Advertising and pricing tips
How to squash the competition...

You may not have heard of ‘Best Cool and Fun Games’, but the chances are you will have played one of their games. Perhaps the best known title is Ant Smasher, although their portfolio also includes a Suduko game and something after our own hearts, App Spectator, a guide to the best apps on the store.

So, what are the secrets to their success. Google’s Guide to the App Galaxy helped provided some answers and here we focus on their thoughts on advertising and pricing.

Mobile advertising

First up is mobile advertising, an emerging sector still finding its feet, but something that has proved surprisingly successful for them.

Mobile advertising helped us accomplish two things: We got Ant Smasher, our flagship app for iOS, front and center across a network of over 50,000 apps and sites. And we drove close to 50 percent of all Ant Smasher downloads, which was key for getting ranked in the top charts in the pp marketplace

50% is impressively high based on our experience, but for lesser known brands it can be the best route to market until store promotion and PR kick in.

App pricing

App pricing is of course a key area of interest to app developers, trying to balance higher downloads versus maximising revenues.

The first app we ever published was priced at $2.99 per download. We found that, by reducing the price, we drove disproportionally more downloads and earned more revenue overall. Because we’ve seen how rankings in the top charts are influenced by the number of downloads, our strategy for pricing Ant Smasher centered around driving downloads which is why we priced Ant Smasher at a nominal $0.99 per download

Of course try-before-you-buy is a huge area of promoting games, although it’s not for everyone as we heard from Instapaper’s developer. Lite versions, in-app purchases and now subscriptions, along with advertising, are all alternatives to consider.

Ant Smasher went for the freemium approach with a lite version driving sales of the premium version and then monetising the lite version through ads. Interestingly, they found that they made more money from the ad-funded lite version, so upgraded it with full functionality and made it available for free with ads. However, there is still a place for the paid version.

Even though most of our revenue comes in through ads, our paid version of the app continues to drive revenue, too. Conversion rates for house ads advertising the ads-free paid version of the game are high, with one in six clickthroughs resulting in an app purchase

So, the big question, how much money is Ant Smasher actually making under this dual model – also extended onto Android?

Ant Smasher currently garners $2 million in annualized revenues, with 80 percent coming from ads, primarily via AdMob

A great case study that shows once again that being flexible and learning fast are key to making a success in the fast-moving app business.