The Latest from Tapstream: Word Of Mouth


Everyone wants their app to go “viral”. They want it shared and talked about. We at Tapstream are in a unique position to help this process along.

Encouraging users to share app through social media can be a slog - people dislike recommending apps in public forums like their Facebook wall, spamming many friends to reach the few that might care about it. And even worse, these shares are very ineffective, as people develop a type of blindness for recommendations and likes.

But our data told us that one type of social sharing is very effective: messaging.

Text messages (be it SMS or iMessage) have open rates of over 90%. They’re fiercely personal. What if your users could spread the word to a few friends via a text message, and get a reward for every install?

And what if you could measure exactly how effective those shares are in terms of click-to-install rates, engagement of new users or even the average revenue per new user?

Tapstream’s Word of Mouth solves all these problems.

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Mobile Debaters 4 is coming


We’re excited to announce that the next session in our now classic #MobileDebaters series will be hitting San Francisco August 12.

This time debaters will include:

Charles Hudson
Partner @ SoftTech VC
Charles Hudson is a Partner with SoftTech VC, one of the most active seed stage investors in Internet and mobile startups. He focuses on identifying investment opportunities in mobile infrastructure, mobile applications, and marketplaces. He was also the Co-Founder and CEO of Bionic Panda Games, an Android-focused mobile games startup based in San Francisco, CA.

Prior to joining SoftTech and Bionic Panda, Charles Hudson did Business Development for Serious Business and Gaia Interactive. Prior to Gaia, Charles worked in New Business Development at Google.

Mitali Pattnaik
Cofounder CEO @ Workalytics
Mitali Pattnaik is co-founder and CEO of Workalytics, a stealth mode startup working on reimagining professional networking. Previously Mitali was an EIR at Foundation Capital and has spent almost 15 years in product management and marketing roles at Twitter, Google, Electronic Arts, Yahoo and Microsoft. She has a Computer Science and Philosophy double major from Mount Holyoke College and an MBA from London Business School.

Zaw Thet
Partner @ Signia
As one of the founding team / Partner at Signia, Zaw is focused on early-stage tech investing and on creating a new model of venture capital. Zaw is a veteran entrepreneur / operator who has been at the forefront of new technology and starting companies since the age of 19. Zaw was the founder and CEO of 4INFO, one of the first and largest mobile advertising platforms in the world. Business Week recognized him as one the “Mobile Barons” helping to shape the mobile ad industry since 2004. In 2011, Zaw was selected as one of ten entrepreneurs to serve on the United Nations Foundation’s inaugural Global Entrepreneurs Council, where he is now an Emeritus Member of the board. 

He is also dedicated to philanthropy. Zaw is the Chairman & Founder of Palindrome Advisors, a nonprofit he launched in March 2011 with a mission is to change how leaders give back and with over 300 elite business leaders that have taken Palindrome Pledge and are matched with nonprofit boards. He also works with numerous other nonprofits including #climate, After School All Stars, the San Francisco SPCA, and Polar Promise. Zaw studied Political and Computer Science at Stanford, where he was a President’s Scholar. He also received his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was a Soros Fellow, and was the youngest graduate in the school’s history. 

Sponsors include Mobile Mondays, Yelp, Product Hunt, Quibb and of course Tapstream.

There will be eight debaters total- check out the rest and get your tickets on the event page.


Fishing for users on the web

8259958198 00c8901a96 oAs much as creating a beautifully engaging app or game matters, designing a cost effective discoverability and customer acquisition strategy almost matter more. It doesn’t matter how nice your freezer is is you have no fish to stock it with.

A recent VentureBeat article highlights that cost-per-install is “developers’ least-favorite user-acquisition method is often the most financially successful. In addition, the most-favoured is also the least likely to bring in the best high-quality users.”

Distilling a  230-developer study that covers over 9,000 apps and almost 400 million monthly active users, John Koetsier points out “ with 98 percent of revenue coming from freemium apps, finding the right users is critical to whether an app lives or dies. Making the whole game more complex is untrustworthy user acquisition companies — a full third of developers in our study report getting cheated when working with one of these firms.”

This Faustian like dynamic, has us asking why aren’t people driving meaningful installs from the mobile web? Why hasn’t there been a larger movement to convert web traffic into app users? To fish in those bountiful waters. The traffic is cheap. Developers want cheap users and guess what’s surprising, they are on the web. 

As a key part of your user acquisition strategy consider the inventory on the the mobile web. Look at including standard inbound marketing like leveraging more out of your blog or YouTube channel. Get creative a consider how to deliver more interesting is paid ads on mobile web.

According to Marketing Land “on a global basis, people are going online primarily via mobile or splitting their internet time roughly equally between mobile and the PC. Those who go online mostly via desktop are now a tiny minority:

  • Mostly via Desktop — 11 percent

  • Evenly split between both mobile and PC — 28 percent

  • Mostly via mobile — 37 percent

  • Only via mobile — 23 percent

The report also highlights that “61 percent of mobile users are as comfortable with mobile advertising as they are with TV or online advertising.” The report also argues against the “fat finger” unintentional click meme that has followed mobile display advertising over the past couple of years. It asserts that only 17 percent of mobile ad clicks are unintentional.”

Our mobile devices are not simply about carrying around native apps. We’re no longer tethered to a desktop browsing experience. The web is becoming more and more ubiquitous. It’s with us anywhere and anytime. Harvard Business Review shared a Pew Internet report showing that, 55 percent of Americans said they’d used a mobile device to access the internet in 2012. Furthermore 31 percent of these mobile internet users say that’s the primary way they access the web.

The article also indicated that “Amazon, Wikipedia, and Facebook all see about 20 percent of their traffic from mobile-only users, according to comScore. A whopping 46 percent of shoppers reported they exclusively use their mobile device to conduct pre-purchase research for local products and services. Internal data from some finance, healthcare, and travel providers show similar mobile-only usage. If you’re trying to reach customers who only shop, bank, and socialize on their mobile devices, you’re missing out.”

This mobile web thing isn’t a fad or passing fancy. There’s a massive opportunity for you to potentially lower customer acquisition costs and divert some of your precious resources away from the cost-per-install strategy. Optimize for the mobile web, learn how to fish in new waters and you might just have an app that’s deliciously profitable.

#FiveMinuteMobile: Josh Indig

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Josh Indig and I’m working on building The Rap Test from a very, very viral game and hot product into a real team and company. Previously, I worked at the mobile video company 5by which was acquired by StumbleUpon last September. More recently, I lead growth for the very talented team at ONE.


What’s the most exciting app you’ve downloaded in the last month? Why?
Other than The Rap Test, the most exciting app I’ve come across in the last month is definitely “Yo" app. It was amazing to see the massive, ubiquitous response that an app with such a simple concept, almost too simple, generated seemingly overnight. I actually woke up one morning to the sound of everyone in my house screaming wildly with excitement about the new "Yo" app that had taken the world by storm and Yo’ing each other incessantly. People started Yo’ing me so much that day that I actually started getting annoyed. However, to be honest, my real annoyance was that I didn’t come up with the idea for "Yo" myself.

What will be different about the common mobile experience in 3 years?
Tens and even hundreds of millions of people that currently don’t have smartphones will be getting them within the next few years. The rate of smartphone adoption is still staggering. My theory is that the mobile landscape will become significantly more competitive, and the competition between venture-funded startups and independent developers will intensify. My hope is that such competition will increase the quality and number of mobile products available out there, resulting in a better AppStore and Play Store on the whole.

Does the Amazon phone matter?
Doubtful. Competition against incumbents will be way too tough for Amazon.

Suddenly you’re out of a job. Somebody offers you one million dollars to go build whatever mobile business you want. What is it?
I’d be building precisely what I’m currently building at the moment with The Rap Test team!

What does your home screen look like?


Asia is Massive. App Opportunities and Challenges Part II

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In part one of our look at the asian app landscape, we highlighted the massive opportunity for today and growth for tomorrow. Here’s a dose of cautious reality and what winning can look like as you consider launching your apps into this market,

Piracy is still considered to be a rampant problem.

China is a price-sensitive market, where their consumers have historically paid little or nothing for traditional content and have easy access to pirated digital content. An Ernst & Young report suggests this model has limited the opportunity to generate multiple sources of income and has resulted in a highly ad-dependent model across most Media & Entertainment sectors.

They also report that is terms intellectual property rights infringement, the Chinese government is taking steps to reduce piracy and further the enforcement of related laws. It has launched frequent high-profile raids and marketing campaigns against the illegal use of intellectual property (IP). The initial results are encouraging, as more players across several sectors are beginning to respect IP. However, media and entertainment companies still struggle to get fair value for their products and services.

There are hurdles to getting a beachhead in Asia

According to a Quartz story, developers who watch the China market were projecting that 2013 would see 10x year-over-year growth in revenue from games, for a couple of linked reasons. One is that developers simply didn’t make that much money on games in China in 2012. But that’s a consequence of the hundreds of different Android app stores in China having difficult-to-use payment mechanisms that hardly resemble the one-click purchasing possible in Apple’s app store and Google’s Play store. (Google’s Android smartphone software—rather than Apple’s iOS—runs on over 90% of Chinese smartphones sold.)

In 2013, two things are happening: The first is that at least 76 million Chinese will be added to the ranks of those who have Android smartphones, swelling them from 224 million to 300 million. More importantly, those hundreds of fragmented app stores with their challenging payment mechanisms will consolidate to tens of app stores, and more or less all of them capable of one-click purchasing via what’s called carrier billing.

Carrier billing—buy something on your phone, and it simply appears on your mobile connectivity bill from your telecom service provider—is the same thing driving the revolution in mobile banking throughout Asia and emerging markets. As Apple discovered when it leveraged all the credit card numbers it had acquired through iTunes, when you give users the ability to spend money with just a button-tap, they will spend like crazy.

There are success stories of North American and European developers getting big in Asia.

Distimo’s research  indicates gaming is garnering all of the success though, as Angry Birds Go! was the most downloaded game in Asia in December 2013, followed by CarrotFantasy 2: Polar Adventure and then The Hardest Game in History.

According to Wandoujia foreign games have a big opportunity to reach hundreds of million of gamers in China. Foreign titles are still wildly popular: Temple Run 2, Subway Surfers, Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja were among the top seven titles in 2013. These casual titles are truly worldwide hits, China included.

In apps, not so much. Local developers dominate in non-game apps (with only two foreign apps in the top 30). Here, China surely has the world’s most unique app ecosystem: like the PC internet before it, there’s hardly a foreign app to be found.

The Guardian also shows the reach and impact that messaging platforms are having. KakaoTalk (South Korea), WeChat (China) and LINE (Japan) all have tens of millions of users, with WeChat boasting more than 200 million, and take their services beyond offering straight messaging to games, stickers and music sharing. Before you write off digital stickers as inane, they are a decent money spinner for LINE: of the $58m the company made in sales in the first quarter of 2013, half came from selling games and 30%, or roughly $17m, from sales of its 8,000 different stickers.

Gaming is a money-maker. With KakaoTalk, which is thought to be on 90% of all smartphones in South Korea, registered users can choose from more than 100 games they can play with one another, and games alone helped the company generate $311m in sales in the first half of 2013.

It safe to say where there’s massive opportunity there’s massive challenges. You need to know how to localize for each unique market, have a diversified monetization strategy, and know the platforms. compared to doing business in North America or Europe, when launching your app in Asia you’ll need to view everything through a very different lens. And the rose colored ones aren’t you prescription for success.


#FiveMinuteMobile: Norm Liang

Who are you and what do you do?
Norm Liang, head of Growth at Sungy Mobile, previously at Photobucket, SGN, and Crowdstar.

What’s the most exciting app you’ve downloaded in the last month? Why?
Terrain, the implementation of Cards and a more personal device experience changes the way I think about my information. Nokia’s ZLauncher is also interesting, but has a lot of learning to do

What will be different about the common mobile experience in 3 years?
I think that users will have access to more information online through the main apps. For example, one music app can connect with Spotify, Pandora, and Google Play instead of having three separate apps and widgets installed on your phone. We will think of things as entertainment, productivity, communications, and utility. Cards will be the main interface and the app drawer concept will hopefully be less relevant.

Predictions about IO? Or things you’re hoping for?
The most exciting part of IO next week will be more connectedness across Google. Tools will be less of a factor as much as distribution will be key, and I hope that there are pieces that will help remove friction for everyone.

Suddenly your out of a job. Somebody offers you one million dollars to go build whatever mobile business you want. What is it?
A personal assistant to send messages to myself and my friends when I’m running late. It knows where I am, where I’m supposed to be, and without thinking, tells the people I’m supposed to meet with. I call this autotexting.

Asia is Massive. App Opportunities and Challenges (Part I)

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It’s worth noting that during the great Klondike Gold Rush (1896-1899) that the most financial success was enjoyed by those who sold the picks, pans, and pots. With the mobile app gold rush happening, and it’s always worth keeping in mind who’s cashing in, where, why, and how.

Hearing the cry “there’s gold in them thar hills,” we figured it’s worth looking at Asia’s exploding market for mobile apps and how to succeed there. As massive as the continent is, so is the topic. This is part one of our two part look at the landscape, and a what to keep in mind as you consider launching your apps into this market.

Yes, there’s gold to be struck.

According to Distimo (Asia: The Leading App Market in the World - January 2014 ) Asia is the most lucrative app market in the world.

  • 41 percent of the total revenue globally in December 2013 came from Asia.

  • North America generated 31 percent and Europe 23 percent.

  • Revenue in Asia increased by 162 percent year-over-year (December 2012 to December 2013),

  • North America’s revenue grew by 46 percent in the same time period

They also noted that freemium is the leading business model in Asia.

Ernst & Young reports that China’s wireline and wireless network infrastructure is quickly expanding and modernizing. China has one billion mobile subscribers — three times that of the US. A growing number of Chinese mobile subscribers are using their devices to access the internet.

  • In the first quarter of 2012, China had 431 million mobile internet users. That number is expected to reach 632 million by 2016.

  • The number of smartphone users in China is expected to reach 238 million by the end of 2012, up from 87 million in 2010.

  • By 2015, the number of smartphone users will reach 449 million and comprise 40% of the total mobile phone subscriptions in the country.

China alone presents very large pool of opportunity, but factoring in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the rest of Asia where mobile is prevalent and becoming more pervasive, it important to understand localization challenges. These are distinct markets and need to be marketed to accordingly.

Here are some cultural differences to consider.

Again the Distimo article highlights that in the United States, between 25 to 32 percent of apps were locally popular. In Asia, Singapore had the lowest proportion of locally popular apps (between 10 and 13 percent), while Japan had the highest proportion (60 percent 72 percent). The proportion of locally popular apps is directly correlated with specific languages and alphabets for some Asian countries, as well as developers investing in the localization of their apps on the leading platforms. In South Korea, the popular platform Kakao has a lot of Kakao-dedicated apps, while in Japan, the LINE platform is extremely popular.

Asia, localization is also segmented by country. iPhone users in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have a preference for applications aimed at the region. In China for example, 65% of the 300 most popular free applications are regionally popular only. In South Korea, 87% of free and 78% of paid applications are regionally aimed, respectively.

A Quartz article share some useful insights, reporting that companies from outside China represent just 1 in 10 of the most downloaded apps (i.e., Google Maps). But games are a completely different story, with 7 of 10 game apps coming from outside China, and primarily US development studios.

It’s important to note that all of these games have been localized to the Chinese market, with translated text and menus, at the least. And those who know this market are urging developers to go even further, localizing themes, characters and even game-play to suit Chinese tastes.

Android is massive

Asia is a different landscape than what’s seen in North America and Europe. Revenue in Asia is more evenly distributed between the Apple App Store and Google Play, whereas Apple’s App Store generates most of the revenue in North America and Europe.

Distimo also notes that China’s Android landscape is different from the rest of the world. Only 3.5 percent of devices in China have Google Play services installed, which is required in order to run Google Play and other Google apps. Wandoujia is a mobile content search engine for Android, where the largest content vertical is apps. The company started in 2010. Now it has more than 300 million users.

Part II of the Asia app landscape profile will look at piracy and IP protection, the hurdles you can plan on encountering, and some of the winners.

Tapstream Attribution Goes Free, Onboarding Links Landed


Today’s a big day at Tapstream, two things:

Firstly, starting today Tapstream will never charge you for attribution again. We feel attribution is just the start of a good marketing plan and it shouldn’t stand in the way of your actual goal: earning more from your apps. Whether you’re advertising on ad networks, using Tapstream on your website or for social marketing, you no longer have to pay for attribution.

Attribution is a commodity and we’re setting it free. Tapstream is now the first independent, enterprise level mobile analytics platform with completely free mobile attribution. Yes, that means all ad-clicks, device-aware shortlinks, postbacks, in-app, LTV events and reporting are now free! Pay only if you need to go beyond our dashboard, like using our APIs.

And the free Tapstream attribution now automatically syncs with new App Analytics from Apple. See your Tapstream campaigns in iTunes Connect and get data we could never show you before, like how many page views a campaign gets on the App Store.

But what we’re really excited about today is the launch of Onboarding Links. It is the evolution of Deferred Deep Links we launched in January, expanded and improved to effectively onboard your new users.


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Apple Changes Up Marketing Rules, Again


There’s one thing that can be said about the mobile app marketing space - it’s never dull.

Some of you may remember the story a few months ago about Apple rejecting apps that were accessing IDFA device identifiers but not showing ads (we broke the story here). This was a big deal, as the IDFA was used by the biggest names in mobile to advertise their apps on the biggest mobile ad networks. They needed access to the IDFA so that they could pay the ad networks based on the number of installs they drove (Cost Per Install).

After a couple of months of uncertainty, Apple clarified their stance and added an option in iTunes Connect to declare that you need access to IDFA for attribution purposes. All was right with the world - until this week, when everything changed again.

Apple announced many exciting changes coming to iOS 8 at WWDC, and while most of the focus was on the cool new App Extensions and replacement keyboards, Apple also rewrote the marketing rules during their iTunes Connect session on Wednesday.

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