Audiobooks for iPhone Developer Places iAds; Finds Low Return
Developer and consultant David Smith (david[at]crossforward.com) writes a compelling blog post about the success of iAds for his successful App, Audiobooks. After spending some few days (and quite a few dollars) with an ad on the service, he found out that iAds, at least at this stage of the game, did not perform well for him or his app.
He used a fairly successful app, Audiobooks, about which he states:
“Our audiobooks app suite has generated well over 1.6 million downloads since it was launched and has consistently been in the Top 10 Book apps for its lifetime. The app provides the user with easy access to well over 3,500 public domain audiobooks as well as a few hundred modern titles available for In-App Purchase. While it may not be an Angry Birds, it is nevertheless a highly popular app with a well established user base.”
After a total of 5 days at the end of August, he found an average of approximately 1000 clicks per day, an average click-through-rate (CTR) of 0.24% and an average cost-per-acquisition (CPA) rate of $14.90. That’s not very good. In layman’s terms, that means it cost him almost $15 per sales of his $0.99 app. In comparison, he did a quick run on AdMob (another in-app advertising service) with the same banner, and got a 1.34% CTR and 1944 clicks in one day.
Smith attributes the low performance to the way Apps are typically found and sold through the App store, and less through advertising. Smith does not discernibly blame Apple or iAds. “I have tried just about every advertising platform around and have generally found none of them to be demonstrably effective,” he says. He goes on to praise iAds for creating a system with a more seamless purchasing experience than other ad networks, and also mentions how nice and professional the Apple representatives were throughout the process.