One of the best things about working at Appnext is the fact that we get to work with awesome developers. The second best thing is helping them reach and surpass their KPIs.
We know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking that this is going to be another blog post that talks about how developer X reached XXX with XXX. In a way you’re right, we are going to talk about how developer X (Pixonic) reached X (3X) ad engagement with XX (40%) lower CPI. But, this is no ordinary blog post, this blog post has ROBOTS!
Pixonic – Firing up games since 2009
Pixonic began making game magic in 2009 in Moscow. The company started out as a small start-up that created and published computer games. Their first few projects “Adventure Island” and “Airport” for social platforms were a massive success.
In 2013 they created War Robots, a freemium mobile app game that has ROBOTS (did we say robots enough?) and explosions and battlefields and many other geeky yet very manly things we love.
War Robots – “This game may soon require a doctor’s note that you are fit for play.”
War Robots is a third-person shooter with real-time Player vs Player battles in MOBA mode. Players operate giant robots on a live battlefield. You can play alone or team up with different players. War Robots includes a real-time multiplayer system where battles are held in 6-vs-6 mode and missing players are automatically added to the team with a special matchmaking system.
The game’s main objective is to capture/hold beacons, of which there are five located in a variety of key locations. Players must move their robot close to a beacon in order to capture it.
WARNING! The game is available for both Android and iOS users so there is no device discrimination, you will all get addicted.
We’re totally biased but check out Daniel Willmann’s review on Google Play. He actually thinks this game may require a doctor’s note to play.
I’ve been gaming for 40 years from pong,tank vs tank…twisted metal…WAR ROBOTS!!! The best game ever. From the graphics, strategies to the character builds(the Robots and the weapons) it is all over the top. This game may soon require a doctor’s note that you are fit for play. “
Ok, so the game is awesome but what does that have to do with Appnext? Pixonic partnered with us to create better campaigns for their robot game so that more people could discover more robots (our mission in life is complete).
Pixonic joined Appnext in December 2016 with the hopes of quickly scaling their campaigns. Creative optimization was one of Pixonic’s main strategies for maximizing user response rate and ad engagement while reaching optimal cost-per-install.
We did give away the results so you already know that Pixonic reached 3X ad engagement with 40% lower CPI. What you don’t know is how.
What was their creative strategy? What worked and what failed miserably? How did they make magic happen and how were we a part of it all?
Find out in our in-depth (but not overbearingly long) case study.
We recently opened an office in India, where the advertising industry is projected to be the second fastest growing market in Asia after China. However, despite being part of a rapidly growing mobile app market, Ad Tech companies continue to face several challenges in India.
We sat down with Manish Singh Rajawat, General Manager of Appnext India to get inside information into the ad-tech world there. Here’s what he had to say:
What would you say is the absolute biggest challenge for app developers in India?
The foremost challenge app developers in India face is to create something that gets traction. It’s important that developers know if the app really has a market. The app development market has immense competition, and it’s actually over crowded so they must focus on something that stands out in the crowd and gets noticed. Monetization is also a challenge. Developers should choose an ad network that has the right kind of technology that can segment users accordingly and then serve the most relevant ads.
How do you find the right balance between supply and demand?
The demand side has moved from the typical conventional media buying model towards a more performance-focused model. Most of the focus is on ROAS, KPIs such as Cost Per Transactions, Cost Per Sales, and Cost Per Order and are being considered as quality measures by all agencies and advertisers. However, publishers continue to demand Cost Per Mille, minimum guarantees and fixed prepay kind-of-pricing structure for their inventory. On top of that, Ad Tech is dealing heavily with the growing fraud issues in the ecosystem.
Why is fraud increasing?
With the commoditization of performance-focused Ad Tech systems such as Hasoffers, and Affise, it has become pretty easy for anyone to raise a white-labelled arbitrage system that segments supply into distributed smaller chunks. This has been the case in India for quite some time as hundreds of such arbitrage homegrown ad networks have mushroomed up without the right kind of customized, relevant technology that is measurable and can detect fraud. This has created a lot of confusion and fraud, as well as attribution and transparency issues in the ecosystem.
We’ve heard that good tech can help advertisers reach their KPIs. Is this accurate?
Although the market is growing rapidly and the numbers show great promise, having the necessary technology is crucial for success. It can strengthen the measurability funnel and enable fraud detection. The right kind of data science will provide relevancy in order to meet advertisers’ expectations at KPI levels.
What are some of the challenges developers should keep in mind when creating their apps?
At an operational level, app development comes with several challenges. For example, right from the designing phase, it’s important to ensure that screen real estate is optimally used and that messaging is simple and clear. Benchmark performance against battery life, and have a powerful user engagement strategy keeping the app interactive. It’s also important to choose and use the right mobile content management system in order to solve a lot of problems such as frequent connection drops that make the delivery of rich content difficult. Also, stores such as Google Play require you to bundle all your rich content into expansion files so anytime you have to update the content, the app will require a new release and republishing.
What are some tips you can share with developers when it comes to launching an app in India?
Even after an excellent app is created, its success depends 90 percent on marketing and 10 percent on the quality of the app. It’s of vital importance to have an appropriate promotion strategy in place. Apart from just depending on organic app store optimization techniques, I highly recommend using superior tech and algorithms to determine ‘who & when’ will constitute the most relevant and active subscriber base for you and help you acquire them.
What is the future of Ad-tech in India?
India’s digital advertising market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.5 percent to cross the $3.8 billion mark by 2020. There are a lot of recent developments giving a boost to digital ad spends in the Indian market, such as growing penetration of smartphones, digital India initiative, demonetization, rising purchasing power, etc.
Yes, San Francisco, The App Valley Summit is coming your way with a day dedicated to those time-consuming, magical, often life-saving things that have taken over our lives. Apps.
Hosted by MWC Americas, and presented by Appnext, Tune, and Fetch, App Valley will gather the best and brightest mobile leaders and professionals to discuss the question on everybody’s mind. What is the future of apps?
The event’s main goal is to unlock the closed app-centered discussion by involving all of the voices currently shaping the changing mobile landscape: market and product visionaries, marketers, platform manufacturers, and users.
Expect to see speakers from :
Sept, 13th 2017
MWC Americas Moscone Center
During the day – sessions, panels, fireside chats on the industry’s hottest topics:
Future of apps and platforms
Disrupting ad tech innovation
Refocusing growth for engagement and sales
The voice of the platform – phone manufacturers view on the app economy and the future of mobile
We’re pretty emotional about the release of our in-app header bidding and we hope you will be too! Publishers will be able to put the old fashioned waterfall system in the past and focus on their monetization future increasing eCPM by 20-40%.
Instead of working according to the waterfall method and basing bids on historical eCPM, publishers will receive a predicted real-time eCPM for every request and user, maximizing their monetization efforts.
In-app header bidding is currently available for Android and will be released to iOS in a few short weeks. For questions about integration or feedback about our in-app header bidding please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ever experienced the thrill of an auction? For some people, auctions are like sports. They can be a hobby or a way of life. The room quickly fills with different people looking to compete and bid on priceless works of art, classic cars, coins or maybe mystery objects they absolutely don’t need and probably don’t have room for. In Ad-Tech, auctions are a bit different. While they don’t include rooms filled with people, memorabilia or expensive collections, for publishers and advertisers they are just as exciting as they have the power to determine both viewability and revenue.
This article will review header bidding, the popular” auction” method on desktop and will discuss the future of in-app header bidding.
What in the world is header bidding?
Let’s talk a little about what header bidding really means. If we simplify it, header bidding is just a few lines of code that goes in (you guessed it) the header of a web page. That same code allows publishers to present their inventory to various ad exchanges at the same time. By allowing different sources to bid on the inventory at the same time publishers increase their revenue potential.
The Waterfall was created out of publishers needs to sell all of their ad slots. The goal was/is to help publishers increase their fill rates and maximize their revenue.
How does it work?
Because direct sales usually provide the highest CPM, it is publishers first choice when it comes to selling their inventory. However, if they cannot, the impression will move to the waterfall which includes various ad networks. The publisher decides which ad-network will be approached first, usually based on the historical yield meaning how much money this ad-network has made the publisher per geo in a specific period. If the first ad-network can’t meet the request the impression will pass through the waterfall until it is sold.
The system work but has a variety of issues.
Waterfall leaks water everywhere
Things change. Just because one ad-network performed well for a time being doesn’t mean it should always be the first choice.
It doesn’t always take the publishers needs into consideration. Historical yield does not mean the ad-network will supply the best results. What if another ad-network is interested in bidding higher for this specific impression?
The waterfall can often cause slow loading time causing poor user experience.
Dynamic filling with AdX (DFP) and other in-house ads, eventually the ad server will fill the impression from it own exchange (AdX in the case of DFP) in one cent above the waterfall slot. If the publisher left gaps in the slots (or added a slot per each cent), it will loose money.
The waterfalls disadvantages and inefficiency led to the introduction of header bidding on desktop. Currently, App publishers are still stuck with “chasing waterfalls.”
As mentioned above the waterfall system isn’t perfect. Not that header bidding always is but, it is pretty awesome. Header bidding creates healthy competition from direct demand by generating an auction for each impression. Thanks to header bidding, publishers don’t have to settle for what the waterfall has to offer, they can always choose the highest bid per impression.
Heads up! In-app header bidding is on its way
By now it’s clear. Header bidding for desktop = good. Header bidding for in-app = almost non-existent so publishers settle for the waterfall. Fortunately, we are starting to hear more and more talk of header bidding migrating to in-app. Appnext recently released in-app header bidding. By updating the new SDK version app publishers can maximize yield for each ad request, by letting them serve the highest real-time bid, as opposed to relying on the Waterfall and average historical eCPM bidding.
In order for in-app header bidding to succeed or have a chance of succeeding developers must be open to trying new tools that require the implementation of an SDK. Let’s face it, it’s not the end of the world, just a little more effort and code that could very well revolutionize in-app advertising the same way it did desktop.
Now close your eyes. Imagine that you are attending an auction. You are in a room with hundreds of other publishers. You can either have an option to choose five-set ad-networks that may or may not deliver the desired eCPM OR, you can have various ad networks compete to serve your request and maximize revenue. Which do you choose?
We are extremely excited to announce the launch of Appnext Actions. This patent-pending product turns apps into full-serving platforms by enabling seamless in-app integration of third party services, changing the way we interact with our mobile devices.
In the fierce competitive app jungle, it has become impossible to play by the old industry rules. It’s not about surviving the competition, it’s about winning, being the best and providing users with the ultimate product. The next generation of industry winners will be referred to as “super apps”: these apps will accompany users on their daily journeys, enabling them to do more with less, streamlining dozens of daily on-device tasks completed faster and more efficiently.
A great example of a super app is China’s Wechat. An average user spends an incredible amount of time within WeChat – more than 90 minutes daily, basically managing their entire life on WeChat. Those who use the messaging app can play games, order food, pay bills, order taxi’s, check in for flights and much more.
Appnext Actions allows apps to do just that, turning them into full-serving platforms and super apps. Serving as an easy-to-implement in-app assistant, Appnext Actions provides your users with a shortcut to an action they are about to take next.
For every action users opt-in they will be presented with a list of apps that are most relevant to their real-time location, interests and individual preferences. Designed as a mobile-only product, Appnext Actions supports both native and instant apps, streamlining mobile interaction and app usage.
App marketing success has never been trivial, yet nowadays it is harder than ever to get your app discovered and even harder to keep your users engaged over time. Install-focused marketing has become obsolete. Appnext Actions introduces a new growth paradigm, enabling you to focus on immediate engagement, and deliver your app a tap before a purchase, or an order is made.
For example, if you are in charge of growth for a taxi app, your primary business goal is to secure more taxi rides and become the default taxi option on a user’s mind. With Appnext Actions, you will be able to reach your users, right at their decision-making point. Every time a user taps the “Order a Taxi” button within any app, he/she will be presented with real-time information of available taxi options, including yours.
Similar to search experience, the results page will feature the best-fitting apps, including up to two sponsored results. Based on proprietary indexing algorithms, the smart recommendations will include:
apps available per country and user device
apps frequently used by the user
The promoted apps will reach users with real-time information (time, cost, discount, etc.), a message (e.g. “the closest cab is only 3 minutes away”), and a personalized in-app destination, implemented via a deep link.
According to our research, the click-to-purchase ratio is up to four times higher than that of traditional app marketing channels due to the organic resemblance of this unique user flow.
Over the past ten years, smartphones have become smarter, but the overall mobile experience hasn’t. We are proud to bring a product that provides users with fast, efficient solutions for their everyday tasks, changing the way we interact and experience life on our mobile devices.
Appnext Actions is currently available to a closed pool of premium partners. Apply now to get a demo.
We are excited to announce that the Developer Economics Q3 2017 survey, run by our friends at VisionMobile, has just been launched! This is the 13th developer survey, focusing on tools, training and career development. Every year more than 40,000 developers around the world participate in this survey, so this is a chance to be part of something big and make your own contribution to the developer community.
The survey features questions on topics like development resources and where to find them, tutorials and courses, distribution channels, developer tools and SDKs, as well as languages, platforms, app categories, new technologies, and revenue models. What’s great about this survey is that it is 100% relevant since it has been made by developers. Plus you will get to learn about new tools – and it only takes 15 minutes!
The Developer Economics survey is always designed to offer an extra fun factor. So this time, while taking it, your answers will be gradually forming a profile – showing you what kind of character you’d be in a sci-fi developer universe. When you finish, you’ll get to read your full profile. What’s your character going to be? A cyborg trooper, a technomancer, a smuggler?
Participants can win one of the tens of prizes available including iPhone 7, Pixel phone 32GB, Oculus Rift and more.
Last but not least, VisionMobile will show you how your responses compare to other developers’ in your country, so you’ll get a sense of how you compare to other devs. You’ll also be the first to receive the Developer Economics Q3 2017 report (due August 2017) based on key survey findings.
Common Mobile App Security Threats and Making Your Mobile App More Secure
In a recent survey, Arxan found that despite the ever-increasing threat to app data and mobile app security, only 32% of respondents said that their organization feels an urgency to secure mobile app data, and only 42% of respondents said that their organization felt securing IoT app data was an urgent matter. For many companies, the lack of budget for proper security measures means that corners are often cut in security, risking both sensitive company data and private user information.
Additionally, over 429 million identities were reported compromised, and a Symantec report claims that at least 113 million compromised identities were not reported by the company at fault. Including the estimated amount of unreported breaches, it’s estimated that more than 500 million sets of personal information were exposed in 2015.
Common App Security Threats
What are some of the most common security threats in mobile apps, and how can you secure your app’s data and user information?
Single Device Usage
Many mobile apps, especially enterprise-level applications, contain sensitive corporate information that must be secured in every way possible, right down to securing the device itself. This is a challenge, however, as most people, even many C-level executives, only regularly use one mobile device. This means that sensitive company information is mixed with less-secure personal information, risking security breaches.
Apple requires you to undergo a strict audit of security checks to ensure all apps in the Apple App Store have at least basic levels of security. Apple takes its apps’ security very seriously and allows its individual users to determine the level of access each app has for themselves. For example, Apple’s HealthKit allows the individual user to determine which apps have access the personal health information, usually by prompting the user with a popup to confirm access for each app.
Android apps tend to have higher security risks than Apple apps due to Android’s wider range of device type/operating system combinations and Android’s more lax App Store requirements. Additionally, Android users can choose to download apps from “Unknown Sources”, which allows just about anyone to add apps that could cause security breaches to the App Store for download.
Jailbroken devices obviously cause even more of a security risk, but neither Android nor iOS devices need to be jailbroken to be vulnerable. All operating systems have faced security breaches, with both paid apps and free apps causing safety issues for users. 56% of Apple’s top 100 paid apps and 53% of its most popular free apps have seen security breaches. Comparatively, a full 100% of the top 100 paid apps and 73% of the most popular free apps in the Google Play store have been hacked in the past.
Cross-Device Security Threats
Mobile devices aren’t the only place secure information can be compromised. Many app stores allow mobile users to download apps from their desktop devices and add to their mobile devices, posing what is referred to as a “Cross-Over Threat.” For example, Windows devices have been vulnerable to a type of malware that exploits a user’s browser cookies, usually containing login credentials and personal information, and uses them to impersonate the user and install apps onto a device without the user’s knowledge. This is just one example of how cross-device functionality can present opportunities to hackers and security breaches.
It’s no surprise that with every new advancement in technology, improvements in malware and hacking methods are just around the corner. The “Internet of Things” (IoT) or ‘smart” devices continue to pop up in our homes, vehicles, jobs, just about anywhere where information could be collected to automate tasks. The purpose of IoT devices is always to be collecting user data and use that information to make ‘smart’ automation decisions. Similarly to Android’s security disadvantage of having a vast number of operating system + device types, many, if not most, IoT devices allow for connections to many other operating systems, making the actual security of these devices extremely difficult to control.
Many IoT devices don’t require any secure ‘login’ point, providing little to no protection from unauthorized access to the data being collected. Some IoT devices don’t even have a screen much less authorization security (such as smart coffee makers, smart mattresses, smart home lighting systems, etc.). Additionally, many IoT devices are still relatively new to the market, meaning security measures tend to be more reactive to data breaches and hacking rather than preventative. These factors pose difficult challenges in keeping stored user information secure.
With so many variations and security challenges, what is the best way to secure mobile apps?
Areas to Ensure Your App’s Code is Secure
Your app’s authentication is the method with which users ‘authenticate’ themselves, or log into your app. While it’s obvious that all applications should have at least some level of user authentication, 2-step authentication is recommended for optimal security. 2-step authentication requires exactly what you might expect; an initial password/passcode and a second form of authentication, usually confirming through the device itself via pop-ups or SMS-delivered passcodes.
“Data at rest” is user information that your app collects that is then is stored on the device when not in use. Any and all sensitive data on the device should be encrypted, with the encryption key also secured. Your mobile app should not store any user information that it doesn’t need, and temporary data should be deleted as soon as it is not in use. Whenever possible, you should attempt to design your apps in a way that does not require user information to be stored on the device.
“Data in Transfer” is user information that is both received to and transmitted from the user’s device. You should use an SSL certificate (https in URL) when sending information to and from your servers to ensure the most secure data from one trusted source.
Debugging and Updates
Since both helpful and malicious technologies are always advancing, new security breach methods are continuously being invented. Subjecting your app to regular, ongoing debugging and maintenance will not only allow you to protect your current app and users, but it will also ensure that your app stays secure for the foreseeable future.
You should look for weaknesses and vulnerabilities at every stage of development, and include a debugging phase for each stage. Hackers tend to work very quickly and target mobile apps that are not subjected to regular updates and maintenance. On a regular basis, you should walk through each stage of your app, screen each stage for weaknesses, harden them, then send out patches and updates.
Additionally, your app should require regular version checks to ensure that your app is up to date on the user’s device. This will help to ensure that any out of date patches and versions are not a risk to current versions and user data.
There are many tools available to help you scan your mobile apps, depending on the device(s) for which you are developing. Check out the full list of OWASP.org Vulnerability Scanning Tools here.
Securing the Device
As a developer, you are not able to fully control the security of a user’s device itself, especially if the device has been jail-broken or otherwise compromised. Using the most common jailbreak detection methods in your hardening phases of development can help you prevent breaches sensitive information. Jailbreak detection methods include file-based detection, API-based Detection, OpenSSH Service Detection, and Cyndia Scheme detection, and can alert you when a user’s device may have been compromised.
By securing the code and application environment within which an app is used, you can create a safe and secure mobile app for your users. What other security methods have you implemented in your app development? Share your thoughts on our social media channels!