Is advertisement the only business model for mobile?

I recently attended a conference where the main theme was how to grow the audience for mobile apps. The landscape was pretty broad from games to social apps, e-commerce and so on. There were two main themes that kept being repeated at the conference: advertisement and attribution.

For those like me that aren’t familiar with attribution it’s essentially a set of tools to monitor where clicks come from. This is useful in two ways: to track which of your marketing campaigns are working and to limit fraud.

A talk I really enjoyed and that was full of data points was from Chris Calderon @ Gamejam. He offered a lot of detail around user acquisition strategies and costs when developing hyper casual games. An interesting aspect of hyper casual is that as a developer you should acquire users at the lowest possible cost (true for everyone) so that your users will see the most ads. This to me sounds like a numbers game, <ads I show> – <ads to acquire user> = <profit made>.

A related topic that came up more than once is the relationship with the Play Store and App Store. It’s key to have a relationship with the staff there, but even when developers have a relationship, irrespective of the app category, they have no control over their own fate. Getting featured on the opening page of the store makes any app an instant success, but get below the top 10 of your category and nobody will ever find you.
As a developer you are left advertising your apps on Facebook while you hold your breath and hope to get noticed and given a shot at the opening page of an app store. It’s not an exciting perspective, especially if you are a small or even medium development company.

To make the situation more complex users aren’t really keen to pay a premium. Top games on consoles cost tens of dollars and often come with monthly subscriptions, but in the mobile world apps are at most 99 cent or a few dollars. Hyper casual games are quintessential of this landscape: maximize ad revenue versus cost of (user) acquisition.

So this left me with more questions than answers. In a time when more and more people are wondering how to find the right balance between meaningful ads without giving up (completely) privacy why are developers cornered with only 1 viable business model?

Mobile phones seem to have opened a million opportunities, but aren’t there better ways to earn a decent profit from creating apps (utility, games or other) that is not showing as many ads as possible?

Measuring the speed of resource loading with JavaScript and HTML5

This is a follow up article to Measuring site performance with JavaScript on mobile, I suggest you read it before you continue. In the previous article I talked about the Navigation Timing spec, here I will talk about the Performance Timeline and Resource Timing specs and how they work in IE10, the first browser to implement them. I created a page that shows some of the data available and a library that generates a HAR that you can later analyse.

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Measuring site performance with JavaScript on mobile

There is a lot of talk around responsive Web design being too slow or too resource intensive and that other methodologies can achieve better performance. I don’t want to go into the details of which approach is better because I think different scenarios require different solutions. What is certainly true in all cases is that a Web site or app that loads faster is better than one that is slow.¬†Companies like Google, Gomez and Akamai have all published papers and survey results showing how speed affects user perception of a service from your desktop computer and even more on a mobile device (KISSmetrics has also drawn a nice infographic for the lazy ones). This is the first article and another one will follow shortly. Continue reading “Measuring site performance with JavaScript on mobile”

Responsive images and tinySrc

Producing images of the perfect size, when you create a Web site that targets multiple device classes with very different screen sizes is always a problem. There are a number of solutions out there, but they all require some kind of server-side detection and image wrangling. tinySrc is a nice and simple solution that takes away most if not all of the legwork. Possibly the only downside of tinySrc is that it relies on server-side detection itself. A lot of developers that worked with browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Opera advocate for client-side detection where it’s the browser that tells you about its capabilities instead of relying on a static database. I will not go into the details of why and when one is better than the other, let’s just say that tinySrc already gives you the power of the server-side, with my little software you can also benefit from the power of the client. Continue reading “Responsive images and tinySrc”

Sorting User-Agent strings out

It is very common that over the years something gets more and more cluttered, until at some point someone comes in and decides it’s time to clean up and start fresh, based on current and up-to-date needs. User-Agent strings, part of the HTTP request headers, are no different and between desktop and mobile browsers, the history is long and the amount of text (some might say useless text) has just kept growing. I am going to try and write down what is important today and why.
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Opera Mobile vs native browser on Nokia E72

I had a Nokia E72 for the last 3 months and I have used it on a daily basis as my main phone. Of course, this includes browsing. Since I spend quite a bit of time browsing and most of all I want it to be efficient and snappy, I tried the native browser first and what I assumed would be the best browser available for the E72 later: Opera Mobile.

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Google Analytics for WordPress for Mobile

Joost de Valk, a.k.a. Yoast, has created the great Google Analytics for WordPress plugin. The plugin does exactly what you would expect, add the Google Analytics JavaScript to your blog. On top of that it also allows you to define a lot of little tweaks specific to WordPress such as tracking authors, tags, categories and more.

All this is great, but what about mobile devices?

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Getting W3 Total Cache and a mobile plugin to work in WordPress

Since release 0.9.0 W3 Total Cache has an excellent mobile support. The author has done a great job with this update and now it works smoothly. Different mobile plugins or themes might require some slightly settings, but the default should work for most cases.

Configuring WordPress Mobile Pack
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