Developer Insights: Q&A With PuzzleSocial’s Jeb Balise

Posted by , VP Communications & Marketing Partnerships
7th May 2015

We are happy to announce a new series on the Tapjoy Blog.  In our “Developer Insights” series, we’ll be talking to a variety of freemium app developers to understand the challenges they’re facing and how they are using Tapjoy’s new Marketing Automation and Monetization platform. We hope the insights shared here are helpful. As always, we encourage you to let us know what you want to hear more about in the comments section, below, or on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Tapjoy’s Marketing Automation and Monetization platform, which we launched at GDC 2015, is designed to help app developers get the most out of their app by increasing retention and driving revenue from EVERY user. By combining predictive analytics, marketing automation, IAP driven monetization and our rewarded advertising solutions, we’re providing the industry’s most comprehensive mobile marketing automation platform, and the industry is taking notice.

We recently sat down with to Jeb Balise, the CEO of PuzzleSocial, whose immensely popular Daily Celebrity Crossword app is the world’s #1-solved daily crossword puzzle. We caught up with Jeb to talk a bit about their recent integration of Tapjoy’s new platform.

Hi Jeb. Can you start out by telling us which Tapjoy products you’re using and how they’re working for you?

PuzzleSocial CEO Jeb Balise

PuzzleSocial CEO Jeb Balise

Sure, for monetization we use Tapjoy’s Full Screen Interstitials, Direct Play Video, and Offer   Wall.  On the analytics side we’ve recently been using their retention dashboard to slice our data in new ways. Tapjoy’s dashboard made it easy to dig down and learn that more than 20% of our users play at least 26 days a month, and more than 55% play 11 or more days a month.   Understanding and predicting user return rates allows us to model out how many users will be coming back over time which then allows us to predict future revenue on those users.  We then make our marketing budgets and decisions based on those models.

What has impressed you most about the analytics dashboard?

The analytics dashboard gives us a clean look at the real-time daily pulse metrics that any developer will want to monitor, especially any developer starting out.  For example, the main dashboard presents the growth of new versus returning users over time, and allows us to see how we’re growing over time.  We also see period over period DAU, WAU, and MAU presented in a more concise format than what we’re used to with other dashboards.

Please talk a bit about the benefits you’ve seen from using Tapjoy’s new platform. 

What we look for, like most developers, is to find reliable solutions for the problems we’re looking to solve. You really want as few SDKs in your app as possible, and you need to get a lot out of each one.  With Tapjoy, we’ve found a comprehensive SDK that comes with robust analytics and content-based monetization tools.

The content dashboard allows us to understand opportunities, impressions, eCPM, and revenue from Tapjoy’s suite of products that we use.  This allows us to make real-time decisions to maximize revenue.

But ultimately, Tapjoy has been a great partner who is responsive and understands and supports our longer-term direction.  With so many analytics and monetization partners in the mobile space, it is rare to find a partner who is willing to take the time to work with up-and-coming developers and really focus on that relationship versus just being a vendor or solution provider.  Tapjoy’s direction providing analytics and content-driven ad solutions is very much in line with our ability to publish fresh content 365 days a year.

If you could say something to another developer looking for new analytics or monetization solutions, what would it be?

Retention is everything.  Take the time to build apps that you can picture people coming back to over time.  Developers are lucky in that more money will continue to flow toward mobile and more creative ad products (such as the ones from Tapjoy) will begin to capture those dollars.  But without a returning user base it will be difficult to run a sustainable business so make sure that you focus on retention first!

Now that you’ve got such a strong daily following, what are the biggest challenges that PuzzleSocial is facing right now?

Well, right now we are pretty much the only large player in the casual crossword space, and that makes it both easy and hard at the same time. We get the opportunity to pioneer what this genre will look like in the future, but at the same time we don’t get the benefit of copying what’s working for other apps in the space.  So we test… a lot.  We’re looking forward to our July release, which will offer our players a better experience all around.

What future uses do you see for Tapjoy in your app? Do you have plans to leverage other solutions in the future?

Absolutely. We believe that we’re just scratching the surface in terms of what the Tapjoy platform can do. We are getting better at segmenting our player base and will soon start building customizable segments so that we can deliver even more personalized and better-targeted engagement and monetization campaigns.  This will play a key role in driving DAU growth and improving player lifetime value.

Congratulations on the great success of Daily Celebrity Crossword, and thanks for speaking with us!

1 Comment on: “Developer Insights: Q&A With PuzzleSocial’s Jeb Balise.”
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