How I Achieved $15,000 Daily Sales on Google Play | Android App Monetization


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Katsuaki Sato describes his studies of app monetization and promotion on Google Play. Learn from the master of Anrdoid app marketing in Tokyo Japan. Katsuaki's company Metaps is a leader in Android app promotion, monetization and retention.

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  • How I got high ranking in Google play store for my music player. Although google has not revealed how it calculates app ranks but there are few factors which play very important role in determining the rank. First of all if you are a indie developer like me than you have only 30 days to make your fortune after you upload your app. after 30 days the app will get locked at a particular no. of daily installs say around 200-250 and its very hard from this point to increase the daily install. So buckle up for the 1st 30 days. * In the 1st 30 days 1st 2-3 days are very very important. Try to get as many downloads and reviews as possible. * No. of downloads will determine 60-70 percent of your ranking. * Review are very very important. I mean 2nd most important factor after downloads but sometimes even more( explained in next point). * Keywords in reviews are real ASO. It has more priority then the keywords in description. * Back links also matters. PS: these points are applied by me and my app shows relatively higher compared to some of the well established apps in the market. Search for music player you will get my app in around 30- 35 position. Music player fabulous. Will keep on adding more points. Please have a look at my app, I have launched a pro version.
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How I Achieved $15,000 Daily Sales on Google Play | Android App Monetization

  1. 1. Monetizing Android Apps How I Achieved $15,000 Daily Sales on Google Play Katsuaki Sato (佐藤 航陽) CEO of Metaps Inc. Twitter:@metaps_sato
  2. 2. Introduction Katsuaki Sato (佐藤 航陽) CEO of Metaps Inc. Katsuaki Sato started his first business when only 15 years old. After entering university, he successfully launched a search engine/social media marketing business in 2007. In 2011, he launched a smartphone developer platform business with operations in Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Silicon Valley, and strives to help support the monetization needs of developers around the world. Twitter:@metaps_sato Ranked No.1 in Amazon Japan “Hit Books” Author of the Smartphone Book: ITmedia Blogger “The 3 Need-to-Knows For Android×Global (Japanese only) Success in the Global Smartphone Market” (pub. Nikkei Publishing Inc.) No.1 “Hit Books” Category Amazon JP
  3. 3. What Do I Do? App Monetization Platform “Metaps” Operates a Reward Ad Network Advertising Monetization Low-Risk User Acquisition Earn Money Quickly Reward Ad CPI-AD Network Reward Ads (Cost per Installation Ads) (Ads = Payments) * Reward ads are used within applications for monetization. They provide similar value to the end-user as an in-app purchase, and is provided in exchange for interaction with the ad offer.© 2012
  4. 4. Publisher Network Grew 3,000%+ during 2012/01-06The Metaps publisher network for Android apps grew 3,357% in half a year. Ad Consumption 媒体の消化件数 by Publishers 3,357% Growth over 6 Months Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
  5. 5. Reason for Our Rapid Growth in Publisher Client Base Reason: Our publisher clients’ sales have increased Since reward ads are treated as an alternative method for purchasing in-app content, our publisher network cannot grow unless our publishers sales (in-app purchases) increase. CPC Ads Reward Ads Publisher Revenue Publisher Revenue Cost per Click Model Cost per Install Model Comparison Revenue Growth Revenue Growth Proportional to in-app impressions Proportional to in-app sales The reward ads business model grows in tandem with the app publisher’s in-app sales
  6. 6. Can Apps Actually be Profitable? Only the top 1% of publishers generate sufficient profitThere are around 40 apps from AppStore + Google Play which generatemonthly sales over $125K. Since there are many apps that support bothOS and multiple top ranking apps owned by the same company, there areactually only about 25 domestic companies that are generatingmonthly sales of over $125K. (*excl. sales from in-app advertisements) Google Play AppStore Top Grossing $500K - $1,250K $750K - $2,500K 1~5 th Top Grossing $250K - $500K $375K- $750K 6~10 th Top Grossing $125K - $250K $188K - $375K 11~15 th Top Grossing Below $125K Below $188K below 15th USD 1 = JPY 80
  7. 7. Actual Attempts to Monetize as a Publisher One cannot figure out what the mechanics are just by looking at Google Play rankings or App Annie data, or even through operating an ad network. It was necessary to put oneself in the shoes of an Android app developer to best figure out the rules for monetization. With the help from our clients, we decided to completely take care of their monetization needs, burdening the costs and risks ourselves. Through trial and error, we accumulated successful (and unsuccessful) case study data by working directly with developers on their app content
  8. 8. Finding the Formula for Success on Google Play There is yet no formula for global success in the Android app market, and therefore profitability is low despite the large market share. By finding what the formula is (like what is known to work for AppStore), there is the potential for profitability exceeding that of AppStore. 20,000 DL in 24-hour Period Organic Traffic Burst Review Site App Release from Increase Campaign Promotion In RankingAppStore Monetization Detailed Process and Numbers are Unknown App Release Black Box With the help of our clients, we looked for any patterns to succeed in the market
  9. 9. Apps that Have Generated Daily Sales in Excess of $15kBy undertaking all marketing activities ourselves, we compared the cost effectiveness of eachadvertising method, and analyzed its effects on ranking. Summarized below are the type of appsthat produced the best results.***App names withheld (confidential) Details Notes Genre Game Main target: Male Users No account registration required. Minimal interaction Free/Paid Free needed to start using the app. Freemium Model + Sell virtual items and/or Monetization Model virtual currency inside app Reward Ads Manage end-users and/or SNS or Other Platforms None community without reliance on social gaming platforms Hybrid Mostly based on WebView but Development partially native app. (Native + WebView)
  10. 10. What Was Done to Achieve Daily Sales Over $15k Although there were many different trials, there were really only 2 types of promotions that were tried at the initial release of an app. 1. Reward Ads Leveraged the Metaps reward ad network. After initial release, around 17,000 users were acquired in a week by launching campaigns targeting app publishers only. 2. Review Site Tie-ups After selecting several review sites to publish on, we initiated promotions in sync with the reward ad campaigns. During the initial month, articles were placed at a pace of 1 a week.
  11. 11. Ad Campaigns Targeted to Tap in to Organic Traffic Organic traffic was acquired by increasing exposure in yellow categories in the first month, which enabled tapping into more sustained traffic by reaching higher rankings in orange categories. Category Top (Paid) Google Play Categories Top (Paid) Top (Free) Top (Free) Top Grossing Top Page Top Grossing Top New (Paid) Apps Top New (Paid) Top New (Free) Top New (Free) Latest Category Top (Paid) Top (Paid) Top (Free) Games Top (Free) Top Grossing Top Grossing Top New (Paid) Top New (Paid) Top New (Free) Top New (Free)If we were to simply advertise based on cost effectiveness, most media options would not pass thebar – therefore ads were placed on the understanding that they were investments to maintain aninflow of organic traffic. We especially focused on the display order in each Google Play category.
  12. 12. The First 30 Days in Google Play are Critical Apps are listed in any Top New categories for 30 days after the initial release. The success hinges on how many new users can be acquired while it is listed in this category. 30th Day By leveraging the momentum After publishing the app generated with organic traffic in the to Google Play, apps are “Top New” category, it possible to listed in this category rank higher in the “Top Free” and for only 30 days. “Top Grossing” categories. “Top New Free” “Top Free” “Top Grossing”
  13. 13. Data from Actual Ranking Changes and Organic Traffic vs Ad Campaign In the initial week, 17K users were acquired along with a rise to the No. 15 rank in the Top New (Free) category. From there, we were able to maintain a higher position in ranking by acquiring 2-3K users daily through organic traffic. Each week thereafter, we placed tie-up promotions on select review sites, in order to drive core users to the app. Appearance on Review Sites Red = RankingBlue = No. of Daily Installs No. of Installs from Organic Traffic No. of Acquisition from Reward Ads “Top New (Free)” Ranking Day 7 Day 14 Day 21 Day 28
  14. 14. Aiming for Top 10 in Sub-Categories Can Produce Results If the app rises to around Top 10 in “Top New Free”, the same app will also make Top 10 in its smallest sub- category (i.e. “Puzzle” inside “Game”). Users from this category are not only highly motivated, the ranking can remain consistent even after 30 days, allowing anywhere from 500 to 1,000 daily acquisitions. Google Play ranking Ranking tends not to drop increases gradually after attaining a higher rank compared to iOS in the smaller sub-categories 30th Day 60th Day
  15. 15. Notes on Launching Ad Campaigns : PeriodIf 17k users are acquired in a week, or even if the same numbers are acquired in a day, the ranking willcontinue to increase for ~7 days after launch and will attain a rank around Top 15 in “Top New Free”.After the 8th day, increase in ranking tends to slow down or hover in the same position. At this point, it islikely that the average number of acquisitions, user ratings, and user activity numbers come in to play todetermine ranking. The overall lack of fluctuation in Google Play ranking can be explained if data averagesare used in its algorithms. Common Phenomena Observed • Ranking tends not to rise or fall sharply over time. • Initial climb in ranking will change pace around the 8th day from release. Possible Theories Based on Observation • Data is likely processed over a 1 week period. (not 24hrs) • The averaged number of acquisitions for the past week are likely used. • The reliability of the numbers (which is a reflection on the reliability of the content) is made using averages.
  16. 16. Notes on Launching Ad Campaigns : Media PlacementUnlike AppStore, it is evident from the way Google Play ranking fluctuates that not only the “quantity” butalso the “quality” of users are taken into account. With this knowledge, we placed ads in publisherapps that have users who are familiar with and use native Android apps on a daily basis. Sinceusers from the web are generally not app users, there was a significant difference in retention rate. Native App WEB [Main Publishing Media] [Main Publishing Media] Game / Entertainment related apps Point sites / Major SNS iOS • Ranking fluctuates based on short term DL numbers. Lead users • Quality is not as important. from web to DL Difference in “quality” of user User retention rate is extremely lowAndroid Most users Ads were do not end up placed here using the app
  17. 17. Comparison of AppStore and Google Play Short Term Medium to Long TermRating Period (24 hr period) (7 - 10 day period) Total Downloads Average User AcquisitionReference Score score Apps that are trending Apps that are trendingDisplay ranking AND being used are are displayed in real time. displayed. Scrutinized by Apple users Calculated throughQuality of App algorithms based on user opinions appraisalRanking Frequently Fluctuates Fluctuates Less FrequentFluctuation
  18. 18. Number of Acquisitions and Ranking FluctuationThrough trial and error, we found that app ranking will increase to a certain point based on the number ofuser acquisitions and ad placement. Also, depending on app presentation (icon, title naming, etc.) theamount of organic traffic generated was found to differ by up to 1,000 downloads. Rankings when 15K – 20K users are acquired in the initial week from launch Ranking / Category Apps Games Game Sub-Categories “Top Free” 155 th 45 th 4 th “Top New Free” 15 th 12 th 1stAverage Daily Organic Traffic: 2,000-3,000 DLsNotes:• Of all game sub-categories, “Casual” is the most difficult to get high rankings on.• Ranking can vary greatly depending on competitor app releases.• Daily organic traffic numbers can differ by over 1,000 DLs, and depends on presentation of the app icon, screenshots and title naming.
  19. 19. Pros & Cons of Review Sites Pros Cons • Cost efficiency is hard to measure • User incentive/motivation is high • Results vary greatly depending on • High possibility of acquiring core users how apps are introduced Important points when working with review sites• Brand awareness of the site vs cost efficiency often does not correlate.• There are many famous sites that do not generate sufficient ROI.• In contrast, there are many small/medium sites that generate good results.• Carefully check app category compared with the review site’s user base.• Depending on how the app is reviewed, the results can vary by over 5 times.• Best results can be had when synced in time with events or campaigns.
  20. 20. Launch App by Mixing Reward Ads + Review SitesReward ads are good at acquiring a large number of users in a short time, but if the media it isdisplayed in is not selected carefully for its user base characteristics, incentive towards the reward adwill be low. On the other hand, review site users are highly motivated but the potential number ofacquisitions is comparatively low. So in the first month, campaigns were launched in a way so thateither method would reinforce the weakness of the other. Reward Ads Review Site Promo Acquisition of Active Users Acquisition of Fewer from Similar Target Segment Core Users Aim to Tap More Organic Aim to Enliven App Community Traffic from Increase in Through Increase in Fan Base Ranking Increase user activity through acquisition of organic traffic and increased fan base
  21. 21. Actual Results from Mixing Reward Ads + Review SitesIn the end, we were able to acquire around 19K users by using both reward ads and review sites, but also40K users from monthly organic traffic; and an daily active user ratio of ~25% of the total user base.At this point, we were able to achieve daily sales of $15K on Google Play. Acquisitions from Campaigns 30th day of CampaignReward Ads: 17,000 users DL : 60,000 DLs Result DAU:15,000 usersReview Sites : ~2,000 users Organic Traffic: 40,000 / monthTotal Acquisition: ~19,000 users Daily Sales:$15K Reached Top 15 in “Top Grossing” and Top 10 in “Games” categories.
  22. 22. Tapping in to the Organic Traffic Cycle Makes the Next Month EasierIf the app is able to maintain a position within the Top 20 of “Top Grossing”, even after the app disappearsfrom the “Top New” category (after 30 days) and even without additional advertising, there is a constantinflow of around 1,500 daily users from organic traffic, which effectively generates a positive feedback cycle. 30 days from Launch Ranked in Top 10 Daily organic traffic Monthly organic of “Top New Free” of 2,500 - 3,000 traffic of 40,000 After 30 days from Launch Ranked in Top 20 Daily organic traffic Monthly organic traffic of “Top Grossing” of 1,000 – 1,500 of 30,000 - 40,000
  23. 23. What Was Done After the First 30 DaysAlthough new users can be acquired through sustained organic traffic, once user churn starts to overtake,overall sales numbers cannot be maintained. Therefore, we started to tackle the issue of maximizing LTVthrough active user engagement and retention strategies. 1. Minimizing Existing User Churn A number of measures were implemented such as improving user app launch frequency through push notifications, integrating reward ads to mitigate churn of free-to-play users, updates for events and new app functionality, and improving SNS posting functions. 2. Advertising on CPC Networks Rather than just aiming for large acquisition numbers, ARPPU and expected LTV from several ad networks were calculated focusing on efficiency vs cost in order to acquire users over the long term.
  24. 24. Overall Sales Did Not Decrease as MuchEven though user acquisition through organic traffic + CPC remained, the ARPPU did not change muchand overall sales did not to decrease as much as was originally expected. This is likely due to a lack ofcompetition and the number of apps that are strong enough to launch themselves high into the TopGrossing categories. Google Play Once the app reaches the Top 20 in “Top Grossing” Ranking “Top Grossing”, sales remain level Reasons why sale do not fall: • Competition is not as fierce as AppStore • User acquisition strategies have not yet become common knowledge 30th Day 60th Day
  25. 25. Android Campaigns Need Coordination with Content Before launching your promotion, there is one important point that needs to be addressed; There must be a user content engagement strategy, and a promotion campaign coordinated to run in sync. Unless the content leaves a favorable impression with the users, it will lead to a high amount of churn, and ultimately reduce the money available to invest in your next round of advertisements. Content Engagement and Promotions Content Start Users Increase FurtherPositive Re-Invest Strategy Promotion and Increase Cycle With More Ads In Place Campaign Sales Increase In Sales Start Reduce Ad Sales FallNegative No Content Promotion Expenditure User Base Due to Cycle Strategy Without User Churn Due to Low Shrinks: EoL Preparation ROI
  26. 26. Example of Failed Projects and Campaigns There were just as many failed cases as successful ones. The following cases did not achieve decent results. Requiring users to login / register account at start of app Since most users expect to be able to use an app straight away after downloading, many users simply uninstalled the app and did not return when registration was required. Due to this, the calculated cost of acquisition increased to the point where none of the advertising options remained cost effective. App file size was too large (50MB+) and only downloadable by Wi-Fi Many users just gave up, if were forced to download apps with file size of over 50MB or took longer than 30 seconds to launch. As with the case of account registration above, the cost of acquisition increased due to this hurdle. Not enough testing before app release There are quite a few developers who do not perform adequate testing before publishing to Google Play, and start their debugging + verification on actual handsets after release. The critical period while listed in “Top New” categories during the first 30 days will be wasted by fixing bugs. Additionally, if a bug is found by users they will tend to give a low “1” star for its rating. Even if marketing activities are launched after bugs are fixed, it becomes even more difficult to reach organic traffic at higher rankings, due to the low ratings.
  27. 27. 80% of Companies Fail to Choose the Right PartnerWe found monetization was difficult to achieve when we partnered with companies (such as ad agencies andconsultants) that behaved in the ways listed below. The important thing is to look for trustworthycompanies regardless of size or brand.Proposals only contained “number of user acquisitions” & “acquisition cost” of CPA/CPI →No advice or suggestions about app content were given. The important point is that your partner should not only be able to provide simple media-planning and acquisition numbers, but also be able to give direct advice and strategies related to the content. Depending on the type of freemium app content, the LTV, DAU and ARPPU can vary greatly, and strategies will differ appropriately.Past results are described ambiguously like “Best Seller” or “No.1 Overall Ranking” →The process of how they increased sales is not explained. You should always be critical of actual sales and revenue results. There are in fact numerous high brand value apps out there in the market that have failed to monetize. If the partner is not able to explain in detail the process required to increase sales, you have the right to be suspicious. Don’t forget to ask which apps they are basing their results on as well.Proposals focus on maximizing their own revenue, instead of optimizing results for client. →Be weary of recommendations to target channels that offer maximum consumptionrates or best volume for your advertising budget Caution is advised if a company is not thinking on your behalf for the long-term, and starts proposing campaigns to maximize their insertion order volume in the short term. There is a high possibility that the company is not trustworthy when it recommends a plan that focuses on using up the budget, rather than focusing on its cost performance.
  28. 28. Companies that are Successfully Monetizing Android Apps After working with numerous developers, the companies who successfully generate sales in the Android market have the following things in common. The point of contact is a heavy app user and well versed in Android apps We often see successful companies who have representatives that are frequently using not only their own apps but their competitor’s ones – often they will even be carrying both iPhone and Android handsets. On the other hand, if they are not touching Android apps and rely solely upon industry news on the internet, they tend to be from unsuccessful cases. Company specializes in their strengths and makes good use of external partnerships A company that focuses on their strengths while leveraging other vendors will often produce good results. In contrast, when companies try to do everything internally they tend to spread resources too thin and projects often fall apart. The point of contact is proactive about getting their own data in real-time Not only do they rely on news from the internet or from publications, they will personally attend events and make appointments to get real-time information on the ground. As the smartphone industry trends tend to change quickly, the information you acquire while sitting in front of your PC is likely to already be old.
  29. 29. An Overview of Metaps Metaps Inc. For any inquiries related to URL: Android App Monetization, Founded: Sept. 2007 please contact us at: Capital: 447.52 million Yen CEO: Katsuaki Sato Audit Cooperation: KPMG AZUSA LLC -Offices- Challenging the global market, and aspiring to be a leader and role model for the next Metaps Inc. (Japan) generation of Japanese industries FORECAST SHINJUKU AVENUE 5F, 2-5-12, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022 Metaps Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) Metaps China International Europe 100 Cecil Street, The Globe #05-01,Singapore 069532 Metaps Inc. Metaps Hong Kong (Hong Kong) Metaps Hong Suite 1008 Prosperity Millennia Plaza, Kong Africa 663 Kings Road, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong Metaps Pte, Metaps International (U.S) South Africa Ltd. 10 South 3rd Street, Suite 209, San Jose, CA, USA 95113