Monetizing an Input Method App: Emoji Keyboard’s developer Hou Huihua Explains

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Posted: June 11, 2015

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With native advertising becoming more-and-more a prominent for of advertising and monetizing for the mobile industry, there is a myriad of options when it comes to how a developer integrates ads. But for developers of highly-functional tool apps, such as input apps, monetization has its own problems.

We sat down with the lead developer of ‘Emoji Keyboard’ by Crazystudio, Hou Huihua, to discuss how they went about optimizing revenue. The app uses various monetization solutions, including a paid version of the app, but their integration of native advertising has been particularly successful at boosting revenue and helping them optimize UX and retain users.

“With YeahMobi’s cooperation, we haven’t only raised our revenue, we’ve also been able to better focus on our product, and ultimately our users” states Emoji Keyboard developer Huo Huihua.

Emoji Keyboard

Emoji Keyboard Case Study Pic

So what is Emoji Keyboard and What is the Input App Market Situation?

Emojis are a set of mini-pics, collected together, and used to convey personal emotions and information. Taking ’a picture is worth a thousand words’ in the literal sense, sending a smiley face, a love heart, or a confused face is a simple and quick way of passing on a wealth of information. Anybody can use Emoji to create a new way of interacting. Emoji Keyboardwas developed in China, but the developers were focused on expanding internationally and standing out in the market.

Lead developer of Emoji Keyboard, Hou Huihua

Hou Huihua

Emoji Keyboard Walks a Different Path

Hou Huihua wanted to walk a unique path in the input app market. When asked about where he came up with the idea for this kind of product, he responded with two points: 1) high demand, and 2) “Emoji Society”.

Hou Huihua explains: “High demand is the primary factor for an app’s existence. High demand is mainly reflected in three dimensions: How essential the app is to the user, making the user look for the app; frequency of app use, for example how often a user will use an app each day; and longevity, essentially, how long a user will need or want to keep using an app. An input app covers these demands comprehensively. Every mobile device, almost every app and even most functions within those, must utilize some kind of input method.

“But high demand also means fierce competition. Microsoft, Google and GO Keyboards all have their own input software, so how could we create an app that could exist in a market with all these giants? Our solution was to find something unique to offer users, and with that we are established an app geared towards an‘Emoji Society’.”Hou Huihua wanted to take full advantage of how emojis were becoming increasingly important in communication on social media apps and in society generally. Emoji Keyboard hopes users can enjoy using simple, fun emojis to communicate rich and meaningful information, making communication that much more simple and exciting.

What Does Emoji Keyboard Do to Ensure Users Stay Happy and Stay with the App?

Emoji Keyboard has about 5 million DAU. With so many people using the app, how does Emoji Keyboard ensure that its users stay happy and typing with their tool? “Simplicity, fun and individuality”says Hou Huihua.

Based on the languages it offers, and the localized cultures of its markets, Emoji Keyboard has created all kinds of vivid and unique fun emoji. With just a few of these fun mini-pics, users can transfer rich communications. In Hou Huihua’s words “[we] make communicating more simple, make life more interesting!”. Simple, cool.

How Does Emoji Monetize, and How Does that Affect the User?

The balancing act of monetizing an app through advertising and ensuring an app provides the best possible UX can be a developer’s biggest headache. Ordinarily, for tool apps with such a high usage rate as input apps, in-app advertising is realistically not an obvious option because you don’t have much space for ads. Banners would be disastrous to this kind of app’s user experience (UX).

Emoji Keyboard started off monetizing with a paid version of the app to fulfill its monetization needs. Even though Tier 1 and European users are relatively willing to pay for apps, and embrace payments with a much more friendly and open attitude than in China’s users, the paid-for version didn’t bring in enough revenue to really help the business take off. The time was ripe for rethinking how to boost income, and integrating YeahMobi Native Ads helped their revenue bloom naturally.

Emoji Keyboard’s native ads

Emoji Native Ads Display

Native advertising technology allowed the app developers more control of the size and format of ad displays in their app. At the same time, the Native Ads Platform allows more precision on user targeting. Emoji Keyboard’s users are mainly based in US, Europe and Indonesia, and are generally young. Using such demographic specifics, YeahMobi’s Native Ads Platform was able to push specifically targeted app and game ads with smart ad tech.

The giant leap in mobile ad displays had a dramatic impact on Emoji Keyboard’s business and for the ad companies advertised through them. Ad conversions (app installs) saw an average of 2,036 per day, a conversion rate of 10%. The developer’s revenue showed an upward trend. Ad revenue revenue is also only one part of the company’s revenue, and does not influence income from other channels, adverts or monetizing methods.

You can find out more about YeahMobi native mobile ads solutions here