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MobFox

You might remember that I created DTBannerManager to maximize ad revenue by getting ads from iAd where available (US, UK) and everywhere else from AdMob. Using these two networks left me wishing for a network that could also provide good results in Europe which is the third largest market for iPhone apps.

The European market is only large when viewed as a union, but due to a multitude of different languages it is unlikely that you’ll see iAd coming there next. Apple will probably continue rolling out their network but focus on English-language markets first: Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc. Lately I’ve been getting around $0.18 per click on iAds.

Click-through payments from AdMob are way lower compared to that, about $0.0225 per click. The reason being that AdMob typically serves small-budget developers, guys just like us, who just don’t have the kind of budgets that Apple managed to acquire for their current two markets.

BUT, a solution to this dilemma literally found me. Newly founded MobFox, their home in the Austrian capital Vienna, aims to fill what the other big networks leave to be desired. MobFox concentrates on the D, A, CH markets which share German as their common language. Their idea is similar to iAd, namely to acquire mid-size to large advertisers via agencies. Currently they have several advertising campaigns that pay around 12 Euro-Cents per click, which is in the same league as iAds.

When the MobFox CEO approached me to win me over to try their network I met him at their headquarters, a small office near the bustling Mariahilfer Street, Vienna’s most visited shopping street. I explained to him what we European developers really need and told him about DTBannerManager and how I could add it there as a third network. Then we parted ways.

A few days later I set up my first mobile app to be able to download the SDK. But I was shocked! The documentation was incomplete and partially altogether incorrect, mentioning class names that didn’t exist and telling me to set my publisher id via a #define which does not have any effect because this only works at compile time. In short, this SDK was utter crap.

So I offered to rewrite it to make it usable and less confusing which was gladly accepted. About 14 coding hours later I had created a universal MobFox.framework. I modeled it after the iAd.framework, except for a delegate method to get the publisher ID, which I implemented similar to what AdMob did. Amongst all the improvements were:

  • Hiding superflous and unusable methods from the developer to avoid confusion.
  • Make all web requests carry the appropriate user-agent string: “MobFox/3.0 (iPhone)”
  • Add capability to refresh Ads after time set on server
  • Allow for tel, sms, iTunes and other internally supported URLs as ad click-through URLs
  • Allow the developer to steer via online dashboard if he wants to show ads in an in-app ad browser or in Safari.
  • Embed graphics into the binary so that you don’t risk forgetting to copy these into your project as well
  • Ability to probe the click-through URL to see if it redirects to an external app. This way tap throughs are tracked but the user does not get an additional white safari page pop up but is immediately forwarded to the external app, like app store.
  • Proper error handling and communicating of resolution steps to developer

We documented two methods on how to add the framework to your app, either via Interface Builder or in code. In the least you have to implement the delegate method to provide your publisher id, which is unique per mobile app that you set up on the MobFox dashboard. The “advanced” demo shows how you can easily slide in an ad if you receive one or hide it if you don’t.

I’m really proud of what I created. The new MobFox SDK framework is clean, efficient and easy to implement in your own apps. I would like to encourage you to try it out. I’ll add it to several apps of mine over the coming weeks and I’ll report back once I have facts about all 3 networks to compare.

I have also included MobFox as an additional option in DTBannerManager; all you have to do there is to fill in your publisher ID in the config file. I believe the optimal strategy to be: try iAD first, then try MobFox, else go with AdMob. This gets you the highest paying ads for US/UK, D/A/CH and everywhere else we fall back to AdMob.

For a limited time only I am also able to get the threshold adjusted what an ad must pay for it to be served to you. This way you can pick out the cherries while still receiving ads from other networks. Send me an e-mail if you add MobFox to any app and I’ll get this set up for you.


Categories: Advertising

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