It’s the trick that all developers on mobile and Facebook platforms use: always cross-promote your new title to your existing fanbase.
On iOS, some developers are extremely aggressive about it. TeamLava, for instance, has an opening interstitial ad unit that offers in-game currency if players download one of the studio’s other titles like Farm Story or Bakery Story. Another company, Hong Kong’s Stepcase, was able to get 1 million downloads in 25 days for Labelbox without paying for advertising because it cross-promoted across its existing suite of apps.
But not every developer, especially if it is a two-person shop, wants to spend time building this.
Now Chartboost, a company founded by early Tapulous employees and run out of Dogpatch Labs is giving developers a free tool to manage cross-promotion across their own network of games. It’s the first in a series of tools that may help the company establish itself as a player in premium advertising for mobile games.
The company’s launching a way for developers to create what they’re calling “boot-up interstitials.” These are ads that appear when a user opens up the app to play a new level or handle a timed game mechanic like watering virtual crops.
The interstitial has three parts: a frame, the ad unit and the button. Chartboost lets the developer design or customize the frame so the ad feels more personal and like a recommendation directly from the developer.
Chartboost is also building in analytics that let the developer manage the ad. For instance, they might not want to show the same interstitial over and over again to the same user, or they obviously wouldn’t want to show an interstitial for an app the user already has. Developers can also decide if they want the ads to be incentivized or not, meaning they can choose if they want to offer in-game rewards to users for downloading other apps.
The company says that ads right at the beginning of the app are powerful because every single daily unique user will view it. It taps into a larger trend we’ve been hearing about from multiple ad networks — that users are getting far too accustomed to mobile banners, which they ignore, and are responding better to interstitials.
As for Chartboost, they’re a bootstrapped company founded by a pair of early employees from Tapulous, which makes the popular Tap Tap Revenge games and was acquired by Disney. Co-founder Sean Fannan was the first full-time engineer at Tapulous and built the back-end for Tap Tap Revenge. The other founder Maria Alegre, ran Tapulous Labs Studio, and handled advertising and install campaigns for the company’s apps.
The five-person startup is launching this tool to start and plans to seed a network for premium pay-per-install advertising. Later on, a developer might bid to buy up all the “boot-up interstitial” inventory from other app, for example.