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Category Archive for ‘Advertising’ rss

New Affiliations

Manning’s affiliate system iDevAffiliate didn’t have a disaster recovery plan. So it hit them very hard – and all their clients – when their server colocation provider decided to physically move their server to a different state.

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ABC Testing Banners

Recently we announced that we are starting pre-registrations for developer accounts for our Product Layer project. We bought a few thousand impressions on Ray Wenderlich’s well-known tutorial website. Different banner slogans produced different conversion results.

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Removed Affiliates

For a long time I had links to Sensible Cocoa, BinPress, Dropbox and Mobfox in the footer of every page on Cocoanetics.com. I also had two entries for other people’s components in my parts store section that linked to another company’s store via affiliate links.

I had established the links because I was hoping to earn a bit of passive income from these links, with the exception of Dropbox where I wanted just wanted to increase my free storage. This was the only successful part, I raised my storage to just under 25 GB over the past year.

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Code for Compliments

Chris asked:

Tried all week to get iAds & AdMod into same app. Your DTBannerManager be perfect. Im broke :( do you have a lay away plan :)

You are in luck! At the moment I am trying to grow my audience (for both my blog and my products) and to do so I am also willing to enter into cooperations that involve exchanging advertisement for code.

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What Does it Cost To Advertise Your Product/Site?

When you are looking for ways to increase exposure to your site or apps you have a plethora of options of holes that you can pour money in to. I found that milage varies enormously.

Google AdWords wanted me to have another look at their offering and gave me a credit for 100 Euros to spend on their ad network. At the same time I put exactly the same banner ad on 3 sites that I found when browsing the BuySellAds list of publishers. Also I’ve had several customers for putting ads on the Cocoanetics site, one app, and three ads for two components.

Let’s have a look at the numbers to see if we cannot figure out some feel for the varying effectiveness.
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Tweeting Away the Crown Jewels

Rarely Tweets are really worth money. But as companies become more social-savvy they find that having users “pay with a tweet” for some benefits combines the viral growth potential of a tweet with the a direct or indirect benefit. When I saw an offer on Steam to buy 2 copies of the highly anticipated game Portal 2 I added 1 + 1 and figured that probably somebody out there might be interested in getting one copy (value €50) for free.

Over the last few days I did my first TweetAway, from Tweeting and Giveaway. Let’s examine the cost versus the benefit, if it turns out that this was worthwhile then we should do it more often in the future. Let’s look at the stats from bit.ly and twittercounter to see what this gained Cocoanetics.

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Experiments in Blog Advertising

For the past few months I invited ads of fellow developers onto the Cocoanetics blog. I was quite dissatisfied with the payout from Google Adsense (like $1 per week) and this prompted me to search for additional methods to offset the cost of my hobby. I previously wrote about how you can express your appreciation and that my server bills for $60 per month. This mark continues to be my break even point.

Let me share the results we got with different kinds of banner advertisements and what we learned from this experiment.

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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.

Boosting Your Sales Rank

Michael Dorn of Applyzer.com has posted info on an interesting experiment he performed. The goal was to see how a massive outlet of promo codes would be able to affect the sales rank. While such a practise surely might get frowned about by big Apple, it is commonplace amongst smaller development groups and individuals to trying to increase overall sales.

Chart

The times mentioned on this chart (Games/Trivia US) are central European time zone and document the last 13 hours. You can clearly see the jump in sales rank 11 hours ago with a steady movement toward the “visible sweetspot”.

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Tripple your Sales in 2 Weeks

geocorder adLong time ago I created GeoCorder to have an app to record GPX tracks. These tracks can be mailed to an e-mail address in your address book and get attached to the mails. Something that was not possible before iPhone OS 3.0.

When I put it on the store for free the downloads skyrocketed only to crack on 0 as soon as I set the price to tier 1. That’s where sales stayed for many months, mostly 0, on some days as high as $2 in revenue. MyAppSales tells me that the daily average was around $1.50 in royalties from GeoCorder.

Enter AdMob. Andreas Heck of Super Trumps fame told me about his positive experience with integrating AdMob ads in his products, so I felt compelled (or shall I say envious) if his earnings. I made a couple of improvements of the GeoCorder codebase and added a new target that would display one AdMob cell in the table that shows the recorded tracks. As usual Apple wanted to play ball, so it went back and forth until finally GeoCorder [FREE] hit the store on June 7th.

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