Tapjoy Pushes to Make Each Mobile User a Customer

Out of all of the new industries and trends that the growth of smartphones has given us, perhaps the most impactfull has been the explosion of the free to play, or free to use, software industry. Applications that sport a price tag are far less popular than those that come without one, even if hidden within the app are a myriad of ways that the developers can earn money.

But those sorts of apps aren't just the most popular ones, they're the most profitable too, with some of the biggest games and time wasters netting the companies behind them millions of dollars a day.

Credit: Pixabay
Credit: Pixabay

What's surprising though, isn't that that they make as much money as they do, but that they do so off of such a small percentage of their player base. While it does differ a little from app to app, the average percentage of free to play users who actually put money into their app is often as low as five percent.

That obviously is enough to keep many companies sustained, but that means there are a lot of other customers and there is plenty of money being left on the table. So how do you go about turning those non-paying users into paying ones? Presumably, not with the same tactics that you used for getting your already paying users.

This is where Tapjoy comes in. Tapjoy has developed an analytical system that is designed to target users with specific marketing campaigns and prompts, based around statistics gathered during their use of the application, and on predictive analysis of the future.

While it was launched only recently after the company purchased South Korean analytics firm 5Rocks back in August, Tapjoy says it is already seeing a lot of interest in its new platform. This led to it increasing its supported app base to 9,200 in the fourth quarter of 2014, with many clients that had used its services previously coming back to take advantage of the new analytics and predictive services.

I spoke with Patrick Seybold, Tapjoy's VP of global communications and marketing, who said of the response to Tapjoy's new service, We can now serve our partners with a solution consisting of predictive analytics, marketing automation, and both ad and IAP based monetization in one single SDK. App developers can now know the future lifetime value of their users and take action to drive them to either IAP or ad based monetization based on the predicted actions they'd take.

The analytics platform isn't designed to wring customers for every cent though. In many instances, it's about making ads and prompts more applicable to the user. Consequently, those who are already spending (or likely to) will see far fewer ads and have a more streamlined app use experience.

A developer likely wouldn't serve ads to someone who is going to spend or complete an in-app purchase in their app, and conversely they're likely to serve ads to someone they know would never make a purchase, so they could generate revenue from them."

Developers might hope that those non-buyers will change their minds, but at minimum, the developer can reap the benefit of getting ad impressions out of non-paying customer, and bring in at least a small amount of revenue.

Analytics certainly has the potential to deliver a personalized experience to customers. What are some of the solutions your firms have to do the same?

Jon Martindale, Technology Journalist

Jon Martindale is a technology journalist and hardware reviewer, having been covering new developments in the field for most of his professional career. In that time he's tested the latest and greatest releases from the big hardware companies of the world, as well as writing about new software releases, industry movements,and Internet activism.

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The ad-serving equation
  • 4/19/2015 10:45:04 AM

I use the free version of Words With Friends, and it's pretty hilarious to see the random array of (how to phrase this?)... stuff they think I'd be interested in.

Game of War, Sprint Cellular, and blurry Spanish-language ads get sent my way between moves. I'd love to see parent company Zynga get alot smarter with its ad serving (wouldn't be hard).

Re: Gambling On Rewards
  • 4/16/2015 8:52:16 PM


Sounds to me like Tapjoy is just implementing for apps a revenue ploy that has been successful with other Web interfaces. For example, pay more to get more features from Linked In. Ditto WordPress. Ditto Twitter. Or you can just go with the plain-vanilla version for free.


Gambling On Rewards
  • 4/11/2015 9:06:01 PM

The idea seems reasonable; cut the adds for each mobile user that pays a bit. Most likely setting up a sort of variable reward system might be useful. Much like B. F. Skinner's psychology experiments 70 years ago, the reward is variably spaced, as the mobile player moves along without even suspecting he's cleverly being manipulated to do as the programmer wishes?