Applift – the new mobile performance network for games

James Cooper | October 1, 2012


Applift is a mobile affiliate network that specialises in promoting mobile games.  This is a very exciting opportunity for mobile affiliates and games publishers alike. Until recently, mobile affiliate marketing was dominated by low value items such as ringtones, mobile content, subscription services and so on.  At the same time, mobile affiliate networks had yet to penetrate into the high margin verticals that deliver profits for online marketing such as ecommerce, travel and finance.  Even today, there is very limited affiliate activity in those areas.
However, there is one new emerging product line that is becoming a potentially lucrative sector for performance based marketing. Today, mobile apps and especially mobile games are able to generate huge revenues and ARPUs via in-app purchase.  You can read our piece on mobile social games revenues and statistics to get the picture.  Anyway, this has made them one of the fastest growing areas of performance based marketing with cost-per-install, cost-per-download and similar metrics well established models for promoting mobile games.  Many of the leading mobile social games companies have multimillion dollar marketing budgets available which they are able to distribute to a range of affiliates. Applift is designed to facilitate these sort of transactions.
We spoke with Tim Koschella, one of the founders.  The company has had a million + euro investment and are planning rapid expansion to serve the growing mobile games market with app promotion services and provide affiliates with a profitable new product.  They are based in Berlin and have come out of an incubator called Hitfox Ventures, which is focused on investing in businesses focused on games distribution. Hitfox Ventures has launched a number of other businesses including Hitfox (daily deals for online gamers) and more recently Applift.  Hitfox also operates a similar user marketing platform for browser based desktop games.  Anyway these guys are seriously impressive and a great addition to the mobile affiliate marketing landscape.  It is fantastic to see professional, well-funded companies like this entering the space with new models.
For Advertisers

For advertisers applift delivers ROI focused distribution services for iphone and Android games.   They work with selected and reliable sources of traffic with a specialism in mobile games such as review sites and so on.  Media buyers can choose to access the service via an affiliate network or a Demand-Side-Platform (DSP) style interface.  This provides a managed service offering that draws on multiple traffic sources including mobile ad networks, Real time bidding platforms and exchanges, SMS, social, email and mobile web.  The Applift SDK also delivers all the event tracking required including LTV, in-game actions and transactions using advanced tracking technology that can accurately track all key conversions and actions.  Applift also provide support for third party analytics and tracking software.

Applift is a great option for mobile games developers who want to buy installs at a fixed cost without the need to spend time doing mobile media buying, working with app promotion agencies and so on.  Using applift mobile games publishers can simply set up the campaign on a CPI, CPD or CPA basis – set price caps and let it run.  Whilst there is some active management required in terms of keeping the campaign fresh this is way easier than other options such as buying on CPC basis or using incentivised install networks.  Applift would be ideal both for ‘boost’ style campaigns designed to push an app up the charts as well as more longer term constant release campaigns.  The service would be able to be used as both a primary channel as well as an additional source of downloads for games developers that are already utilising a range of other distribution sources.
For Affiliates  

For affiliates Applift provide a great slate of mobile games titles to promote with great revenue shares and payouts.  There’s a dedicated affiliate management support, providing extra information and services. Applift take a pretty selective approach to bringing on board partners – you need a couple of references and sign-off by one of the team over at Applift.  However, they do offer feedback on the selection process if you’re rejected and the process is fast – typically less than one working day.  This could be a seriously profitable network for affiliates who have good sources of traffic for driving game downloads or experience of media buying to optimize for CPD or CPI events.  Essentially Applift is opening up the mobile games marketing budgets of millions of dollars into the mobile affiliate marketing industry.  This is a huge opportunity for affiliates to take advantage of.
Given that for the broad mobile affiliate networks games and apps are becoming the mainstay of their business it makes perfect sense for a mobile CPA network to focus exclusively on mobile games.   It may be that Applift is the first of a whole series of new mobile ad services that will focus on specific verticals.  The mobile performance market is getting more and more interesting…

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