Publisher-Centric Mediation Platform AdToApp Emerges From Stealth

AdtoAppThere’s nothing wrong with an 80% or 90% fill rate, unless you're a cash-strapped medium-sized app developer.

“That 10% or 20% can be a killer if you need the revenue,” said Anton Losman, chief product officer at DigitalClick, an indie dev studio with about 10 million downloads.

Losman, who handles monetization for DigitalClick’s handful of apps, including its flagship product and cash cow EmojiNation, an emoji-based charades game, experimented with a variety of different ad networks hunting for the most beneficial combination of fill rate and eCPM.

He tried all the usual suspects, among them Chartboost, MoPub and AdMob, but Losman wasn’t satisfied with the fill rate or the revenue they were generating.

Then he came across AdtoApp, a mediation platform whose SDK aggregates and filters demand from multiple ad networks, automatically selecting the ones that make the most sense in different regions at different times.

Based in Los Angeles, AdtoApp exited beta on Tuesday with $6 million in seed cash from Run Capital. Its headcount is approaching 100, including roughly 50 developers, and the company is in hiring mode, using a portion of its funding to bring on sales people in LA and Silicon Valley.

In a way, AdtoApp is the ultimate middleman, mediating between around 20 ad networks – AdMob, Chartboost, AdColony, MoPub, AppLovin, RevMob and a number of others – to wrangle the best deal given the available demand at any given moment.

Denis Kravchenko, CTO and co-founder of AdtoApp, refers to the platform as the facilitator of an “auction of auctions” designed with publisher revenue in mind.

“An ad network has a conflict of interest: Either they lose their profit margin for the sake of the publisher or they increase their profit margin by discriminating against the publisher,” Kravchenko said. “But the whole point of mediation is to make ad networks compete over inventory.”

A big part of that means paying attention to local conditions on the ground, something Kravchenko said most ad networks don’t take into consideration.

While app publishers generally endeavor to make their games as global as possible – which, in essence, means making them as localized as possible to specific regions – not all ad networks are strong in all countries, especially in emerging markets.

“The demand structure in Namibia, say, is going to be very different from the demand structure in a place like Pakistan, for example,” Kravchenko said.

Take a mobile video ad network like Opera Mediaworks-owned AdColony, he said. AdColony’s access to demand is strong in the US, but far less so in Russia, for example. To get the best results in Russia, a regional mobile ad platform like Mail.ru would probably work best. To get the best results overall, a publisher would need to be plugged into and constantly monitor multiple networks.

That’s the headache AdtoApp claims to help relieve. According to Losman, EmojiNation’s fill rate is up near the 100% mark since installing AdtoApp’s SDK, and eCPMs went from around $1.50 to the neighborhood of $3.50.

Of course, 100% fill rates can have a negative impact on overall ad quality. Just because 100% of impressions were executed and paid, it doesn’t mean the ads that filled those spots were of high quality.

But Losman said DigitalClick’s monetization efforts haven’t had a deleterious impact on the number of daily active users, which remains steady. At the same time, monthly ad revenue increased from $10,000 or $20,000 to between $30,000 and $50,000.

1 Comment

  1. Any idea what Adtoapp's secret sauce is for mediation success? I would think that MoPub and others also have demand coming in from a variety of different global demand partners too given their scale. Not sure how this would be different.

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