Industry updates and news from the ad tech world

The programmatic outlook: Q&A with Lars Radmacher

This week, we sat down with Fyber’s Director of Product, Programmatic, Lars Radmacher. Based in Berlin, Lars and his the team are the driving force behind Fyber’s Programmatic Exchange, which launched earlier this year and was further strengthened by the acquisition of Falk Realtime. The launch of the exchange not only allows advertisers to better target the premium, in-app inventory offered through Fyber’s SSP, but also offers our publishers the opportunity to maximize their eCPMs, boost fill, and open up their inventory to additional demand streams, all of which compete with mediated networks to serve the highest-paying ad. While Lars was visiting us in sunny SF, we took the opportunity to pick his brain on the current state of programmatic, where he thinks the industry is heading, and what both advertisers and developers need to know about this rapidly-expanding market.

TC: Let’s start with a broad question: What do you think is most relevant for advertisers to know about programmatic right now?

LR: I think it’s important for advertisers to really understand the broad capabilities of programmatic. First of all, programmatic makes it feasible for advertisers to reach close to all of their campaign goals by allowing them to select and target, on a per-impression basis, exactly the audience they are trying to reach. Secondly, from a technological point of view, programmatic provides the most efficient communication between systems. Finally, programmatic provides advertisers with transparency into exactly the kind of traffic they are buying, and ensures that they are bidding on unique inventory that wouldn’t be duplicated by another SSP. All of these capabilities help advertisers understand how they can spend their budgets most efficiently over all channels of supply.

TC: Over the past year, a lot of big brands have jumped on the “programmatic bandwagon”, so to speak. How do you think this influx of marketing dollars is going to affect the programmatic landscape in the coming year?

LR: There’s no doubt that we’re seeing huge growth in programmatic, particularly on mobile. Compared to the growth of classical ad serving, it’s gaining steam much faster. So for advertisers, this means that more and more inventory is becoming available, which allows them to better distribute their budgets across supply sources. Plus, programmatic technology enables them to achieve much more sophisticated targeting, reaching – on a per-impression basis – the right user, at the right time, in the right environment. Finally, there’s the efficiency aspect: Programmatic simply makes it easier for advertisers to purchase exactly the inventory they are trying to reach, in an automated fashion.

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TC: Are there any ad formats that you think will see particular growth?

LR: In the early days, the focus – and indeed, the reputation – of programmatic was to fill remnant inventory. In other words, to deliver lower-paying ad units, such as banners, that were intended to fill whatever leftover inventory the publisher had after cycling through other demand sources. However, as programmatic technologies have matured and the industry is realizing the many benefits of RTB, there has been a shift towards the programmatic buying and selling of higher-quality ad formats. Publishers are beginning to see that programmatic isn’t just about fill; Rather, it enables a more efficient and targeted selling of all kinds of formats, including video, full-screen interstitials, rich media, and native ads. But part of what is influencing this shift is not only the move towards higher performance formats, but also towards more premium inventory. Publishers, understanding that they can achieve higher eCPMs through the improved targeting offered by programmatic, are opening up their inventory and creating a marketplace that offers higher-quality and more unique traffic.
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TC: Going back to what you had said about the reputation programmatic once had for primarily being a source of fill for remnant inventory – do you think that there is now a common understanding on the supply side, as well as the demand side, of its true capabilities?

LR: Yes, I do. On the supply side, I think that publishers are quickly recognizing that the programmatic landscape is changing and that it isn’t just about fill anymore. For example, it enables publishers to sell their premium inventory, without requiring the force of a dedicated direct sales team. In addition, it opens the door for smaller publishers to tap into the budgets of larger advertisers which they normally wouldn’t be able to access. Plus, the availability and growth of higher-quality formats is empowering pubs to take advantage of programmatic, without having to sacrifice user experience. And finally, the data transparency and granular targeting afforded by programmatic not only provides users with more relevant ad experiences, but also offers the potential to boost eCPMs for publishers as advertisers can buy into exactly the audience that is valuable for them.

TC: Speaking of transparency, do you think that programmatic is delivering on its goal of increased transparency?

LR: Yes, I think it is, for sure. Particularly in the in-app environment, I think that publishers are very flexible and well-educated on the capabilities of programmatic, and how to maximize these to both their benefit and to the benefit of the advertiser. As we all know, programmatic can only be successful if publishers are willing to share certain data points with their demand partners. But I think that publishers truly recognize the value of doing so and are willing to test which kinds of targeting work best for their inventory. In the past, higher eCPM deals were traditionally executed through the direct sales. But in order to achieve this, publishers have to employ in-house sales teams, which costs both time and money. Programmatic takes this out of their hands, allowing them to optimize the sale of their premium inventory, without having to manage it directly. As a result, I believe that publishers – particularly those offering in-app inventory – understand the value of the data they have and are smart about controlling what to share, and at which price point to share it. I believe that they recognize that increased transparency opens them up to much bigger budgets from advertisers.

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TC: Speaking of supply-side benefits, in your opinion, what are some of the biggest benefits of programmatic for a developer? And what are some things a developer can do to maximize their returns if they choose to sell their inventory programmatically?

LR: Again, certainly access to larger budgets. Particularly now that most agencies are using, or exclusively using, programmatic to execute their media buys. Second, increased efficiency, as the SSP manages all contracts with DSPs and provides optimization to ensure the pub is served with the highest-paying bid. Third, increased competition, which equates to better returns for the pub. By selecting the right SSP, publishers have the ability to open themselves up to hundreds of thousands of advertisers, many of whom bring larger budgets to the table that smaller publishers would otherwise not have access to.

TC: Final question. As we know, a large percentage of mobile advertising dollars are dedicated to user acquisition. What are some ways that developers can incorporate programmatic into their UA strategy?

LR: The benefit of programmatic to UA advertisers is that it really allows them to target exactly the kind of user they are trying to acquire. Based on the data shared by the SSP, you can specifically pick out the users you want to target, and access this kind of inventory at scale. Plus, third-party tracking providers allow you to go a step further and re-target your ads to the specific users you want to re-engage. This helps you build out a more robust and focused UA strategy, rather than hoping to reach your intended audience through a more traditional form of media buying.

Many thanks to Lars for sitting down with us! If you’re interested in joining Fyber’s Programmatic Exchange as an advertiser, please contact [email protected]. Developers that would like to learn more about the benefits of Fyber’s SSP, including our Programmatic Exchange, should reach out to [email protected].

Fyber @ the Berlin Chartboost Roadshow

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Fyber’s Hector Almeida, Senior Developer Relations Manager EMEA, was recently invited to Chartboost’s Berlin and London Roadshow to share his thoughts on the state of the mobile app ecosystem and tips for successful ad monetization. Check out our highlights from the Berlin talk!

Welcome Hector – can you speak a little bit to the partnership between Fyber and Chartboost, and what this means for developers?

Hector Almeida: Certainly. First of all, I’d like to thank Chartboost for the invitation to their roadshow. We’re very excited to celebrate the new partnership between our two organizations, as this cooperation benefits publishers on both sides. On the Fyber side, our developer clients are now able to add Chartboost to their network mix. Similarly, Chartboost’s publishers are able to mediate and optimize their traffic through Fyber’s mediation solution. In both cases, the goal is to increase fill rates and eCPMs for our clients.

With titles like Clash of Clans and Candy Crush ruling the charts for the past few years, is the era of innovation in mobile over?

No, but the era of launching an app without a plan is over. In the past, developers could launch first, and then decide how to monetize on-the-fly.  But nowadays, due to the increased speed that apps are brought to market, the stores are flooded with all kinds of titles that are competing for the same users. In addition, user behavior is also changing; Users are downloading and deleting apps in the blink of an eye. Publishers that don’t prepare a suitable monetization strategy from the get-go risk losing 50% of their users by the time they get around to implementing one.

Plus, innovation might not come in the form of brand new concepts, but rather in adding new features that makes the game more fun: Weapons, boosts, animations, designs, social features, etc. This is something you should also consider hand-in-hand with your monetization strategy: Are there specific features or rewarding rules that could be implemented to maximize returns? Creativity is really the key to deliver more fun to the users.

Should developers release multiple, varied games as a way to hedge their bets?

This can work in two ways. Publishers like Ketchapp have focused on releasing an array of games and have been successful. Other developers decide to focus fully on one title and invest all their marketing and production efforts into it. At the end of the day, the key learning for developers is to understand when a game is not moving forward and try a new title. They should not spend too long trying to save a sinking ship.

With limited time and money, how should developers choose which marketing channels to focus on?

Paying for performance campaigns is in generally the safest way to invest, as you only pay for results. It’s also important to seek expert advice to guide you on prices and estimations, and ultimately ensure that your strategy will work for your goals. I would also recommend speaking with developers of similar apps to see what’s working and not working for them.

How should developers evaluate their monetization options?

First of all, developers should analyze their audience: Where are their users coming from? What are their common interests, age, other demographics? Depending on these factors and the specifics of their game, developers should create a monetization strategy designed to complement, rather than negatively impact, the user experience.

If a developer does decide to include advertising in their monetization strategy, they should next consider which networks specialize in the kind of traffic they have. A best practice is to use a mediation provider such as Fyber to easily integrate top networks like Chartboost, manage their overall traffic, and optimize every impression on a per user, per country basis to sell it at the highest price.

How should developers analyze their players?

They should analyze their users by country of origin, age, gender, interests, spending cohort (high/medium/low payers or non-payers), average session time, and most importantly, lifetime value (LTV).

Once they’ve analyzed this data, the next step is to determine which ad network partners can best help monetize these specific user segments. Of course, if developers have any questions, Fyber’s team is happy to provide guidance and suggestions on the best performing partners for their traffic.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest mistake that mobile developers can make?

Hands down, launching an app without a monetization strategy and expecting that users will see and download it just because it’s good. With so many apps available, it’s hard to achieve visibility. Developers should create a viable UA and monetization plan from the very start, prior to launch.

Another mistake that I see is lack of demand diversification. Depending on your goals and the number of impressions you’re serving, a couple of demand partners may not cut it. It’s important to incorporate several ad networks into your demand mix – and these should be integrated from the very beginning, so that you can easily turn them on or off from your monetization dashboard. Remember, more partners mean more competition, which leads to higher fill rates and eCPMs.

The last mistake that I often see is when a developer integrates  ad networks directly without a mediation platform. The problem with this is that they can’t optimize between demand sources. A good mediation platform, like Fyber, will analyze each ad request and direct it to the partner with the highest-paying bid. Plus, all reporting is normalized and centralized through a single dashboard, and mediation saves hours of valuable resources with quick integrations and ongoing adapter maintenance.

Thanks to Hector for his insights and to Chartboost for inviting us to their stopover in Berlin! If you have any questions on Fyber’s mediation solution or the ad networks that we work with, please reach out to your account manager or to our Developer Relations team to get started.

FAQ: How to manage campaign migration from Ad-X

A few months ago Criteo announced that on September 15, 2015 they will retire Ad-X, their mobile install attribution platform. We’ve put together a short guide to lead you through the migration process!

As an Advertiser, what does this mean for me?

As of September 15, Ad-X will no longer be supported. This means that if you are currently using Ad-X as your mobile app attribution solution, you will have to migrate your campaigns to the replacement solution of your choice.

Criteo recommends to work with one of the following two partners to provide data continuity after Ad-X sunsets: Adjust or Mobile App Tracking (MAT) by Tune.  You can find additional details in the migration support documentation from Adjust and MAT.

Fyber is fully integrated with both of the recommended solutions, and our account managers would be happy to introduce you to these, or any other 3rd party solutions we currently work with.

How will Fyber support this transition?

As a key user acquisition partner, we have prepared this FAQ to guide you through the various stages of the transition. Our account managers will also work closely with you to migrate all your campaigns to the solution of your choice.

As an Advertiser, what should I do to switch to a new solution?

The first step is to select a new mobile attribution solution that best suits your needs.

Fyber supports a wide range of attribution solutions, in addition to the two partners recommended by Criteo (Adjust and MAT by TUNE), so please don’t hesitate to contact your account manager to find out if we support your chosen solution.

Once you’ve selected your new solution, you will need to configure all install campaigns with your new attribution provider to begin passing installs.

How do I migrate my Fyber ad campaigns?

For new campaigns:

You simply need to provide us with the new tracking URL for each of your campaigns. Please provide us with this information if you plan on launching new campaigns with your new attribution provider.

For active campaigns that were previously set up with Ad-X:

After September 15, the Ad-X tracking URL for these campaigns will no longer work. To ensure that tracking is not interrupted, please let us know when you plan to migrate your campaigns. To support a seamless migration, you will need to provide us with the new tracking URL for all active campaigns prior to September 15. Your Fyber account manager will assist you in setting up the new tracking URL for each of your campaigns.

For past campaigns that you want to re-activate:

You will need to set up a new tracking URL and provide it to your Fyber account manager so that they can update your campaigns.
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact your account manager.

Fyber turns six!

Happy birthday Fyber! Our team recently took time out to celebrate Fyber’s 6th anniversary – and what a year it was to celebrate! Not only have we grown from a fledgling start-up to a global team of over 250, it was also a landmark year for the company. From our re-branding to our big acquisition news, to our first M&A transaction and the launch of our programmatic exchange, the past 12 months have been full of pivotal milestones. To mark the occasion, we celebrated with dual parties on both sides of the globe!

In Berlin, our team enjoyed a beautiful sunset BBQ at the House of Weekend. Check out our video reel for highlights from the event:

Meanwhile in San Francisco, our North American team celebrated with cupcakes and a little photobooth fun at the Hotel Zetta!

We’d like to thank everyone who joined us in celebrating six years of success – we look forward to many anniversaries to come!

Meet our mediated partners: AdColony


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Every month we dedicate a blog to highlighting some of the many demand partners available to you through Fyber’s mediation platform. This month, we caught up with our friends over at AdColony to get their thoughts on where the mobile advertising industry is heading, their monetization tips for developers, and more.

Tell us a little about your company background and history. What sets AdColony apart?

AdColony started out as developer. We were a launch partner with Apple for the App Store back in June 2008. We made over 200 apps, the lion’s share of which were monetized through advertising. So we know first-hand what it’s like to make and run apps. We bring that core understanding to our conversations with potential partners and take a very consultative approach with our work.

We’re also laser-focused on mobile video advertising, and this focus is why we’re able to provide a best-in-class user experience to help publishers better target, acquire, engage, and monetize their users.

Tell us a little bit about your network.

AdColony reaches 500M+ MAU (monthly active users), more than 50% of which are in North America. We work with over 90% of the AdAge Top 100 Advertisers and 80% of the Top 100 Grossing Apps in the App Store. Our proprietary Instant-Play™ technology serves razor sharp, crystal-clear video ads instantly in HD across the world’s hottest apps.

Where do you see the mobile ad industry heading in the coming year?

Broadly speaking, as mobile video consumption continues to increase and mobile video ads continue to outperform other mobile ad formats, it’s not surprising that eMarketer’s most recent US Mobile Video Advertising Report shows mobile video outpacing other ad formats through 2019.

In the coming year, we’ll see the further growth of video advertising, as Fortune 500 brands and app developers continue to scale spend on mobile video to achieve their brand campaigns objectives and acquire loyal users for their apps, respectively.

What advice would you give to app developers just starting out? How can AdColony help app developers achieve their goals?

Driving user growth and monetization is critical. So it’s important to have your marketing and monetization strategy carefully thought out. From a monetization perspective, it’s really important for developers to start thinking about organic experiences that drive ad monetization that are non-intrusive and drive engagement and time spent by users in the app.

As for AdColony’s role, we have a great team with many, many years of experience to help our partners with integration recommendations, gameplay evaluation, etc. Publishers should definitely feel free to reach out to us for more specific questions about how we can help them reach their goals.

What are some common mistakes app developers should be aware of?

Launching the app without already having a well thought out ad monetization strategy in place is a common mistake. When, where, and how to show ads should be finalized during beta testing and be ready prior to global launch. A few years ago, it was common to save ad monetization for the second or third update after the app was live, but now it’s important to be ready at the time of launch in case of quick viral spread, app featuring, etc.

Do you have any tips for our developer clients on how to best integrate ads for maximum success?

In the case of a game developer, running interstitial videos between level changes is very popular and intuitive. Implementing our value exchange videos that reward users with premium content in exchange for watching videos to drive engagement and in-app purchases also makes a ton of sense. But going a deeper strategic level, what about the placement of these value exchange videos within the game’s content? The savvier game developers are finding great ways to merchandise the value exchange video ad placements that are deeply interconnected and woven into the gameplay. Even beyond this, one of the key things to think about as a developer is what to give as a reward to the player. Should it be hard currency or a unique booster or power-up? We find that the best rewards are unique (can’t be earned any other way), immediate (the player receives immediate benefit from the reward), and visual (the reward has a visual impact/representation in the game).

Thanks to AdColony for taking the time to share their thoughts with us! If you have any questions or are interested in getting started with Fyber’s mediation solution, please contact your account manager.

Companion apps: A look into the past, present, and future

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This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) brought in 50,000 attendees to the Los Angeles Conference Center for the first time in a decade, and featured a wide range of exciting game previews for consoles, PCs, and mobile devices. One of the biggest announcements for both the gaming and mobile gaming communities was that of Fallout Shelter, an iOS companion app for the highly anticipated game Fallout 4, which will be available on PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4 in November of this year. While companion apps – mobile apps that are connected thematically or strategically to a console game – are nothing new, Fallout Shelter has made headlines by pushing mobile giant King’s Candy Crush Saga out of the number three spot on the top-grossing app chartFallout_Quote

This success will likely encourage other game publishers to follow suit and develop their own mobile companion apps, which will continue this year’s trend of strengthening the relationship between mobile and console gaming. Taking a look back into the origin of companion apps and games, it’s clear to see that there has been a fair amount of experimentation to varying levels of success. To get a clear look at what may be in store for the future of companion apps and what effects it will have on the mobile gaming industry as a whole, it’s useful to take a brief look at their history.

2003: Companion apps with a cross-promotional function

When Nintendo released their Gamecube console in 2001, it supported a cable-link feature that wasn’t fully utilized until around 2003. Players were able to connect their portable Gameboy Advance systems to their Gamecube to play minigames, “upload” data from a sister game, or participate in other innovative gameplay. While smartphones had not yet been embraced by the majority of the population, the handheld Gameboy Advance served as a stand-in. This connectivity needed a literal wire, but it can be safely assumed that this type of game inspired later iterations of the companion app which would become entirely wireless with the inevitable smartphone takeover.

2009: Companion apps as a fan service

Many consider Champions Companion to be the first real companion app that fully utilized iOS. Connected to the game Champions Online, Champions Companion (released in 2009) started to shape the trend into what it is today. Players were able to “view the in-game news, view your friends list and friend activity streams, and even send and receive in-game emails”. The same year, WoW Armory set the stage for other “armory” type companion apps – essentially a database for information weapons, characters, etc. – to become popular. However, in 2011 World of Warcraft, removed its companion Facebook app in favor of of a web API, which prompted fans to take matters into their own hands and start production of user-generated companion apps.

2013: Companion apps as a marketing vehicle

With the release of Grand Theft Auto V, Rockstar Games also released not one but two separate companion apps. This was a milestone as it showcased the variety of possibilities within the genre. The first app, iFruit, was comprised of a custom car maker and a mini game, while the second app was a game guide.

2015: Companion apps as revenue generators

Today, the business model of creating companion apps as a way to market the core title seems to be more prevalent than past trends. Fallout Shelter has remained in the top spot for adoptions which has proven that it has served its purpose as a marketing tool, but the fact that it was also able to oust Candy Crush from its number three spot on the top-grossing charts hints that this game has become something much more. Some estimate that, in order to have made it to the number three spot on the top-grossing charts, Fallout Shelter brought in approximately one million dollars in daily revenue. The power of a big name IP is obvious when it comes to initial downloads by fans, but smart monetization mechanics are essential to becoming a top-grossing app.

Especially in scenarios when a developer’s target demographic is console or PC gamers, opt-in ad formats are a natural way monetize their companion app without fear of scaring their players away. While in-app purchases (IAPs) are already implemented in Fallout Shelter, it will be interesting to see if rewarded ad content will be integrated now that the game has staying power as a stand alone title. While it may sound counter-intuitive to include ads in an app that was originally designed as a marketing tool itself, there are strong indicators that some ad formats can actually strengthen the engagement that players have with a game. For example, a recent study conducted by Fyber in partnership with a major game publisher, shows that rewarded apps increase both the likelihood that a player will make an in-app purchase, and the likelihood that they will remain active in the game. No companion apps currently use this mechanic, but it would be a solid prediction that this may be the case in the future, as it has proven to work for top mobile game publishers.

Making mediation easy: Integrate ad networks in minutes with new mediation bundles

Creating a great app is challenging; integrating your mediation provider shouldn’t be. This is why Fyber is happy to announce that our new mediation bundles are available for all ad formats on iOS and Android!

Mediation bundles simplify the way you integrate and update your mediated ad networks so you can get your app to market faster. You can set up ad networks in minutes – check out the integration video below! This streamlined process makes Fyber the provider of choice for developer-friendly mediation.

It’s that easy. Our video shows how you can set up ad networks in minutes. Check it out!

How it works

Each of Fyber’s mediated ad networks has its own bundle with all the components you need for integration, including the adapter, the ad network SDK, and its associated libraries. It’s basically an ad network “bundle of joy” (and one that actually makes your life easier!) Simply download the bundles for the networks you want, connect them to your app, and watch your revenue grow.

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What other benefits do mediation bundles provide?

Bundles are also designed to be reliable and flexible because they are:

  • Certified to work: All of Fyber’s mediation bundles are thoroughly tested and certified by our 12-person internal team of mediation and QA engineers. We’re dedicated to working closely with our mediated partners to eliminate common integration errors and ensure that our product sets the bar for quality and reliability.
  • Flexible and customised: Integrate bundles for only the ad networks you want and minimise unnecessary files that weigh down your app.
  • Less integration work: Bundles include the right SDK and adapter versions in one place, eliminating the chance of version mismatch.

Download the bundles and try for yourself!

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More to come!
Fyber’s mediation bundles are just one part of our overarching mission to make app monetization smarter, easier, and better. We are continually working to ensure that developers have access to the mediated ad networks and product features that they want, all in the most streamlined way possible. Stay tuned for more exciting product updates and offerings from Fyber in the coming weeks.

Q & A with Alex Kogon and Michael Palotas – Selenium meetup at Fyber

Scalability and QA test automation have long been a hot topic for fast-growing tech companies. How do you handle, in a quick and efficient manner, your product or platform tests when they reach thousands? How do you ensure that no unexpected crashes or bugs result once the product is live? Quality assurance should be an integral part of any ad tech product development process, however, the question is: Which tool should you use for quality assurance tests and how should you arrange the testing funnel in an agile software development life cycle?

IMG_20150528_184716Fyber was lucky enough not only to host the first Berlin Selenium QA meetup, but also to interview with not one, but two, fantastically knowledgeable Selenium users, test engineering and development experts, and software industry veterans: Alex Kogon and Michael Palotas.

For those that have never heard of Selenium, can you explain what it is and how it fits into the real world of automation?

Alex: Selenium is an open source, widely-used standard that allows you to interact with the web pages exactly as a user would. It allows you to write automated scripts to replace manual QA testing with automated testing, that loads the browser, interacts with the browser, does everything that a user would. If you have QA engineer loading one browser manually, he would have to repeat the process with a number of browsers and multiple times, while automated testing allows you to run continuously against as many different environments as you want to. It has been around for about five years, but has become the standard in the ecosystem.

Michael: It fits in the overall automation world; it is at the very top of the testing pyramid, on top of Selenium there is only manual testing. In my opinion, Selenium’s place is functional regression. I would leave usability and performance tests to other tools or manual testing.

What in your opinion is key to creating a successful test automation strategy?

Alex: I think that the most important thing for continuous integration is that it has to be as fast as possible, so tune your tests to run as fast as possible and use the environment that performs as fast as possible. The problem is that many people use Sauce Labs, and it runs slowly because of the number of users at any given time. Others choose to use AWS, which is also slow, so if you build your own dedicated Selenium grid that provides the best possible performance, it might cost you more money but you’ll get a much better integration. When a developer changes something, they are supposed to wait until all the changes are integrated to see the result, but if it takes three hours to run the tests, they’ll be unable to check every little change to the code.

Michael: The key is to look at the topic of test automation holistically. I often find that the grid level automation is sitting with the QA teams; it usually is decoupled from the developer’s job. Where test automation fails is not in choosing the tool, but in looking at the testing pyramid in the wrong way. There must be a very close communication and collaboration between teams to set up an automation strategy that follows that test road. In an agile setup it is easier, especially if you have in-house testers, rather than teams that operate on different continents, for example. The more integrated the testing and developing processes are, the better; it’s about looking at it as a whole.

What is the likely future for Selenium, specifically with the shift towards mobile?

Alex: Selenium is just a protocol, but when you learn about Selenium, it’s usually related to web browser driving. There is Appium, which has the same type of interface, but you use different selectors. Instead of using selectors that give you objects on a web page, you use selectors that give you elements in the Android or iOS interface. I haven’t worked with it myself, but it looks quite interesting. Selenium was written for web, but all that matters is the user interface elements as objects, so as long as you can allow user interface elements as objects and are able interact with them, then you can use it.

Michael: The mobile topic, of course, is something that is being addressed by Selenium by developing tools such as Appium and Selendroid. There are already possibilities for Selenium to address mobile; it’s not yet perfect, but Selenium will have to move away from exclusively working with web browser testing and will eventually have to have mobile devices seamlessly integrated into their service. I am hoping that this is the route Selenium will take.

End to end tests are notorious for being brittle and slow. What is the best approach in carrying out the necessary tests, but not slowing down the testing process?

Michael: One thing is to have as few tests on the top level as possible, which still means you will have a few hundred tests to run. Another thing is the scaling aspect; make sure that you have a scalable infrastructure. I, personally, have set up an in-house grid with enough horsepower to allow scaling. As for the performance part, a big enough grid would mean that your test execution time equals the time that it takes you to run the longest test. Of course, that is theoretically speaking, it would be a matter of a few minutes. Companies often start without a grid or scaling in mind, and then when they think they reached a certain size they just throw in a Selenium grid and the whole thing explodes; nothing works, tests become brittle, they pass, they fail, nobody knows why. When you take a deeper look, you’ll see that tests weren’t written in an atomic way. Test data management is very important; when you have to run a thousand tests at the same time, you need each test to have its own dataset. This is not something you should think about when scaling becomes necessary, but something to consider from day one. A good rule of thumb is to use Selenium when you need the very top layer of the testing pyramid evaluated. When you need the visual part tested, the consistency level testing, as part of your user acceptance test for a web product. Selenium is paramount for these type of tests. However, for algorithm tests, there is no need for Selenium. Always remember, the fewer tests you have on the higher level, the better.

If I am new to Selenium, where do you suggest I start?

Alex: I don’t think that writing Selenium is very difficult at all, of course it depends on how much technical knowledge you possess. If you are a tester who knows how to drive a web browser but you never got to see the HTML code behind it, it may be a little bit difficult, but most important is to have the aptitude and the will to learn. I think the problem is that many developers don’t want to be test developers. But to be a good tester, you have to be a good developer. There are quite a few people in testing who are not developers and they perform just fine, but once you go into creating architecture that allows you to maintain your system more affordably, that’s where you have to know coding. Selenium testing is quite simple, but knowing how to maintain it properly requires a good level of software skills.

Michael: Bad news is, unfortunately, there is no good documentation for Selenium right now (laughs). A good starting point is still the Selenium HQ website, just to get a feel for it. Pick a language you are comfortable with, assuming that you are comfortable with any one coding language. Selenium is great because it supports most coding languages. Install Selenium and play around with it; and if you don’t understand something, Google it or attend the meetups in Berlin!

 

New case study: Complementing IAP with rewarded ads

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According to a recent report by eMarketer, in-app advertising and in-app purchases continue to rise in popularity as methods of monetization, while the paid download model has demonstrated a marked decline. Advertising is still the most popular business model by far (more than twice as common than IAP), but in-app purchases (or “IAP”), when executed correctly by the right type of app, can be a strong source of revenue for the developer.

However, the question is, can developers have the best of both worlds? Can they utilize both business models, in tandem, to maximize their returns? In our latest case study featuring Fyber’s client, a leading international publisher of mobile and social games, we explore:

o  Whether the implementation of rewarded ads increases or decreases the likelihood of an in-app purchase
o  How in-app ads affect engagement metrics, such as logins, storyline completion, etc.
o  The effect that in-app ads have on user retention

Download the study to read the full story.

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Case study: Getting UA right

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In our latest case study, we take a look at how Social Point – Spain’s largest mobile game studio – achieved success by working with Fyber to execute a smart and targeted user acquisition strategy. A leading developer of top-grossing mobile and social games, Social Point’s games have garnered over 50M monthly active users and more 100 million downloads. In this study, we’ll examine how Social Point:

o  Earned the #2 rank amongst US Android games for their title, Monster Legends
o  Influenced 66% of acquired users to complete the game’s tutorial
o  Achieved an average ROI of 7-10% per user

Download the study to read the full story.