Your ideas for a smart strategy to unlock premium content with ads

Hi everyone,

I would like to hear your thoughts on the following problem:

I have several free Android apps on the Playstore, non game apps. About 50% of their content is available, and if the user wants to get 100% of the content, he can purchase a premium version with an in app purchase (about $0.99). This is a one time payment and the content is unlocked forever.

Now, some of my apps are popular in countries like Indonesia where credit card is not commonly used by the population. I get many mails from people telling me they want to unlock premium content but don’t have a credit card.
So I am trying to find a way to let them unlock the content by watching ads/participate in partners offers etc. Ad networks like Tapjoy offers this kind of solution, but their solution is rather for games with in app currency. My apps don’t require in app currency, since you purchase the premium version with only 1 payment, once and for all, so I’m not sure how to use it.

How could I allow my users to watch a video ad/click on a banner/install partners app via an ad network (Tapjoy but could be any other) to unlock this premium content, given this is a 1 time upgrade worth $0.99?
I would love to hear your thoughts



TapJoy should work for you. TapJoy pays you when people download those apps from offerwall.
Apart from that you can reach companies related to your niche and ask them if they would be interested in buying ad space in your app to reach more audience.

Frankly speaking on Android, you are better off with the Advertising Model. For Premium Content, you can possible soft-incent them with things like facebook like, google +1 or rating which gives them points. When they do all 3-4 things you want to do and have enough points they can go ahead and unlock the content. This way, you dont push them for money and you also keep generating money from them.

Other way, is to just soft-incent them with “download” offers. If you are interested please PM me.

Thanks for your answer. My question was more: is there a way to offer a 1 time incentivize download worth 1$? I have no idea how much watching a video ad can be but I assume it’s less than that…
I have this constraint because i don’t have in app currency and want to find a way to avoid repeated actions. Hope it makes sense, tell me otherwise :slight_smile:

Thanks, these are generally good soft incent but I am looking for a solution directly generating money.
BTW, Iam making more money with unlock purchase than ads. Maybe because I don’t have spent too much time tuning my ads and Iam using admob :confused:

your app link? probably we can suggest better by having a look at your app

You can use Tapjoy or GetJar.

GetJar is in the process of being upgraded (hopefully) - because they have a very slow server and hard to integrate SDK - plus their online portal is very old world. They are in a serious need of overhaul.

Meanwhile Tapjoy is fast/modern/efficient.

I liked GetJar and their payments (about $0.09 per app install - now seems to be $0.045 per app install i.e. 5 coins - developer gets 0.9 of that - so $0.045).
However, it was earning miniscule amount (compared to ads even - i.e. 1/10 or 1/20 of ad revenue).

Moved to Tapjoy and it is earning even less (!) So maybe one needs to do engineering to tune it … but anyway …

Tapjoy shows video ads also - but my impression is that inventory is low and video ads GENERALLY pay very low i.e. $0.01-$0.02 per view or something (this is just off the top of my head - what i feel it was …).

Basically the problem with Tapjoy/GetJar vs. IAP (Google Payments) is that you cannot tap into the “whales” as you can with IAP (cash payments/Google Payments). Since Tapjoy/GetJar require user to do considerable work to earn you $1.00 - and that kind of spoils it for “whales” - since the whole purpose of “whales” is that of using cash as “shortcut” in games (or perhaps in their lives - so maybe a very specific demographic).

So with Tapjoy/GetJar you wind up only being able to get trickle revenue - appropriate for the work the user puts in downloading and running apps (to earn the coins).

The second thing is this is “incentivized downloads” - and this pays LESS than non-incentivized (i.e. banner ads or AppWalls etc. where the user voluntarily clicks on an ad “they like” thus presumably that click or download is of more value than a non-interested user who just downloaded an app because it was paying more coins).

I’m seeing folks reporting here that Tapjoy/GetJar type stuff gets them 20% of their ad revenue maybe - there maybe some who are doing better because they have some really valuable feature - so in the right circumstances there MIGHT be a real value to Tapjoy/GetJar.

Note that the contradiction is that users who are NOT interested in your app (and click on an AppWall) - or users who just see an ad they like for an app - that revenue can be considerably more than what a user who is paying you for unlocking features can earn - so this is the thing for developers to ponder - they think that if they have a feature that users like they will pay for it - the reality is that they may wind up earning more just by having everything free and showing ads.

A wrinkle on this is to USE the concept of “earning” coins - in a secondary way - not really expecting users to earn Tapjoy/GetJar coins - but to have that as an option to “remove ads” - which can deflect some of the criticism about ads etc.

So you can use the concept of a Daily Reward to bring user attention to the fact that they can unlock features (without making it look like an ad/reminder - thus leaving space open to show an interstitial ad etc. - since Daily Reward will presumably generate some warm feeling in the user), and may presumably increase retention - if some users think that returning to app rewards them …

While the direct way of thinking is that just price the unlock features according to what you think you should earn - the reality is that so few will go that route, that one may then consider the value of offering a much easier path to unlocking - either by a low Tapjoy/GetJar coin number to unlock - or by making the unlocking ENTIRELY feasible to unlock just with Daily Rewards - there is the possibility that IF such a strategy can increase your user retention - it could raise your conventional ad revenue MORE than what you may make from your direct-thinking “why don’t they unlock features using Tapjoy/GetJar”.

So there are a number of ways of thinking about this. If you can just get users to return to your app 2x more often - that may double ad revenue (well …) - and that may be more earnings that any Tapjoy/GetJar stuff directly may do …

However, I suppose there could be situations where a feature is SO essential and so desired that one could get good conversion on the Tapjoy/GetJar as people jump to complete whatever number of coins are required to unlock that feature …

Thank you, I really appreciate that you took on your time to write this post. Very interesting.
You answer one of my questions about the revenue per video ad, its is really small, much smaller than what I thought.
That leads me to another question : do you think it is a good idea to have users watch several video ads to unlock content? I don’t know, maybe 5, maybe 10, needs to calculate more precisely. I guess users would do it to get premium content for free, but would it comply with tapjoy/getjar? It definitely looks borderline and if I were the advertisers, I wouldn’t like wasting money on these users :slight_smile:

Thanks again for your great answer and looking forward to hearing your thoughts

:smiley: :smiley: :smiley: you haven’t seen adforandroidapps’s previous essays :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

My impression thus far is that video ads still have not developed to point of being workable for developer - on android. On iOS they may have slightly better performance/advertising push behind them - there they can sell expensive cars to the ipad users - I have actually seen video ads on ipads from my location while I have NEVER seen a video ad on an android app yet (that works).

However, some developers here HAVE mentioned video ads before - some of the video ad specific companies - but my recollection is that their numbers weren’t great either - which may have improved by now (I don’t know).

Ad inventory seems low, advertisers are not geared to video - but it COULD catch on later when they have their act together and inventory is there.

Revenue from video ads SEEMS quite low - that was my impression for Tapjoy and Leadbolt. It may have changed in 1-2 months but I doubt it.

My perception is that it is probably difficult to make any real money on video ads (currently) - but you may prove that presumption wrong by actually doing it and showing it works (because of how you present it).

BTW, another way you can fiddle with “how to price the Tapjoy/GetJar” is to run a SALE occasionally - this will allow you to drop the price to see if THAT is one of the things holding users back.

I did something like that with GetJar and I DID see some 2x improvement in revenue for that day (that I ran the SALE) - however we are talking miniscule (compared to ad revenue) - so it didn’t really go anywhere - GetJar remained a novelty on that app (as seems to be Tapjoy which I am using now). But because of poor revenues, bulk of my attention is not on GetJar/Tapjoy.

Though I have a nagging feeling there SHOULD be a way to make this work - by appropriate reminders, innovative way of presenting, or by offering a feature which is seen as essential for users.

Problem is that bulk of users use an app and don’t even explore any of the other buttons - so there has to be some of an “in your face” type of marketing as well - HOWEVER whenever you do that you begin to cannibalize the user attention span (away from ads - which ARE earning you revenue) - this is why I had suggested that a reminder that user has gotten a Daily Reward of coins (to help them achieve unlocking of features “eventually” - it may just be a trickle - but still may have psychological warm feeling for user - and not cannibalize the goodwill in user for seeing an ad soon after this).

Showing a Daily Reward - gives an opportunity to remind user of Tapjoy/GetJar stuff. Presumably you can still then show an ad/interstitial ad later and would not have worn out user from ad fatigue (as they will see Daily Reward as something good for them and “was not really an ad”).

I would be interested in knowing how to price the Tapjoy/GetJar - should one price it LOW (given difficulty of accumulating coins) - or is the sense that “those who are going to do Tapjoy/GetJar are not going to be deterred by how much it is” (I would tend to favor this second view - since I have had people comment that they were able to unlock such and such feature and didn’t get a complaint that “it was too much work”). Also Tapjoy/GetJar revenue per app download MAY vary by user location - so it maybe easier to earn more perhaps from U.S./Europe than other places - so what seems like heavy lifting from your location may not be as hard to earn those coins by user sitting in U.S.

I would appreciate any insight you could send my way as well. Thanks.

Here’s the answer for your original question - on how much is the cash quantum developer earns from Tapjoy/GetJar.

On GetJar - 100 coins is equivalent to a dollar - and developer gets 90% of that. So if on GetJar Rewards, a “download and run this app” earns the user 10 coins - that means if they use those 10 coins to pay you, it will give you 9 cents.

I think it is possible to do a location-specific exchange rate for GetJar coins also - or to have GetJar suggest a price (which I assume means they will lower price for locations where it is harder to earn coins - for example are not enough offers, or the payment per app is very low - because app advertisers may favor U.S. users for instance).

On Tapjoy, the exchange rate can be set by developer (so if you see Tapjoy in one app vs. another “earn 100 coins” could be referring to very different user effort (number of apps/effort they have to do to earn that).

HOWEVER, generally an app “download and run app” type offer will generally earn $0.04-$0.08 (NOTE: this is incentivized downloads so they revenue is less than non-incentivized installs - so for example AppBrain app install will usually pay developer $0.18 or so - maybe slightly less these days).

Compare also to AppWalls - which can pay less - but SOMETIMES an app install can earn you $1.00 even there (non-incentivized downloads again).

This gives you an idea of “user effort” to earn $1.00 for you the developer. On GetJar it could be anywhere from 20 to 10 (or 5 even maybe if there are featured apps in the offerwall which are paying more). On Tapjoy it can be 20 to 10 apps.

Now 10 app downloads is NOT a lot for a tech-savvy android user on a WiFi connection - they just put the downloads in queue and come back later. For a naive android user downloading 10 apps can seem like a daunting task (even though they could uninstall immediately after running).

The question then becomes - should one ask user to download 10 apps - or is it better to just ask them to download 2 apps (with hopes you will have 5x or more users willing to participate).

However, the conversion rate is so low, I DOUBT that you will get linearly increasing user participation as you drop the “effort required to unlock a feature”.

So there MAY be some weight to just charging some reasonable amount for a feature - and if you REALLY want to experiment with dropping the price - perhaps build a SALE feature (for example by setting a flag on AppBrain Remote Settings) - which drops the price for a day or so. And can see what that gets you. As I said, usually that DOES raise the revenue earned that day - question is if you keep SALE always on does it have value - the real value is in the SALE announcement screen shown to user (that you would show if AppBrain Remote Settings flag was set to “sale is on”) - so the question becomes if you can show a SALE screen always on app start - would that get you anything more than just reminding user of Tapjoy/GetJar option ? Alternatively, awarding user Daily Reward - if that would do something similar (remind user of Tapjoy/GetJar to do it faster - as Daily Reward may help but you may award them in such miniscule quantities - that the real purpose then is as advertisement - except to not make it feel like an advertisement - as it is for the “user’s good”).

I will sum it up for you. Incentivized downloads will SUCK for your regular users, its too much work for them to earn $1 for you. Your top country is not so great. The only users that will go through all the trouble is your “wales”, questions is: do you have enough “wales” to justify your effort to implement this feature?

adforandroidapps is back!! wow!! the master himself!!

He never went anywhere?

I’ve not tried Tapjoy myself so I can’t comment on that. But your problem is a bit similar to mine. I have at least 3 or 4 users per week contacting me asking how they can pay without creditcard/in-app payments. (In countries like Indonesia they should be able to pay with carrier billing though which is part of Google IAB I think)

The user account in my case gets unlocked on the server side which might be different to you. So what I’m going to do is get a paypal form on the website that unlocks their account as an alternative. I won’t be sending 30% to Google that way either! I would like to put a “Can’t pay with Google Play? Go here” message thing, but I’m sure I’ll be violating some policy doing that!

He was here but have not seen the long essays for a while. Now he is back full force freelancing job. I like his style of writing. I can’t believe sitting behind a computer writing all that for free. But he can! For me he is a living Legend.

Yes you are. I’d advise against that if you want to keep your developer account.

Yes, new Google Content Guidelines make it very clear that any other (cash) payment other than Google is not allowed.

This presumably leaves open the possibility of GetJar/Tapjoy type stuff which is NOT cash payment - but a form of “you pat my back, I’ll pat your back”.

If your (few users a day) are that desperate, maybe just integrate Tapjoy - it is fast to integrate and works fast also. GetJar works slow, and is slow to integrate - very complicated SDK and they have no developer console (you get a CSV file listing the downloads) - so you have no easy way to see total revenue etc. on GetJar.

The best would do is ask them to do a post on their facebook wall or tweet the link to my app before they can see the locked content. But do it only when you know the user is from Indonesia (or from some place where he can’t do IAP). For rest of the users, you can have IAP and don’t ask for FB or TW post. That way it would be perfect balance of monetization and promotion. Some work on your part but worth the amount of exposure you will get from facebook and twitter promotion.

Thanks again adforandroidapps for your input. You insisted on showing the sale offer “in the face” of the user, ideally from screen 1. Totally agree with that, this is the case in my app, my homescreen shows several buttons with a lock icon, when they are tapped, they end up on a screen encouraging them to unlock ($1 with credit card). I am probably going to give Tapjoy a try, the only way to be sure how that works. Though as you pointed out, I expect either super low revenue OR low conversion rate because users don’t want to download 20 apps hehe. I’ll write back on this thread if I have interesting results.

I like the idea of Amorgos consisting in fine tuning the strategy depending on demographics. Based on the device language I could make a specific unlock screen for users that don’t have credit cards. And keep my current credit card screen for Japan, Korea, US Australia, New Zealand and Europe who seem not having problem paying with CC.

BTW I think the easy answer to my question is: what the f*** Google is waiting for allowing Android users to pay through carrier? In countries like Indonesia, Philipines etc it would increase a lot both developpers revenue AND google revenue. Perhaps some law issue or