Live Notes from “Show Me the Monetization: Turning Apps Into Dollars”

We’re here for the monetization panel, including:

  • Nick Gonzalez of Social Media
  • Anu Shukla of Offerpal Media
  • Murtaza Hussein of Peanut Labs
  • Rob Jewell of Gratis Internet
  • Caroline McCarthy of CNET (moderator)

Carolina: Please explain your companies in 1 minute without using the words “engagement,” “leverage,” or “monetize.”

Nick: We help app developers make money, connecting developers with Madison avenue. We are trying to educate advertisers about how they can come to social networks.

Rob: We launched SocialCash yesterday. It’s a suite of advertising solutions for application developers focused on performance-based advertisers. There’s a lot of talk about Madison Avenue and bringing brands to Facebook, which is great, but our solutions are largely for international users, both the ad network and virtual currency.

Anu: We have a managed platform to allow developers to make money using performance advertising – soft offers like surveys, etc.

Murtaza: We help developers make money through market research. We’re not an ad network. We’re always an incremental revenue stream. We work with 60 of the Fortune 500 looking to gain consumer insight.

Caroline: Keeping this colorful…what is the worst ad campaign you’ve ever seen inside social networks?

Mustaza: Win a free iPod.

Anu: Trying to sell things while people are waiting for the next move.

Caroline: What about Red Bull’s Ro-cham-bull? Did everyone get bored with it?

Caroline: Guess so. How do you deal with the fact that applications come in and out of popularity quickly?

Murtaza: Applications that focus on engagement are better than applications that have a quick cycle.

Nick: There are people who can sustain it. Look at Playfish or Friends For Sale.

Rob: We’re not that worried about it, because we have a 100% fill rate.

Caroline: Which developers are making the most money?

Anu: I can’t share that, because I don’t want to compromise the developers.

Murtaza: Virtual currencies are doing really well, especially internationally.

Rob: The US is only about 20-30% of our traffic .

Anu: Virtual currencies have caught on in the US depending on the game dynamics.

Caroline: Nick, you haven’t been talking about virtual currencies, what do you think?

Nick: The best kind of virtual currency is the kind that developers can get users to give to them directly. Folks are Paypaling money to the developer of Mouse Hunt, and he’s keeping everything except what Paypal takes off the top. The best games have users that pay for currency.

Anu: We support Spare Change, which is a Paypal front end for Facebook.

Caroline: How are you dealing with the downtown in display spending?

Nick: In the beginning, it was all CPI and CPA. Now, we are doing things like demographic targeting which are giving a shot in the arm to remnant inventory. It will be a mix of virtual currencies, brands, and ad networks, not just one thing.

Anu: I think we are recession proof, because CPA advertisers are getting real value for their dollar.

Murtaza: On the market research side, we haven’t seen a dip.

Question: What about brand advertisers?

Rob: It’s still really early, it takes those guys a long time to actually move.

Anu: We’re seeing that advertisers are concerned about showing up next to UGC. Movies and music are two good areas to focus on though. For example, we recently did a movie promotion on Slayers and Vampires and advertisers are interested in reaching people in this kind of targeted way.

Question: Can you give us an idea of how many installs people are buying with CPI campaigns?

Nick: The brands see the app as the ad, and will pay a lot of money for the install, much more so than for other forms of advertising. I’m not sure what those rates are, but they’re perfectly happy with just driving traffic to that application. If brands make bad apps, then obviously it won’t be sustainable.