Gangnam Style Insights, Chartboost Tips, CPI Trade-Offs

“True popularity comes from acts of kindness rather than acts of stupidity. ” – Bo Bennett

November and December have been busy! Man oh man. I’m up to 78 apps live in the store now with 9 more in production (much bigger apps) that should roll out in the next two months. As my growth slowly began to compound, I had some really cool stuff happen. A whim of launching a Gangnam Style app, changing a few things in Chartboost, and setting up some new deals has really changed the game for me. Having the opportunity to speak at Chad Mureta’s App Empire event was also a highlight and has shown me how much passion and fire there is out there. All great stuff.

In proper fashion, I wanted to share all of this with you guys. Well, as much as I could at least. Sometimes I think that it’s impossible to get all the ideas and findings down onto paper, but the AE event really got me in gear to start helping everyone more.

So, here’s what’s up.

Gangnam Style Runner – The Little Source That Could

Looking at my apps page and you probably see that a bunch of my games are around the runner source code I have. Some of them have done really well (Tiger, Panda, Elephant) on their own, but definitely nothing outstanding. I consider an ROI of 200-300% a really good investment. I think some people are looking for 2000% returns in the mobile market and that’s why they get so disappointed.

The news came out about Psy’s video beating out Bieber (thank God) for the top YouTube video of all time. Knowing that YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, I was willing to bet that people were searching the app store as well. I had my guys whip something up in a few days and I published it. Shit, I didn’t even bother making screenshots because I thought it was a joke!

I decided to release it in most countries outside the USA just to see what would happen. Even though I knew this was kind of a longshot, I thought it might blow up like others had. I was right. The first night it went out in most countries except the top 8 and collected more impressions on RevMob than I had on all other apps combined that day. Woah.

I released it the next day to the masses and things went bonkers. 150K impressions on both Revmob and Chartboost each day, and revenue to match. Check out what my CB account looked like! I hadn’t really used Chartboost much before (only made  me $200-300 a day) but what this exercise taught me was very important.

What’s even more crazy was that the Flurry analytics basically showed me that people were playing this game 5-6 times. This wasn’t a game that people picked up then dumped – or if it was, they got their fill beforehand.

So here’s the interesting part.

I was getting a lot of five star reviews and a lot of one star reviews.

Some people thought it was pretty cool or funny or whatever that I made such a ridiculous game, and gave my an iHighFive with a good review. Others cried foul, specifically about the ads. The biggest complaint was definitely about too many ads and them popping up in weird places.

Now, when I released this game, I figured I’d make some money but nothing crazy, so I loaded both Revmob and Chartboost at the same time. Like at the start of the game, it would show Revmob, then Chartboost right behind it. I do this on all my other games and it works out well with little to no repercussions on the review side of things.

But with this, people were getting pissed. They saw this hot new app that skyrocketed to the top of the charts so they wanted to see it. When they opened it, they saw lots of ads. The psychology was “I want to be part of this cool new hot app but this guy is just trying to rip me off or take advantage of me.” Whereas when my other apps went out in the middle of the pack, the psychology was “Hey, this guy is just trying to make a buck.”

That’s also why my eCPM on my mid-level games is $15-20 and it was close to $2 on this app (both RevMob and Chartboost). In fact, I talked to the guys who made the other Gangnam Style apps and they had the same results – high eCPM on their lower traffic apps, low eCPM on this.

Made me realize something very important as we all grow as appreneurs – be sensitive to your volume. Monetization strategy changes dramatically as your popularity increases. If you’re not prepared to adjust, you’re going to lose all that ranking volume from negative reviews.

So I tried turning off Revmob. The result? Less people feeling violated about Ads. And a lot less money for me.

But I was buying myself another day that I would probably stay on the top of the charts. Classic opportunity cost and one that was VERY hard to control since I knew I could make a killing if I just let Revmob go nuts.

Now I had a ton of volume on Chartboost and back to regular on Revmob (which still makes me more money, surprisingly).

What does one do when they now have 300-400K impressions a day to mess around with?

Well, here’s what I did that gave me a 25% bump in revenue.

Chartboost Tips – Control The Machine and Force The Intelligence

Yeah, dramatic title I know, but that’s basically what I did. We all go into ad networks with the same assumption – the marketplace serves up the highest paying bids first, when those run out, the next come in, then the next, etc. This all happens at lightning speed and naturally makes us the most money, right?

Well, not really.

I’ve talked candidly with some big advertisers and they have basically said that it’s impossible to buy enough installs, no matter what your bid. Trust me, if they could, they would. Even at $5-6 a pop, advertisers want the organic rankings bad enough…but they just can’t get it.

So I start thinking. If advertisers who pay all these premium prices are literally flooding the market, why do I ever see a $0.50 CPI ad? Or anything under a $1 for that matter? Now, I’m not saying I know all the nuances of how this works, but I have to imagine that it’s because the marketplace just can’t handle the serving well enough to understand all this. Meaning the low price stuff will always be serving, then it gets trumped by the higher stuff, not the top down model. It’s a better business model to start, but it would also use less CPU power, I assume, help fill rate, generate more advertisers, and incentives for up-bidding the price.

This isn’t good for the average developer/publisher who just wants to display their ads and get the best possible eCPM.

Ever notice this option in the Chartboost dashboard – called Priority?

This is the manual way to do what the marketplace should be doing for your already. It was originally built for Prioritizing Direct Deals, Internal Cross Promotions, and regular Publisher Campaigns, but I figured I might as well test out creating CPI limits of 4 campaigns and then creating priority levels accordingly.

Level 1 – $0.50+ CPI, Low Priority
Level 2 – $1.00+ CPI, Medium Priority
Level 3 – $1.50+ CPI, High Priority
Level 4 – $3.00+ CPI, Highest Priority

What this means is that I am forcing the opposite of what I think the ad networks want to serve. Not perfect, but it’s another way for me to control the ads my apps receive. The top campaign looks for anything with a premier bid, then it moves down from there.

The result?  A 25% increase in my eCPM over the next week. I could attribute this to increase bidding during the holidays, but I honestly think it’s just because more of my installs were coming from higher paying advertisers. I was kind of doing the Revmob model on the Chartboost platform (FYI that’s why RM eCPM is way higher – they do this so well). In fact, the eCPM was very clearly highest at the top tier Level campaign, with the eCPM the lowest on the Level 1 campaign.

So I have  my campaigns optimized. I have a lots of impressions. What’s next?

Intra Network Snake Oil – Build Your Army For Advertisers

During all this Gangnam Style hoopla, I released Jolly Journey – an awesome (in my opinion) kids game for the holidays that I really enjoyed making. It’s my first step towards creating games that have higher lifetime value built on in-app purchases and not on advertiser dollars.

One of my immediate reactions to the Gangnam success was that I would have the ability to drive my own installs now. You may have heard marketers talking about the “power of building your network” for a while now. The idea being you build a portfolio of apps that you can re-direct at any moment to drive installs for your own game for FREE. The sexiness of this lies in the ability to control rankings, etc.

Of course I thought this would be amazing. I had my entire Chartboost account ready to go. I was going to point all my apps at Jolly Journey for a rankings bump and also to get users in there.

But then I stopped for a minute.

I was making over $1,500 a day on Chartboost by selling installs that made me anywhere from $0.50-3, averaging $1 or so.

The minimum bid for installs I could buy on CB is $0.50.

Using my own network to drive my app installs would COST me $0.50!

Now, the assumptions may be that the users would be more likely to download another game by the same publisher, which would make my overall install # higher and thus make my per install opportunity cost drop, but there is almost no factor I can think of that would make up for $0.50.

Having your own cross-promo widget/popup is a solution to this (instead of using Chartboost), but that also means you will be giving up the install revenue even further from residual loss.

And therein lies the rub of it – building your app network is not about being able to drive installs to your other games. It’s about having more revenue positive assets that can be re-invested into more revenue positive assets so that you can buy cheaper installs on the open market and monetize your traffic with the rich advertisers. That’s just how the markets work, at least for now.

In a nutshell, because there are so many rich gaming companies out there willing to spend $5-6 CPI, it drives up the average eCPM for all publishers.

A lesson learned, saving me thousands of dollars.

Final Thoughts

1. Gangnam Style Game (Free and Paid to date, launched 12.1.12) – 925 Paid/192 in-apps in Paid version / 623,344 Free, $2,674 in-apps and iAds,  $17,380.12 on Chartboost / 4.9M impressions on CB / $1,223 on RevMob (this was only about 3 days) / 782K impressions Revmob / eCPM $2.01 for all / 2.0% install rate

2. Jolly Journey HD Free (iPad version launched 12.6.12) – 4,860 free sales / $280 in-app / $277 MoPub & TapIt (banners) / 2.5M requests for banner serve.

The reason I’m putting these out there is to show a few insights I am seeing in the app world:

1. iPad is going to crush iPhones in terms of monetization over the next few years. I’m going all tablet by the end of 2013. Every one of my games that is iPad makes WAY more money. The volume is lower but the market is much less saturated. Plus, I can design way better for iPad.

2. Though the JJ revenue numbers pale in comparison, they’re growing steadily every day. And look at the impression ratio – I have almost 130x more downloads for Gangnam and only 2x more impressions!! People play the Jolly Journey game for an average of 8 minutes. Crazy.

There are four versions of the game, all of which make money, but this one has the most potential. It’s compounding as people play day over day. This is a MUCH BETTER long term strategy.

In my App Empire presentation I discussed how development is the key to user retention. This is a case in point. BTW – working on getting that video for everyone to watch. It’s all about flipping apps and people seemed to dig it.


Happy Holidays to everyone! If you’re not a Facebook fan yet, please Like my page and Follow me on Twitter to stay up to date!

Keep rocking.




  • Sophie December 18, 2012

    Another brilliant post. I’m an App Empire member and watched the live event. You changed the way I look at my own apps. Thanks so much! I love your work.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 18, 2012

    Thanks Sophie. Going to the AE event changed the way I looked at everything as well. I’m fired up to help spread the good vibes and get more people on the path to success.

    Catch you soon,


  • Christopher Walton December 18, 2012

    Setup for a few days of work, based on the obtainable time plus your development understanding level, creating an iphone game can signify as little as two month’s job.

  • Tom December 18, 2012

    Lovin’ these posts and its really good to see you making such a success of things. I think you’ll be cashing that 1 million dollar cheque you wrote for yourself and lot quicker than you anticipated.

    Well done!

  • Twan December 18, 2012

    Another very interesting post, thanks for sharing the Chartboost optimizing info. I will definitely test that out myself.
    Actually I wonder, what value did you enter as minimum CPC setting for the tiered campaigns?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 18, 2012

    Hey Twan,

    I actually left the CPC field blank. The reason is because from talking to the bigger advertisers out there, they don’t go to a CPI network for click campaigns. I guess it would be interesting to test putting like $.75 to just eliminiate that, but I’m not sure if that would impact the install network as well. Another test!

    Thanks for reading.


  • matt December 18, 2012

    I continue to be humbled by you, Carter. Thanks for sharing so much info and insight, and continuing to teach us all. You sir, rock (in case you didn’t already know).

    Also, I think Jolly Journey would be a great case study blog post regarding re-skinning apps (i.e. from your Addictive! app). And JJ’s NOT just a kids game btw – I love that dang game!

    Happy Holidays, Carter :-)

  • Robert McCrady December 18, 2012

    awesome article, I also watched the stream, fresh perspective

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 18, 2012

    Haha thanks Matt. Glad to hook up the community. I’ve got a few friends addicted to the Jolly Journey game as well. I trade them beers for their doing in-app purchases. Works out well for everyone since after a few beers they end up buying the $19.99 package. Ha.

    Catch you soon.


  • Magnus Söderberg December 18, 2012

    Are these each one campaign and then you just show all as an interstitial with different priority? I guess it must be cause i didn’t find a way to just make one campaign with different priorities. Or is there?
    Talking about this
    “Level 1 – $0.50+ CPI, Low Priority
    Level 2 – $1.00+ CPI, Medium Priority
    Level 3 – $1.50+ CPI, High Priority
    Level 4 – $3.00+ CPI, Highest Priority”

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 18, 2012

    Right. So at any given moment, I am running 4 – 8 campaigns. Some direct deals, some publisher promos.

    Assuming you’re only publishing, set up 4 campaigns separately. Set them all up identically – display in all apps, etc. The only thing that changes is the minimum CPI you are willing to accept (as seen above).

    Then change the priority for each one accordingly.

    Make sense?

  • Rosemary Breen December 18, 2012


    When you say you are moving to ipad format, is that something you advocate for most apps, not just game apps?



  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 18, 2012

    Hmm…good question Rosemary. Short answer is no. I think there are a lot of really awesome iPhone apps, games, and everything in between.

    My apps, especially the ones I’m moving towards need more real estate for the buttons and design elements. The space of the iPad screen allows me to be more creative and thus monetize better.

    It’s definitely a case by case basis. I’m sure there are some iPhone game devs that might be sticking to the iPhone. It’s just where I’m going with my brand.

    Thanks for commenting!


  • Ros December 18, 2012

    Great article and I always enjoy your insights and your willingness to share what you have learnt.

    I have my first utilities app that has just gone ‘In Review’ so fingers crossed that it will be ready before the ‘Holidays’. Your articles have given me great app ideas and information on how to get the most out of them and has kept me sane (have only been developing for the last 10 months) and more importantly stopped me from quitting when it has become all too hard (which has been often:).

    So once again thanks for sharing.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

    Ros Chalwell

  • Lev December 19, 2012

    Thanks for sharing Carter. Appreciate the work you do. The most powerful lessons I’ve learnt in my app business were all from your blog. Happy holidays and wish you huge success in the New Year. Greetings all the way from Russia.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 19, 2012

    Hey Lev-

    Thanks man. Much appreciated. Happy holidays to you as well and stay warm over there!


  • Ob Oberon December 19, 2012

    Hi Carter,

    I’m AE member. I really love your presentation in AE event. There’re a lot of tips & tricks for me to apply on my apps. Thanks for sharing all cool stuffs out there. Hope you’ll success in the coming new year. Thanks a lot.

    Ob. :)

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 19, 2012

    Ob – that’s awesome man. Thanks for your words. I’m glad you could make it to the AE event. It really meant a lot to me to be able to share all my info with other passionate people. Good luck to you and stay in touch.


  • Lisa December 19, 2012

    I’ve been following your blog for the past month (just finally released my first app) and the tips you’ve been giving away are fantastic. I’ve seen you mention Revmob many times throughout your posts, including this one.

    Quick question for you about Revmob: which type of ad unit do you prefer using? I think I may have made the mistake of choosing banner ads instead of full screen.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 19, 2012

    Hey Lisa,

    Thanks for commenting! You def want to use Fullscreen for max eCPM but use it sparingly. It can be abrasive to users if you use if more than the opening screen of the game. You may think about using the Fullscreen upon open and the popup somewhere else in the game. The use the AdLink on a “Free Game” button?

    Revmob also now has a cool new feature with Local Notifications. I talked to Gui about it and he said he’s getting good eCPM from it. Basically when a user closes the app, a notification pops up that says “Hey – do you want a free game?” You can actually make money from users that hate your game!

    Those guys are so clever :)

    Catch you soon,


  • Brian December 19, 2012


    I enjoy your posts. Being new to the app arena, I was wondering how you protect all your property rights on apps that you rush to market? Have you posted that somewhere? I’d love to learn the process you go through to protect your intellectual property yourself or is that done through your app developer?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 19, 2012

    Hey Brian,

    I really haven’t done much. I’ve seen a lot of people copying me and stealing images, cloning apps, etc, but honestly, I just don’t care.

    In reality, the only things you can get IP on are things you can trademark – names, characters, technology, etc. You can’t put a patent on game play, for example.

    Here’s a link to the best book I’ve found on the IP issues – The Business of Iphone Apps

    Good luck!


  • zacharie December 20, 2012

    Do you think it would be a smart idea to implement ads in a photo sharing app? Its going to have some of the instagram features without filters and will be based on a niche plus have other features related to the niche.

    Do you think it would be a smart idea to hire a designer from 99 designs and a programmer from elance?

    Do you have experience with elance and know any reliable designers/programmers on there?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 20, 2012

    Hey Zacharie,

    Yeah, that shouldn’t be an issue, but you probably want to stick to banner ads (iAds, Mopub). I’ve messed with Chartboost and Revmob in my camera apps and it doesn’t work out well for anyone. Low eCPM and pissed off customers.

    I think its a smart idea to hire a designer from one of those networks if you find someone you like, who does good work, at a fair price.

    I have lots of experience with elance. I don’t have any names I can drop right here, but I can promise you that there is a lot of talent out there.

    Good luck!


  • Brian December 20, 2012


    Thanks for the insight. One thing I’m not understanding because I’m a noob is the CPI. Are you telling me that for every person that downloads your app YOU have to pay Apple or Google .50 or $1 or whatever? So if you have 50,000 downloads you owe someone $50,000? Does that money come out of your pocket or is the trick to offset that cost with your Chartboost and RevMob revenue? If so, arent you just moving money around to cover those costs and not really making anything? Sorry to waste your time with stupid questions but I cant find anything on the internet that explains this.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 20, 2012

    Hey Brian,

    The $0.50 I am talking about is an opportunity cost, not a real cost.

    Stated differently, here is what’s happening:

    Let’s say on any given day, I deliver 1,000 installs on Chartboost. That translates into roughly $1,000. I’m making $1 per install.

    In Chartboost, I can choose to advertise an app starting at $0.50 per install delivered.

    For a cross promotion, I would use my 1,000 installs and point them all at my own app to drive as many as I could. The problem is that I would be giving up the $1,000 in revenue. I could get those same 1,000 installs on the open market, thus MISSING OUT on $500. I’m not actually paying it, just missing that much more.

    In other words, it costs more to do a cross promotion (most of the time).

    Make sense?


  • Brian December 20, 2012


    Ok, i get it, thanks. Now all I need to get started is the right development partner. If you could do it all over again how would you develop your first app (cheap DIY, outsource on a budget or spend big bucks on expensive pro?) and who would you trust to do it with? (assuming you do no coding or design yourself)

  • Sven December 20, 2012

    Hi Carter,
    Just a quick heads up in case you’re not aware (yet): I’m playing your game but am getting ad popups in the middle of the gameplay, which makes the character die.

  • K December 20, 2012

    Greetings and I too enjoy your insight and perspective. Just a quick question regarding how you serve your ads.

    Do you use an ad mediator to determine when to show your Chartboost vs your RevMob ads? Or do you manually determine to use CB for banners, RM for Interstitials? Or perhaps using one service over the other on a certain screen. Thanks!

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 20, 2012

    K – No mediator, I just pause them myself. I use MoPub for banner though, which is a mediator.


  • Rafael December 20, 2012

    Let me understand this. Did you get a contract work to develop a game for this artist? I guess you don’t. Did you get a license to do so? I guess you don’t.

    I downloaded your game and realized that is just a lure to get a lot of impressions of the huge amount of banners that appear all the time. Some banners appear in the middle of the game, leading the character to die. The gameplay sucks in galactic levels. Are games like these and people like you that make me feel very sorry about this App Store fever.

    It’s not about making good apps anymore, it’s about making money no matter how.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 20, 2012

    Hey Rafael,

    Well, actually I have a team that does the development and the design. It’s not a lure to get a huge amount of banners, but yeah I put them in there to monetize traffic. Some appear in the middle of the game when users click too fast. I’m releasing an update to cache those.

    Unfortunately, I have to disagree. I just checked out your RGB Ninja game on the windows store. Looks like we both have the same amount of reviews. You average 3.5 stars, my Gangnam app averages 4.

    Looks like I have a better app and $25K more than you, huh?


  • Lisa December 21, 2012

    Do you have a course we can buy that goes into more detail on how to:
    1. Market our apps
    2. Understanding how to fully use and take advantage of Chartboost and Revmob?

    I’m completely new to the app world (paid someone to program and design my first app), so all of this is really overwhelming to me. I got your 4-hour app free guide, which is great, but hoping you’ll release some more in-depth tutorials. I would buy it in a heart beat!

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 21, 2012

    Hey Lisa,

    I’ve had so many people ask me to do stuff like this, I probably should. Maybe next month I’ll whip something up. I really like giving stuff away for free, so one idea is that I have people vote on topics they want to hear about and I do video courses on them or something.

    Anyway, stay posted. Thanks for reading and commenting.


  • Kate December 21, 2012

    Did you do any marketing to promote the Gangnam app when you released it? (Press releases, review sites, etc.)?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 21, 2012

    Hey Kate,

    Nope. Zero marketing. The only app I’ve ever done marketing for was Alpha Combat (first app). Didn’t really do a whole lot. My biz model is all about the publishing and the launch. I try to make all my money back and then some in the first 30 days from that traffic, then I release more apps.


  • Mo December 22, 2012

    Hello Carter

    Another fantastic post! I can see some people here think that having too many ads on app is somewhat “dirty”, “too commercial” I have to admit I was thinking the same way until i found out about Revmob. You really giving people enjoyment for free! It took time and money to bring that enjoyment. It is only natural that we need to recoup those cost.

    $25K for Gangnam! Fantastic! Are you not afraid about copyrights? Images/music? I will assume that if you had you graphics guys reproduce the images then I will think it is permitted. Besides they are tons of Gangnam apps in the App store. Congratulations that your seems to be much more popular than the others. It is true that it is annoying to get ad in the middle of a game and I am happy that you are looking into it. I know exactly what you mean by people clicking too fast…

    In any event, thank you for sharing. I just saw in a Appreneur video on a flight back (Ipad) and it was a lot of good stuff there!

    Thanks Carter.


  • Mo December 22, 2012

    I just read your post again and I was cracking up when you said

    “… I hadn’t really used Chartboost much before (only made me $200-300 a day)..”

    ONLY! ha! ha! I just released my app – – and made a big total of $14 (two days sale figure) I am doing something wrong! First it is a paid app (it had revmob integrated but I removed at the last minute because of a bug…my fault not Revmob) Hopefully when Apple dev opens again I can release the free version and have better luck. In any event I am not worried. One app is like having all your money invested in one company…not smart move!

    Anyway I just wanted to let you know that $200-300/days is something most of us only dream off! I could not stop laughing when saw that quote.

    Happy Holidays!



  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 22, 2012

    Hey Mo,

    Right on. I’m fixing that ad problem. Basically I’m going to make the “game over screen” last about 3-4 second by having the score tick up real fast before you can click “Replay” or anything. Gotta keep people at a reasonable speed!

    Thanks for all your words. $200-300 is indeed a lot. Trust me, only 4-5 months ago that money was really big to me. Now I’m averaging $3,000/day and I’m already thinking about $10k/day. Funny how that works….

    All the best to you this Holiday season.


  • Mo December 22, 2012

    I just notice you talked about a video? Is that your talk at AE? Can’t wait to see it! Like I said (not sure where are my last posts?) but I watch you in the Appreneur video podcast and you were fantastic. A lot of good stuff on that video and encourage everybody to watch it.

    Keep up the good work.


  • Mo December 22, 2012

    Oh sorry I did not see my last posts so I thought I did press the submit button (I am on iPad) But there all there! Cool. I know realize that I am very verbose. Sorry;( I just LOVE. This blog!



  • Mo December 22, 2012

    Hey Carter,

    That’s very smart. Your version is very polished compare to many out there, so you want people coming back.

    WOW these numbers are INSANE! In any event, I think you deserve every single penny because you work hard at it and because you are not affraid of sharing what you know with others.



    Ps: this make me want to develop a Gangnam Stype app of my own! I check the music rights, they $200+! I guess if it is successful then $200 will be peanuts! Man I love the app business!

  • Lisa December 23, 2012

    For the Gangnam game, you’re using Chartboost for both the full-ads and the “More Games”, correct? What service are you using for the banner ads?

    I cant decide whether to use Revmob or Chartboost — do you have any advice?

  • Mo December 23, 2012

    @Lisa: why not both? I saw some apps that seems to use both (maybe even Carter but not sure about that for sure) They seems to CB between game plays and Revmob when try to go back to main menu.

    Not sure if it will not be too much to have both for regular apps ( unlike app like Gangnam Style) but I think only Carter knows since he is actually very successful with these model. Once the App Store re-open, I am planning on releasing a free version with Revmob and maybe iAds since now Corona SDK has iAds now.

    Another thing you could do is use A/B testing and monitor the situation in dashboards. You can setup an app that could either use both or only one ad system. Then at the start the app just a randomly decide of the ad model and save that ad ID into file. that way everytime the app start it will always check which ad system was selected prior and run thatand. All you have to do is monitor the situation. Adding Flurry can help you get additional insight.

    Of couser you could also integrate both and switch them on and off over a period of time and check your dashboard to see what the best way of use.

    Hope this will help. Good luck


  • Brian December 25, 2012


    Merry Xmas to you and yours. You know i’m fired up if i’m thinking about apps on Christmas!
    Quick question: What do you think of crowdsource funding sites like appfounder, kickstart, etc etc. ?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 25, 2012

    Hey Brian,

    I don’t really think about those sites much. It’s REALLY hard to raise money for something that’s going to make you rich. I think there is definitely a use for them, however, in terms of raising money for an app that is for a good cause.

    I know Amish Shah had some success with the crowdsourcing thing for apps. Might be worth googling.

    Good luck!


  • Lana December 26, 2012

    I want to create apps, and I’m trying to download your free ebook, is there something
    wrong with your site? oh and how do I cash in on app sales?

  • tasnim ahmed December 26, 2012

    One thing i badly needed is that how u localized your keywords for others country except USA.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 26, 2012

    Here’s what I did

    App Localization Blog Post

  • Andrej December 28, 2012

    Hey Carter!

    Good job man! Very good blog! Congrats and thank you for all info sharing with us. Best regards from sLOVEnia.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 28, 2012

    Thanks man. Good luck to you! I am dying to go fly fishing in Slovenia at some point. Looks amazing there.


  • Andrej December 28, 2012

    Jeah Slovenia is peaceful, little country with very nice nature.
    You re are welcome! If you need any information you can always contact me.

    Wish you a good day.

  • Charles December 29, 2012

    Great post!

    In regards to your comments about Chartboost, I would suggest only using 3 priorities — Low, Medium, & High. This will leave the Highest settings for Direct Deals or any other type of cross promotions you want to do.

  • Matt January 2, 2013

    Hey Carter,

    Really awesome job man!! Those numbers are mind blowing! Did the Gangnam Run cause that big spike in revenues? Are most of the games you’re doing now in the $500-$1,000 range to develop? Keep inspiring in 2013!


  • Max January 8, 2013

    Chartboost is only for games?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas January 9, 2013


  • Apps 4 Fans January 12, 2013

    Hey great post! Thats my app Hair Color Mirror Highlighted in the top paid list. I am a 24 yr old appreneur with zero coding knowledge and your blog has been beyond a resource for me, especially the appmakr and outsourcing guides. This has been my only job for the past 2 years and I wouldn’t change the freedom it gives me for anything! anyways i have few questions.

    What network do you recommend for banner ads? Using the paid for install method.

    How many installs where you seeing off of 150k impressions with the chartboost network to get upwards of $1000 a day?

    Thanks for your insight it is priceless, I look forward to hearing back from you.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas January 12, 2013

    Right on man, thanks for reaching out.

    1. Banner ads – try MoPub. It’s a mediator so it serves up the best paying ads at all times. I use them with iAds and a few other networks integrated.
    2. Avg install was approximately $0.95

    Good luck to you!


  • Matt January 12, 2013

    i am not sure i understood why cross promoting your apps would cost you 0.5$ if you do a cross to your users in your app shouldnt it be free?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas January 12, 2013

    Hey Matt,

    See the above comments. It’s not a real cost, it’s an opportunity cost. Here is an example.

    Let’s say I deliver 1,000 installs a day. If I deliver those installs on the Chartboost market, I’ll make about $1,000.

    My other option is to send those 1,000 installs to my own apps for free. But, I’m GIVING UP $1,000.

    If I went to Chartboost as an advertiser and bid $0.50 per install, I could buy 1,000 installs for $500.

    So – I can either cross promote and make no money and get 1,000 installs OR I can sell my $1,000 and then buy the same # for $500.

    Thus, I would lose $500 on the cross promotion.

    Hope that helps


  • Namit Gupta January 13, 2013

    Hello Carter, thanks for sharing with us your valuable experiences. These are really helpful and brings to us new insights about the app world. Congratulations for the success of your Gangnam app. However I wonder, if Revmob was performing better than why did you turn it off and choose Chartboost instead?

    P.S. I too developed an app on Gangnam Style. Its a simple app which teaches how to perform this amazing dance style. 😀

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas January 13, 2013

    Namit –

    I address this in the article. Revmob was causing more negative reviews at high volumes. That’s why I turned it off.


  • max January 14, 2013

    Hi Carter your blog is amazing. Could you tell me how add a nag screen (request a feedback for my app) I’ve seen this in your application.


  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas January 14, 2013

    Thanks Max. Check out the SDK Appirater. Works out well and it’s a free SDK.

  • Lisa January 15, 2013

    Hi Carter,
    Not sure if you still check your older blog posts, but got a quick question. I’m currently using Chartboost’s More Apps feature. In this case, when I’m customizing which campaigns to add to the More Apps page, should I be adding all Highest Priority campaigns only, or mix them up (with Highest being on top, Lowest towards the bottom of the page?).

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas January 19, 2013

    Hey Lisa,

    MIx them up. Sometimes the highest priority campaigns won’t have full inventory and the slot will be blank. Adding multiple campaigns will make sure you always display something.


  • Brett January 21, 2013

    Nice post Carter. I’ll be giving this a try : )

  • Gerald Lum January 22, 2013

    Hi Carter,

    Have you ever try this method – Player need to download a free game (TapJoy) in order to unlock one of the game stages?

    Gerald Lum

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas January 22, 2013

    I have never used Tapjoy in my own games but am starting to use them for buying installs (as an advertiser). Because the install bids are pretty low for Tapjoy, the payouts aren’t usually as high as non-incentivized actions, such as Revmob and Chartboost.

  • max January 28, 2013

    Hi Carter
    Thanks for SDK Appirater. Do you know another SDK to add “more apps”

  • Hiro Lee February 7, 2013

    Hi Carter,
    Thank you so much for your sharing. I don’t know if you are using some method to control ads frequency in your game or not, I thought I would share this tips I’ve come up with, if you can make use of it that’s wonderful!

    This will allow you to change how often to show ads in your game without having to submit an update.

    Both Chartboost and Revmob have placement ID. For those who doesn’t familiar with Chartboost placement ID, it is set up different than Revmob. You will set up the placement ID inside your project, then Chartboost server will recognize the placement. For example, in your code to show a Chartboost Interstial you use [cb showInterstitial:@”Game over”];, then Chartboost server will recognize a placement called Game Over and allow you to set up show ads or not at this placement.

    So, for example You want to have the option to show ads once every 1 round, 2 rounds, and 3 rounds for the placement called game over, here’s what you can do:
    Example for Revmob:
    Create 3 placement ID: Game over 1, game over 2, game over 3. Then use something like this:

    if(++[GameData Instance].gameoverCounter %1 == 0)
    {[GameMain Instance].fullscreen = [[RevMobAds session] fullscreenWithPlacementId:RevmobGameoverId1 ];
    [GameMain Instance].fullscreen.delegate = [GameMain Instance];
    [[GameMain Instance].fullscreen showAd]; }

    if(++[GameData Instance].gameoverCounter %2 == 0)
    { [GameMain Instance].fullscreen = [[RevMobAds session] fullscreenWithPlacementId:RevmobGameoverId2 ];
    [GameMain Instance].fullscreen.delegate = [GameMain Instance];
    [[GameMain Instance].fullscreen showAd]; }

    if(++[GameData Instance].gameoverCounter %3 == 0)
    { [GameMain Instance].fullscreen = [[RevMobAds session] fullscreenWithPlacementId:RevmobGameoverId3 ];
    [GameMain Instance].fullscreen.delegate = [GameMain Instance];
    [[GameMain Instance].fullscreen showAd]; }

    So what this does is: For position 1: show ad once every round. Position 2: show ad once every 2 round. Position 3: show ad once every 3 round.

    Now, in Revmob, if you want to show ad once every round, then you leave placement Gameover 1 on, turn off position 2 and 3.
    If you want to show ad once every 2 rounds, then leave position 2 on, turn off the other 2.
    Similar with the third option.

    hope to hear more from you! Keep rocking man!

    Hiro Lee from InstaFunApp

  • Mike February 20, 2013

    Hey Carter,

    So do you mean you were giving close to 1500 installs a day to generate $1500 on chartboost per day? Did you try direct deals?

    Also, how many downloads was your game getting daily in order to generate $1500 on chartboost?


  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 20, 2013

    Hey Mike,

    I tried Direct Deals but I was a little late. That was a big learning for me. At my peak I think I was getting like 70K a day in downloads. That was 2000-2500 on Chartboost + 2000 or so on Revmob + IAP stuff. I honestly dont remember.

    If I could go back and re-do the CB direct deals, or even optimize it a little bit, it would have been a much bigger rev number.



  • Steve June 5, 2013

    Hey Carter,

    I am totally new at apps. I recently re-skinned a free game app and is ready to upload. I want to add Flurry, PlayHeaven, and Tapjoy. My question is: will they charge me for lauching my app for one of this ad networks? I don’t know about “daily budget” what does it exactly mean?
    I thought they will pay me when people download or see ads in my free app.
    I would appreciate your information.

    Thank you,

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas June 6, 2013

    Hey Steve,

    Congrats man, nice work. No, you wont be charged for anything. For Tapjoy, that’s if you want to promote your app by buying installs from other apps. You would deposit $100 and could buy 1,000 installs if you purchased for $0.10 each.

    You will get paid when they download your app and see ads, correct. You’ll get paid way more when they click on the ads and install that app. Tapjoy is both an advertising platform and a publishing platform, thats why you see both options there.

    Hope that helps.


  • Steve June 6, 2013

    Thank you Carter.


  • Joe July 22, 2013

    Hey Carter,

    Thanks for the article!

    I recently released Unreal Speed 3D ; iTunes connect is telling me I’m doing about 2500 installs per day. What type of CB and Revmob campaigns should I consider?

  • Shark July 29, 2013

    How can i make the more app page only just show other my App?
    I just see one men can do this

  • Bhatt August 14, 2013

    Hi Carter

    You have a great resource here. Lots of good stuff, keep up!

    I have an education-reference app that I am offering as Freemium. In-app purchase to remove ads. Do you think this is viable?
    Also which network do you seem the best fit if it were your app? Sorry for an open-ended question but I read somewhere some of the ad networks don’t allow apps?


  • Karen August 23, 2013

    Err Carter, I’m having such a hard time understanding this whole eCPM, CPI, interstitals stuff. I’ve had about 2000 game downloads but still $0 revenue. I have Chartboost. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong because I’ve set up Chartboost. Is there something special I need to do in Financial Settings or any other tricks to generate revenue?

  • Karen August 23, 2013

    Any site or material I can read regarding this stuff for beginners/dummies (for people like me)

  • Pravin September 30, 2013

    i hav integrated chartboost in my game.. i exhausted 20 attempt of displaying chartboost demo ads.
    bt i want to know that this are test ads, so how the live ads will come in my game and when?

  • Ross October 5, 2013

    Hi Carter,

    Thank you for all your free information. Im new to the app world and I was struggling to find useful/genuine information before I came across your site. I am taking your advise and I’m in the process of reskinning my first app using one of Brian’s source codes. Fingers crossed.

    I just have a question about your Gangnam app regarding copyright. Did you need permission from Psy , ‘Mr Gangnam Style’ or anyone else to make the app? Or what way does that work for future reference?

    Thanks a million,


  • Karen October 6, 2013

    Ross: Carter got lucky with Apple approving that game. These days Apple reviewers are very very strict about it and reject the game. I recently did a celebrity app and it just wouldn’t get approved. Even when I deleted the app and created a completely new one. I had to change names, titles, metadata around for it to finally get approved. There’s no way Gangam or any other celebrity who will give permission for these apps. You’re pretty much taking the risk on your own. Worst case scenario if you do get a letter from their attorney, just delete the app. Not sure what Carter’s take is on this. Good luck!

  • Dm3 February 6, 2014

    if my active user around 100K
    how mouch can i earn if i use admob or iad
    just banners

  • Henry March 11, 2014

    Hey Carter, I’m confused. Do you use RevMob or AdMob? They are different I think…

  • Volkan Kutlubay February 3, 2015

    Hi Carter,

    Really Interesting to read all your blogs. I am using Chartboost and I have used the settings I found in this video:

    which is:

    Level 4 .08 CPC / 2 CPI – Highest
    Level 3 .05 CPC / 1.5 CPI – High
    Level 2 .04 CPC / .9 CPI – Medium
    Level 1 .02 CPC / .6 CPI – Low
    Level 0 Leave as default – Low

    And now I have found this thread and I am a little bit confused also. I also applied your settings too so I have like 8 publishing Campaings. I was goind to ask a If I did it right or not?? When you say;

    Level 4 – $3.00+ CPI, Highest Priority

    Does this mean I just write down 3 dollars to Minimum CPI and leave the Minimum CPC blank?? Sorry for this novice question I am really a begginner in app business so thought about writing to you directly in here.

    Kind Regards

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 3, 2015

    @Volkan – Yes, you leave the CPC blank. CPC and CPI are the two ways traffic is purchased on Chartboost. One tiered campaign will be for CPI, one will be for CPC.

    8 campaigns might be overkill, to be honest. My suggestion would be to run the CPC campaigns for a week and record results/ecpm. Then switch to CPI and see which is better.

    Good luck!

  • Volkan Kutlubay February 3, 2015

    @Carter Thomas Thank You So Much for the Quick Reply And Clearing out the situation. I will give it a try your way with only 4 campaigns and delete the rest and tell you the results.

    Kind Regards

    Volkan Kutlubay

  • Volkan Kutlubay February 4, 2015

    @Carter Thomas

    I wasn’t sure how I would set the CPC campaign so I went with your CPI settings:

    Level 1 – $0.50+ CPI, Low Priority
    Level 2 – $1.00+ CPI, Medium Priority
    Level 3 – $1.50+ CPI, High Priority
    Level 4 – $3.00+ CPI, Highest Priority

    but now when I test the game the ads are not showing only showing maybe once a while and Chartboost is gone. Is this normal?? and the phone I am testing is also registered as test device. Should I go back and try the CPC way?? If yes would the following setting would be good enough? Or is it that the ads are not showing in my Geo location and showing somewhere else?

    Level 4 .08 CPC /Highest
    Level 3 .05 CPC / High
    Level 2 .04 CPC / Medium
    Level 1 .02 CPC /– Low

    Kind Regards


  • Volkan Kutlubay February 4, 2015


    I feel like I am always spamming this thread sorry about that just wanted to let you know that I set the CPC as follows and the ads are showing. So don’t mind the previous thread I wrote.

    0.15 Highest – %86,49
    0.1 – High – %71.62
    0.07 – Medium – %52.03
    0.03 – Low – %5.41

    Regard and Thank you for your guidance.
    Happy Gaming ^_^

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