Applifier, the Helsinki-based company that is trying to give smaller developers the advantages of cross-promotion that the big developers have, said its mobile product is outperforming its Facebook service in terms of the share of new users it can drive to a game.
Co-founded by Jussi Laakkonen of Everyplay, Applifier began as an invite-only network of Facebook games that cross-promote each other to boost traffic for all. It was trying to replicate the network effects that the very largest developers like Zynga have in overseeing a large portfolio of titles. The company has grown a footprint that reaches 150 million monthly actives on the platform every month.
But, like many other players in the social gaming space, Applifier has expanded to iOS and Android in the face of slowing growth on the Facebook platform.
Laakkonen says Applifier’s mobile developers are seeing 5 to 10 percent of their new users come through the service after integrating them. He adds that’s at the lower end, and that a few developers have anecdotally said as many as 30 percent of their users are coming from the service.
“Mobile feels a little like Facebook did a year and a half ago,” he said. “User acquisition prices are going to come up. It’s going to get harder and harder. With these trends, you either have to create your own network like Storm8, or join one.” He expects that a wave of consolidation is coming soon as developers band together to grapple with rising marketing and production costs.
On mobile, Applifier is facing a large array of players trying to attack the problem of user acquisition for games. The company’s competing with rivals like Chartboost, Fiksu, Tapjoy plus mobile-social gaming networks — each of which have a unique take on the problem of app discovery.
Laakkonen says what distinguishes Applifier’s approach is that the company curates its game selection and focuses on quality.
“The games have to pass a certain bar for us,” he said. “Our model also ensures that you’re sourcing people who are already into games and that you’re not facing a random sampling of people.”
Once a developer joins Applifier’s network, there’s a sophisticated system where they get credited for installs they drive to other games. They’ll integrate different ad units from Applifier’s network like standard banners or interstitials and perhaps a “More Games” button that they can incorporate into the design of their game. If a developer sends 100 clicks to another company’s game, the get 100 clicks back minus a commission that Applifier takes. It’s kind of like an ad-link exchange.
For now, there’s no commission on Applifier’s mobile network at the moment, however.
Applifier has 22 employees and has raised just under $3 million from MHS Capital and PROfounders and angel investors including Jaiku creator Jyri Engeström.