and ticket to GDC Europe and gamescom conferences. Find more details about our sweepstakes here.

Thank you all for using AdDuplex to promote your great apps and games!

Win all expenses paid trip to GDC Europe and gamescom

AdDuplex-interstitial-banner9-640Welcome to the biggest contest that we’ve ever organized!

We have recently announced a release of our new feature and from now on we are serving interstitial ads. This is a big step forward for AdDuplex and we are sure it will help you get even better results while cross-promoting your apps and especially games. Therefore we’ve prepared something special for you.

We are running a sweepstakes to win an all expenses paid trip to GDC Europe and gamescom conferences that are taking place in Cologne, Germany in August.

GDC Europe is the largest professionals-only game industry event in Europe. It will be held in conjunction with gamescom, the leading consumer show, creating a full week of activity and opportunity for the games industry. GDC Europe is the essential platform for learning, inspiration and networking for the creators of computer, console, handheld, mobile, social, and online games in Europe. So this will be a huge event and our users have a chance to attend it on us.

The rules are very simple: every Windows Phone developer who adds interstitials to their apps and games until the 15th of June will be automatically entered into a draw to become a winner. We will randomly pick and announce the lucky one on the 1st of July.

Moreover, everyone who adds AdDuplex interstitials before the end of February, 2015 will get a permanent 90% exchange ratio (as opposed to the regular 80%). This means that you will get 10% more impressions than other developers.

The winner takes it all:

  • All Access Pass to GDC Europe and gamescom conferences (€895 value)
  • Up to €2,000 for travel and accommodation expenses
  • €500 pocket money

The conferences will take place in Cologne, Germany on 3-6 of August, 2015.

So book the date in your calendar and sign up to add interstitials to your Windows Phone apps and games.

More information about AdDuplex interstitial ads here.

 

Official rules:

  1. Sweepstakes are available worldwide except for countries or territories embargoed by United Nations.
  2. To be eligible you must have or create an account on AdDuplex, implement the AdDuplex interstitial ads into your Windows Phone app or game and publish it to the official Windows Phone Store.
  3. Applications that served first AdDuplex interstitial ad between the February 10th, 2015 and June 15th, 2015 are eligible to participate in the “All expenses paid trip to GDC Europe and gamescom” contest.
  4. By participating in the “All expenses paid trip to GDC Europe and gamescom” contest you agree that your submission along with your name can be published publicly by AdDuplex.
  5. The winners will be selected and announced on July 1st, 2015.
  6. The prizes are listed in competition description.
  7. The winner must commit to attend the conference. The prize cannot be exchanged for cash or redeemed in any other form.
  8. If the winner cannot or doesn’t want to attend the conference a new winner will be selected. 
  9. The winner will be solely responsible for paying any applicable taxes, import and/or other duties in a country of his/her residence and getting a travel visa if necessary.
  10. The winner will be required to provide a copy of his/her official ID and/or passport and other required information to comply with requirements of tax authorities of the Republic of Lithuania.
  11. Disclaimer: the campaign is organized by UAB AdDuplex exclusively and is not affiliated or endorsed by GDC Europe, gamescom or other third parties in any way.

Introducing Interstitial Ads

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We are delighted to have thousands of satisfied users on the AdDuplex network. But there’s one particular constituency who always reminded us that we weren’t serving them perfectly. This group is game developers. Particularly developers of more involved and dynamic games. Usually they couldn’t find a reasonable space to put a banner ad during gameplay and showing banner ads only on the menu screen didn’t help them achieve results they could expect considering the popularity of their games.

There’s a widely accepted industry solution for games – interstitial ads – ads occupying most of the screen during transitions between levels, stages of the game, game sessions, etc. It doesn’t interfere with the gameplay or visual design of the screens of the game, but attracts user attention much better than banner ads.

We had to change a lot under covers and in the way you manage your ad units and it took a while. But I’m happy to report that we are ready to start serving interstitials for your games (and apps for that matter).

Windows Phone, cross-promotion only for now

Our initial launch is targeting Windows Phone only (WP7 & WP8 Silverlight, WP 8.1 XAML). We want to make sure that the new architecture is the right one before extending the support to Windows Store apps and games.

At the same time you won’t be able to buy commercial advertising via interstitial ads for a little while. The reason for this is obvious – while developers work on implementing interstitials into their games, there isn’t much inventory to sell. Once we have a meaningful amount of traffic circulating in the interstitials part of the network, we will open this inventory for paid campaigns. Stay tuned for a separate announcement.

Early adopters win

As usual it pays off to be early in every big thing. And interstitials are big – both literally and in the impact they can make in new users for early adopters. The earlier you join, the bigger share of the traffic pie you can get.

And if that in itself is not enough, here are a couple of extra perks:

  • one of the first 10 developers to launch a game/app with AdDuplex interstitials will get a Lumia 1520 – big phone for big ads! That’s 1 in 10 chance to win! The same rules as for our earlier “Every phone they make” sweepstakes apply.
  • everyone who launches on the interstitials network before the end of February, 2015 will get a permanent 90% exchange ratio (as opposed to the regular 80%). Meaning that you’ll get 10% more traffic than other developers who miss this opportunity.
  • you will automatically participate in our biggest sweepstakes to date! (details here)

Great! How do I start?

We have just launched a new version of our Client Area with support for interstitial ads (among other things). Go register if you are not a member yet.

If you are adding the interstitials to an app that is not on AdDuplex yet, just go to “Cross-promote”, click on “New app” button and follow the initial instructions.

After that (or if you want to add interstitials to a game/app already serving AdDuplex banner ads) just go to that app’s details and click the “Ad new ad unit button”

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You will be presented with a choice to create either a banner or interstitial ad unit. Click on the “Create interstitial ad” button.

You will need two 1600×900 and 900×1600 images (256kb max) for your landscape and portrait ads. We will scale them down automatically in the future to preserve network traffic on devices with lower resolution screens. There’s no text ad option for interstitials.

Once you’ve added the images save and switch to the “Code” tab where you will find the code and instructions on how to add it into your app:

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Once you’ve done this and tested that everything works (with IsTest property set to true) publish your app and we will activate your app/ad the next business day after we start seeing impressions coming from it.

Note: If you are familiar with how AdDuplex implementation worked in the past, you may have noticed that the structure of properties identifying an app/ad unit in the SDK has changed. Do not worry, the SDK is backward compatible and if you just upgrade your older app to a new SDK everything should work. However, we encourage you to update your code to the new way (AppKey, AdUnitId) when you have a chance. There will be a separate blog post about this change in coming days.

Let’s get this started!

I hope you are as excited as I am to get the interstitial (sub)network going and expand the user base of your games without spending an extra cent on user acquisition!

Please, keep in mind that this is the first public release of these features and there will be some bugs and rough edges. If you find something out of ordinary or have any suggestions on how to improve anything, please, do not hesitate to let us know in the comments below or via email at support@adduplex.com

Planned Client Area Downtime

We can’t wait to show you a big update to AdDuplex very soon. To do that we will need to make some under-the-hood changes and in order for everything to transition smoothly we will need to temporarily limit access to the AdDuplex Client Area

So, tomorrow February 10th, 2015 Client Area won’t be accessible from 6am UTC. The transition should take several hour and we plan to bring the client area back as soon as we are done. Having said that, please, plan expecting that it won’t be available for the whole day and do all the changes to your apps and campaigns today (February 9th) or wait until Wednesday (February 11th).

Note: while the client area will be down, serving of ads will continue as usual. We expect a few short interruptions in serving, but overall your apps/stats will not be affected.

16 AdDuplex Birthday contest winners!

AdDuplex BirthdayLast month we were celebrating our 4th Birthday and to spread our joy we promised 4×4 Birthday present package for our users. We asked you to tell us for how long you’ve been using AdDuplex to cross-promote your Windows or Windows Phone apps and games. We were glad to receive plenty of #HappyBirthdayAdDuplex tweets.

We randomly picked 16 winners and here is the whole list of apps and games and time period that each of it is on AdDuplex cross-promotion network:

4 coupons for 4x more impressions

4 featured interviews on our blog

4 fancy AdDuplex t-shirts

4 Coloud headphones

 

We will contact each of the winners in person.

Congratulations for the winners and thank you all once again for using AdDuplex to promote your apps and games. We wish more and more users for your apps and games and more and more new members on AdDuplex cross-promotion network for us!

Have a great day!

AdDuplex Windows Phone Statistics Report for January 2015

This is the newest issue of AdDuplex Windows Phone Statistics Report. This time we cover statistics of Windows Phone devices in US, Columbia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and India. Also you will find the stats of WP 8 manufacturers, OS versions worldwide and WP 8.x operators in US. 

Data Source

This report is based on data collected from 4,995 Windows Phone apps running AdDuplex SDK v.2. The raw data analyzed was collected over the day of January 23rd, 2015 (UTC time unless otherwise stated.