Chartboost, the San Francisco-based mobile monetization startup from former Tapulous employees, is expanding its cross promotion and direct deals advertising platform to Android.
As developers have sought to find new ways to acquire users as costs go up, Chartboost has built a way for developers to reach out to each other directly to cross-promote their apps in each other’s games. Chartboost’s pitch is that this is more affordable and it lets developers avoid giving up revenue share to mobile ad networks.
Developers in the Chartboost network can add white-labeled, full-screen interstitial advertisements to their apps, which they can use to promote their own games, trade advertising inventory directly to other companies or run network ads.
Although Chartboost’s Android network was already in a closed beta, the company sped up the deployment of the Android SDK at the request of its clients. According to Chartboost, the Android version of its services will launch with Storm8 and Hong Kong’s Animoca.
Several other large publishers will be coming onboard with the company’s Android solution within weeks. The San Francisco-based company has been busy signing deals lately. It recently snagged one with TinyCo to give advertisers doing direct deals with the San Francisco-based developer 100 percent of the proceeds.
While other monetization companies like Tapjoy have used the relative freedom of the Android platform to offer incentivized downloads, Chartboost won’t be branching out from its the direct deals model it offers on iOS.
“Apple blocked incentivized downloads because they didn’t like the whole quality around the experience,” explains Maria Alegre, the company’s co-founder and CEO. “I think even if Android isn’t blocking it, if an advertiser wants to acquire users, they want to make sure that user gets the game for a good reason, not because the game pays 5 coins.”
According to Alegre, instead of trying expand the types of services it offers now that its on Android, Chartboost is instead concentrating on adding more developers to its roster and more functionality to the services it already provides, with features like better user targeting.
“We provide technology, we are not an ad network,” she points out. “We used direct deals a lot at Tapulous and it made us a lot of money, but there’s not a solution right now to support that in an amazing way. That’s what we’re here to build. We’re offering our technology for free because we’re trying to build a network of great service for direct deals.”
While Chartboost follows the freemium model – offering most of its technology to developers for free – the company is already profitable according to Alegre. The company makes its money from network campaigns that its advertisers and publishers use to fill inventory they’re not using to promote their own games or in direct deals.
Chartboost recently raised $2 million dollars in series A funding from Translink Capital, SKTVC and SG Ventures to expand its network. The company also used the money to accelerate the timeline of its Android launch.