“If you partner with someone who can deliver a user that’s worth more than what you are spending, then the price has no impact,” Andrew Birnbryer told his audience during Casual Connect USA 2014.
Andrew Birnbryer, the director of global business development at Applift, has loved games since he was four years old. However, prior to coming to Applift, he was the vice president of a commercial bank in San Francisco, working with CEOs and CFOs of large companies around the Bay Area. His career had always been in business development, where he learned key skills to take his career into the games industry. He says, “If you can forge a relationship and get others excited about a product or service when you yourself are not excited, image what you can do when you truly believe.”
While Andrew was still in finance, he spent considerable time immersing himself in the games industry. His break came when he met a recruiter at KIXEYE’s GDC party. When she overhead him telling the story of his background and his desire to enter the games industry, she said, “I have the perfect job for you.” And working for Applift was the result.
In his position now, he focuses on the supply side of the business, cultivating the partnerships for their UA campaigns to run around the world. He directs Applift’s account management for North American clients and their global business development efforts.
Andrew relates that his first visit to the company’s headquarters in Berlin was an amazing experience. At the time he joined Applift, the name was hardly recognized in the US, and the office there consisted of only four people in a room together. But at the Berlin headquarters, he could feel energy and excitement pulsing everywhere. He says, “I was already incredibly excited about the potential for Applift, knowing that we had a strong value proposition, but being in Berlin, meeting everyone and diving deep into what we can do solidified for me that we are doing something great.”
Now he tries to imbue that same energy into what he does each day at the office. He wants everyone to know that what they do directly impacts the success of the company; they are each making a mark on the rocket ship. There is a steady barrage of high fives, pats on the back, and cheers of excitement. They speak openly and often to share their passion with each other.
Driving to Profitablity
The day that the US office of Applift became profitable brought Andrew the greatest satisfaction of his career. They had gone from no employees and $0 profit to employing 12 people and becoming profitable in only seven months! And equally exciting was the first time he saw their ads in a high profile app that he had brought into their platform. He admits, “To be using the app and to look down and see our ads running was an amazing feeling.”
Andrew believes there are several important trends coming to the industry. One of these is native, conceptual advertising, matching the advertising needs with one’s UX. He notes that this is the hot buzzword now, but few are actually delivering it. Soon, however, he expects it to be fully adopted across the landscape. When he considers native advertising, he thinks of old school product placement in movies and TV shows. Although you can hardly tell it’s there, the impact is immense.
Going A Bit Native
To confront the challenge of native advertising, Applift has invested in a new publisher supply focused company, PubNative. This is the first truly native ad mobile publisher platform, and it requires no SDK. There are no preset formats. Through more than 20 parameters, they can create an infinite array of ad experiences, all delivered via API.
Another important new trend is deeplinking. As reengagement continues to grow, the ability to send people to specific locales and destinations is huge. He explains, “Imagine you are advertising men’s shoes in a sports fitness app; you click on the ad and are taken immediately into the app’s purchase page.” Applift is already planning ways of responding to this trend.
A third coming trend Andrew sees is LTV optimization. Applift now has a full service dashboard that allows partners to see in real time the efficacy of their campaigns across the myriad of traffic sources. They analyze metrics across all aspects of the game, and, in turn, predict which partners, creative, and formats will provide the best LTV. Then they adjust their payouts to ensure they are meeting the ROI goals.
When Andrew has time away from work, he enjoys exploring San Francisco with its awesome parks and great weekend brunches. In the winter, he participates in freestyle skiing, and he also does some weightlifting and, of course, gaming.
His favorite platform for gaming is Xbox. He has just finished Dishonored, which he calls a super fun FPS. He likes anything post-apocalyptic, dystopian future. Before Dishonored, he was playing Assassin’s Creed 4, and insists that third person shooter, strategy games are his absolute favorites. It is not surprising to discover he owns more than one console. In fact, he has Xbox 360, Super Nintendo, and N64, as well as a PS3 at the office. And he says, “I can’t wait to get the Xbox One; the graphics are amazing.” While a console player, he also loves playing on mobile and is currently level 350 on Candy Crush.
He appreciates being able to try out a F2P game and decide what to do with it at no cost. However, he objects to being able to level up faster by paying. He insists, “I am old school, no cheat codes, no glitches, just earned achievements.” He also objects to early payment walls, where you start a game and are forced to pay to keep playing longer than 10 to 20 minutes. As he says, “If it’s too soon, I won’t know if it’s worth it to keep playing. Get me hooked first then I will all but have to pay because I’m having so much fun with the game.”
If you are interested in learning more about Applift, you can visit their website Applift.com for more details. You can also reach them by dropping a line to email@example.com or give them a ring at 415-218-4881.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.