Interview

Fuse Powered: Developers need to get to grips with their advertising

Fuse Powered: Developers need to get to grips with their advertising

Necessity is often the mother of invention and that's as true in the world of mobile gaming as any other sector.

It's particularly relevant when it comes to services such as monetisation, where developers convert their hard-won expertise into a new business models for others to share.

That's the case with Canadian outfit Fuse Powered, which started out making games based on movie IP like Jaws and Scarface,  but now offers what it labels "end-to-end app publishing solutions".

We found out more about the transformation and what products such as FuseBoxx and new ad mediation tool AdRally can offer developers from director of business intelligence Darren Keyes.

Pocket Gamer: Ad mediation sounds a bit boring so why should developers be interested in AdRally?

Darren Keyes:More than 98 percent of free-to-play mobile users never spend a penny on in-app purchases. Monetizing these users is extremely important to the business success of the vast majority of mobile games.

Sure, it may not be sexy for game developers to think about the best way to serve ads, or the best placement, or how to optimize the yield in every different country. They would rather focus on making great games, right? Well, that's where AdRally comes in.

We have a team of ad ops, business intelligence, and data science professionals building industry leading optimization algorithms and managing over 30 different ad network relationships, so that these game developers can focus on what they love and know how to do best.

In-game advertising doesn't have a good reputation so why do you think developers should be considering it, both in terms of revenue and user experience?

Certainly seeing advertising is never the reason users flock to content, but it is an integrated fact of life in nearly every type of media.

In a perfect world, game developers would make a fantastic game, get millions of downloads, and have every player enjoy the game so much, they just can't wait to make purchases.

Of course we know this is sadly not a reality for all but a tiny handful of successful smash hits. For 99.99 percent of the rest of the apps in the app stores, game developers need to ensure they have as many options for monetization as possible.

Making games is a business, not a hobby, and in order to be successful, developers and publishers need to realize that advertising can form a significant part of their revenue streams.

We have seen apps that previously had no advertising, now earn up to 70 percent of their revenues through advertising. In many cases, such as Dumb Ways to Die and Flappy Birds, advertising makes up 100 percent of revenue.

Video ads provide good eCPMs, but isn't the majority of mobile advertising still crappy banner ads?

By and large, mobile advertising is plagued with tiny banner ads. AdRally only serves full screen ads, so that tiny banners don't interfere with the player experience while they are playing.

AdRally ads are more like television commercials that appear at well timed breaks in the game play for a few seconds at a time. Most of our ads are now video, and we are adding some exciting new interactive ads that will be more entertaining for the game player.

How does AdRally integrate into FuseBoxx?

AdRally and FuseBoxx are completely integrated. Access to both is available through a single SDK, and all tools and features within FuseBoxx and AdRally communicate directly with each other.

This way you can build user segments, and then control who and when they see AdRally ads, but also what push or in-game notifications to send to each segment, or what difficulty setting any segment should experience.

The best part about these products is that when used in conjunction, they are completely free!

Segmentation is a hot topic at the moment. What is it and why do developers need to know about it? How do you help them do it?

Segmentation is critical in freemium. So few players make purchases that you really need to dig into segmenting these paying players into groups, and have the tools in place to treat each segment differently.

With FuseBoxx, publishers and developers can clearly see where players are converting to paying players, set up focussed merchandising campaigns to each user segment in the hopes of driving higher revenues and more conversions to paying players. And once all options to convert have been exhausted, can begin monetizing the non-paying players with advertising solutions such as AdRally only after they are sure they will no longer convert.

FuseBoxx is the only solution available with real-time, forward and backwards segmentation abilities that can also tie in a Custom App Experience to each segment, whether that "experience" is centered around merchandising, advertising controls, or even game difficulty settings and virtual currency economy balancing.

Originally you started out as a game developer. What's it like now being a platform company?

We had great fun making games like Jaws Revenge  and Scarface Multiplayer,  but even while publishing these games, we were building out the tools which now collectively make up FuseBoxx and AdRally in an effort to make our own games more successful. So we have always been a tool builder, right back to 2010.

In fact, it was Jaws Revenge  that first opened our eyes to mobile advertising as a monetization source.

Jaws Revenge  was great at acquiring users, but conversion rates and monetization was quite low. If we hadn't started experimenting with advertising in early 2012 with this title, it wouldn't have been a successful game for us from a business standpoint.

Now that we are 100 percent focused on our platform and mediation tools, we all still are very involved with our publishers and the great games they make. We often get to play early versions of the games, and give feedback to help improve them. Even when hiring, we are always looking for experienced game players to join the team. At heart, we are all still gamers.

What's next for Fuse Powered?

Fuse Powered definitely has a lot on its plate keeping up with all the latest trends in mobile.

Our focus will be on continuing to improve FuseBoxx and AdRally in every way possible, from better user controls, increased performance through optimization, and adding new features to help us stay ahead of the competition.

You can find out more about Fuse Powered services via its website.

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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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