AppInTop, a new automated mobile marketing platform that opens in public Beta today, is perhaps noteworthy on two counts.
Firstly, the startup wants to significantly lower the barriers for mobile app developers to market their wares. It offers a low-cost way into advertising on the 100 or so mobile ad networks it supports, including AdMob, Facebook Mobile Ads, and Flurry, as well as free competitive analytics to keep a handle on the competition.
Secondly, AppInTop is founded by Russian serial entrepreneur Nikolay Evdokimov. He previously co-founded the automated search engine marketing and SEO company SeoPult, which claims to be the leader in Russia, before going on to found Internet holding company Web3.0Asia, which specialises in aggregating web and mobile traffic in Asia and serving it up to its largely North American and European customer base. Evdokimov says that AppInTop is the coming together of the ideas behind his two previous ventures.
Aimed at indie developers as well as larger app publishers, while in private Beta many of AppInTop’s customers have been games makers, pitting AppInTop against the likes of Berlin-headquartered AppLift, which is incubated by HitFox Group and VC-backed to the tune of $20 million.
In contrast, AppInTop remains bootstrapped and says its key differentiator is that users can start advertising with a minimum budget of $10 per day, making the platform available to the Long Tail of developers, not just the major games publishers that AppLift works with. It also charges per-click not per-install.
Which approach proves to be more profitable in the long term is yet to be seen, though I suspect there’s room in the market for both models.
Specifically, users of AppInTop can define the overall advertisement budget for their mobile app, along with its promotional strategy. Traffic is then purchased automatically within the AppInTop affiliate network — those 100 or so mobile ad networks within which it’s integrated. The effectiveness of each individual advertiser is evaluated and the most effective channels with the lowest cost of install are identified through an “automated optimisation process”, says the company, essentially consolidating all of the available mobile advertising channels and taking care of the heavy lifting required to understand which network works best for a developer’s particularly wares.
Or, in layperson’s terms, this is all about getting the lowest cost per install, but also ensuring that those app installs, whatever they cost, are good value in the long term. There’s little point spending money on app installs if users open the app once and never use it again, or — depending on revenue model — are too tight or canny to make any in-app purchases.
To that end, AppInTop also provides free competitive analytics, thus providing intel on the competition and what it costs to get to the top position in Apple and Google’s app stores in 25 countries. This covers things like conversion tracking, app revenue, and competitors’ ad spend and revenues. It also claims its platform can achieve up to a 60% saving through the automation and optimisation of ad campaigns, with an average cost per-install working out at $1.20.
On the specific pitching of AppInTop, Evdokimov says in a statement: “Currently, in the mobile app space only the largest app developers and publishers have resources to pay for tools to promote their apps and receive the market analytics. We found a way to offer these valuable tools to smaller firms to help them plan and execute app promotion strategies”.
The company has offices in the U.S., Singapore, Thailand and Russia — though most of its engineering is based in the latter, so, for now at least, I’m claiming this as a European startup!