Is it even worth advertising?


from time to time, I use a tool called What Runs Where, which enables me to check popular apps and see, if they are advertised on popular ad networks like AdMob, Millenial Media, LeadBolt, etc.

What I see is that most of the apps in Top Charts do not advertise at all. Ketchapp (publisher of ZigZag, Stick Hero,…), for example, seems to rely on cross-promotion and social sharing only.

From the Top 100 Charts only these apps are actively advertised (based on the WRW data) by their owners and affiliate marketers:

  • Go Keyboard - Emoji
  • Skype
  • Subway Surfers
  • Clean Master
  • Clash of Clans
  • APUS Launcher
  • Mobogenie

Also, to get a better idea, which apps are definitely making money (at least 0.3 USD on average per user), you only need to apply to one of the affiliate networks, like AppFlood, Mundo Media, Glispa etc. There you’ll have a nice list of apps which you could promote and earn money from each install (from 0.2 USD to 1.5+ USD) - the list is also useful to study the apps and see how they monetize, how the apps are made, etc.

Anyway, I checked Chartboost’s and AppBrain’s Insights and the cost of CPI in English speaking countries is insane:
Average CPI per country for Android apps - AppBrain

AppBrain has some more decent CPI’s for countries like Hungary, Ukraine, Romania and the rest of East Europe (around 0.30 USD per install). However, if one decides to advertise there, the payouts from advertising networks are also smaller compared to Tier 1 countries (US, CA, AU,…).

What I wonder is, if I (small time publisher) decide to publish simple games/apps, are they even worth to advertise? All the apps that are advertised use IAP, are mostly big and complicated, and owned by large companies with probably very bid advertising budgets. I’m not sure if I could even get any traction by spending for example 2.000 USD in Hungary. If the average CPI would be 0.25 USD, I’d get only 8.000 installs, which is not that much.

Please chime in and share your experience. I’m not sure yet if advertising is even worth it (with a small budget) or is it better to rely on ASO only and great social sharing features build in the app itself.

I don’t think paid advertising would help most of small developers. Small games and apps often get less revenue per user than the money that costs to pay an install. In this case maths never gonna help you. Maybe if your app has potential to become viral it needs a bit of advertisment to get known, but this is still a very small chance.

In my experience, I got a free voucher for $20 of advertising in a big website. After the campaign maybe I earned $5 so if I paid for advertising I would lost my money.

This ad tracker you used don’t seem to work right. There are a lot more apps advertising actively in the top 100.
Some developers here are saying you need to give your apps a boost at release to get the ball rolling, but I never advertised my games before, expect press releases for blockbuster games and still got millions of downloads altogether. I personally would only recommend buying downloads if you have a really good retention and ARPDAU, otherwise it doesn’t seem to be any help at all.

Thanks for the replies, guys.

Yeah, I too think that ASO and good social sharing should be enough (besides having a great app) to get the ball rolling. If you have a large enough audience, cross-promoting with House Ads seem to be the best way to go.

Also, I’ve read an interesting report from Millenial Media saying, that revenue distribution among all the developers on GP in 2014 was better than in 2013. Publishers who are not ranking in Top 10 or Top 100 earned about 15% more while the “Top 10” publishers earned about 5% less. It seems than GP does care about the smaller publishers after all. :wink:

Top 100 is not small. :wink:

It’s top 100x all countries, each top 100 is different. Also you have recommended lists what is different for each 1 bilion android users :wink:

Hey Magnesus, the report said that publishers who are outside the Top 100 chart rankings earned more, than a year before. So it’s a good news for the smaller devs/pubs.

I was looking at the list on my Genymotion emulator (English language) with a US VPN with no history. The Top 100 Chart is more or less the same for each country.

Is this any surprise to you? The top 100 are 100 apps, a fix amount. Then we have all the other apps: About 900.000 apps until the end of 2013 and 1.350.000 apps in the end of 2014. The increasement of apps in the stores is actually higher than the increasement of total gross generated in this time frame. Do you know what this means? More money for google, less money per developer.

You are wrong. Look at appanie and country lists.

Google have many lists:

Each Category x Each Country + top 500 new apps x Each Country + recommended different for each user + featured list + top selling free + top earnings + top tablet + top lwp + top widgets… …
Lists are mostly different, look at russian list and some english language list. Each list can boost your app downloads, for example you can be featured on the list in Germany but not in Poland.
That’s why we are making custom language translations = more keywords in store.

Sorry, but if I check the apps on my phone or App Annie, Top 100 is very, very similar.

Anyway, I won’t do any advertising at all. ASO seems to work well ATM and untill that changes, I’m not spending any advertising money. :slight_smile:

I guess PPC would help most of small designers. Small activities and applications often get less income per customers than the revenue that expenses to pay a set up.