fring employs Google’s AdSense for Mobile Applications to monetise their service and establish a stable revenue stream through targeted high-quality, relevant ads
fring connects people with mobile-internet rich communication, wherever they are, for free. fring members make phone and video calls, chat live, and share files and more with friends. By leveraging the user’s mobile internet connection, fring allows users to communicate with friends on the service and other online social networks without any additional hardware. Since its launch in January 2007, the company has experienced phenomenal global adoption, with millions of users in more than 200 countries worldwide, and more than 500,000 new users joining each month.
These days, audiences are on the move with mobile devices always within reach. Lower cost flat-rate data plans, faster network speeds and improved devices have driven an exponential increase in smartphone use, with smartphones projected to make up 46% of total mobile phone sales by 2013. However, as users become increasingly accustomed to free content, companies such as fring must develop effective revenue streams to support their offerings.
The fring user base is mostly male, young and tech-savvy – an attractive audience for advertisers. “Our aim was to monetise our huge advertising inventory while maintaining fring’s integrity,” says Daniella Alpher, fring’s head of advertising. “We were looking for a proven platform that could provide us with metrics and a willingness to improve ongoing results through partnering beyond technology to support our business. We also needed an ad platform that would be able to address our unique global user base, offering them relevant ads that enhance their in-app experience.” In short, fring required a solution that would deliver maximum return on investment while ensuring a positive user experience via targeted, geographically relevant ads.
Get up and go
With global mobile advertising spend projected to increase to $17 billion by 2012, fring’s ad-supported monetisation strategy makes perfect sense, and fring looked to Google AdSense for Mobile Applications (AFMA) to help them to capture the growing advertiser spend on high-end mobile devices like the iPhone and Android.
As part of the Google AdSense product suite, AFMA allows developers to display precisely targeted text or image ads from advertisers who want to connect with mobile users. Like other AdSense products, easy integration and implementation are key benefits. For fring, the project went “from theory to practice in three weeks,” says Daniella. “The technology was plug and play. We are a young company with no time for tech glitches. AFMA made sure that our efforts were light and that they were rewarded quickly.”
Day to day, fring is finding AFMA straightforward to use, and is filling their inventory to the maximum as part of the Google Display Network. The team is able to target ads by demographics and location to deliver relevant ads in engaging formats, and they can maintain full control over the user experience by filtering out ads that aren’t suitable.
“The channel management setup is great and very flexible,” says Daniella. “I particularly like the option to deactivate and reactivate a channel based on changing priorities. Our channel description has details about our attractive user base and advertisers are able to specifically select us for their campaigns to reach upwardly mobile men. We’ve recently started using the developer’s forum; it’s mostly just a discussion forum with others like ourselves but also an extremely helpful tool moderated by AFMA.”
It all adds up
So what has been the impact of using AFMA since implementation? fring has recorded impressive CTRs and CPMs, and view their statistics optimistically.
“With millions of users, a slight improvement in these key performance indicators translates into significant revenue uptake. So, with each new process, optimisation or innovation from AFMA, we see direct impact on our bottom line.” The reporting tools and interface facilitate analysis and allow fring to make alterations to increase performance too. “We try to make gradual changes throughout our various AFMA channels, using a trial and error approach for keywords and descriptive information,” she says.
Happy with AFMA so far, fring looks forward to what the future will bring. “We’ve expanded to Android and will continue to work on all popular mobile platforms to offer more of our fringsters a free, ad-supported experience,” Daniella affirms. “Moreover, for our current inventory, we continue to improve our targeting with AFMA.”