The changes in the app store ranking may not seem that drastic or important to most, but many marketers lost a significant amount of money in experimenting with pay per install advertising networks, leaving a bad image of what these networks can offer.
There were two reasons many marketers chose to use PPI over standard advertising for their mobile apps. One was to game the system and acquire a higher position on either the category ranking or the over all top ranking. The second was to generate a user base for the app which would hopefully lead to organic growth. While Apple took care of the first reason, the second never really existed, according to OfferMobi.
Howie Schwartz, chairman and co-founder of OfferMobi, paints a picture of marketers misunderstanding what they were getting with PPI and specifically TapJoy. TapJoy offers an incentive to download the app, in-game gold or a new weapon, and only works with games. These users don’t care about the app and aren’t looking at anything; they are just trying to find the cheapest way to get what they need. But having the app downloaded and not used or deleted is the least of the marketer’s worry. These users are now enabled to leave a comment and rate the app. That can spell serious trouble for reputation.
Even before Apple pulled the plug, the moment the budget ends, the ranking begins to drop. Installs of this type have no value unless the app is already a must have, and then why would they need to advertise it anyway?
PPI is a hard model to sell. It’s very easy to view it as a lazy shortcut — or worse, a way to cover up poor efforts. While the major ad networks don’t offer a PPI model and TapJoy continues to offer an incentivized solution, competitors may start to take up the place. OfferMobi claims to offer 100 percent fill rate on PPI advertisement and works to fill remnant inventory on over 10,000 publishers. Unfortunately, they don’t share who those publishers are or how well they’re doing, but at $1-1.25 cost per install to the advertiser, it sounds like this would be a better solution for the advertiser than the publisher.
TapJoy didn’t respond to a request for comment.
To make PPI useful requires a level of commitment and attention to detail that has often been cast aside when considering PPI in mobile. With the recent changes, marketers will have to address the situation from a drastically different angle.