Appsfire Launch a New SDK to Create the Next Level in Mobile Ad Networks

Peter Keung | December 17, 2013

Mobile Advertising

Appsfire Logo
Appsfire is a leading global discovery and distribution platform for mobile apps, focusing on solving problems around app discovery and provide developers with a new space to promote and sell their apps.  As a company, Appsfire has seen continued growth, in both staff and revenue over the past year and operate from offices in three continents; in Paris, Sunnyvale and Tel-Aviv. Since its inception Appsfire has enjoyed a lot of success in the market place with its own discovery app and a wider app marketing network accounting for 12 million downloads in total, and they now deliver around 8 to 10k downloads per day across their various platforms.
Appsfire has recently announced that they are winding down their consumer app and focusing all their efforts on innovation in mobile advertising. They hope to create the next generation of mobile advertising technologies, to assist publishers and developers in their quest for better marketing and growth. This exciting news does however come with a down side for users of the app.   As of the 19th of December the Appsfire app will no longer be available on the market, it will still be maintained and available for current users, but will no longer be available for new users.

According to Appsfire, they have taken the decision to close down their B2C app due to the uncertainty surrounding the position of such services within the iOS ecoystem:

“Apple has consistently added tough, unclear guidelines and rules for app discovery apps, refusing to feature any app in that field (What? You didn’t know?) and rejecting or removing some from time-to-time. While their severe decision is often warranted with players that resort to shortcuts for easy and fast success, it does not look like Apple has figured out a real way to accomodate true value adding app discovery apps; either because they consider the App Store is “the ultimate solution” (it’s far from being one), or by fear of losing that dominant market maker position.

As a result, Appsfire has moved to position itself away from providing its own discovery services, and towards a networked model that they believe offers greater potential:

“There is no doubt that we could pursue the app discovery app grail by following Apple’s ever-changing guidance or by the same token take advantage of Google’s lack of drive in that field, but at this point, we choose a different path for the better, focusing on the fastest horse and on the biggest bet.”

Appsfire is now focusing on supporting developers and publishers across three main areas:

  • Acquire – helping developers to generate high quality users, not just downloads, by leveraging their app discovery network
  • Engage – acting as the middleman between the developer and their users e.g. in app push notifications and real time feedback, also getting those all important organic reviews in the App Store and Google Play Store
  • Monetize – ad units that are more than just a banner and increase revenue and performance

Introducing a new SDK from Appsfire

Just over a year a go the bright minds at Appsfire, including it’s co-founders, began the process of building a growth engine for mobile apps. They have now announced the Appsfire Software Development Kit (SDK), a 360 solution for app developers to help drive discovery, engagement and monetization. This SDK also aims to put controlback into the hands of the developer, one way they hope to achieve this is by retaining a 100% transparency policy, this way the developer knows where and when their ads will be appearing without even having to ask. Second to this is a new generation of ad units, which the developer can pick and choose from. If there’s one thing Appsfire is good at it’s finding a headache shared by developers and users across the globe and concentrating their efforts on being the cure. With this new SDK they attempt to tackle a number of issues; from transparency between the advertising agencies and the developer, the poor reputation of existing mobile ad units ad units and the fact that users and developers are repeatedly finding themselves lost in translation when it comes to feedback.
An introduction to Appsfire SDK

Appsfire Declares ‘War’ on the Banner Ad

Appsfire is another mobile ad company of the opinion that banner ads on mobile and app plttfroms are outdated and quite simply annoying.  Banner ads are after all over 18 years old and according to GoldSpot Media over 50% of clicks on mobile banner ads are accidental. It has long been held that things needs to change. In Appsfire’s artillery is a new generation of ad units, all of them named after sushi. One such example is Sashimi. A creatively designed interstitial with a few twists such as:

  • No creative needed as it is automatically designed based on the App store data
  • Automatically translated into 13 languages
  • Optimized for landscape and iPad mode
  • Loads fast, dismissed easily
  • Contains a clear meassage
  • The downloads takes place within the app
  • Integrates with all major ad mediation layers (mopub, burstly, admob, etc)
  • Optimized not to show apps already owned by the users
  • Smart Ad serving: Automatically capped. no over exposure, wasted inventory, over charge to advertisers

There are a number of Ad units under development each with its own Sushi inspired name, which has certainly got people in the industry twitching with interest.
Now you may think Sashimi is just a fancy banner ad, but its seamless integration into the apps and games would put it closer to the ‘native’ ad solutions emerging in the mobile ad industry.  Appsfire also point out that developers are not required to use the new ads if they install the updated SDK, and they can choose to use them as a way to promote their own apps as well.
Could this be the way forward for mobile advertising? Well, the 1000 developers who have already signed up seem to think so. Leading publishers have also got on board such as Natural motion, FreshPlanet (SongPop, Moviepop) and My Little Paris. Following the great success of Appsfire to date it would be hard to believe this new service won’t follow suit, and it’s definitely an SDK to keep an eye on.

An Interview with Ouriel Ohayon: CEO Appsfire

If there’s one person in the mobile app advertising industry that is wiling to share an honest opinion it is Ouriel Ohayon, CEO and co-founder of Appsfire. We spoke to him to learn more about their new SDK.
Why did you decide to create this SDK?
“We created it for ourselves about 18 months ago. Unlike most SDKs appearing in the market, this one has been created with our feet on the ground, with Appsfire growing quickly as an app we thought we did a good job at keeping in touch with our users. We were receiving tons of empty emails because users did not know how to articulate their thoughts in front of an empty email and we did not receive enough context on the user who sent it. So we invented in app feedback. Since then we’ve been copied by many companies.
We were also spending crazy money on push notifications and it made no sense to keep funding Urban Airpship. So we decided to build our own push engine which is probably one of the most sophisticated ever designed. For example we noticed about 50% of our user base did not want to receive push messages so we combined it with in app notifications. Here again we got copied by many. Once we saw it was working for us, we decided to offer it, for free to developers. We don’t believe developers should pay for notifications or feedback. Actually we believe developers should get access for free to many CRM tools to help them keep users engaged.”
What developer needs are you responding to with the development of the Appsfire 2.0 SDK?
“The need to make your app grow as a business. It makes no sense to optimize your app for downloads only or even engagement. The ultimate goal of an app is to make more money. With our new SDK, developers have access to world class CRM services (and a lot more is coming) for free and can even make money with the best advertising formats designed for the mobile space.
Downloads and engagement are only gateways to growth and monetization. We want to be the back bone of what powers this growth. We also want to be perceived as the company who will change developer’s mind about advertising and create such a great experience for users that developers will hesitate less about placing ads in their app or will make a better choice about which type of ads to place in their app.”

What do you believe sets Appsfire apart from other mobile ad networks?
“Our attention to detail and care for end users. We observe that 100% of ad networks, including the most popular provide a weak user experience. They provide poorly designed creatives, serve ads to optimize for the 5% who click and ignore the 95% who don’t. Because of our background as a consumer app (and a popular one) in the space of app discovery we believe attention to detail and care for user experience is going to make a dramatic difference, not only in terms of results but also tolerance and acceptance of advertising.
We re focusing 100% of our energy right now on this, because we believe the ad industry is craving for something like this. We recently ran a poll with 500 developers and 50% of them hate advertising in all its form as being done today. This has to change!
Transparency between developer and the ad network has been a major issue for the industry, do you believe you offer a resolution to this?
“This is a very important point. Right now the ad ecosystem is a jungle. Everyone is buying from anyone and the advertiser rarely knows where his ads end up showing. Appsfire has made the choice from day one to be upfront about where ads are being shown. We have a 100% transparency policy. We don’t even wait for advertisers or networks to ask us about it. All our reports offer granular visibility of what ads are showed where. And obviously this is backed by hard data from attribution sources/links. We believe the market will be forced to  move that way, no matter how programmatic it is becoming.”
You name you ad units after sushi, why is this?
“Again:, we care for users and we want our users to feel and look delicious and fresh. We’re going to release a large number of ad units designed with a very high level of care and we loved the idea to associate that with a sushi genre. Expect Sashimis, Ura Makis and more…”
You say you wish to start a war against the banner ad but are your ad units really any better? 
“We believe they are different and better. The first unit we launched is a typical full screen ad but designed at a pixel perfect level of detail, where the level of clarity and user experience has been unmatched. It is about a set of micro details which put together, make a big difference. For example all our ads are translated and localized automatically, all our graphics are retina ready, when the banner is clicked instead of being popped out of the app, you stay in the app, there is no weird marketing message or manipulative triggers,  if you already own the app we won t show it to you. Now this being said it is just a full screen ad. A lot more is coming and be ready for ground breaking innovation in that space, the same way we pioneered a lot of what is being done in app discovery today.”

What has been the initial reaction by the industry to this SDK?
“We signed 100 new developers in 3 days. This is brilliant. This brings us to well over 1000 developers who signed up to our SDK since we launched it in total in version 1.0. Developers understand what we’re trying to do and we’re convinced we’ll serve them well.”
What does the future hold for Appsfire?
“Lots of innovation in the CRM space and Ad monetization space. We’re going to ad a lot of new tools for developers to better merchandise their app in the app store and to their existing users. Tools we have actually created for ourselves because we are ourselves developers of mobile apps and have a strong ground experience in building successful apps. We re going to release in the coming weeks a few more innovative ad units some of which are unheard of. We re just getting started.”
Thanks to Ouriel for giving us some insights into where Appsfire and the wider app marketing and mobile ad market is heading.  In the ever growing and somewhat controversial world of app advertising Appsfire are increasingly establishing themselves as a leader in innovation and product development. There is no doubt that this SDK is offering the developer something new, and as mobile app distribution and monetization space hots up , this is one of the few platforms that looks like it’s genuinely adding additional value.
You can download the Appsfire SDK here and find the Appsfire listing in our mobile app marketing directory

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