Xeno bits

Ad providers comparison

When I started to introduce ads in my game I was a bit puzzled by which provider to use, windows phone is a pretty young platform and options were at that time (end august 2011) pretty limited for none US developer like me.

  • There was Microsoft own solution (Pubcenter) which was available only to US developers.
  • Google had released a "beta" sdk for AdMob
  • And there was various other "minor" providers that looks good on paper but I was not able to find any user story about them.
So I decided to experiment, which was a big hazardous as I already had almost 4000 downloads at that time.

Downloads states between 08/25/2011 and 09/25/2011

I've put 3 different ads in game,
  • 1 during game (MS Pubcenter as I've seen on their forum that I should be able to receive my payment once the platform would be open to international developers, more on this later on)
  • 2  on an unskippable 5 seconds screen after each game round, Smaato (http://www.smaato.com/) and Inneractive (http://inner-active.com/)
What, no Google? yep, after trying to use their sdk I discoverd that it simply ruined performances of my application, so it was a no-go. Last time I checked their SDK was still in beta and I was not even able to run their last provided samples on Mango. I guess that WP7 is not a priority for them.
Once done needless to say that users were pretty upset after downloading an update including so much ads, and I've got many bad reviews during this period, sacrifice was worthy, in the name of science!
After one month of experiment here are the figures :

Inneractive stats

Inneractive figures

Smaato stats

Pubcenter impressions

Pubcenter figures

Let's try to see what's going on here :

  • Smaato ecpm are crappy : 0.075 ??? seriously
  • Inneractive ecpm are a bit better, but their sdk report 1/5 of displayed ads compared to other providers, I contacted them regarding the issue and they advised to use exclusively their SDK to solve the issue, that looked a little bit too magical  to me (and risky considering time needed to revert this choice, although I can use ad rotator  (http://wp7adrotator.codeplex.com/) to ease the process) .
  • Pubcenter ecpm are not stellar but at least they are the best, even if I had no idea when I would be able to get my money.

In the end I kept only the pubcenter banner, removed the unskippable ad screen, and user started to be happy again.

Few month after this experience here is my opinion about those providers:

  • Smaato will not let you earn much, but at least today they are the only ones from who I received money. Their sdk is pretty good and site is the best I tried so far, especially regarding analytics.
  • Inneractive tools are easy to use, I was easily able to contact their support and they spent some time to help me solve my issues by chat, but I was disappointed by their answer to my displayed ads amounts issue.
  • Pubcenter sdk is the best for sure, their site not so much (I need to use IE in 32 bits version in order to use it...). I finally succeded to setup my account in order to be paid at the end of november, as they were opening pubcenter to new countries including my. But I still have not received any money from them so far.... I heard many times that I had to be patient with microsoft (same thing for paid version of my app...)

Hope this will help few people out there.

Comments (4) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Great article, I am using PubCenter myself for an ad-supported application and I am in the UK. Is there any sign that you have seen that PubCenter will ever pay developers outside the US? Thanks.

    • I asked their support how to get my money from my US account, they sent me this procedure :

      “We appreciate your business and would like to let you know that we are going to offer an opportunity for you to receive payment of the revenue that you’ve accrued in your U.S.-based pubCenter account to-date. To participate you will need to reach $50 USD in revenue (Microsoft minimum payout amount) and complete all of the steps specified below before November 30th, 2011:

      1. Create a new pubCenter account using a new Windows Live ID and select your country and the currency in which you wish to get paid.
      2. Complete all required fields for your account that are located under the pubCenter account information payment tab.
      3. Within your new account, create a new ad unit.
      4. Update the ad-supported application you have published in the Windows Phone Marketplace with the new ad unit ID.
      5. Submit the updated apps to Windows Phone Marketplace via AppHub.
      6. Notify Microsoft by email at adsinapp@microsoft.com that you have completed steps 1-5.”

      I’ve completed all the steps and got their confirmation neverthless I still see nothing transfered on my new french account so far, and even revenue accumulated on this account since november are still not being paid.

  2. Are you sure you have your Pubcenter account completely setup? It took me a while, but once I got it setup I get paid like clockwork. For instance, one thing is they will make 2 deposits into your account (small amount) and you have to go back to PubCenter and enter those deposit amounts to verify your account. Lots of little things like that.

    • I think so, at least my “Payout method” have “validated” status on my account… After double checking it seem the tax information part is mandatory and I’ve not completed it, I’ll do it right now, hope it will unlock the situation.

      Thanks for the tips!