Ads Within Apps, the Rovio Approach

Simply put, ads within apps can be a sore topic on all sides.  Nobody likes to see ads popping up every time they perform an action on their phone. Yet developers have to do something to offset their efforts.  How do they do this yet still release the app/game into the market for free? They toss in some ad support.  Free apps often get better traction when they go viral as this will potentially land on more devices.

Take a look at the recent release of Angry Birds Full (free) version with ad support.  Rather than selling it at a buck a piece for flat out purchase, they dropped it in the market at no cost.  Why would a developer of a sure-fire hit give up thousands of dollars in app sales?

“Rovio is excited about the partnership with Google’s AdMob as we explore new business models that will allow us to maximize reach across mobile platforms,” said Peter Vesterbacka, Mighty Eagle of Rovio. “The launch of a free, ad-supported version of Angry Birds was a great success with over 2 million downloads on Android in its first weekend.”

Here’s an excerpt from Google’s Mobile Ad Blog:
We are excited to work with Rovio and help them reach their 100 million download target with this free ad-supported version. AdMob continues to be committed to working with mobile developers and publishers to help them build sustainable businesses on mobile.” Charles Yim, Google Mobile Partnerships

Three million downloads later, Angry Birds is flying off the virtual shelf at no cost to the user.  It’s probably pretty safe to say that the sheer volume of ad impressions and clicks is making Rovio more than a little coin.  Would you prefer to pay 99¢ to remove the ads?

  • I know when I added an ad to my small utility, Bluetooth Volume, I had users demand an ad free version, so I created a Donate version without ads.
    I was surprised how vehemently people objected to an ad at the bottom of the screen.

  • ChaosKiller

    I hate ads in games/apps. In angry birds it actually seems to slow down the game at some times (when the ad is loading). I would pay to have it removed.

  • Bianca

    The ads in angry birds do not bother me at all either, and I have clicked on a few too. Although the ads for pest control (related to birds) makes me LOL.

  • garrett

    Aside from extra features unlocked by a paid version the biggest reason I buy apps is to support the developer. It’s not easy and it’s time consuming to develop and maintain any quality app.
    If rovio is making good coin off of an ad-support version and buying the app didn’t give me anything but an ad-free experience then I’m inclined to keep rocking the free version. It’s a win win. Can’t go wrong with someone else paying devs to make great apps that are free for me to enjoy.

  • Chris Young

    I personally think creating a free “lite” version should have the same affect in terms of virality / maximizing downloads and if the game is half decent then no one is going to mind paying the tiny amount of money that the full version costs.

  • Jonathan

    I will pay for a ad-less version. But I block ads anyway, so I’m really only paying to remove the empty space where the ad used to be.

  • JaylanPHNX

    If ads in the app are handled well, and I’ve only seen a few examples where they’re not, then I love the fact that a little banner at the bottom or top of my screen lets me get quality apps for no cost to me. I mean, what a deal, right? I don’t understand ad-haters. I think maybe they need to re-evaluate their relationship with capitalism/the real world rather than complaining to a developer or worse, blocking the ads and basically stealing the app.

    I hate seeing ads when I pay to see a movie, but I love seeing ads when I don’t have to pay to get cool stuff.

  • Pax

    As long as we have many many stupid people downloading shit like that…why not shove it up their asses?

  • johhny

    I agree with jaylan… y complain about ads when the shit is free.. it took time and effort to build and to give it to you for FREE y’all should be very happy… the game didn’t create itself people

  • ontheFritz

    Am I the only one that HATES the ad placement in Angry Birds? Definitely the most obtrusive use of ads I’ve personally seen yet. Sometimes they’re placed directly on top of the targets. I love the game and I’d gladly pay a buck to remove them.

  • I would rather see a great app with adds in it which is made available in all the countries where free apps are supported in the Android Market, than only have a payed version over which I can drool but not be able to download. Also, I agree with many of the responders who stated that developers need to make a living and if you can get something for free (with minor inconveniences) which is payed for by somebody else, rather than pay for it yourself, it’s a win-win situation for everybody.

  • Cathy

    I don’t mind the ad..realize they are a necessary evil..but why must the ads be placed RIGHT in the middle (top) of the game..can’t see the score!! Move them to the BOTTOM where they were when I first started playing the game.

  • Guest

    Yes, I would pay more than $.99 to play angry birds without ads.  Angry Birds is really fun but it slows way down and jars the screen when the ads pop in.  I would rather pay money for the game then have the quality of the game go down because of the ads.