FAQ
I promised to post my results of using Adwords to promote an app.

I will include the disclaimer about YMMV and so forth.

Here is my conclusion about how well it works for me:
It doesn't.

Things looked promising at the beginning.
You can now use a Google Play install as a conversion. That makes it easy
to track, although if you are making money with in app purchases, you
should still make sure your analytics is good.
You can choose what apps your ads are shown in through the promotional
tool.

When I posted back in February, I said that I had been getting a return on
investment with traffic from keyword search.
Even that has gone south.
When they migrated to enhanced campaigns, a bunch of people were getting
impressions on mobile devices for the first time.
For that, or other reasons, I can no longer get affordable traffic on
reliable keywords.

I was able to bid .03 at first and get some impressions. I was tracking
some conversions and deciding which apps were most worthwhile to target. I
got a few clicks and installs form competitor apps and so forth.

But impressions dropped off. They dropped completely to zero. No
impressions were shown in the month of May. No impressions were shown in
the month of June.
Adwords support found nothing wrong with my settings and had no
suggestions, other than gradually increment my bid. Didn't work.

I am now bidding .51 and not getting a single impression. All you
developers with ad supported apps must be making a killing.

I told Adwords that they are wasting my time and not accepting my money,
and unless they can offer better suggestions, I'm not running any more
campaigns with them. Sad because this is the kind of thing you think they'd
be good for.

As far as other targetted opportunities, here are two I thought of:
Airpush "HyperTargetting". They claim the ability to target you by what
apps you have on your phone. Unfortunately, its vaporware. They've had this
page on their website since October, and it is still not available. Last
month at AnDevCon, someone from Airpush said "next month". I'll believe it
when I see it.
http://www.airpush.com/advertisers/mobile-ad-hypertarget
FaceBook Mobile Install Ads. They can target people by their likes and so
forth. Requires include the Android SDK, but only using a line or two of
code to track installs, not full integration.

In all, though some marketing books claim otherwise, I do not think that
paid promotion of apps is in any way mandatory. I know of some gurus who
make much more money on apps than me doing a lot less work than me, and
they don't use paid advertising at all. They instead rely on having their
own network of popular apps so that they can drive traffic

Nathan

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  • James at Jun 26, 2013 at 6:09 am
    Is there any good suggestions for this situation?

    On Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 8:25 AM, Nathan wrote:

    I promised to post my results of using Adwords to promote an app.

    I will include the disclaimer about YMMV and so forth.

    Here is my conclusion about how well it works for me:
    It doesn't.

    Things looked promising at the beginning.
    You can now use a Google Play install as a conversion. That makes it easy
    to track, although if you are making money with in app purchases, you
    should still make sure your analytics is good.
    You can choose what apps your ads are shown in through the promotional
    tool.

    When I posted back in February, I said that I had been getting a return on
    investment with traffic from keyword search.
    Even that has gone south.
    When they migrated to enhanced campaigns, a bunch of people were getting
    impressions on mobile devices for the first time.
    For that, or other reasons, I can no longer get affordable traffic on
    reliable keywords.

    I was able to bid .03 at first and get some impressions. I was tracking
    some conversions and deciding which apps were most worthwhile to target. I
    got a few clicks and installs form competitor apps and so forth.

    But impressions dropped off. They dropped completely to zero. No
    impressions were shown in the month of May. No impressions were shown in
    the month of June.
    Adwords support found nothing wrong with my settings and had no
    suggestions, other than gradually increment my bid. Didn't work.

    I am now bidding .51 and not getting a single impression. All you
    developers with ad supported apps must be making a killing.

    I told Adwords that they are wasting my time and not accepting my money,
    and unless they can offer better suggestions, I'm not running any more
    campaigns with them. Sad because this is the kind of thing you think they'd
    be good for.

    As far as other targetted opportunities, here are two I thought of:
    Airpush "HyperTargetting". They claim the ability to target you by what
    apps you have on your phone. Unfortunately, its vaporware. They've had this
    page on their website since October, and it is still not available. Last
    month at AnDevCon, someone from Airpush said "next month". I'll believe it
    when I see it.
    http://www.airpush.com/advertisers/mobile-ad-hypertarget
    FaceBook Mobile Install Ads. They can target people by their likes and so
    forth. Requires include the Android SDK, but only using a line or two of
    code to track installs, not full integration.

    In all, though some marketing books claim otherwise, I do not think that
    paid promotion of apps is in any way mandatory. I know of some gurus who
    make much more money on apps than me doing a lot less work than me, and
    they don't use paid advertising at all. They instead rely on having their
    own network of popular apps so that they can drive traffic

    Nathan

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  • Tim Mensch at Jun 26, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    On 6/25/2013 6:25 PM, Nathan wrote:
    But impressions dropped off. They dropped completely to zero.
    I found with AdWords that Google's algorithm can decide a particular ad
    isn't good enough (conversion rate isn't high enough) and then that ad
    is, for all intents and purposes, dead.

    But creating a *new* ad, even with identical content (though ideally
    you'd tweak either the content or the keywords a bit), will start the
    algorithm fresh, and you'll get a lot more impressions.

    You could try back at the $0.05-$0.10 level with different keywords on a
    new ad, or different ad wording, or different image/layout. Could be a
    too-popular keyword that wasn't targeted enough messed up your overall
    click rate. That said, it STILL hasn't worked well for me, even when I
    got the "click" rate high enough, because then then actual conversion
    rate was still terrible (even for the free app). Similar to what John
    mentioned in another thread, though, THAT may have been due to the
    marketing of the game on Google Play.

    Probably the best thing to do is to use one of the providers that offers
    a "pay per conversion" at a cost less than the cost of your app. When I
    tried that (offering, IIRC, $1.70 per conversion for my $2 app), even
    that was ineffective at getting actual conversions, but my one payment
    to get my app exposure turned into millions of people getting exposed to
    the app (and possibly deciding to get the free version instead of the
    paid version, which didn't count as a paid conversion). And
    "traditional" marketing teaches that exposure is a good thing, though I
    didn't let that experiment go for long enough to find out, which I
    regret at this point.

    As usual, YMMV. :)

    Tim

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  • Nathan at Jun 26, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    On Wednesday, June 26, 2013 9:08:10 AM UTC-7, Tim in Boulder wrote:
    On 6/25/2013 6:25 PM, Nathan wrote:
    But impressions dropped off. They dropped completely to zero.
    I found with AdWords that Google's algorithm can decide a particular ad
    isn't good enough (conversion rate isn't high enough) and then that ad
    is, for all intents and purposes, dead.

    But creating a *new* ad, even with identical content (though ideally
    you'd tweak either the content or the keywords a bit), will start the
    algorithm fresh, and you'll get a lot more impressions.
    Those sort of tricks have worked briefly but now don't seem to work at all.

    At any rate, it is not worth the labor cost for me to do all that just to
    keep it going and get maybe six installs in a month. Plus if there is no
    stability in a campaign, there is no opportunity to to tweak it to make it
    profitable, if I have to keep tweaking it just to get it restarted.

    Probably the best thing to do is to use one of the providers that offers
    a "pay per conversion" at a cost less than the cost of your app. When I
    tried that (offering, IIRC, $1.70 per conversion for my $2 app), even
    that was ineffective at getting actual conversions, but my one payment
    to get my app exposure turned into millions of people getting exposed to
    the app (and possibly deciding to get the free version instead of the
    paid version, which didn't count as a paid conversion). And
    "traditional" marketing teaches that exposure is a good thing, though I
    didn't let that experiment go for long enough to find out, which I
    regret at this point.
    I did continue that experiment, at Flurry AppCircle. I don't regret that
    either, because I get an occasional Flurry of impressions. But for the most
    part my money just sits there because they figured out that they aren't
    benefiting enough.

    If their targeting improves, that can certainly change. I'm not an exact
    match for any of their "personas" yet. If you are, that may reason enough
    to try them again. Although, be forewarned, it costs $2 extra for a persona
    bid.

    Nathan

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  • John Coryat at Jun 26, 2013 at 6:32 pm
    We did some testing a few years back on the effectiveness of advertising
    based app marketing using house ads running in our own app. We had millions
    of impressions to play with so got some decent results for a low cost.

    The bottom line is that the actual, effective install rate is extremely
    low, like .01% for impressions to installs. So unless you have a boat load
    of cash, this way of marketing is probably about as effective as a guy
    dressed as a chicken standing on a corner waving a sign. Companies like
    Amazon and Bank of America can afford to do this type of promotion because
    it serves a dual purpose: Brand recognition and as a side effect, some app
    installs. If all you want are app installs, then the entire thing loses
    punch.

    It's a bummer that it isn't more effective.

    It might be better to hire that chicken suit guy to promote your app.

    -John Coryat

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  • Tim Mensch at Jun 26, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    On 6/26/2013 12:32 PM, John Coryat wrote:
    this way of marketing is probably about as effective as a guy dressed
    as a chicken standing on a corner waving a sign.
    I've seen enough people dressed as chickens or hot dogs waving signs to
    believe that it must be effective. There's one particular place in
    Boulder where they put a guy in a pickle suit, and they've been putting
    him there for years.

    Here's related a question for everyone: Has anyone tried any "link
    exchange" networks to any positive effect? I know most of you aren't
    doing games, and the ones I'm aware of are game focused, but I'm curious
    if anyone has tried that. The "cost" is potentially zero, as it
    typically trades impressions from your app for impressions in other
    apps. Haven't had the opportunity to try it, though.

    Tim

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  • Nathan at Jun 26, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    On Wednesday, June 26, 2013 11:45:38 AM UTC-7, Tim in Boulder wrote:
    On 6/26/2013 12:32 PM, John Coryat wrote:
    this way of marketing is probably about as effective as a guy dressed
    as a chicken standing on a corner waving a sign.
    I've seen enough people dressed as chickens or hot dogs waving signs to
    believe that it must be effective. There's one particular place in
    Boulder where they put a guy in a pickle suit, and they've been putting
    him there for years.
    I've had an offer for Nicholas Cage to use my app to land a Boeing 737 in a
    major motion picture.
    That's probably the high priced equivalent of guy in hot dog suit, though,
    as they want five figures.

    It makes sense that the guy in hot dog suit works. It's extremely well
    targeted and timely. The guy who sees that can satisfy his immediate hunger
    by spending more on hot dogs in ten minutes than he spends on apps in an
    entire year. He'll then spend several months deciding if any of the apps on
    his phone are worth spending a few bucks on.

    Targeted marketing doesn't require gourmet hot dogs. It just needs a hungry
    crowd.

    Nathan


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  • Nathan at Aug 2, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    On Tuesday, June 25, 2013 5:25:37 PM UTC-7, Nathan wrote:

    I told Adwords that they are wasting my time and not accepting my money,
    and unless they can offer better suggestions, I'm not running any more
    campaigns with them. Sad because this is the kind of thing you think they'd
    be good for.

    I feel duty bound to report, that after making this statement to Adwords,
    I did get a response from someone in Adwords support that said something
    other than "bid higher".

    They said that the campaign was screwed in some way on their end, and that
    I should create a new campaign with 'Display Network only - Mobile apps' as
    the setting, as before, and never ever use a mobile web site as a managed
    placement because it would screw it up.

    They also suggested adding image ads, 320x50 being the most popular size
    and the one I started with. I'll add more sizes as my graphics guy gets to
    them.
    So I was up and running again in July, and learned lots of great stuff.
    I've painstakingly selected 154 specific apps as managed placements.
    Adwords can track mobile app installs as a "conversion". It's not able, as
    far as I can tell, to distinguish which conversion it is, if you have both
    paid and free app installs as a conversion, for example. Be aware that it
    may take two days for such installs to be credited to their source click.
    Therefore, you would wait till August 2nd to evaluate the

    After a few weeks, I was eligible for using the Conversion (De)optimizer. I
    did one experiment with it, but did not let it run for long. It might
    stabilize after two weeks, but waste more money than I wanted in the
    meantime.

    So I've switched that off and just continued to micromanage the ad group,
    weeding out apps that gave me a lot of clicks without installs, and
    adjusting the bid up or down according to how some were performing.
    I am suspicious of CTR's that are too high, and I found that games were not
    a good place to advertise a serious app (YMMV). Even if the subject matter
    of the game and the useful app are similar, people are not in a mood to
    evaluate my app when in a game, and are probably just missing the fire
    button.
    Overall, there was a 5% conversion rate - ie 5% of the clickers installed
    the demo app.
    I got a cost per install equivalent of $2 and could probably work it down
    closer to $1. Is that the right amount to pay per install? I'll have to see
    how the traffic performs. I've done an overhaul of my analytics, and see
    how much money and engagement this class of new users gives me.

    Meanwhile, I have run an ad group targeting keyword search. Most of the
    keywords are highlighted in red, because Google wants me to bid
    unreasonable amounts to be first page eligible. The fact is that some non
    app businesses stand to make a lot more money from those keywords, and they
    have discovered mobile advertising. In spite of this, I get some stray
    clicks once in a while. These convert at 18%, consistent with marketing
    studies that show intent based targeting (search) to convert much higher
    than contextual. The cost per install is about the same, since the clicks
    are so much more expensive.

    On the whole, 260 or so install of my demo app in a month isn't much when
    it is already getting 500 organic installs every day. Nonetheless, this is
    a laboratory of learning. It puts the marketing funnel that I mention in my
    classes in sharp perspective. I'll probably spend a chapter on paid
    advertising in my book, just because of all the learning it provides.

    I've found it is also a good way to evaluate potential ideas for ad
    supported apps. I can estimate how much certain kinds of apps are making
    using the Display Planner tool.

    Nathan

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  • Tim Mensch at Aug 3, 2013 at 12:32 am

    On 8/2/2013 12:18 PM, Nathan wrote:
    I got a cost per install equivalent of $2 and could probably work it
    down closer to $1. Is that the right amount to pay per install? I'll
    have to see how the traffic performs. I've done an overhaul of my
    analytics, and see how much money and engagement this class of new
    users gives me.
    $1-$2 per install is actually quite decent at today's rates, from what
    I've read. If you're in a position to make money off of $2 installs,
    then you're golden.

    My next app will be expensive enough (at least at launch; we'll see how
    things go from there) to be able to pay for installs that way, which is
    good news. Now I just need to learn all of the other tricks you've
    discussed so that I can get my installs to be ONLY that expensive. ;)

    Tim

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  • Nathan at Aug 6, 2013 at 12:42 am

    On Friday, August 2, 2013 5:32:34 PM UTC-7, Tim in Boulder wrote:
    On 8/2/2013 12:18 PM, Nathan wrote:
    I got a cost per install equivalent of $2 and could probably work it
    down closer to $1. Is that the right amount to pay per install? I'll
    have to see how the traffic performs. I've done an overhaul of my
    analytics, and see how much money and engagement this class of new
    users gives me.
    $1-$2 per install is actually quite decent at today's rates, from what
    I've read. If you're in a position to make money off of $2 installs,
    then you're golden.
    Well, there's the question. It depends on how the traffic performs over a
    month's time. I had keyword campaigns back in January that were paying off
    at over a dollar per install, but at the same time, .35 installs from
    AppBrain didn't perform.

    I did mix in at least one ad that advertises the paid app directly.
    However, the cost per install of the paid app was $24 for a $10 app.
    Adwords didn't hardly show that ad because it didn't perform. Even though
    many people do buy my paid app without trying the free version first, that
    doesn't appear to be popular among the

    Now I just need to learn all of the other tricks you've
    discussed so that I can get my installs to be ONLY that expensive. ;)


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  • Nathan at Aug 6, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    On Friday, August 2, 2013 5:32:34 PM UTC-7, Tim in Boulder wrote:
    On 8/2/2013 12:18 PM, Nathan wrote:
    I got a cost per install equivalent of $2 and could probably work it
    down closer to $1. Is that the right amount to pay per install? I'll
    have to see how the traffic performs. I've done an overhaul of my
    analytics, and see how much money and engagement this class of new
    users gives me.
    $1-$2 per install is actually quite decent at today's rates, from what
    I've read. If you're in a position to make money off of $2 installs,
    then you're golden.
      Well, there's the question. It depends on how the traffic performs over a
    month's time. I had keyword campaigns back in January that were paying off
    at over a dollar per install, but at the same time, .35 installs from
    AppBrain didn't perform.

    I did mix in at least one ad that advertises the paid app directly.
    However, the cost per install of the paid app was $24 for a $10 app.
    Adwords didn't hardly show that ad because it didn't perform. Even though
    many people do buy my paid app without trying the free version first, that
    doesn't appear to be popular among the ad clickers.

    My next app will be expensive enough (at least at launch; we'll see how
    things go from there) to be able to pay for installs that way, which is
    good news. Now I just need to learn all of the other tricks you've
    discussed so that I can get my installs to be ONLY that expensive. ;)
    The tricks are all learnable. If you like fiddling around with
    spreadsheets, as I suspect most developer types do, it comes down to some
    easy operations.
    It's a multivariate optimization problem.

    Once you have some data on which placements are performing, decide whether
    to prune a placement that just isn't performing. Then bid lower if the cost
    per install is too high, and higher if it is too low.
    You will either converge on a price that gives you traffic but is more than
    you want to pay, or on a price you can afford that doesn't give you any
    significant traffic. Or maybe you will find something else.

    The tricks only work if you can actually do targeting and track the
    conversions. If it is like most ad networks where they just take a pot of
    money and it is all or nothing, these techniques don't worn.

    Nathan

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  • Markus Punz at Aug 2, 2013 at 6:18 pm
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    19.8. wieder im B= =FCro.=20 Da Ihre Nachricht nicht automatisch weitergeleitet wird,
    kontaktieren Sie b= itte in dringenden F=E4llen Herrn Daniel Schmoll
    (daniel.schmoll@bdc.at) - = Tel: 0664 / 9114703 =20 Mit freundlichen Gr=FC=DFen Markus Punz
    ----------------------------------------------- BDC EDV-Consulting GmbH
    Wienerstrasse 45 A-3100 St. P=F6lten Tel +43 1 2197846 42 markus.punz@bdc.at www.bdc.at
    -----------------------------------------------

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