For 20 years, Japanese developer LeafNet has helped to shape the mobile development market by creating fun, revolutionary content. From humble beginnings as a ringtone producer, they have followed mobile trends while continuing to branch out and innovate in what they bring to the market.
We touched base with them to discuss the successes and challenges of monetizing their app, Stamp@DECOR.
The stickers that you create for messaging apps have proven to be one of your most popular and successful services. How did you first get a foothold in this market?
LeafNet: We established our company in 2001. Back then, we mostly developed ringtones and Deco-mail, which is a way for people to design decorative emails on feature phones. Once the market started to shift towards smartphones, we moved into the development of stickers for the LINE app and other messaging platforms. Currently, our Stamp@DECOR app offers over 30,000 stickers, all of which are completely free and require no registration to use.
30,000 is a truly staggering number! Where did the inspiration for all of those cute stickers come from?
LeafNet: The knowledge and experience that we’ve accumulated from our years of developing Deco-mail has been essential to our success. We also research which styles are trending at any given moment, as well as implementing user requests and looking at keyword search data to develop more popular stickers.
After an amazing 20 years in business, you must understand your core user base very well! Who do you find using your stickers the most?
LeafNet: While many people use our products, we were actually surprised to find out that one of our core demographics was older women. Many of our users tell us how happy they are that we have such a great variety of stickers for everyday interactions. Simple stickers to send messages to distant family members or friends like “Morning!” or “Good night!” are especially popular.
So, what are you doing to improve customer Lifetime Value (LTV)? Do you have any examples?
LeafNet: We take user experience in our app very seriously to ensure that users will want to continue using our apps, improving LTV. As part of our retention strategy, we use push notifications to alert users when new content becomes available, but we’re also careful not to overwhelm them with constant notifications.
How does your company monetize content? Also, what are the biggest challenges that you face when it comes to monetization?
LeafNet: One of our goals is to provide our app completely free of charge, so our primary monetization model is ad revenue. This means that our biggest challenges are related to how we can increase our revenue and how to keep that revenue stable. We also wanted to avoid being tied down to specific advertisers, so we decided to use an ad mediation platform. However, ad mediation does come with its own set of issues. Since there are so many advertisers, the app’s revenue stability declines and the process of employing ads is very time-consuming.
How did Pangle help in overcoming those issues?
LeafNet: Pangle helped maintain our profitability while being easy to use and less time-consuming. The SDK is also very reliable, and any issues that might come up are quickly resolved.
So, why did you choose in-app bidding? Did it end up as a positive choice for your app?
LeafNet: The biggest benefit to in-app bidding was being freed from managing ad waterfalls. By reducing the number of line items in the waterfall, ad load times improved, leading to better user experience and an increase in revenue.
How has the switch from the waterfall model to in-app bidding been going, and how is Pangle helping?
LeafNet: We haven’t completely switched over just yet since we’re currently using a hybrid model combining waterfalls and in-app bidding. We’re using MoPub as our mediation platform right now, but we’re in the process of gradually switching from the current network that we use for bidding. Pangle has become an important part of our monetization strategy due to its high fill rate and eCPM. We can also manage in-app bidding very quickly, and there is a high level of creativity on the platform.
Could you tell us what impact integrating Pangle had on your profitability?
LeafNet: While factors like the time of year and number of active users do make a difference, eCPM grew by as much as 30% for our interstitial ads. This has led to an approximate 10% increase in both overall revenue and ARPU. This increase can be largely attributed to Pangle, as many of the interstitial ads that they provide have contributed up to 50% of these profits.
So, will LeafNet and Pangle be sticking together for the foreseeable future?
LeafNet: We’re excited to see how this relationship develops while we concentrate on putting all of our time and energy into improving features and creating new stickers to foster further good will for our app. We’d like to even start selling merch for popular characters or branch out to other apps and mediums, allowing us to bring a comprehensive product to the table for all of our users to enjoy.
Pangle is a perfect match for our app advertisement bidding needs, and has become an indispensable business partner for our company. We are looking forward to working more with the platform to help us monetize and attract new users, further developing our professional relationship in the future.
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