05 6 / 2014

We started Namo Media with the belief that mobile banner ads don’t work for users, publishers, or advertisers. We saw native advertising as an opportunity for publishers to create better user experiences, generate higher revenues, and enable more valuable advertising space. We built an advertising solution that lets app developers easily add native advertising to mobile apps.

It’s because of that philosophy, and through our conversations with the MoPub team at Twitter, that we realized we’d be able to create better solutions together, so we’re making it official by joining the flock! At Twitter we’ll continue to work on building the best native advertising platform for app developers with the goal of continuing to improve the native ad landscape for all mobile app developers.

We’d like to extend heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped us along the way, especially our investors — Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Betaworks, Trinity Ventures, Susa Ventures, Chung-Man Tam, Kevin Scott, Garrick Toubassi, Ben Ling,  Michael Levit, Tikhon Bernstam, and Paul Buchheit — and our advisors Greg Badros, Brian Balfour, and Russ Glass.

Combining our technology with MoPub will offer our current and future customers a more powerful platform to generate revenue, all while preserving an amazing user experience. If you’re an existing publisher partner looking for more information on how to take advantage of these future capabilities, we’ll reach out to help you transition to MoPub’s native ads platform.

Learn more on Twitter’s blog.

29 5 / 2014

Not sure what native ads could look like in your app? Today we’re releasing open-source sample apps for iOS and Android that let you experience how ads scale across different apps and formats.

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If you’ve integrated Namo Media before, you’ll be familiar with our QuickStart guides for iOS and Android. These give a great overview of how to get started, but to understand how it works in practice, it’s often easier to see complete sample code.

For this purpose, we build sample apps that show all the different types of integrations we support.

iOS Samples: QuickStart Guide

  1. NAMOTableViewAdPlacer
  2. NAMOCollectionViewAdPlacer
  3. NAMOCustomStreamAdPlacer
  4. NAMOAdView

Android Samples: Quickstart Guide

  1. ListView: Sample 1, Sample 2
  2. Custom Integration Sample

You can download source code on Github:

08 5 / 2014

Great news: Namo Media’s latest SDKs and our dashboard now support hierarchical ad units, so you can target ads to specific sections of your app. 

You might want to use ad units to track different streams in a social app, or to target specific sections of a news app. For example, your ad unit hierarchy might look something like this:

Read more about this new feature.

23 4 / 2014

Posted by Nassar Stoertz, Co-founder - Engineering

Today, we’re excited to launch a new SDK (version 3) on iOS with several improvements and some great new features. If you are a publisher who has already integrated the Namo SDK, you’re already seeing the benefits of native ads in your app.

Easier integration

Integrating the SDK is now even easier than before with our new QuickStart guide.

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Support for custom content streams

Custom navigation experiences have been a growing trend in mobile design. The new SDK enables developers to place native ads into any stream of content, while still taking advantage of the ad placement technology enabled by our ad server. If your app is using a gallery, pager, or other custom content transition, you can now use our CustomStreamAdPlacer API to show native ads that blend seamlessly into your user interface. For example, here’s a gallery-based news reader app with the new SDK integrated:

Here’s another example of an ad carousel format built using the new SDK. This format is similar to Facebook’s mobile install ad format, which animates between ads as your user swipes horizontally.

Support for stand-alone native ads

The new SDK enables showing native ads anywhere in your app using our AdView. Using our ad view is very similar to using a traditional mobile ads SDK, except that our SDK allows you to fully control the size and appearance of the ad.

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App store ratings in your ad format

For app install ads, our SDK now supports showing an app store “star” rating to let your users know more information about the app before downloading. You can control the appearance of the stars, including their color and size.

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Better control for backfilling native ads

The new SDK allows developers to determine exactly when ads were filled or failed to fill. This makes it easier to backfill some other ad format into your app, or to simply track your ad fill rate for yourself.

Getting started

Check out our docs to get started integrating, or to upgrade from version 2 to version 3. As always, drop us an email at publisher@namomedia.com if you have any questions.

31 3 / 2014

Namo Media is proud to announce the addition of Owen McCumber to its team! Owen joins as our Director of Business Operations, focusing on leading our Advertiser Sales & Operations team. Prior to Namo Media, Owen built and grew marketing groups at Nextag.com, Oversee.net, and Adap.tv (now part of AOL Networks). Most recently he helped launch AppSponsor.com. Owen brings 15+ years experience within the Online Advertising & Marketing space, generating annual revenue in excess of $72MM. 

As Namo Media continues to grow, Owen will be working closely with our advertisers to more effectively maximize their mobile budgets across Namo Media’s Publishers and Exchange Partners. Please feel free to contact Owen to discuss how we can work with you.

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18 3 / 2014

Thanks to IPG Media Lab for recognizing us in their SXSW recap! Check out this great interview with CEO Gabor Cselle on The Trigger:

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Watch it now!

18 3 / 2014

This post explores possible monetization strategies for Secret and the kind of revenue they could generate with their product.

The iPhone app Secret is the talk of the town. Just shy of 50 days from its original launch, the app has attracted a flurry of press, co-founder David Byttow has been a keynote speaker at SXSW, the tech community has seen the app be involved in the recent GitHub scandal, and the app has attracted $8.6M in a recent funding round led by Google Ventures, at a rumored $50M pre-money valuation.

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What will Secret’s revenue model be?

Secret does not currently generate revenue: it’s a free app with no in-app purchases or ads in the product. Yet to justify the $50M valuation, Secret needs to have a clear path to monetization.

It’s unlikely that Secret will monetize with in-app purchases. While it’s conceivable that they could launch premium features for a one-time fee, that also seems unlikely: a one-time fee will not create a repeatable business model. Another popular way to create revenue streams from much-used apps is to add games you can play with other users, and asking to pay for the game or new lives—this is the model used by Candy Crush and popular messaging app Line. But adding games to Secret seems unnatural, especially since you can’t play with your friends as the identities are kept, well, secret.

The most likely monetization model for Secret? Advertising.

The two products most comparable to Secret are Facebook and Twitter. Usage patterns are very similar: Secret recently disclosed that 90% of users who engage in conversations come back every day, a number in line with behavior on Facebook and Twitter.

How many users does Secret have?

To derive the size of Secret’s userbase, we can use the same comparables any venture capital analyst would look at. According to this article at The Information, this is how much money Twitter and Facebook are making on a per-user basis:

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[source]

Given the rumored $50M pre-money valuation, and at a price per user of $130, let’s assume that Secret currently had around 400k active users at the time the term sheet for the $8.6M funding was signed. Keep in mind that Secret is likely growing much faster than either Twitter or Facebook, but has no revenue.

What type of advertising will work best?

It’s pretty clear that Secret will not want to go with banners or interstitials, the traditional mobile ad formats:

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Not only would these formats destroy the app’s streamlined user experience, they would also not monetize well: banners and interstitials generate around a $1 CPM (cost per 1000 impressions). At 400k users, and 2 impressions per session that’s $800/day. This means that banners and interstitials could make Secret $0.73 per user per year.

How do Facebook and Twitter make so much more money?

The Native Advertising Alternative

The key to Twitter’s and Facebook’s superior monetization is their superior ad format—the ads sit inside the stream of content and are natively styled. They do not block the content and thus make for a better user experience. Advertisers are happy as well, since they have more space to tell their stories than a tiny 320x50 banner.

Namo Media’s product is native advertising: We make it easy for publishers to monetize with native ads, and we give them control over the format and the placement of the ads in their stream. We allow publishers to direct-sell ads with our tools, and we bring advertisers if the publisher has unsold inventory (or no sales team). When Namo Media brings the advertisers, we see a $1.50 CPM average across the apps we’re working with. In fact, our publishers are seeing an immediate 3-5x revenue lift over what they made with banners. The number of native ads that can be shown to users is primarily dependent on how far users scroll down the stream. Based on my own behavior, Secret’s scroll depth is probably substantially higher than Facebook’s. If Secret inserted 4 native ad impressions into each user session, native ads would make Secret $2.19 average revenue per user per year - almost as much as Twitter’s $2.76.

What advertising should Secret run?

Secret’s content is unlike any other: these are very personal stories, sometimes sad, sometimes juicy, sometimes apocryphal. It might make sense for Secret to recruit their own advertisers and craft custom brand messages for them.

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One media outlet that has done well at this sort of direct selling to brands is The Onion, which posts sponsored stories such as this on their site. The advantage of these ads is that they sell at a substantially higher CPM, say, $10 rather than $1. If Secret could find the right advertisers to pay these rates, then even at just a 50% fill rate they would land at $7.30 average revenue per user per year, comparable to Facebook’s $6.58 per user per year.

It’s best to add advertising early.

An early investor in Tumblr told me that one of the things they wish they’d done differently is to add advertising to the product sooner. When users see advertising, they understand how the app makes money. This will cause less of a user revolt than adding ads later when the product is more established.

Knowing Byttow and Chrys Bader, I’d say that they see Tumblr’s $1.1B sale as the low bar. I’m excited to see Secret rise further into the stratosphere, and hopefully become the latest native ads success story.

Disclaimer: While Secret founders Chrys Bader and David Byttow are both friends of Namo CEO Gabor Cselle, and Secret’s lead investor Google Ventures is also the lead investor in Namo Media, this article relies exclusively on publicly available information. None of the hypotheses in this article have been reviewed, commented on, or confirmed by Secret.

10 3 / 2014

We’re excited to be officially moved into our new suite at China Basin! There’s still a lot of work to be done, but for now we’re enjoying floor to ceiling windows and a great, open space. Keep an eye on our blog for progress as we settle in. 

Come visit us! 185 Berry, Suite 1050. 

03 3 / 2014

We’re excited to be an exhibitor at ad:tech San Francisco 2014! The event takes place on March 26 & 27. Stop by booth #2554 to meet the team and talk native mobile ads.

Learn more about ad:tech San Francisco.

26 2 / 2014

Namo Media is growing again! We’re looking for a hardcore backend developer to join our backend team. 

We’re working to scale our systems to serve billions of impressions a month while maintaining low latency and high ad quality. We are also working with existing ad exchanges to integrate native ad inventory and make it biddable through an emerging standard. If this sounds exciting, we’d love to hear from you.

Learn more in our job posting.