One of the biggest and costliest challenges for developers and advertisers is trying to convince users to download a particular app. Users, on the other hand, have the dilemma of deciding which apps they want to download (from the one million plus available in the app store), which take up precious memory on their device. Voxel, a startup aiming to improve mobile app delivery and interaction, is tackling that dilemma by allowing users to test-drive the app before they download them.
Voxel developed a virtualization technology that allows mobile apps for iOS and Android to run virtually or remotely. As a result, developers are able to create a short version of their app, which runs in the cloud and can then become a fully interactive ad. The result is an short trial version of the game ad instead of a banner ad that requires users to download an app before they’ve had a chance to try it.
“What Voxel does for apps is what movie trailers does for movies,” said David Zhao, CEO & Co-Founder. “User attention spans are very short…so it’s critical that the first 60 seconds of the apps are really engaging. I think game developers understand this better than most app developers, otherwise the first 60 seconds with them may be the last 60 seconds with them.”
Aside from being a more convenient way for users to discover and “test-drive” apps, it’s also a boon for developers and advertisers who are struggling with the increasing costs of acquiring new users. According to Super Data Research, the average monthly spend for a US mobile gamer was $1.07 in April and the average cost per install for a free-to-play MMO (massively multiplayer online game) in the US was about $8 dollars. As a result, publishers have had to step up their marketing efforts.
“The advertisers and developers are loving this concept,” Zhao said. “They are faced with all the challenges on the acquisition side, it’s getting really expensive to acquire a user. In the U.S. the cost per install (CPI) is sometimes up to seven to nine dollars just for a single user, depending on what the targeting is, an average three to five dollars just to get a free user to download your app.”
Voxel’s platform also gives developers and publishers insight into how users are responding to the app without requiring a download, enabling them to gauge user feedback from the ad.
“Before, to measure how people were interacting with your app, you really had to get that install first. With the Voxel technology we can actually move that feedback cycle much earlier in the process so that within the ad itself, the first few interactions the user has with the app inside a preview doesn’t cost as much to get the user to interact with them, you can actually see how the app is performing.”
Voxel is hoping to provide even more analytics by potentially building a product that will utilize the advertiser data and developer information to create a better experience for the end user.