Ad bars haven been around ever since social games reached a first stage of maturity. Until recently the bars would only display ads for other games – with the obvious downside of advertising competing games while the user is actively playing one’s game. As the industry is increasingly maturing more sophisticated models of cross promotion come up. We talked to Tal Perry, VP of Business Development at Appnext about their new model and platform opportunities.
Social Games Observer: Can you describe your service in one sentence?
Tal Perry: Appnext is a cross-promotion product that allows game developers to benefit from their games exit traffic.
SGO: How Does Appnext differ conventional cross-promotion gaming bars?
Tal: Unlike cross-promotion bars, Appnext is only visible to users that have finished their game session as opposed to the bars that sit on top of the game the entire time. Game developers spend a lot of money and time to bring users to the games and then the first thing that they show them is a bar with ads for the competition. It doesn’t make sense to me. With Appnext the user will, at a minimum, finish a full game session and determine whether or not to spend money on the game before seeing our ads.
SGO: Did you do the research yourself to find out users are likely to end their session after closing their currency top-up window?
Tal: Yes, we’ve done some research with game developers and also users. It is quite clear that a user who runs out of coins/lives/energy and closes the offer to purchase credits is going to leave the game. The user simply has nothing else to do on the game at that point and will probably only return once the timed bonus is available that gives him more coins, etc. However, many times these users are still hungry for more games and the recommendation from Appnext can satisfy that hunger. There are of course other common exit points to games from different genres and we can provide the solution in those cases as well.
SGO: What do you have in the pipeline for mobile and what are the biggest challenges here?
Tal: We plan on releasing Appnext for both iOS and Android by the end of this year. The mobile gamer is a little different from the Facebook gamer and his time is more limited so going from game to game might not be as appealing to them and as a result generate lower CTRs.
SGO: How big is the potential market in the open web compared to Facebook?
Tal: The potential is there and it is quite large. However, since player values differ from platform to platform on the open web, a cross-promotion model is not likely to work and we’ll need to focus on the other aspect of Appnext which is game monetization. Meaning, instead of a click-for-click model it will be a CPC model where the developers can earn revenue for every click.
SGO: To what type of games do you refer the user to? Do they stay in the same category or switch genres?
Tal: Ideally the user would stay in the same category since the CTR would be much higher. We see now that ads for slots games that appear on another slot game generate CTR of 25-30% while ads for another type of game on the same slots game only generate 10-15% CTR.
SGO: How does the targeting work?
Tal: The advertiser is able to target by country and game category. Which game genres are profiting most from your service? At the moment our focus is on casino games such as slots, bingo, poker, etc. so they are benefiting the most. But we also work with games from other genres and can offer the same benefits to games of all genres. Users eventually leave every game, the key is to know when that happens and what to offer them in order to generate return traffic.
SGO: Can you use Appnext to forward leaving users within your own game portfolio?
Tal: Yes, that’s possible but the business model would be different and based on a cost per click in return for utilizing the Appnext platform.