Monetizing mobile game traffic remains a major challenge for publishers. Option one is to charge for the game, but there’s little assurance that sales volume can translate into a consistent revenue stream. Option two is to create an ad-supported model, where the download is free and revenue comes from in-game advertisements. Still, the risk is that ads will interrupt gameplay and potentially alienate users.
Fluent, a New York-based marketing and technology company, came up with a solution in its MobFlow in-app ad serving product. Recently, Fluent partnered with app developer Brisk Mobile to integrate advertising into a free version of its Drake’s Tower Ultimate Adventure game. Brisk had trepidations about issuing a free version of the game, concerned that careless integration of ads would disappoint its user base. With MobFlow, ads are only served in-context—users of Drake’s Tower only see them the first time the application is launched. The ads can be skinned to mirror the look and feel of the game so that they appear similar to recommendations, as opposed to unsolicited advertisements.
“We’re displaying offers to a consumer at the highest point of engagement,” says Matthew Koncz, managing director of product distribution at Fluent. “That is the driving force behind our success.” As a result, Brisk Mobile has seen strong results. The game debuted in September and had the #8 ranking in the iTunes app store, receiving some 150,000 downloads in one week. More than 25 percent of users registered for the app, and of those that registered, 60 percent opted in to receive additional offers. That translates to close to 25,000 qualified leads in a week.
MobFlow is an extension of AdFlow, Fluent’s post-registration advertising platform. It is frequently used as a signficant part of the monetization strategy for sites such as MocoSpace (entertainment), Myxer (music) and Mingle2 (dating). AdFlow and MobFlow products are fully compatible.
“We took a look at our network and realized 10 percent were coming from mobile web so we’ve expanded there,” said Matthew Conlin, Fluent’s president. “You find a culture where users are comfortable downloading, but using is another thing, so we monetize at the gateway.” This discovery led to the push on MobFlow.
Fluent offers a generous revenue split to its publishers, creating more of a partnership than a traditional vendor relationship. “We have been working with Fluent for over six months now, and they have proven to be a valuable and trusted partner,” says Jean Liang, director of product management and marketing for Mingle2.com. “Fluent’s team is responsive and resolves all our issues quickly, not to mention providing the highest payouts in the industry.”
Today, Fluent serves a combined 250,000 unique users daily. Launched in September 2010 by Conlin and his business partner Ryan Schulke, Fluent has grown from four employees to 37 in its first year. In addition to opening another office in the U.S., the company plans to open offices internationally in the future.