Interview

Backflip CEO Farrior says iAd eCPM is the highest in the business and fill rate has quadrupled

Backflip CEO Farrior says iAd eCPM is the highest in the business and fill rate has quadrupled
Back at the WWDC 2010 event in June, US developer Backflip Studios was one company experiencing some nervousness over the launch of Apple's iAd system.

Well, it had plenty of good reasons, millions in fact when you take into account the number of daily ad impressions it was generating in its free iOS games via iAd rival AdMob.

A month after the platform's US launch however, and CEO Julian Farrior is much more enthusiastic.

Pocket Gamer: How's iAD working for you?

Julian Farrior: It may sound shocking, given all the doubters, but iAd has exceeded our expectations thus far.

The eCPMs really are as good as folks are saying - it's currently the highest in the mobile advertising market place for publishers by a good margin. And fill rate has quadrupled over the past couple of weeks thanks to the ability of developers to run their own iAds.

Apple understands the deficits of the current system and seem to be aggressively trying to address them. We also get the impression it's queuing up additional big brand advertisers for Q4 when eCPMs will be at their peak.

Finally, iAd seems to be playing nice with other mediation and advertising solutions, which is great for mobile publishers.

Following the success of free games such as Strike Knight and Graffiti Ball released over the summer, you've announced three paid games for Q4. Is this a change of strategy?

Because mobile advertising is still nascent and there seem to be large swings in eCPMs on a monthly basis, we like a business model that involves a combination of free and paid applications.

If we have a stable of solid paid games, such as Ragdoll Blaster and Paper Toss: World Tour, should eCPMs from advertisers tank in any given month, we can actively use our ad inventory to promote our paid games instead, in effect creating our own higher eCPMs based on the sales delta we'll generate. This provides us with a certain amount of revenue diversification.

We'd also like to add in-app purchase revenue as a third, and likely soon-to-be-dominant, revenue stream in the next few months.

But rest assured that we will continue to put out high quality free applications in tandem with paid games. We'd like to release one a month going into next year, as we did this summer.

Any plans for Android games?

Yes. We are in the process of porting all of our free games over to Android. The recent numbers we have been seeing in terms of downloads of Paper Toss are very exciting, as are daily usage numbers and the mobile advertising revenue. It's seemed to blow up in the last two months in a very positive way.

Our focus will initially be on free applications monetised through mobile advertising. We hope to get Strike Knight, Graffiti Ball and Ninjump out before the holidays.

Thanks to Julian for his time
editor-at-large

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon can turn his hand to anything except hand turning. He is editor-at-large at PG.biz which means he can arrive anywhere in the world, acting like a slightly confused uncle looking for the way out. He likes letters, cameras, imaginary numbers and legumes.

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