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In-app ads: How to get 20% engagement and 2000% higher click-through

In-app ads: How to get 20% engagement and 2000% higher click-through

by John Koetsier

This just may be a blinding flash of the obvious, but apparently we like ads that don’t suck. And fit into our current context. And give us something we want.

Whoda thunk?

MediaBrix, the app ad company, ran a survey to discover what people like and don’t like about advertising in apps: Facebook apps as well as mobile apps. I spoke with chief executive Ari Brandt yesterday to get the details.

The first result? We like ads

Well, I’ll qualify that.

We like ads more than paying for apps. On smartphones, 61 percent of us want free apps with ads, while 39 percent would pay to avoid the ads. For the cheapskates on Facebook, those numbers skew to 83 percent free, 13 percent paid.

That’s a consumer trend MediaBrix has embraced. But the company, which started out building marketing campaigns with standard Facebook ads, was looking for something better than a banner ad or a sponsored story.

Instead of interrupting apps, Brandt says, he wanted to integrate into them.

“In-app advertising needs to acknowledge, embrace and respect the user experience,” says Brandt. “Standard pre-rolls and traditional ad banners don’t really work in this space.”

So the company, which works with major game developers such as EA and King, and brands like Proctor & Gamble and Coca-Cola, started looking for alternatives.

The second result? We like the right ads, at the right time

Perhaps iAds had it right, partially. As many as 72 percent of Facebook app users prefer immersive, interactive ads to standard banner ads. The numbers for smartphone users: 60 percent versus 40 percent.

That might sound crazy, since an immersive and interactive ad demands more of your attention. A banner ad, after all, can be ignored.

But the key factor is the right offer at the right time. Here’s how Brandt explained it to me:

“Imagine you’re playing a game, and you need a power-up. So a message pops up and says: ‘John, your power is low. Interact with this Coca-Cola ad and receive five free power-ups.’”

The user is in charge: she can decide to accept the power-up or not. If she doesn’t, she continues playing the game as before. But if she does, the ad unit is engaging, built specifically for the game, and immediately rewarding. And that, apparently, is the key.

“We’ve seen amazing performance,” Brandt says, “including engagement rates as high as 20 percent.” MediaBrix’ click-through rates are high, he told me, as much as 2000 percent higher than Facebook promoted posts … which can have click-through rates of a fraction of a percentage point.

The third result? We hate pre-roll videos

Unsurprisingly, 63 percent of Facebook users don’t like pre-roll ads. And for once smartphone users are almost completely in agreement: 62 percent would prefer to have a choice to play the video or have it shown during a natural break in the app that they’re playing or using.

So MediaBrix created an interstitial-type product for session-based games.  One example is the popular app Fruit Ninja, says Brandt:

“When you complete a level, you get a message: ‘Congratulations, you just slashed 100 pieces of fruit. The next level is loading — please watch this message from our sponsor.”

The message, the art, and the entire ad is customized — integrated into the game experience.

The point for you?

If you’re an app developer, design custom ad experiences into your apps that are innovative and integrated into your user experience. And if you’re a marketer, don’t settle for interruption marketing or annoyance marketing.

Give something to get something.

In-app ads: How to get 20% engagement and 2000% higher click-through

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Modern life halted as Netflix, Pinterest, Instagram down

An outage in Amazon’s cloud means that some of the world’s greatest and most frivolous entertainments are suddenly not available. Immediately, customers whine.


Some clouds can simply eliminate others.

At 11.21pm EST last night, as the deep and the desperate began to settle down for a weekend of streaming movies and retro photography, thunder and lightning decided to bring a natural end to their plans.

Forbes reported that such bastions of modern entertainment as Netflix, Pinterest and Instagram were eliminated from the firmament.

The cause was reportedly an outage at Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud in North Virginia, brought on by a thunder and lightning show. Yes, Amazon’s clouds are actually Earth-based.

Naturally, as panic ensued across so many smoke-filled living rooms, companies tried to placate the enraged.

Netflix sent out a tweet of apology, as did Instagram.

Pinterest, for its part, was very clear about the cause. In its apologetic tweet, it offered the phrase “server outages,” not the vague “technical difficulties” offered by Instagram.

Some may remember that Amazon’s EC2 server experienced something of an outage 2 weeks ago, which suggests that not all is perfect with the cloud’s celestial dream.

Currently, at 4.08am PST, all the sites seem to be back up. However, Pinterest declared on a further tweet that it might not be operating at its pinning fullest for a little while yet.

What some find fascinating, though, is the response of customers to this late night lapse.

Within minutes, Netflix, Pinterest and Instagram were anointed with the tweets of the annoyed.

“Hey,” wrote one Charl Lee-Pearce, “where did my left column go? I can’t see what people are pinning or following or new followers. =(”

What it is to suddenly be left bereft of one’s left column.

I am sure a lady called Rene spoke for a vast swathe of humanity when she tweeted to Instagram: “I’m bored hurry uppppp !!! ?#whine? @InstagramHelp.”

Another Instagramer, Quantreus Hayes, offered: “@InstagramHelp we can see that, y’all need to tweet wen y’all fix the problem, I knew y’all messed up wen Instagram 4 androids happened.”

As for Netflix, which has tried to rise from something of its own storms of late, criticism also bathed over it on Twitter.

A distressed Amar Chugg wrote: “@netflix I was watching my favorite show & you guys screwed up on a cliffhanger. Disappointed.”

At least these companies — only one of which actually takes money from its faithful — can blame Amazon and whoever it is who creates weather.

Whom, though, can the people claiming not to be able to live without picture-posting and product-pinning blame?

Modern life halted as Netflix, Pinterest, Instagram down

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Inventor of Wireless Remote Dies: Clunky Technology Lives On


An ad for Zenith’s Flash-Matic. Zenith sold 30,000 televisions with the remote control.

An ad for Zenith’s Flash-Matic. It can seem as if we haven’t come very far.

When I read Margilit Fox’s gorgeous obituary of Eugene Polley, the creator of the wireless television remote, I was struck by the vision he displayed when he invented the so-called Flash-Matic back in 1955. I was also struck by the fact that more than half a century later, the technology he invented, which managed to be convenient and clunky at the same time, has yet to be really improved upon. The troubles in the system — which worked with TV sets built with a photo cell in each corner of the screen — were there right from the start.

Because the system was light-activated, sunlight hitting the TV screen could cause the channels to change in spontaneous roulette. Viewers also had trouble remembering which corner of the screen controlled which function.

Sound familiar? The television the remote now controls isn’t even a television anymore, but a multiplatform entertainment device that is increasingly hooked up not only to a cable system and a DVD player, but also a digital video recorder and the Web itself. Yet there we sit in front of it, holding a big dumb remote that doesn’t look or act much differently than the one that Mr. Polley and his buddies came up with decades ago.

Between the database of programming on the set-top box and all of the unfolding riches of Web programming, there is an almost infinite array of programming available, allegedly at the push of a button.

But which button? And which button after that. And good luck if you actually have to enter text so that the television can search for what you are looking for. The experience, as I have written, is like hitting your big, flat panel with a stick in the hope that something juicy pops out. It makes something that should be fun and relaxing seem a lot like work rather than downtime.

There are current or nascent technologies for apps, gestures and smartphones to control television, but none of them seem fully baked or all that easy to use. Our question to you, dear reader, is what have you found that works in navigating your televisions, and what do you think the remote of the future is going to look like? And when will the future get here?

Inventor of Wireless Remote Dies: Clunky Technology Lives On

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The amusing reality of Google’s new goggles?

Well, perhaps it’s a virtual reality. But a video posted to YouTube shows just how much fun Google’s Project Glass might (not) be.


Do they come in prescription versions? That was the first crazed, but enraptured thought that struck me after hearing about Google’s Project Glass.

It’s always enchanting when a tech company offers a new way of looking at the world — and behaving in it. I could barely sleep for imagining the possibilities.

Then along comes this YouTube video from Tom Scott — who’s just one of those people who does interesting things.

My eyes well with gratitude for TechCrunch for discovering Scott’s vision — one in which Google’s new goggles create all sorts of navigational and mental issues, some of which will test human equilibrium.

Scott asks what it will be like to waft down the street and face messages that strike you in the face. Not like billboards and bus shelter ads that sit there quietly, only noticeable if you turn your head and choose to notice.

No, like billboards and bus shelters that fly in noisily and make you bump into people larger than yourself, as you contemplate why the police would like access to your lifelog.

It’s easy for some to wonder why Google would think that these goggles would be relevant to one’s daily life. It’s even easier to imagine that Google — so often a designer of products that excite the people who work at Google — finds it very exciting.

As Scott’s charming video points out, the first people to benefit from this invention may well be insurance company execs.

The amusing reality of Google’s new goggles?

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Now Anyone Can Get Free Advertising

As you know some of the best ways to get traffic to your site is through the search engines. And as you know search engines love blogs.

If you know how to use blogs you can easily get more traffic to your website just by posting your keywords in the title and having your blogs indexed.

Other ways to get traffic to your site is to use popular free traffic exchanges. They come in many forms such as start (homepage) exchanges, safelists (opt in email ads), toolbar ads such as and forums such as the free advertising forum.

If you are looking to kill 2 birds with one stone, you can advertise for free on a new BLOG that actually allows you to place your ads for free on their site.

The reason this is good because you get all the benefits of placing your ads on a BLOG and you all get to advertise for free.

Most people would look at this as a no brainer. Although most webmaster do not like people to advertise on the blogs, this site was made just for that.

It is free to join and thousands are flocking to this service to drive huge traffic to their sites in ju8st days by simply posting one little ad on their home page.

Anyone looking to increase their profits should look in to

Free Advertising Blog

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