Industry updates and news from the ad tech world
We’re excited to announce that the Fyber Programmatic Exchange has moved out of beta and that programmatic demand is now available to all clients using interstitial ads. Through Real Time Bidding (RTB) – a programmatic technology – Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) and their advertisers can bid on app developers’ inventory in real time and apply fine-tuned targeting on the inventory most relevant to them. With this launch, Fyber now brings together a mediation layer across Interstitials and Rewarded Video with an RTB exchange.
For DSPs, Fyber’s OpenRTB-based exchange enables access to a growing base of unique mobile inventory through Fyber’s mobile Supply Side Platform, with 100% in-app placements from premium developers. Through high-performance ad formats – including Opt-in Video and Interstitials – DSPs and their advertisers can reach the segments that matter most from Fyber’s 320M+ monthly unique users and adjust their campaign budgets in real time to respond to performance. DSPs already integrated into Fyber’s RTB program include TradeMob, Mars Media Group, Ajillion, Pocket Math, Remerge, Jampp and Liquid M.
For developers, the launch of Fyber’s RTB Exchange means instant access to more high-quality Interstitial demand from leading DSPs with larger budgets. Programmatic demand competes against developers’ other demand sources, including mediation, to ensure that the highest-paying ad is always served first. “It’s great to see Fyber’s platform expand to support RTB for mobile advertising,” said Reid Sheppard, Director, Analytics Technology and Ad Revenue, Sunstorm Games. “Programmatic access to larger ad budgets and more inventory will allow us to utilize the Fyber platform to the full extent, providing efficiency and more revenue streams.”
To join our Programmatic Exchange as an advertiser, please contact [email protected].
Google recently introduced a new age-based rating system for apps and games on Google Play. Because different countries tend to have varied cultural standards regarding the kinds of content appropriate for kids, teens, and adults, Google Play’s new rating system is designed to help developers better label their apps for the right audience in each country. Developers will be able to define locally-relevant content ratings to their users and help improve app discovery and engagement by allowing users to choose the content that is right for them. Starting May 2015, all new apps and updates to existing apps will require a completed content rating questionnaire before they can be published to Google Play.
As an app developer or an app advertiser, what do I need to do?
We advise you to prepare for this change before the 1st of May by completing the content rating questionnaire for each of your apps in order to receive an objective content rating. The Google Play rating system includes official ratings from the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) and participating bodies, or an age-based generic rating for countries where there is no specific rating authority. To do this, just sign in to the Android Developer Console and complete the content rating questionnaire for each of your apps.
What is the impact if I don’t update the questionnaire?
Starting May 2015, apps without a completed rating questionnaire will be marked as “unrated” and may be blocked in certain territories or for specific users.
Will there be any impact on Fyber’s products?
Since this is an additional rating system provided by Google that is not used by Fyber, there will be no impact on Fyber’s ad monetization or user acquisition products. However, you do need to ensure that your content rating questionnaire is completed for each app so that your apps are not blocked. If your app is blocked in a specific country, it may cause any advertising or user acquisition campaigns you have with Fyber to also be paused in this country.
For more information on the new rating system, click here. If you have any additional questions, please reach out your account manager.
We’re excited to share that Fyber’s direct publisher network now reaches approximately 320M+ monthly active users (MAU), as of the most recent numbers reported for March, 2015. Approximately 72M of those users come from North America, where the number of smartphone owners is reported at 183M as of 20141. This means that Fyber currently reaches almost 4 out of every 10 smartphone users in North America.
For us, this news isn’t just about the sheer number of active users, but rather what the number represents. The growth that we’ve experienced over the past two years has been driven by the partnerships that we’ve developed with great leaders in the mobile space, such as DeNA, Social Point, GREE, PikPok, Smule, Viggle, and Kik. Our goal is to empower our clients by providing a market-leading supply-side platform paired with services that positively influence all core advertising metrics. Our unified mediation and exchange tool enables partners to centrally manage their advertising stack, empowering them to make informed decisions to optimize yield. While strengthening our platform is always a core focus, we believe that the key to a successful partnership lies in the relationships established between our monetization & solutions engineering experts, along with the commercial and technical teams of our partners. We want to understand their challenges, know how their app economies work, and provide metric-driven guidance to help them reach their goals. In short: their success is our success.
For example, take SocialPoint, Spain’s largest mobile game studio and a global leader of top-grossing mobile and social games. Fyber worked with Social Point to simplify the integration of their various demand partners on multiple platforms. Not only did they see eCPMs that were 45-82% higher than publishers who only integrated a single demand source, they also found great value in the guidance of Fyber’s account management team. “Compared to Account Managers I have worked with in the past, Fyber’s team is much more proactive,” said Albert Custodio, LiveOps Manager for Social Point. “They consistently stay on top of trends to give you the best advice. This is especially helpful when you are getting started with mediation and want to make informed decisions on which ad networks you can work with to meet specific goals.” To read more about how SocialPoint achieved success with Fyber, click here.
Fyber also recently cemented a partnership with DeNA as their leading ad monetization partner in the US. Late last year, Tokyo-based DeNA began working with Fyber to test the effectively of various mobile ad monetization strategies, including Rewarded Video, Interstitials, and Offer Walls. The test was deployed on two apps – Super Battle Tactics and TRANSFORMERS: Age of Extinction – in both the iOS and Android gaming environments. The implementation immediately drove strong results in terms of increased engagement, video views, and revenue growth, resulting in Fyber being selected as DeNA’s chosen monetization provider. Read more about the results of DeNA’s partnership with Fyber.
While we’re excited about this new milestone, our team is already looking ahead to what’s next. Not only are we continuing to build out our platform to provide more monetization solutions to our clients (for example, the recent roll-out of Fyber’s Programmatic Exchange & Audience Segmentation), we’re also focused on providing insights and strategic guidance that set the groundwork for long and sustained partnerships.
Have you ever imagined yourself as James Bond in Casino Royale or Ace played by De Niro in Scorsese’s Casino; tuxedo-wearing, martini-sipping, smooth-talking? You’d be surrounded by beautiful people, lucky at every casino table and at every bet. We imagine you’d prefer to skip the obligatory fight scene, but still dream of winning it big, catching that lucky streak, the adrenalin rush as you get a great poker hand or the roulette ball ends up on the color you choose?
Well dreams sometimes come true – at least they did for the Fyber team, when we turned our Berlin office lounge into a mini Monte Carlo, or even Las Vegas. We had blackjack and poker and roulette, everything to satisfy one’s gaming needs. Everyone was looking dapper: We were surrounded by “Sam ’Ace’ Rothsteins” and “Ginger McKennas”. It seemed as if they had just stepped off the big screen and into the Fyber lounge.
Observing the croupiers was entertainment in itself. With their swift hand movements as they dealt the cards or gave out winnings, you would think they were all magicians or illusionists in their spare time. I, personally, didn’t notice the time fly by and was very disappointed when it came to an end. It was a great night of friendly competition, an excuse to get dressed up, and most importantly, a fantastic opportunity to get to know our fellow Fybers!
With over 93,000 attendees from 200 countries, Mobile World Congress 2015 was a record-breaking event. We spent the whole week at MWC exhibiting at the App Planet hall, welcoming visitors and giving them a tour of our products and platform. We also gathered some great market insights from discussions with our customers, partners, and visitors, as well as from the conference sessions – here are a few of the highlights!
Programmatic continues to gain strength: The automated buying and selling of mobile advertising is largely data driven. We’ve heard from demand partners that unique data is becoming more and more relevant for targeting. Accessing first party data to segment and deliver a personalized experience is essential for DSPs, not only to engage their audience, but also to achieve higher ROI. We took the opportunity of our presence at MWC to announce our open beta for Fyber’s Programmatic Exchange. We’re excited to offer a transparent, OpenRTB-based exchange that enables advertisers to bid directly in real time on premium in-app inventory.
2015 will see continued growth in mobile video advertising: eMarketer projects an increase of 70% in digital video ad spending on mobile. As advertising budgets shift, this growth will be bolstered by improved audience targeting, retargeting features, and programmatic buying capabilities. Measurement standards, such as viewability metrics, will also give advertisers the transparency they were once lacking to measure the performance of their buying strategies and identify the best-performing channels.
User acquisition strategies are evolving as advertisers shift focus from volume to quality users: By using retargeting features and valuable data collected from tracking providers, the focus is on running optimized campaigns to drive strong ROI.
Developers also had the opportunity to gain an overview of the latest tools like Yahoo! Mobile Development suite and Fabric by Twitter. These developer suites include tools ranging in focus from ad monetization and advertising solutions to app monitoring & reporting tools.
In case you missed our team at MWC, we hope you’ll keep in touch at an upcoming event. Our team will be attending Programmatic I/O and sponsoring ad:tech San Francisco, so if you’d like to set up a meeting, please contact us at [email protected].
With the majority of apps falling into the gaming category1, it should come as no surprise that gaming held onto the number one spot amongst the top-grossing mobile ad campaign verticals in Fyber’s Ad Marketplace two years running. Travel also maintained a top position, ranking second in both 2013 and 2014.
While there were subtle shake-ups throughout the top ten, the primary shifts took place in health & fitness, entertainment, and utilities, all of which demonstrated impressive growth in ad spend: 250%, 175%, and 118%, respectively. The boost in these particular verticals reflects overarching usage trends for apps in corresponding categories. For example, from 2013 to 2014, the number of user sessions for utilities and health & fitness apps grew 121% and 89%, respectively2. In addition, the growth in entertainment ad spend is reflective of overall industry projections that digital advertising for the media and entertainment vertical will increase more over the next three years than for any other US industry, thanks namely to the rise of video ads and other high-impact formats.3.
Also of note was that campaign spend through Fyber’s Ad Marketplace went up across the board between 2013 and 2014, with all of the major verticals gaining, even if they dropped in the rankings. This growth trend reflects the shift taking place in the advertising world, as marketing budgets are allocating more and more towards mobile to catch up with the growing time spend dedicated to app use.
But of course, it’s important to not only examine where the ad spend is coming from, but also how advertisers are engaging users after the initial ad view. So we took a look at the most popular campaign calls-to-action, both in 2013 and 2014. These CTAs are presented to the user post-impression – or in other words, after they view the ad. During the past two years, the most popular CTAs remained relatively consistent, with the only shifts taking place at the very bottom of the rankings.
With demand for app distribution campaigns rising, it’s no surprise that download/app install dominated the leaderboard with a growth rate of 73% in ad spend between 2013 and 2014. Free trials and mobile subscriptions also clocked impressive hikes, with year-over-year growth of 63% and 40%, respectively.
In this blog series we will highlight how members of the Fyber team got started in the mobile tech industry.
As Fyber’s VP Engineering, Juan Vidal defines the processes of the engineering department and pioneers new methods for the team to optimize its talent. He leads the execution of every product Fyber launches, and structures the workflow of dozens of engineers who test and implement new features to enhance Fyber’s platform.
Before joining Fyber, Juan founded two software companies and worked for 8 years as an Open Source Software Consultant for the University of Murcia in Spain. Outside of work, Juan is passionate about reading up on the latest trends in technology, management, and entrepreneurship.
KO: What first made you interested in joining the mobile technology industry?
JV: My first induction into the mobile tech industry wasn’t technically a conscious decision. When I started working for Fyber (Sponsorpay at the time), we weren’t initially working in mobile. We saw a huge opportunity for innovation within mobile, and once we moved into that market directly we saw really great results. We were lucky enough to find good engineers for mobile development at a time when it wasn’t a very popular career path.
KO: How did you manage to break into such a competitive industry, and what helped you do so?
JV: I worked for almost eight years for the Spanish government, but found that that type of work was very slow-moving and it was hard to grow within that space. After I had reached a certain level of seniority, I wanted to put more of a focus on my professional and personal growth. So I moved to Berlin, to shake things up a bit, and reached out to Fyber. Those early days were quite an adventure, as I was actually the first non-German speaker in the Berlin office (in the Tech Team).
I am of the opinion that rather than first asking “please”, you should just do things and then say “sorry” if necessary. I think my passion has really helped me excel in mobile. I’ve grown a lot at this company and have become much more patient, but keeping that passion is important. The first time I heard the word “monetization”, I was confused and had no idea what it meant. My strategy was to read more than anyone else and work extremely hard so that I could be as valuable as possible.
KO: In a high-paced industry that is always changing, how do you stay on top of the latest trends and industry news?
JV: For me, I’m very interested in product. I’m always staying connected with the product team to hear their feedback. Also: Reading, reading, reading. I feel that there are insights from other industries that are very valuable to the mobile industry. It’s important to draw from all different sources and keep an open mind. To keep up with the pace of the industry, it’s important to experiment. This industry is still relatively new, and creating and implementing experiments is important. We need to define what we believe success is and what we believe failure is and work within those constraints. I’m constantly pushing my team to improve and share their ideas on how to better the company.
KO: What do you feel is the future of mobile tech?
JV: Wearables are very interesting to me. Connected devices will begin to contribute real value, rather than just a novelty. Wearable and mobile devices do, and will continue to work together. When you look at FitBit and the Apple Watch, they aren’t necessary an industry within themselves at this point. In the future they may be, but I feel as though mobile devices will one day be inseparable from wearables. It’s going to be interesting to see how that sort of mobile technology will monetize.
KO: In your mind, what makes the mobile tech industry the place to be right now?
JV: From a numbers point of view, the mobile industry is growing at a staggering level. You should already be in mobile one way or another. Everyone has a mobile device at this point, even my grandma. I think this is a good key performance indicator, because if my grandma has a mobile device…everyone does! Also, we don’t know everything that there is to do in mobile yet. We are the ones that are shaping the mobile space. This generation of workers were the first to own a smartphone. We will laugh about our mistakes in the future, but that won’t weigh down the pride of being the trailblazers in such an important space.
If you are looking for an opportunity to get your foot-in-the-door of the booming mobile space, check out Fyber’s career site here.
The importance of having more women in tech positions is a much discussed topic and there are plenty of projects in Berlin, Europe, and the rest of the world dedicated to helping women learn to code and join local dev communities. Rails Girls Berlin is just one of them, but its achievements are notable. We caught up with Rails Girls Laura Laugwitz and Magda Frankiewicz at their latest workshop hosted at Fyber’s Berlin HQ. The women are members of the organizing team and we were keen to hear about their journey to becoming Rails Girls and learning to code.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and how you found out about and joined the Rails Girls project?
Magda: I first joined Rails Girls Berlin as an organizer. I heard about the project, but had never attended a workshop. I thought I could just help out on the organizational side since I didn’t know how to code and had no engineering experience at all – this was November of last year. In December, I participated in a workshop, as there wasn’t much to do on the organizational side. I was in a group with two other girls and two coaches – it was a great group, so we started to meet outside the workshop. After meeting for two or three months in a row, I decided to give coding a chance. I started by learning at home and then heard about the Rails Girls Summer of Code. I met Ute, who became my partner, and we applied and got accepted. We participated in the program for two months, which was amazing and we learned so much. Now I work at DaWanda as a Student Web Developer for their dev team.
Laura: I didn’t have coding experience either, I used to study anthropology. I wrote my bachelors thesis on how women create their own spaces in IT. When I stumbled upon Berlin Geekettes and Rails Girls Berlin, I decided to write my thesis using the Rails Girls as a case study. An overarching theme in my thesis was that more women should be involved in IT, so when I was done with my anthropology BA I thought, “why don’t I just go into IT?” So then I started studying computer science, which I’m still working on. I have reached the level where I could coach the Rails Girls but I’m busy with organizing for the group. I have already done a project in Rails for Uni.
How long does it take to get to the level where you’d be comfortable to coach at Rails Girls Workshops?
Magda: Actually there are two girls here today that started not so long ago; they came to the Rails Girls Beginners Workshop and then attended Ruby Monsters and they’re coaching for their first time today.
Laura: I think if you’re really into it, half a year to coach is sufficient. Coaching at Rails Girls also doesn’t mean you have to know everything, you just need to go through a tutorial and be willing to try.
Can you tell us what the main objective of Rails Girls is – not just the overarching idea behind the project, but also what it means to you and what you’re trying to achieve by participating?
Laura: Rails Girls started out in Finland in 2011 as a one-time workshop, but then turned into a recurring thing and spread to other cities. Each chapter is different due to the varied people involved in different cities – they make it their own. The idea behind Rails Girls, for me personally, is to take away the “magic” from programming because it’s not “magic”, its a tool you can learn in order to do things. Its a language you can learn, just like any other language. Women can do it and men can do it and its not confined to nerds and people with no social life, as is popular belief. That’s the other great thing that the workshop does: It shows that people who are coders are not anti-social, they are great people with normal social lives.
Magda: It’s about breaking stereotypes. In every aspect, the project is focused on women, as they don’t commonly participate in IT in Europe. Rails Girls is definitely empowering women through learning, which is absolutely free.
So the project is completely voluntary. How difficult is it to find coaches to spend their Saturdays or evenings coaching Rails Girls?
Laura: We’re very lucky here in Berlin that there’s a large scene of Ruby developers, many of whom are eager to help out. It’s therefore quite easy to find coaches. Finding organizers is a little bit more difficult due to amount of work involved in organizing an event of such magnitude, but we always have new people joining.
Magda: We also have many attendees that after a while turn to coaching and this is the real success indicator.
What would you suggest to a girl wanting to learn to code as the best way to get started? Maybe you can tell us about your favorite meetup groups or working spaces in Berlin?
Laura: There is co.up, which is a coworking space in Kreuzberg. It’s generally a place for freelancers to work, but you’ll probably find a few people who will help you out there. I would also suggest joining a Rails Girls Project Group because they meet more often, about once a week, so you can learn continuously. These groups are self-organized and they work on projects such as creating apps. In Berlin there’s also a project called PyLadies, which teaches girls to code in Python. Open Tech School Berlin is a mixed school with plenty of interesting events for any gender. In addition, there is the monthly Ruby User Group Berlin where you’ll always find new input, even as a beginner, and very supportive people.
In closing, could you tell us how your life changed since you started coding and joined Rails Girls project? Why is it worth it?
Magda: It’s definitely worth trying to code, even if you don’t like it and don’t continue with it at a later stage. Maybe you don’t end up changing your career, but do a project on the side. You’ll definitely enjoy being part of an exciting project group and learning something new. It’s also incredibly educational, you learn a different way of thinking and problem-solving which you can apply in other domains of life.
Laura: Society tends to tell women and girls that they’re not able to do technological jobs or that they’re not able to do math. Firstly, I learned you don’t need to know mathematics to be a good programmer – maybe to be an awesome programmer, but you can be good even if your knowledge is not exceptional. I actually enjoyed math for the first time once I started learning computer science because I saw how I could apply it in day-to-day life, unlike school algebra where you just did it for the grades and hated it – at least I did. Society tells you that you can’t do it, so prove to everyone that you actually can!
In addition to the fireside chat, A Glimpse Into The Future of Game Monetization, with DeNA’s Barry Dorf, Fyber also hosted a panel at GDC15 discussing how mobile advertising can be used to benefit game developers beyond the day-to-day dollar and become part of their overall strategy. Fyber’s VP Developer Relations, David Diaz, moderated the conversation between thought leaders from Sunstorm Games, Ninja Kiwi, Hothead Games, and PikPok.
The “mid-tier squeeze”
A common challenge for mid-tier game developers that sit in the space between AAA and indie is balancing the risk-versus-reward ratio of including IPs within their games. According to San Francisco based consulting firm Digi-Capital, the issue is that “mid-tier games companies have no hit IPs yet, no scale advantages, but infrastructure and marketing costs.” Due to their general lack of IPs, surpassing the mobile top 100 becomes a real challenge for mid-tiers that are trying to make a name for themselves.
PikPok’s Mario Wynands shared that he initially came from a console background and that they experienced similar challenges there. “It’s hard to be nimble in this space. To be successful it’s important to have organic growth and it’s more important than ever to create really solid games.” While it’s more difficult for mid-tier developers to break-through with an IP, Ninja Kiwi’s Scott Walker said “it’s by no means impossible”, as his team created a smash hit with their title, Bloons. Walker emphasizes that “it’s important to have a variety of strategies under your belt. You don’t need to do what the ‘big guys’ are doing if you don’t have the resources to scale in that particular way.” The panel agreed that all games are different and some strategies are more successful than others based on the game vertical and target audience. Due to these inherent differences, it’s important to implement a certain amount of trial and error to perfect your monetization strategy.
“Advertising is a real part of the business”
For example, Sunstorm Games’ Reid Sheppard recalled that when they first sought to monetize their games, which are targeted towards a younger audience, they initially “tried video interstitials, and kids hated it. We got really bad reviews, so we removed them and instead moved to deep integrations of rewarded video content.” For developers, the top priority is high-quality game play, but in order to ‘keep the lights on’, ads are a necessary tactic for mid-tier developers. Reid continued by stating that in his experience, “most people are not going to spend real money, so advertising is a real part of the business.” While some devs fear that ads could cannibalize IAP (in-app purchase) revenues, the panelists were in agreement that higher revenues are generated when ads and IAP are implemented hand-in-hand. Hothead Games’ Kenneth Wong emphasized that devs shouldn’t be afraid that including ads will hurt their game and that it’s important to “have faith in your game. We see as much as 10x ARPU with players who engage with ads, versus players who do not.” Wong also believes that it’s possible to create more engaging games through the use of advertising, and that ads should not be seen as an obstacle to great game play.
A big thank you to Kenneth, Reid, Scott, and Mario, and to all those who attended the session – it was a great turnout! In case you missed us at GDC, we hope you’ll keep in touch at an upcoming event. Our team will attending SXSW and Programmatic I/O, so if you’d like to set up a meeting, please contact us at [email protected]
Last week at the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC15) in San Francisco, we were excited to be featured on three different panels alongside other industry leaders to discuss key issues surrounding monetization and app business development. During the first session, “A Glimpse Into the Future of Game Monetization”, DeNA’s VP Partnerships and Alliances, Barry Dorf, took the stage with Alex Wilhelm of TechCrunch and Fyber’s VP Developer Relations, David Diaz, to discuss what the gaming landscape may look like in 2017: How will business models evolve over the next two years, and what role will ad monetization play in the mix? In case you missed the talk, here are a few highlights:
Premium: The next wave in gaming?
Today, 90% of the market uses the free-to-play model and monetizes from in-app purchases or ads. While this approach clearly appears to be working for now, the landscape will very likely change over the next five years. Given that markets tend to be cyclical in nature, Barry hypothesized that next wave of monetization may be the premium pricing model – in other words, spend $15 or $20 and play forever. We’ve seen this model work for console games, and it could take off in mobile.
The role of ad monetization
Barry noted that ad monetization has already come a long way. He shared that even a couple years ago, DeNA would have shied away from using ads. But now that the market is more mature and options exist for making them less intrusive, ads are a good complement to DeNA’s monetization strategy. In fact, DeNA didn’t see any drop-off in in-app purchases after implementing ads into their games – their addition simply added to overall returns. In Barry’s words, “you can easily double your revenue if you’re smart about placements. Our ARPDAU (average revenue per daily active user) is 10 times the industry average.” However, both Barry and David agreed that proper placement and quality integration are key. “Ad success has so much to do with placement,” said David. “With the right strategy, you can boost engagement and retention, as well as revenue.” Barry added, “you can’t just throw ads into your games. You have to do it right. Work with your designers on the right kinds of placements.”
Bitcoin & the potential of micropayments
The panel also discussed the impact that bitcoin, or a similar payment system, might have on mobile gaming. David hypothesized that bitcoin may unlock the potential of micropayments, as it would allow gamers to make purchases valued at less than the current App Store minimum, which is 99 cents. However, he noted that bitcoin would have to stabilize before we’ll see gaming companies seriously consider using it as a part of their monetization strategy. Barry echoed that sentiment, stating that DeNA “certainly wouldn’t lead the charge” when it comes to bitcoin, but that this type of payment system has the potential to simplify the process of making international payments.
Many thanks to Barry and Alex, and to all those who attended the session – it was a great turnout! In case you missed us at GDC, we hope you’ll keep in touch at an upcoming event. Our team will attending SXSW and Programmatic I/O, so if you’d like to set up a meeting, please contact us at [email protected].