Interview

Squeezed by rising user acquisition costs, TinyCo rolls its own affiliate network - Tiny Partners

Squeezed by rising user acquisition costs, TinyCo rolls its own affiliate network - Tiny Partners
San Francisco-based publisher TinyCo was in the vanguard of Social Mobile Gaming 1.0.

Back in February 2011, it raised what then seemed the outrageous sum of $18 million.

And while it's continued to release plenty of iOS and Android games - many as part of its Tiny franchises - it's also spent time thinking about wider distribution issues.

For example it was one of the first companies to set up a developer fund; its $5 million TinyFund. It was also quick onto Amazon's Kindle Fire platform, offering up to $2.50 through monetisation platform Chartboost for installs.

Now, however, it's taken the next logical step, setting up Tiny Partners, a fully-fledged affiliate network.

DIY network

"Discovery and rising user acquisition costs are the biggest problem for developers," comments TinyCo's director of business development Andrew Green.

"Companies are buying out the market and there's not enough inventory. It's getting out of control."

Green won't comment directly on these "companies", but it's well known that Zynga and GREE are - for their own particular reasons - currently prepared to spend what to most other companies are unlimited amounts of cash to ensure their games get downloaded.

Combined with a mobile advertising market that's still dominated by low grade banners, rather than higher quality full-screen interstitials and video ads, and the market for small and mid-size companies trying to launch games is grinding to a halt.

That's why TinyCo has decided to roll its own solution.

"We need to evolve more diverse ways of driving traffic," Green explains.

"Affiliate deals have proved to be strong in terms of web advertising and now we're bringing them to mobile."

Share alike

In this way, developers who signed up to Tiny Partners will integrate TinyCo's analytics and data tracking but significantly choose how they integrate the company's brands within their games and apps, across iOS, Android and Amazon platforms.

Of course, straight banners are a technical option, but TinyCo wants to see more creative uses. For example, Fluik included an egg from Tiny Monsters into its massively popular Office Jerk game, which resulted in very strong conversion rates.

And TinyCo is certainly being generous in terms of its business model.

Developers will get at least 50 percent of the lifetime value of anyone they get to download a TinyCo game, obviously assuming they start playing and paying.

"We're excited about the potential of these higher quality brand integrations," Green says.

"We think there's a large opportunity for drive revenue for our partners."

Interested companies should check out the TinyCo Partners website.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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jon jordan
I guess it also locks in good acquisition channels directly to TinyCo.
305 Games
What a great idea! This takes the risk out for them bidding up to $3-4 for users who may download but never pay.