Mobile publisher Tapjoy has spent the last seven months porting iOS games to Android while also reaching out to Android developers to help them improve their monetization. In that time, Tapjoy’s director of developer partnerships Brian Sapp has seen Android revenues increase substantially, narrowing the earnings gap between the two platforms.
“You have to remember that Google didn’t get [in app purchasing] until March of 2011,” Sapp tells Inside Mobile Apps. “Android has grown considerably for Tapjoy, on the order of 10x in the last year.”
As we get closer to the holidays, Sapp explains, the gap will close as more established developers release Android games. If many of those games are licensed intellectual property, it will reduce user acquisition costs and increase revenues, which could mean Android revenues will catch up to iOS within the year.
That said, Sapp cautions, “each title is different. There are titles that monetize well on Android and [that are] only on Android. So there could be an equivalent to CSR Racing on Android. It’s not an either or.”
Tapjoy released a case study today detailing how its services can help Android developers monetize more effectively. The study focuses on the game Lane Splitter, a motorcycle racing game that was previously launched as a paid app. After Tapjoy synced up with developer fractiv, both virtual currency and in-game items were introduced as IAP options. Far from driving away Lane Splitter’s devoted user base, Tapjoy and fractiv saw a 203 percent overall increase in revenue and a 97 percent increase in average revenue per daily user. For reference, Android revenues are typically 30 percent of what an iOS game earns — an iOS title similar to Lane Splitter could be earning between 1 to 3 cents of average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU) depending on how broad its user base is.
While the concept of converting a paid app to a freemium one supported by IAP is hardly new, Sapp says there are still a lot of developers out there who are late to the IAP party. “You’d be surprised how often we still run into it,” he says. “It comes more from traditional game publishers unwilling to embrace a model that’s scary to them. Think about console guys – we work with these guys and it can be scary to them to move away from a model they’ve worked on for 20 years even though all the data points the other way. On the smaller side, it comes from developers who don’t read Inside Mobile Apps or TechCrunch.”
While Android has taken up a large part of Tapjoy’s attention in the last 14 months — between establishing a $5 million fund for porting over iOS titles and ramping up to 40 million monthly active users on the platform as of August 2012 — the company continues to operate its ad business on iOS as well. In 2011, Apple changed its rules on incentivized installs, which were a large part of Tapjoy’s business model. But Sapp explains that it’s a misconception to think that Apple cracked down completely on the concept of offers.
“You can still reward [users] for watching videos and for Liking brands on Facebook,” he says. “And rewarded installs are within Google’s [rules]. So, we’re getting revenue from both.”