MADV 003 - "When in doubt, copy"

Also about the end of fake ads, how to have a great 6-pack and exploding toilets // Covering app marketing news October 10-20

Previously on MADV: You actually didn’t miss much: for most of you, this episode will be the first update. If you’re unsure what to get: I’m doing opinionated curation of recent app marketing news, or as my friend Peter Fodor says, “Hand-picked and hard-commented content”. I intend to avoid lengthy intro, but I’d like to share it’s been a very warming feeling to see the interest of so many people in the industry - in some case even provide private feedback or public endorsement, the 2 bits that are moving me to post more.

Thank you! & welcome to MADV!


🤓 Must reads!

  • Alexandre Dewez’ post on subscription pricing is one to bookmark, gathering tons of insights on activation & monetization, like the 4 examples of where to place your paywall in the user journey. There’s a also downloadable spreadsheet with 100+ subscription apps price points, showing that the average monthly price x12 is exactly twice the average yearly price (and half of the average weekly price x52).

  • If in gaming, this IAP packs in F2P should be a more relevant equivalent for you.


🤳 First party content


🔥 What’s hot, October 2020

  • Appsflyer updated its Performance Index. While every vendor out there found the niche segment to claim they’re competing with the duopoly, the most interesting addition was to see IAP propensity factored, which demonstrates that Google inventory is as big as bad - even Twitter outranking them on paying users 😂 - , and explaining why FB remains by far the king of UA on iOS, as illustrated in MADV 001 (search for Appsumer pix)

  • UA automation tool Algolift was acquired by Vungle. Kudos Paul Bowen!

  • @Deantak interviewed a few vendors about their current status regarding the IDFA deprecation & SKAdNetwork: most are moving towards the last of the 5 stages of grief.

  • Appsumer summarized well the state of affairs of the expected impact of ATT & SKAdNetwork for each major UA channel, with more details in specific posts at the end of the article.

  • The Advanced ASO ebook is now available for free! Not fully updated, but most of it is still gold and a great place to start. if you already own that gem, Moritz & Gabe shared interesting “behind the scene” details.


☑️ The subscription corner

  • @Alex_danco quote is solid: "Subscriptions are a great example of a hard problem that looks on the surface like an easy problem". But that wasn’t even the best punchline on subscriptions I’ve read this week, beaten by @jproco’s: “It’s about fixing leaky pipes, not replacing exploding toilets (There’s now a follow-up to this story).

  • Given the need to get detailed subscription data, and how bad it is getting it from Apple yourself, it’s no surprise to see MMPs jump in the hot space of app subs tracking. I’m expecting others to soon follow Adjust steps.

  • Eric Seufert asked in the MDM slack which agencies produce compelling ad creative for subs apps. Twigeo & Winclap jumped in, happy to hear about your own feedback.

  • I thought I’d leave it out for lack of relevance, but I’ll turn it into a question: eMarketer showcased some “shares of subscription apps installs” by vertical. Who are those health & fitness or music apps generating the 70+% of installs in their category?

  • Thriving subscriptions business can be a double edge sword for some: "The @nytimes will triumph financially, dramatically so, and utterly fail as an intellectual institution, at least by its former standards", by Monkey Chaos author. Worth noticing the subscription publishers can afford to spend big money on FB Ads, while the ads-based publishers are priced out. (Sad but true headline from Digiday).

  • I often doubt the methodology used by early startups sharing their MRR & ARR figures, often more aligned with this brilliant tweet below than what VCs think they’re reading. Yannick Oswald wrote about the ARR as “The most ambiguous term in startup land”


🕹️ Gaming stuff

To me, games are to apps what porn was to ecommerce: there are the true pioneers I have to learn from & the tricks I can port to non-gaming before they become the playbook.

  • “How to have a great 6 pack”: the @theJBDev wrote a great article on IAP pricing & the categorization of payers. Great inspiration about paywalls. TLDR: “When in doubt, copy”.

  • More gaming IAP solid content with Matthew Emery’s first part of his IAP merchandising playbook

  • Eric Seufert contrarian & well argumented take on “traffic trade network” in gaming

  • The end of fake ads? the UK ads regulator wants to ban the tactics Playrix has successfully developed at scale. I’m skeptical about enforcement. Reported by the BBC and Gamasutra.

  • Voodoo remains the king of hypercasuals, according to Apptopia Q3 report

  • IPO time: Both Playtika & Roblox have filed around $8-10b. At the same time, even influencers are going public these days.


📈 Up & to the right

Apps killing it lately.

  • Covid hasn’t been bad for everyone. After new unicorn Strava (MADV002), two other subs apps made 🦄 headlines with big numbers: Duolingo’s CEO sharing a few metrics (3% paying “users”) and Calm for raising at $2b valuation. I’m hearing that revenue doubled this year (profitably).

  • Kahoot also raised at $2.4b (+71% in just 4 months!), propelled by SoftBank deep pockets + big usage metrics (200m games played, 1.3b “participating players” in last 12 months, 4.4b all time “users”)

  • Nintendo pretty much doubled its (overall) subscribers count since Mario Kart was released a year ago. With a strong uptick on its app this month (Appfigures)


💡 Worth following

aka: where I get my sources from


👔 Job hunting

Unless specified otherwise, reach out to me for an warm intro

  • If you’ve missed MADV 001, there’s still a few hot matchs to be made, among which 2 mid-level & senior positions whom I’ll be working directly with.

  • For the entrepreneur minded of you, I got word of a great business opportunity to join a promising app very early: Barcelona/Remote, powerful technical cofounder, experienced and wealthy backers behind, very hot market. DM for details.

  • My friends at AppAgent are looking for a senior marketer to lead their small, efficient team collaborating with many exciting apps & games. A position with big learnings & good vibes.

  • Some more job offers I’m not connected with but may be relevant to you at Tally (Lifecycle), Tilting Point (ASO), MobileAction (ASO), Playstack (UA), ReadySet (Acc. manager), Twigeo (UA), BoomBit (monetization), Fyber (PM), SimpleHabit (growth designer), Jump Ramp Games (UA).


Share the buzz & tell your friends. In the meantime, the conversation continues on Twitter. Feedback: @thomasbcn / thomasbcna -at - gmail