App developers unhappy with ads and marketing


Majority of developers express dissatisfaction with current app marketing and advertising options

Mobile app developers are dissatisfied with app marketing and advertising options, with value for money a key issue, shows a new survey.

A lack of clarity and trust in ad network providers are among the main reasons why 70% of developers are frustrated with the current state of app marketing, according to a new AppFlood survey into developer attitudes to mobile app marketing and advertising.

The overwhelming factor that determined which network or service to use was trust. Being able to trust in a provider to deliver positive results at an appropriate price is most important to large developers of whom 57% said it was a key factor versus 47% of small and medium developers.

Trust and prior awareness of a service seem to be the key determinants across all three groups for choosing a network or marketing service, but the service that gave the cheapest cost was also important to all three. Of the three groups, small developers take the biggest leap of faith with 26% of them saying that they had simply 'taken a chance' versus 18% of medium and 11% of large developers.

With trust and cost such integral issues, the survey also revealed that most developers are happy to adopt a 'do it yourself' approach to their app marketing, with 73% of all respondents preferring to purchase and book their own media for campaigns rather than hand it over to a specialist media planning agency. Altogether, 78% overall spend less than $5,000 on their app marketing.

Whilst small developers have the smallest allocated marketing budget with 88% having under $5,000, the survey showed that medium sized developers actually have higher budgets allocated than the large ones, of which 48% have allocated $5,000 or under.

Smaller developers often cited worry in losing too much money when starting out and having nothing to show for it as the primary reason for their reluctance to invest more in marketing. Small developers also expressed the highest degree of dissatisfaction regarding the value for money of acquiring customers, with 53% saying it was too expensive versus 33% of large developers.

This dissatisfaction is unsurprising given the limited marketing budget that many developers have to work with to promote their app. The majority (78%) of developers surveyed had a per app marketing budget of $5000 or less, while 12% had a budget of between $5000 and $10,000, and only 10% of respondents draw on more than $10,000 to support an app launch.

Small developers are the most frustrated with app distribution at 72% versus large developers who are the least frustrated at 62%. Overall, the variation is not huge and it appears that across the board developers in general are frustrated with existing app distribution methods, claimed AppFlood.

However, greater frustration amongst smaller developers is justifiable as increasingly they have to undertake the role of marketing manager and commercial manager and analyst if they wish to publish and promote their own apps.

Pretty much all three groups are equal in their response to having used an ad network to grow ad revenues with 54%, 58%, and 57% saying 'yes' respectively.

Those developers that didn't employ mobile ads in their games felt the revenue earned was not enough to justify the additional annoyance. One developer stated that mobile ads 'generated so little per month. It's just not worth annoying people with ads.'

The survey of over 1000 independent small, medium and large developers by mobile advertising and cross-promotion network AppFlood offers perspective on the attitudes of developers towards ad networks and advertising providers that cater to the promotion and monetization of mobile apps

In addition, 71% of all respondents expressed the view that ad networks often exaggerated their effective cost per thousand impressions (eCPM) claims. Overall, medium sized developers are the most dissatisfied with the eCPM claims of ad networks, with over 80% citing they felt that eCPM figures were exaggerated, versus 70% of small developers and 60% of large developers.

Commenting on the findings of the survey, Si Shen, CEO of PapayaMobile, the company behind AppFlood, said: 'Currently, developers instinctively gravitate towards big name ad networks and service providers in the belief that they can trust these brands to offer an effective app marketing service. However, the fact that the vast majority of developers – especially smaller ones – are also unhappy with the results achieved relative to the cost suggests a gulf in expectations between themselves and the ad network providers.

'To properly earn the trust of today's cost conscious developers, for whom meaningful results and a positive ROI on their marketing investment are a priority, ad providers must be prepared to be more transparent with their app marketing offerings, especially around campaign planning, reporting, and measurement,' concluded Si Shen.


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