Advertising for developers - InMobi

Interview: Terence Eden - InMobi

Some words about you:

My name is Terence Eden, I'm the Developer Community Manager for InMobi. I've been working in the mobile industry for nearly a decade.

What brought you to inMobi?

I was looking for a dynamic start-up which would let me travel the world helping developers. That's InMobi! We're growing at a phenomenal rate and are now the largest independent mobile advertiser in the world. I've been out to our offices in South Africa, San Franciso, and hope to soon get out to India. I've already been out talking to developers in UK, Germany, Romania, and I'm looking forward to getting to a few more countries soon.

What are your thoughts on the current state of mobile advertising? (from a developer's point of view)

It's really confusing for developers to know where to start. There are so many different mobile advertising opportunities - and each company seems to promise the world.

The reality is quite simple. You need to advertise to bring in new customers. You need advertising to make money from your customers throughout your app's life-cycle. My job with InMobi is to talk to smaller, independent developers and see what they need from us.

For anyone considering in app advertising, what would be the top three considerations they should make?

Look Globally. Don't just think about which advertiser will work well in your home country - take a look at all the countries your app is active in.

It's not just about how many downloads you get; look at how often your app is used.

Build in advertising from your earliest wireframes.

Maybe the top three things to not do?

Don't piss off your customers! Don't plaster every pixel in advertising. Make sure it is not overwhelming.

Make sure advertising is appropriate. If yours is a "family friendly" app, make sure you switch off adult adverts like gambling, dating, and alcohol.

Don't go in with unrealistic expectations. InMobi offer a Developer Economic Toolkit which will model how much you can earn.

Paid for app Vs ad supported, thoughts?

Yes. Paid apps are a great way to get money in, especially if you're providing a premium service. But there are three main problems with paid-for.

1. You're competing against free. Why would I choose your game for £2.99 if there's a similar one for free?

2. How do you deal with piracy? If someone copies your free game - great! That's another set of eyeballs for your ads.

3. You only get paid once. On a 99p app, the app store takes 30%, a large chunk of the remainder gets taken in tax. So you're left with 40p per customer - and if they continue using your app for the next 5 years, they've still only paid 40p. That's 8p per year. With advertising, you can make money from your customer every single time they use your app.

It's always worth offering a paid-for version - because some people just don't want to look at adverts - but don't rely on it for your sole source of income.

I always say, offer both versions and see which makes you more money long term.

So Flash for mobile has been shuttered, good thing? bad thing? Don't care?

I remember Flash-Lite on the N95; it never seemed to work well. We're now fully invested in HTML5 for making rich adverts. Take a look at for some demos of our HTML5 creatives - they kick the arse off mobile Flash.

In your opinion, what impact might this have on HTML5 Vs Native apps?

HTML5 will catch up with many native app features. But, for now, if you need raw speed and deep access to the hardware - go native.

From a usabilty point of view, what do you think are the most common bad practises developers employ?

Not doing user testing! Too many developers only test on themselves and their team. Grab a few family member, or just people off the street. See where the pain points are in your app.

How might developers approach usability better in their projects?

Read a book like "The Design of Everyday Things" - it explains a lot about the psychology of humans.

See what you hate about your competitors' products - improve that.

What about the challenges for UI/UX across different platforms/hardware?

Don't just port an iPhone interface over to Android - or vice versa. Make sure that your app looks and feels like it was designed for the system it's running on.

Look at where adverts are most effective on different platforms. Is it when you exit the app? Is it a floating banner? Should the banner be at the top or bottom? See what fits in best with the platform you've chosen.

What are you personally most interested in/working on at the moment?

I'm really excited by how the various countries in Africa are adopting smartphones. As Android is now under US$100 in many regions, it becomes possible for people to get their hands on some amazing phones. They can use that technology to change their lives. That's one of the reasons why I love working with the InMobi teams in Kenya and South Africa - they have such limitless possibilities.

Closer to home, it will be interesting to see how Windows Phone 7 does now that Nokia have entered the market. InMobi are just putting the finishing touches on to our WP7 Advertising SDK. I think it's an interesting platform, and I hope Nokia can recover some of their market share with it.

Any other comments?

If your readers are interested in seeing if InMobi can help them succeed in a crowded market, they can email me at

James Trew

What do you think?

JAX Magazine - 2014 - 06 Exclucively for iPad users JAX Magazine on Android


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