Mobilbranche.de Interview with Tim Koschella, AppLift Co-Founder and Managing Director

By Thomas Sommer | February 12th, 2013
On the side of the gaming conference and trade fair Casual Connect Europe in Hamburg (meet us there!), AppLift co-founder and managing director Tim Koschella was interviewed by mobilbranche.de, a German website dedicated to mobile industry news. We thought the interview offered a good summary of AppLift's vision and positioning in the mobile gaming space. For those of you who are lucky enough to speak German ;), you can find the original article here. Otherwise, no worries, here's a translation:On the side of the gaming conference and trade fair Casual Connect Europe in Hamburg (meet us there!), AppLift co-founder and managing director Tim Koschella was interviewed by mobilbranche.de, a German website dedicated to mobile industry news. We thought the interview offered a good summary of AppLift's vision and positioning in the mobile gaming space. For those of you who are lucky enough to speak German ;), you can find the original article here. Otherwise, no worries, here's a translation:On the side of the gaming conference and trade fair Casual Connect Europe in Hamburg (meet us there!), AppLift co-founder and managing director Tim Koschella was interviewed by mobilbranche.de, a German website dedicated to mobile industry news. We thought the interview offered a good summary of AppLift's vision and positioning in the mobile gaming space. For those of you who are lucky enough to speak German ;), you can find the original article here. Otherwise, no worries, here's a translation:On the side of the gaming conference and trade fair Casual Connect Europe in Hamburg (meet us there!), AppLift co-founder and managing director Tim Koschella was interviewed by mobilbranche.de, a German website dedicated to mobile industry news. We thought the interview offered a good summary of AppLift's vision and positioning in the mobile gaming space. For those of you who are lucky enough to speak German ;), you can find the original article here. Otherwise, no worries, here's a translation: «Game publishers are highly professional and extremely number-driven about the allocation of their mobile-marketing budgets. For companies in the mobile gaming space, achieving this level of specialization is essential for survival. Those who don’t understand this will sooner or later disappear from the map. »So says Tim Koschella, co-founder of Berlin startup company HitFox. On the occasion of the opening day of the Casual Connect gaming fair in Hamburg, we talked about the mobile gaming market, which the HitFox group started embracing intensively last summer. In August 2012 indeed, the Berlin startup launched AppLift, the world’s first affiliate network for mobile games. In an exclusive interview, Tim Koschella explains how the company faired during its first six months: the team’s headcount is now up to 25 and the company is active all over the world. Big players such as BigFish, Kabam, Gameloft and King.com have already partnered up with AppLift.mobilbranche.de: Tim, six months ago, the HitFox Group launched AppLift, the world’s first affiliate network 100% dedicated to mobile games. How has it been so far?Tim Koschella: The first months went much better than we originally planned. On the account of the enormous growth of the mobile gaming market, we set out with high expectations and goals, which we nevertheless managed to exceed. At launch already, we had partnered up with big mobile players such as BigFish, Kabam, Gameloft and King.com and were able to drive traffic for them. Through the HitFox Group web affiliation company (ad2games.com), we already had quite a few customers in the browser and client-based gaming space, but for the mobile clients we had to start from scratch. On the affiliate side we are now working with several hundred partners, from small niche players to big media houses such as ProsiebenGames or RTL.mobilbranche.de: In which markets are you active today?Tim Koschella: In the beginning our focus was set on Germany, France, the UK and the US. However, today we make up to 40% of our business in other regions of the world such as Asia, Latin America as well as South and Eastern Europe.mobilbranche.de: Why did it take you so little time to roll out on all continents? Was it planned from the start?Tim Koschella: Well, we knew that mobile affiliation was a very global business. We had already gathered historical data from our web affiliation company, from which we could derive our own expectations. However, we were the first to be surprised by how fast our international growth happened. There are two factors which helped us a great deal there: first, the international presence of our parent company HitFox Group, with outposts in Seoul, San Francisco and Paris. Secondly, we’ve always made sure to put emphasis on gathering an international team, with now 25 people and 12 nationalities present. This way we quickly managed to set foot in exotic markets such as Brazil, Russia, Turkey or South Korea.mobilbranche.de: Do the mobile publishers who are specialised in gaming also have offers in other categories, such as media, productivity or travel?Tim Koschella: For many app publishers, mobile is just a fraction of their business; despite the speed at which this market grows, it still makes for a small portion of their revenue. For our clients, it’s the opposite: mobile accounts for 50% to 100% of their turnover. They make up to several hundred million dollars per year just through in-app purchases and in-app advertising. For instance, Kabam, who started as a Facebook core game publisher, recently announced that out of their $180 million 2012 annual revenue, over $100 million came from mobile games. Consequently, our clients are highly professional and extremely number-driven about the allocation of their mobile marketing budgets. Although there are of course “mobile natives” in categories such as Travel, Media and Productivity, who are very professional, in the mobile gaming market, achieving this level of specialization is essential for your survival. Those who don’t understand this will sooner or later disappear from the map.mobilbranche.de: Established players are also increasingly working with mobile game publishers. Which pros and cons do you see in focusing solely on them?Tim Koschella: A data-driven approach as well as elaborate campaign optimization is at the heart of our business. From the insights we gain, we understand the gaming market down to the slightest detail. For our clients the objective is seldom classic marketing concepts such as brand notoriety or reach. What matters is the ROI, and that’s precisely where our value added is. Our advertizers only pay for what they get: qualitative installs. Campaigns are optimized over time, following engagement and monetization goals, in order to maximise our clients’ return. Most of the time we get comprehensive data from them, which in turn enables us to optimize the traffic sources. What matters here is how much the users that we generate spend in the game (monetization), how often and how long they play (engagement), and whether or not they invite their friends to play over the social networks (virality).On the traffic side we work with classic app affiliates, as well as with game-specialized affiliates. Both benefit from the wide portfolio of (mostly Free-2-Play) games across our network. This way, if an affiliate has a website or an app that speaks to a “casual” target audience, we can suggest game offers such as Diamond Dash or Candy Crush Saga. Alternatively, affiliates specialized in “core gamers” can monetize their traffic through trade card games or strategy games such as Lords & Knights or Immortalis.mobilbranche.de: How big is the overlap between older customers of the HitFox Group and AppLift? That is, how strong is the transition from browser games to mobile games?Tim Koschella: There is an overlap, however it’s not as big as one could think from the outside. Our most important clients are native mobile game publishers, followed by publishers who became successful in the social gaming space (eg on Facebook) and are now moving to mobile. Then finally we have classic browser- and client-based publishers, who are often making their first attempt at publishing on iOS or Android. However, we haven’t seen many of the latter manage to land a big title, but that could well change in 2013.mobilbranche.de: Do you only target the big spenders, or can independent developers also afford your services?Tim Koschella: No, we work with indie devs as well as with bigger publishers. That’s actually one of the main differences between us and other platforms: we don’t require a minimum budget. We value small developers and publishers because we know how important they are for a functional gaming ecosystem. In case they don’t have any budget for user acquisition, we help them monetize their user base and offer them to use the proceeds to acquire new users at a favorable price. Many of our affiliates don’t want to advertise for the same games that are already displayed all over the market. Some are looking for small and simple but creative games to offer to their target audience.mobilbranche.de: In app marketing today, most of the business is done on a CPI (Cost Per Install) basis. How far are you from shifting to a method of payment, which would take the whole Customer Lifetime Cycle into account?Tim Koschella: The reality is that most people in the market still use an accounting method based on clicks. That’s surprising when you think how easy it is to generate a click on a mobile device compared to the web. You just need to place the ad banner in a smart way, and, woops, every user suddenly clicks on it and it’s then easy bucks. That’s neither fair nor right. For that reason more and more advertisers rely on a Cost-Per-Install method of payment. However, CPI also has its problems: what’s the benefit of getting 100,000 new installs when only 100 users play my game actively and spend money in it? I’d rather get 1,000 new users for 500 active players. For this reason, a CLV-based payment makes sense. However, at the same time the game publisher shifts the risk of having published a bad game onto the affiliate, which can also be an issue. Therefore we chose a double approach: we run offers on a CPI basis, but we adjust it to the advertizer’s CLV goals all along the campaign, so that interests on both sides are respected. Affiliates with good traffic are rewarded with higher payouts, and those with lower-quality traffic get less per install.mobilbranche.de: Thanks a lot for the interview, Tim!«Game publishers are highly professional and extremely number-driven about the allocation of their mobile-marketing budgets. For companies in the mobile gaming space, achieving this level of specialization is essential for survival. Those who don’t understand this will sooner or later disappear from the map. »So says Tim Koschella, co-founder of Berlin startup company HitFox. On the occasion of the opening day of the Casual Connect gaming fair in Hamburg, we talked about the mobile gaming market, which the HitFox group started embracing intensively last summer. In August 2012 indeed, the Berlin startup launched AppLift, the world’s first affiliate network for mobile games. In an exclusive interview, Tim Koschella explains how the company faired during its first six months: the team’s headcount is now up to 25 and the company is active all over the world. Big players such as BigFish, Kabam, Gameloft and King.com have already partnered up with AppLift.mobilbranche.de: Tim, six months ago, the HitFox Group launched AppLift, the world’s first affiliate network 100% dedicated to mobile games. How has it been so far?Tim Koschella: The first months went much better than we originally planned. On the account of the enormous growth of the mobile gaming market, we set out with high expectations and goals, which we nevertheless managed to exceed. At launch already, we had partnered up with big mobile players such as BigFish, Kabam, Gameloft and King.com and were able to drive traffic for them. Through the HitFox Group web affiliation company (ad2games.com), we already had quite a few customers in the browser and client-based gaming space, but for the mobile clients we had to start from scratch. On the affiliate side we are now working with several hundred partners, from small niche players to big media houses such as ProsiebenGames or RTL.mobilbranche.de: In which markets are you active today?Tim Koschella: In the beginning our focus was set on Germany, France, the UK and the US. However, today we make up to 40% of our business in other regions of the world such as Asia, Latin America as well as South and Eastern Europe.mobilbranche.de: Why did it take you so little time to roll out on all continents? Was it planned from the start?Tim Koschella: Well, we knew that mobile affiliation was a very global business. We had already gathered historical data from our web affiliation company, from which we could derive our own expectations. However, we were the first to be surprised by how fast our international growth happened. There are two factors which helped us a great deal there: first, the international presence of our parent company HitFox Group, with outposts in Seoul, San Francisco and Paris. Secondly, we’ve always made sure to put emphasis on gathering an international team, with now 25 people and 12 nationalities present. This way we quickly managed to set foot in exotic markets such as Brazil, Russia, Turkey or South Korea.mobilbranche.de: Do the mobile publishers who are specialised in gaming also have offers in other categories, such as media, productivity or travel?Tim Koschella: For many app publishers, mobile is just a fraction of their business; despite the speed at which this market grows, it still makes for a small portion of their revenue. For our clients, it’s the opposite: mobile accounts for 50% to 100% of their turnover. They make up to several hundred million dollars per year just through in-app purchases and in-app advertising. For instance, Kabam, who started as a Facebook core game publisher, recently announced that out of their $180 million 2012 annual revenue, over $100 million came from mobile games. Consequently, our clients are highly professional and extremely number-driven about the allocation of their mobile marketing budgets. Although there are of course “mobile natives” in categories such as Travel, Media and Productivity, who are very professional, in the mobile gaming market, achieving this level of specialization is essential for your survival. Those who don’t understand this will sooner or later disappear from the map.mobilbranche.de: Established players are also increasingly working with mobile game publishers. Which pros and cons do you see in focusing solely on them?Tim Koschella: A data-driven approach as well as elaborate campaign optimization is at the heart of our business. From the insights we gain, we understand the gaming market down to the slightest detail. For our clients the objective is seldom classic marketing concepts such as brand notoriety or reach. What matters is the ROI, and that’s precisely where our value added is. Our advertizers only pay for what they get: qualitative installs. Campaigns are optimized over time, following engagement and monetization goals, in order to maximise our clients’ return. Most of the time we get comprehensive data from them, which in turn enables us to optimize the traffic sources. What matters here is how much the users that we generate spend in the game (monetization), how often and how long they play (engagement), and whether or not they invite their friends to play over the social networks (virality).On the traffic side we work with classic app affiliates, as well as with game-specialized affiliates. Both benefit from the wide portfolio of (mostly Free-2-Play) games across our network. This way, if an affiliate has a website or an app that speaks to a “casual” target audience, we can suggest game offers such as Diamond Dash or Candy Crush Saga. Alternatively, affiliates specialized in “core gamers” can monetize their traffic through trade card games or strategy games such as Lords & Knights or Immortalis.mobilbranche.de: How big is the overlap between older customers of the HitFox Group and AppLift? That is, how strong is the transition from browser games to mobile games?Tim Koschella: There is an overlap, however it’s not as big as one could think from the outside. Our most important clients are native mobile game publishers, followed by publishers who became successful in the social gaming space (eg on Facebook) and are now moving to mobile. Then finally we have classic browser- and client-based publishers, who are often making their first attempt at publishing on iOS or Android. However, we haven’t seen many of the latter manage to land a big title, but that could well change in 2013.mobilbranche.de: Do you only target the big spenders, or can independent developers also afford your services?Tim Koschella: No, we work with indie devs as well as with bigger publishers. That’s actually one of the main differences between us and other platforms: we don’t require a minimum budget. We value small developers and publishers because we know how important they are for a functional gaming ecosystem. In case they don’t have any budget for user acquisition, we help them monetize their user base and offer them to use the proceeds to acquire new users at a favorable price. Many of our affiliates don’t want to advertise for the same games that are already displayed all over the market. Some are looking for small and simple but creative games to offer to their target audience.mobilbranche.de: In app marketing today, most of the business is done on a CPI (Cost Per Install) basis. How far are you from shifting to a method of payment, which would take the whole Customer Lifetime Cycle into account?Tim Koschella: The reality is that most people in the market still use an accounting method based on clicks. That’s surprising when you think how easy it is to generate a click on a mobile device compared to the web. You just need to place the ad banner in a smart way, and, woops, every user suddenly clicks on it and it’s then easy bucks. That’s neither fair nor right. For that reason more and more advertisers rely on a Cost-Per-Install method of payment. However, CPI also has its problems: what’s the benefit of getting 100,000 new installs when only 100 users play my game actively and spend money in it? I’d rather get 1,000 new users for 500 active players. For this reason, a CLV-based payment makes sense. However, at the same time the game publisher shifts the risk of having published a bad game onto the affiliate, which can also be an issue. Therefore we chose a double approach: we run offers on a CPI basis, but we adjust it to the advertizer’s CLV goals all along the campaign, so that interests on both sides are respected. Affiliates with good traffic are rewarded with higher payouts, and those with lower-quality traffic get less per install.mobilbranche.de: Thanks a lot for the interview, Tim!«Game publishers are highly professional and extremely number-driven about the allocation of their mobile-marketing budgets. For companies in the mobile gaming space, achieving this level of specialization is essential for survival. Those who don’t understand this will sooner or later disappear from the map. »So says Tim Koschella, co-founder of Berlin startup company HitFox. On the occasion of the opening day of the Casual Connect gaming fair in Hamburg, we talked about the mobile gaming market, which the HitFox group started embracing intensively last summer. In August 2012 indeed, the Berlin startup launched AppLift, the world’s first affiliate network for mobile games. In an exclusive interview, Tim Koschella explains how the company faired during its first six months: the team’s headcount is now up to 25 and the company is active all over the world. Big players such as BigFish, Kabam, Gameloft and King.com have already partnered up with AppLift.mobilbranche.de: Tim, six months ago, the HitFox Group launched AppLift, the world’s first affiliate network 100% dedicated to mobile games. How has it been so far?Tim Koschella: The first months went much better than we originally planned. On the account of the enormous growth of the mobile gaming market, we set out with high expectations and goals, which we nevertheless managed to exceed. At launch already, we had partnered up with big mobile players such as BigFish, Kabam, Gameloft and King.com and were able to drive traffic for them. Through the HitFox Group web affiliation company (ad2games.com), we already had quite a few customers in the browser and client-based gaming space, but for the mobile clients we had to start from scratch. On the affiliate side we are now working with several hundred partners, from small niche players to big media houses such as ProsiebenGames or RTL.mobilbranche.de: In which markets are you active today?Tim Koschella: In the beginning our focus was set on Germany, France, the UK and the US. However, today we make up to 40% of our business in other regions of the world such as Asia, Latin America as well as South and Eastern Europe.mobilbranche.de: Why did it take you so little time to roll out on all continents? Was it planned from the start?Tim Koschella: Well, we knew that mobile affiliation was a very global business. We had already gathered historical data from our web affiliation company, from which we could derive our own expectations. However, we were the first to be surprised by how fast our international growth happened. There are two factors which helped us a great deal there: first, the international presence of our parent company HitFox Group, with outposts in Seoul, San Francisco and Paris. Secondly, we’ve always made sure to put emphasis on gathering an international team, with now 25 people and 12 nationalities present. This way we quickly managed to set foot in exotic markets such as Brazil, Russia, Turkey or South Korea.mobilbranche.de: Do the mobile publishers who are specialised in gaming also have offers in other categories, such as media, productivity or travel?Tim Koschella: For many app publishers, mobile is just a fraction of their business; despite the speed at which this market grows, it still makes for a small portion of their revenue. For our clients, it’s the opposite: mobile accounts for 50% to 100% of their turnover. They make up to several hundred million dollars per year just through in-app purchases and in-app advertising. For instance, Kabam, who started as a Facebook core game publisher, recently announced that out of their $180 million 2012 annual revenue, over $100 million came from mobile games. Consequently, our clients are highly professional and extremely number-driven about the allocation of their mobile marketing budgets. Although there are of course “mobile natives” in categories such as Travel, Media and Productivity, who are very professional, in the mobile gaming market, achieving this level of specialization is essential for your survival. Those who don’t understand this will sooner or later disappear from the map.mobilbranche.de: Established players are also increasingly working with mobile game publishers. Which pros and cons do you see in focusing solely on them?Tim Koschella: A data-driven approach as well as elaborate campaign optimization is at the heart of our business. From the insights we gain, we understand the gaming market down to the slightest detail. For our clients the objective is seldom classic marketing concepts such as brand notoriety or reach. What matters is the ROI, and that’s precisely where our value added is. Our advertizers only pay for what they get: qualitative installs. Campaigns are optimized over time, following engagement and monetization goals, in order to maximise our clients’ return. Most of the time we get comprehensive data from them, which in turn enables us to optimize the traffic sources. What matters here is how much the users that we generate spend in the game (monetization), how often and how long they play (engagement), and whether or not they invite their friends to play over the social networks (virality).On the traffic side we work with classic app affiliates, as well as with game-specialized affiliates. Both benefit from the wide portfolio of (mostly Free-2-Play) games across our network. This way, if an affiliate has a website or an app that speaks to a “casual” target audience, we can suggest game offers such as Diamond Dash or Candy Crush Saga. Alternatively, affiliates specialized in “core gamers” can monetize their traffic through trade card games or strategy games such as Lords & Knights or Immortalis.mobilbranche.de: How big is the overlap between older customers of the HitFox Group and AppLift? That is, how strong is the transition from browser games to mobile games?Tim Koschella: There is an overlap, however it’s not as big as one could think from the outside. Our most important clients are native mobile game publishers, followed by publishers who became successful in the social gaming space (eg on Facebook) and are now moving to mobile. Then finally we have classic browser- and client-based publishers, who are often making their first attempt at publishing on iOS or Android. However, we haven’t seen many of the latter manage to land a big title, but that could well change in 2013.mobilbranche.de: Do you only target the big spenders, or can independent developers also afford your services?Tim Koschella: No, we work with indie devs as well as with bigger publishers. That’s actually one of the main differences between us and other platforms: we don’t require a minimum budget. We value small developers and publishers because we know how important they are for a functional gaming ecosystem. In case they don’t have any budget for user acquisition, we help them monetize their user base and offer them to use the proceeds to acquire new users at a favorable price. Many of our affiliates don’t want to advertise for the same games that are already displayed all over the market. Some are looking for small and simple but creative games to offer to their target audience.mobilbranche.de: In app marketing today, most of the business is done on a CPI (Cost Per Install) basis. How far are you from shifting to a method of payment, which would take the whole Customer Lifetime Cycle into account?Tim Koschella: The reality is that most people in the market still use an accounting method based on clicks. That’s surprising when you think how easy it is to generate a click on a mobile device compared to the web. You just need to place the ad banner in a smart way, and, woops, every user suddenly clicks on it and it’s then easy bucks. That’s neither fair nor right. For that reason more and more advertisers rely on a Cost-Per-Install method of payment. However, CPI also has its problems: what’s the benefit of getting 100,000 new installs when only 100 users play my game actively and spend money in it? I’d rather get 1,000 new users for 500 active players. For this reason, a CLV-based payment makes sense. However, at the same time the game publisher shifts the risk of having published a bad game onto the affiliate, which can also be an issue. Therefore we chose a double approach: we run offers on a CPI basis, but we adjust it to the advertizer’s CLV goals all along the campaign, so that interests on both sides are respected. Affiliates with good traffic are rewarded with higher payouts, and those with lower-quality traffic get less per install.mobilbranche.de: Thanks a lot for the interview, Tim!«Game publishers are highly professional and extremely number-driven about the allocation of their mobile-marketing budgets. For companies in the mobile gaming space, achieving this level of specialization is essential for survival. Those who don’t understand this will sooner or later disappear from the map. »So says Tim Koschella, co-founder of Berlin startup company HitFox. On the occasion of the opening day of the Casual Connect gaming fair in Hamburg, we talked about the mobile gaming market, which the HitFox group started embracing intensively last summer. In August 2012 indeed, the Berlin startup launched AppLift, the world’s first affiliate network for mobile games. In an exclusive interview, Tim Koschella explains how the company faired during its first six months: the team’s headcount is now up to 25 and the company is active all over the world. Big players such as BigFish, Kabam, Gameloft and King.com have already partnered up with AppLift.mobilbranche.de: Tim, six months ago, the HitFox Group launched AppLift, the world’s first affiliate network 100% dedicated to mobile games. How has it been so far?Tim Koschella: The first months went much better than we originally planned. On the account of the enormous growth of the mobile gaming market, we set out with high expectations and goals, which we nevertheless managed to exceed. At launch already, we had partnered up with big mobile players such as BigFish, Kabam, Gameloft and King.com and were able to drive traffic for them. Through the HitFox Group web affiliation company (ad2games.com), we already had quite a few customers in the browser and client-based gaming space, but for the mobile clients we had to start from scratch. On the affiliate side we are now working with several hundred partners, from small niche players to big media houses such as ProsiebenGames or RTL.mobilbranche.de: In which markets are you active today?Tim Koschella: In the beginning our focus was set on Germany, France, the UK and the US. However, today we make up to 40% of our business in other regions of the world such as Asia, Latin America as well as South and Eastern Europe.mobilbranche.de: Why did it take you so little time to roll out on all continents? Was it planned from the start?Tim Koschella: Well, we knew that mobile affiliation was a very global business. We had already gathered historical data from our web affiliation company, from which we could derive our own expectations. However, we were the first to be surprised by how fast our international growth happened. There are two factors which helped us a great deal there: first, the international presence of our parent company HitFox Group, with outposts in Seoul, San Francisco and Paris. Secondly, we’ve always made sure to put emphasis on gathering an international team, with now 25 people and 12 nationalities present. This way we quickly managed to set foot in exotic markets such as Brazil, Russia, Turkey or South Korea.mobilbranche.de: Do the mobile publishers who are specialised in gaming also have offers in other categories, such as media, productivity or travel?Tim Koschella: For many app publishers, mobile is just a fraction of their business; despite the speed at which this market grows, it still makes for a small portion of their revenue. For our clients, it’s the opposite: mobile accounts for 50% to 100% of their turnover. They make up to several hundred million dollars per year just through in-app purchases and in-app advertising. For instance, Kabam, who started as a Facebook core game publisher, recently announced that out of their $180 million 2012 annual revenue, over $100 million came from mobile games. Consequently, our clients are highly professional and extremely number-driven about the allocation of their mobile marketing budgets. Although there are of course “mobile natives” in categories such as Travel, Media and Productivity, who are very professional, in the mobile gaming market, achieving this level of specialization is essential for your survival. Those who don’t understand this will sooner or later disappear from the map.mobilbranche.de: Established players are also increasingly working with mobile game publishers. Which pros and cons do you see in focusing solely on them?Tim Koschella: A data-driven approach as well as elaborate campaign optimization is at the heart of our business. From the insights we gain, we understand the gaming market down to the slightest detail. For our clients the objective is seldom classic marketing concepts such as brand notoriety or reach. What matters is the ROI, and that’s precisely where our value added is. Our advertizers only pay for what they get: qualitative installs. Campaigns are optimized over time, following engagement and monetization goals, in order to maximise our clients’ return. Most of the time we get comprehensive data from them, which in turn enables us to optimize the traffic sources. What matters here is how much the users that we generate spend in the game (monetization), how often and how long they play (engagement), and whether or not they invite their friends to play over the social networks (virality).On the traffic side we work with classic app affiliates, as well as with game-specialized affiliates. Both benefit from the wide portfolio of (mostly Free-2-Play) games across our network. This way, if an affiliate has a website or an app that speaks to a “casual” target audience, we can suggest game offers such as Diamond Dash or Candy Crush Saga. Alternatively, affiliates specialized in “core gamers” can monetize their traffic through trade card games or strategy games such as Lords & Knights or Immortalis.mobilbranche.de: How big is the overlap between older customers of the HitFox Group and AppLift? That is, how strong is the transition from browser games to mobile games?Tim Koschella: There is an overlap, however it’s not as big as one could think from the outside. Our most important clients are native mobile game publishers, followed by publishers who became successful in the social gaming space (eg on Facebook) and are now moving to mobile. Then finally we have classic browser- and client-based publishers, who are often making their first attempt at publishing on iOS or Android. However, we haven’t seen many of the latter manage to land a big title, but that could well change in 2013.mobilbranche.de: Do you only target the big spenders, or can independent developers also afford your services?Tim Koschella: No, we work with indie devs as well as with bigger publishers. That’s actually one of the main differences between us and other platforms: we don’t require a minimum budget. We value small developers and publishers because we know how important they are for a functional gaming ecosystem. In case they don’t have any budget for user acquisition, we help them monetize their user base and offer them to use the proceeds to acquire new users at a favorable price. Many of our affiliates don’t want to advertise for the same games that are already displayed all over the market. Some are looking for small and simple but creative games to offer to their target audience.mobilbranche.de: In app marketing today, most of the business is done on a CPI (Cost Per Install) basis. How far are you from shifting to a method of payment, which would take the whole Customer Lifetime Cycle into account?Tim Koschella: The reality is that most people in the market still use an accounting method based on clicks. That’s surprising when you think how easy it is to generate a click on a mobile device compared to the web. You just need to place the ad banner in a smart way, and, woops, every user suddenly clicks on it and it’s then easy bucks. That’s neither fair nor right. For that reason more and more advertisers rely on a Cost-Per-Install method of payment. However, CPI also has its problems: what’s the benefit of getting 100,000 new installs when only 100 users play my game actively and spend money in it? I’d rather get 1,000 new users for 500 active players. For this reason, a CLV-based payment makes sense. However, at the same time the game publisher shifts the risk of having published a bad game onto the affiliate, which can also be an issue. Therefore we chose a double approach: we run offers on a CPI basis, but we adjust it to the advertizer’s CLV goals all along the campaign, so that interests on both sides are respected. Affiliates with good traffic are rewarded with higher payouts, and those with lower-quality traffic get less per install.mobilbranche.de: Thanks a lot for the interview, Tim!

Thomas Sommer
Thomas heads up content marketing at AppLift. As such he’s in charge of sourcing, curating, creating and distributing insightful content to increase visibility and thought leadership for the company. Thomas loves to scrutinize the relentless and trilling developments of the mobile industry. You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thomas