Follow-up Interview with Airpush – Developers and Android Users Both Win

November 14, 2011
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Most recently, we had the chance to chat with CEO of Airpush, Asher Delug, to follow up with the previous interview we had back in April. Below you will find the transcript of our interview, and what they are doing to help the community of hardworking Android developers better monetize their apps. Read on!

You released Airpush into the wild in January.  Can you discuss some of the challenges and successes you’ve had since then? How has Airpush changed?

It’s been a very wild ride since our launch! Android developers are swarming us — over 10,000 apps use the Airpush SDK, which are collectively adding 800,000 new unique devices per day to the platform. We’re growing over 20% per week and hiring 5 – 10 new people per month.

Our primary challenge thus far has been managing growth in East Asia. Android is growing at spectacular rates in Asia, but each of the major markets there are unique and somewhat insular. We originally assumed the markets were highly globalized and could be managed remotely from the U.S, but quickly learned that isn’t the case!  We’re now voraciously hiring local sales and operations teams in Asia, and will be opening offices in Singapore and Tokyo in 2012. We’ve also been partnering with major ad networks in the region.

There was some negativity around the launch of Airpush ads – what have you done to address it? 

Yes, we had some end-user outcry about the new ad format when we first launched. This is fairly common for new ad formats — for example when Angry Birds added rich media ads, or Youtube added in-video ads. This has largely died down, as we started  tagging each ad with a universal and permanent opt-out in response to the criticism.  While there will always be a vocal minority, it’s clear that the vast majority of end-users have no issues with this form of advertising. Overall it significantly enhances the ecosystem by giving indie developers the ability — for the first time — to earn a living from free Android apps.

Talk to us about the success that Developers have had with Airpush. 

Developers are literally shocked when they first see the earnings from Airpush. The CPM’s averaged over $12 in October — which is 10x – 30x higher than Admob and other traditional in-app ad networks. As a result, Airpush isn’t just an incremental gain for Android developers — it’s been a total game changer.

We’re currently getting over 500 new developer registrations per day, and have been aggressively sponsoring and attending developer trade shows to further build the Airpush brand with Android developers. Below is a chart of our registered and live android apps on the platform, which reflects developer excitement over the platform:

When can an app be considered successful? What is usually the magic number of downloads? 

With traditional mobile ad networks you need a truly massive # of installs to make money with a free app. Traditional mobile ad networks will generate a LTV (life-time value) of around $.005 – $.01 per install due to the low active user% and extremely low CTR’s (sub 1%). So, for 10,000 installs the developer will only make $50 – $100 — enough to buy dinner.

With Airpush, however, developers typically earn around $.07 – $.12 LTV on the installs, and as a result can make $700 – $1,200 from the same 10,000 downloads — enough to pay rent.

Airpush has created an environment where developers can earn a living from their apps, without having millions and millions of downloads.

So how do you get the 10,000 installs or more in the first place?  The key is building an app which generates a high level of user engagement, as measured by the ratio of your DAU (daily active users) to total installs. When you launch an app in the Android Market, you will automatically get 500 – 4,000 free installs from the “Just In” section. If your user engagement is high, Android Market’s ranking algorithm will continue to distribute your app and generate consistently large numbers of new daily installs for you for free!

You mentioned that you have a new type of ad unit in the works – can you expand on this? 

We recently launched our new Icon Ads product, which has also been a tremendous success with developers. Icon Ads enable developers to bundle a value-added service with an app, such as mobile search and daily deals. The bundled service is added as a shortcut on the Android phone’s desktop, where it can be easily accessed or deleted by the end-user.  After only two weeks of launch, our developers are distributing Icon Ads to around 350,000 new devices per day and generating additional revenue in the $12 – $36 CPM range.  Developers who add Icon Ads to their apps have been seeing an additional 50 – 100% increase in earnings, on top of the 10x – 30x increase which the Airpush SDK already provides.

And so there you go – Developers now can finally be compensated in a way that is commensurate with the good work they are doing. 2011 has proven to be a very significant year for Android, and the quality of apps released over the past few months especially reflects this. With greater incentive for developers to make incredible apps, and greater amounts of developers able to make a decent living off of producing quality apps for you and I, competition further intensifies, resulting in even more high quality innovative apps being released in the near future! Good for Android , good for Developers – and good for you and I! 

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