Cost per Install App Companies

by Brook Lenox on March 17, 2011

CPI Download CompaniesIn my previous post, I gave an overview of Cost per Install Marketing (CPI).  If you’re new to CPI marketing, that should give you some good background.

Now let’s look at several companies in the cost per install space:

  • Tapjoy
  • Flurry
  • TapZilla

Tapjoy was started in 2009 and was acquired by Offerpal Media in 2010.  The combined company has since been re-named Tapjoy.  Tapjoy helps companies acquire new users and monetize existing users.

For the purposes of this post, I’m going to focus on how Tapjoy helps app developers.

How Tapjoy Helps You (the App Developer) Drive Downloads

  • You set up an account with Tapjoy
  • Add their SDK to your app
  • Add funds to your Tapjoy account
  • Decide how much you are willing to spend per download and per day

From there this is what happens

  • Other apps offer their users virtual currency (poker chips, coins, etc)
  • Users can download your app in order to get those virtual currency items
  • You pay Tapjoy your bid price and they split it with the other app developer
  • Based on how many downloads you have, your rise in the app store charts

How it Works for Publishers

Think about the scenario above.

  • The company offering the virtual currency is the Publisher
  • They earn money by promoting your app
  • If you bid $.55 per download, they get a piece of that
  • All they “give away” is the virtual currency that the end user wants

What They Say Makes Them Different

  • First CPI company in the market and have the largest inventory fill-rate
  • 9 of 10 virtual currency apps use Tapjoy — more than 5,000 altogether
  • They can drive 100k+ downloads per day
  • They have a sophisticated technology platform that optimizes end-user targeting, reduces fraud, and tracks performance

In my experience, Tapjoy has been great to work with.

Beginning in 2008, Flury launched Flurry Analytics, a free solution now used by over 40,000 companies across more than 75,000 applications. The goal was to give developers metrics and information that would make their apps better. The Flurry blog is full of useful data.

Last year, Flurry launched a service called AppCircle that focuses on solving distribution and monetization for application developers.  What makes AppCircle particularly interesting is that they leverage their analytics data set to power a recommendation engine.

How Flurry Helps You (the App Developer) Drive Downloads

Similar to other CPI companies,  you pay Flurry per install.

AppCircle  can help you:

  • Generate a new revenue stream beyond banner ads
  • Increase your revenue earned per user
  • Generate eCPMs up to $200 and ARPDAU of over $1
  • Present relevant & interesting apps to your users
  • Give users will  new ways to earn virtual currency and goods (AppCircle Rewards)

How it Work for Publishers

Just set up an account, install their easy-to-integrate SDK, bid per install, you’re on your way.

What They Say Makes Them Different

Flurry is all about the analytics and driving downloads. Since they know more about what’s going on with your app, they claim it helps your monetization efforts.

According to their site: Flurry “introduces a relevant app to the right user at the right time.”

The Flurry folks with whom I’ve spoken, know iPhone app metrics and mobile marketing.

Ignition Mobile was started in 2009 with the goal of helping developers gain more sales traction in the App Store.
Their first service was AppRebates, a service geared toward helping developers get quick feedback in the form of reviews in the App Store from fresh users.  They don’t censor or influence the reviews, just provide a means for developers to quickly get honest, real feedback.
How it Works for Publishers:
  • You set up an account.
  • You decide how many reviews you desire and how quickly you wish the reviews to happen.  There are two self-serve campaign levels to choose from.
  • There is no integration and you get reporting in the form of a list of reviews from the campaign.  You get complete accountability for every dollar spent. Not bad!
  • You can check it out their developer portal at

Their other service, TapZilla which is geared toward helping developers gain and sustain sales momentum in the App Store.  They help by getting your app into many new users’ hands quickly.  They do this by offering users an exclusive rebate offer that a user accepts on TapZilla’s website.  The user downloads your app through the usual way on iTunes and receives the rebate when they open the app on their device.  Users can cash out with an iTunes gift card or through PayPal.
How it Works for Publishers:
  • You set up an account.
  • Add their SDK to your app or if your app uses a server, they support server to server callbacks for tracking downloads.
  • You run a campaign which gets your app featured on their website
  • That’s it!
What They Say Makes Them Different:
  • Many CPI companies focus on free apps. Tapzilla helps you drive paid rankings.
  • Users don’t get virtual currency, but money back (and who doesn’t like money!)
  • Users don’t get paid till they’ve installed an app and opened it on their device.
  • Users are more ‘sticky’ as they have chosen to download your app and are incentivized by the rebate.  Some other services offer users virtual currency if they download random apps offered to them.  This often yields a new app user that may not even open the app they downloaded.  With TapZilla’s model, the user’s only incentive to download the app is if they want it for free after the rebate.
You can learn more about TapZilla at:


So that’s it.  If you need rankings, you need installs. These companies can help.

Important Note!

In May 2011, Apple starting rejecting apps that had CPI offer walls in them.

So this means two things:

1) If you are an app developer with a Tapjoy, Flurry, etc offer wall in your app, your app may get rejected until you remove the offer wall.

2) If you are developer looking to drive downloads using one of these companies, you may need to start looking for other ways to drive downloads.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Uri May 24, 2011 at 8:01 am

great article.
does the following companies give solution for the problem that you wrote in your end of the article?

Brook Lenox May 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm

@ Uri – the companies mentioned are waiting to see where Apple goes with this. Apps are definitely getting rejected for a having offer walls. Looks like they’ll likely have to change their business models, but for now they are still driving downloads for companies.

Rob Weber June 25, 2011 at 10:47 am

You missed W3i as a vendor of mobile cost per install traffic. We have more traffic than everyone on the list but Tapjoy, and we believe we are growing faster than Tapjoy so over time, we’ll surpass them.

Brook Lenox June 25, 2011 at 7:51 pm

@ Rob – thanks for mentioning W3i. I will gladly add a section on W3i.

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