It stands to reason those behind an ad network with previous in the games development scene would consider themselves better placed to know what does and doesn't work for those still in the game.
That's the view of Chartboost, anyway an ad platform formed by those who made their name at Tap Tap Revenge studio Tapulous before the firm's buyout by Disney.
Chartboost's real selling point, however, is its focus on cross-promotion: the platform lets developers trade ad space on each other's titles through a dedicated marketplace, letting them pick and choose the ads they want their games to sport.
We caught up with co-founder and CEO Maria Alegre for her take on why this makes ChartBoost such a different proposition for developers.
Pocket Gamer.biz: What problems are you trying to solve with Chartboost?
Maria Alegre: As game publishers grow, they realise that one of their biggest assets is their 'distribution power' - that being all of the users who have downloaded any of their games.
This is a built-in audience who publishers can promote any other games they launch to.
We help publishers manage this distribution power by using it in the most efficient way. For example, we help them when launching new games internally, selling access to their audience directly to other publishers - skipping the mediation of ad networks - and we hand them the full control, flexibility and transparency they need to do both of the above, at the same time.
Similar systems such as Applifier already exist, so what makes Chartboost so different?
Applifier offers free cross promotion. No one pays. They take a percentage of the inventory. We offer an ad-server to launch internal campaigns or do deals publisher-to-publisher.
Publishers buy millions of impressions from each other every weekend. A Top 100 publisher can make a lot of money doing a direct deal whenever they are in the charts. The cross promotion is not free - it is a big revenue channel.
Chartboost does that for free, and we add professional analytics, transparency and customisable ad units to the system. Otheriwse, companies are tracking with bitly links, no UDID tracking, no frequency caps - very hacky ways to display and track ad units.
We have a platform for users to monetise and replicate their success: monetise with direct deals when you are in the ranks and replicate by doing internal cross-promotion in the most effective way.
With our platform, publishers always maintain 100 percent control.
How do you think your previous experience at Tapulous will help you?
Six months ago, we were developers. Now, we're trying to help them by anticipating their needs and focusing more time on meeting those needs, so they can focus on making games.
At Tapulous, we learned that the distribution power was the most powerful asset we had. We used it extensively to promote our own apps and push them toward a number 1 ranking, and to sell our inventory directly to other publishers instead of through an ad network.
Of course, at Tapulous, we had built an internal system to do that, but it always required engineering resources to launch each campaign. We have now done it in a self-service platform that a publisher's business team can use.
Sean Fannan - co-founder and CTO - was the first employee at Tapulous. He built the whole back end and scaled it from zero to 50 million users. CEO and fellow co-founder Maria Alegre was employee number 10 and was in charge of revenue optimisation and product launches.
What do developers have to integrate to access the system?
We have a simple, intuitive 100Kb SDK. There are three simple steps that can be found on our website.
After that, developers can control campaigns, design ads, and access analytics in real time from an online dashboard.
One key point is that publishers always have full control over anything that happens in their app. They can turn ads on or off, change the frequency, change the look and feel, launch and stop campaigns, or change the priorities in real time from the dashboard.
This is one of the big things that make us different than an ad network. As a technology platform, we let the publisher control and decide how to best use their inventory at any given time.
How does Chartboost's own business model work?
Chartboost operates a freemium model. We offer the ad serving technology for free when used internally or for direct deals.
We also have a network where publishers can buy and sell extra inventory. We have a rev-share for that network.
How will you kickstart the business in terms of building the sizeable network required to encourage others to start using it?
We are serving millions of impressions per day and delivering hundreds of thousands of installs per month.
Major publishers are already using our network as advertisers, publishers or both: TinyCo, Storm8, Pocket Gems, Gameview, The Playforge, Fluik Entertainment, Sunstorm Interactive, Ace Viral, Camigo Media, Neon Play , Lakoo, and Devsisters.
What kind of platform support do you offer?
We are a technology platform. We let the publishers decide how they want to deal with rewarded versus non-rewarded installs.
We offer the technology to do both and launch deals on the terms they decide. For example, in publisher-to-publisher direct deals, we don't mediate in the terms.
They pay directly to each other. We only track everything for them and take care of displaying the ad units. We support iOS and will soon launch on Android.
Thanks to Maria for her time.You can find out more about ChartBoost on the platform's website.
When Matt was 7 years old he didn't write to Santa like the other little boys and girls. He wrote to Mario. When the rotund plumber replied, Matt's dedication to a life of gaming was established. Like an otaku David Carradine, he wandered the planet until becoming a writer at Pocket Gamer.
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