Mobile App Discovery startup Appsfire has announced the launch of their Mobile SDK, a “360° Solution for app developers to grow discovery, engagement, [and] monetization.” The startup, which has offices in Paris, Tel Aviv & the Silicon Valley, raised $3.6M from Idinvest back in 2011, and has been growing its Android & iOS app following steadily. Today, Appsfire’s app is arguably one of the largest ‘app discovery’ platforms, counting over 12 Million users with daily downloads up to 10,000.
The Mobile SDK works for both iPhone & Android, and allows mobile app developers to increase conversions in three core areas: Engagement (via highly-targeted push notifications), Discovery (beautiful in-app ad displays) & Control (a back-end management system). The Mobile SDK is 100% free; however, Appsfire hopes to make money on providing mobile app developers better mobile Ads. Their first Ad display, an interstitial ad codenamed “Sashimi,” pulls AppStore photos & information so that mobile developers need not create creatives in order to advertise on the platform – Appsfire handles that for you.
What does this all mean?
Earlier this year, when mobile app discovery application AppGratis was pulled from the App Store by Apple, it was a clear message to the mobile app developer community that ‘gaming’ the App Store was not going to fly; however, Appsfire seems to have stayed in the good books of Apple before and since the incident, largely because they are not trying to game the rankings but instead, provide an intelligence layer on top of the existing ecosystem.
In the same fashion that DoubleClick provides an intelligence layer on top of the existing display ad ecosystem on the web, Appsfire is looking to provide a mobile ad ecosystem that is smarter – and also one which works, and isn’t ugly. Despite all figures suggesting that the mobile ad economy should be blowing up right now (consumption on mobile vs. web compared to mobile ad dollars vs. web ad dollars), mobile has become a large question mark for many in the digital economy.
If Appsfire can push conversion rates, and create something that users like instead of hate, then they might be able to close that gap just a little more. Initial click-through rates are 10%, with 25% conversion to download – that’s 2.5% of viewers of an ad who ultimately download the app. The service already counts 1000 developers signed up, reaching 160 Million unique devices & 50 million notifications delivered. The service is being tested by players like Magisto MailRu, Perfect365 & MacPhun, with ads being pushed from developers like Natural Motion, FreshPlanet & My Little Paris.
Appsfire says they are working on more ‘organic ads’ which will sit inside various parts of mobile apps; for example, apps with a ‘stream’ (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) can expect in-stream ad units to come – the strategy overall is to not disturb the user experience, but instead to integrate with it.
Appsfire has built its reputation via its highly successful app, pushing smart notifications to users & recommending relevant apps to its users. Having been relatively successful in this endeavor so far, Appsfire is putting that technology in the hands of all mobile app developers, as if to say “trust us, it works.” Time will only tell if mobile app developers want to trust Appsfire with their monetization & engagement strategy; however, one thing is sure – Appsfire isn’t just a mobile app anymore. It’s a platform.