PapayaMobile is launching platform that will make it easier to create targeted and branded ads in an efficient and automated fashion for the Chinese mobile gaming market.
The AppFlood service will offer what it calls a real-time bidding and demand-side ad platform, the first such transparent network aimed at helping Western developers and publishers who are taking their games into the Chinese market. It will also help brand advertisers target a global market of users. It is a service that aims to bridge the East and the West.
“We can complete the real-time bidding ad networks between the East and the West,” said Si Shen, chief executive of Papaya Mobile, in an interview with GamesBeat.
In real-time bidding, advertisers pitch in real-time auctions for the right to show ads in front of targeted users in the time that it takes a web page to load. Ad networks and supply-side platforms make these auctions happen. A mobile-focused real-time bidding ad exchange is a digital market that lets advertisers and publishers buy and sell advertising space, often through real-time auctions.
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A demand-side platform is focused on helping an advertiser buy inventory (place an ad) in suck marketplaces. This happens on a programmatic, or automated, scale. A supply-side platform helps a publisher maximize cost per thousand impressions (CPI) from ad networks.
“We found that real-time bidding is strong in the West,” Shen said. “It’s a better, more efficient way to utilize traffic and provides more return for advertisers. We found that in the East, real-time bidding on mobile doesn’t even exist.”
Now big Chinese companies like Tencent and Baidu, both big players in online gaming, are investing heavily in the Western markets, and they are running campaigns where they need to get 100,000 new users every day for apps and games. At the same time, companies like mobile publisher Gameloft or traditional console developer Konami want to move into the Chinese market. These markets are growing at dramatic rates.
The new service is a new pivot for Beijing-based Papaya Mobile, which has tried a couple of different businesses. It runs its own game incubator and helps developers add social features to their games. Papaya Mobile takes the games and helps publish them both inside China and outside.
It also tried to create a social network for gamers so that developers could get free installations of their games via recommendations. That network grew to more than 80 million users among Papaya’s developer partners, but it was too small to provide enough users to global brands and big game publishers.
“It turns out the more effective way for developers to get users is to exchange users via cross promotion, or to use money to buy users through advertising,” said Shen. “The number of users needed to promote games was more than social gaming network could provide. The users came to play games, but not necessarily for social interaction.”
That prompted Papya Mobile to launch its AppFlood cross-promotion network about 18 months ago. That evolved into an ad network with more transparency for both the developers and advertisers.
With the new AppFlood ad exchange, both demand-side platforms and brands can buy ad inventory on mobile devices in the Chinese and Western markets. Supply-side platforms can access growing demand from brand advertisers who want higher-quality users globally.
AppFlood’s global mobile real-time bidding platform partner is OpenX, and it is OpenRTB-compliant. Existing Appflood mobile ad network advertisers and publishers will automatically be connected to the real-time bidding exchange and gain access to the demand-side platform and supply-side platform without further action.
Papaya Mobile aims to deliver real-time ads anywhere in the world, quickly and reliably. So it will use Amazon Web Services for its infrastructure to support the real-time bidding network.
Papaya plans to offer improved ad targeting, so the right users in its network of 400 million users will see the ads. And it will offer programmatic buying solutions from trusted real-time bidding partners to ensure good user quality. Papaya Mobile will also offer malware detection, a direct-to-advertiser platform that brands and agencies can use to buy or sell real-time bidding traffic — all from a single dashboard without any technical integration work.
As an example, Papaya Mobile has a U.S. customer that wants to get users for its games. It wants to target customers who are in big cities in China, near airports, and who speak English. Papaya Mobile was able to help the company target such consumers in large numbers.
“This kind of targeting is becoming more important for advertisers,” Shen said. “They are willing to pay much more for targeted users.”
Papaya Mobile has 120 employees, and its AppFlood network has grown 384 percent in revenue from September to February. That growth came as Chinese developers ran mobile campaigns in a bid to acquire global users. The network has 145 million monthly active users, 9,000 Android developers, and 100,000 daily installs. Rivals include InMobi.
Papaya Mobile also launched a side project, a new social calendar, as well.
Asked about all of the pivots, Shen said, “In a startup, you have to work hard.”