Ilja Laurs, chairman and founder of Getjar
Ilja Laurs, chairman and founder of Getjar is taking part in a panel discussion on Day Two of the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we find out more about this innovative App store, and why the performance of the network is so crucial to the user experience.
Please tell us a little about Getjar.
GetJar is an app distribution and monetisation platform for Android. We distribute 750,000 apps, have 500,000 registered developers, and to date have achieved three billion downloads. Our rewards-based virtual currency GetJar Gold has reached 200 million users, of which 30 million are active on a monthly basis.
How does your business model differ from that of the Apple and Android app stores?
Unlike Apple and Google’s retail model, we focus on “paid discovery”. We promote all major apps, from Facebook to games and our revenues come from app promotional budgets. A unique aspect of our business model is that we give a portion of the advertising revenues to users (as a rewards virtual currency GetJar Gold) that they can then spend on premium content and in-app purchases.
Smartphones and tablets have dramatically altered the mobile landscape yet are still only around half of the mobile phone market. How great an opportunity is this for Getjar and other digital innovators?
A great opportunity! We, and all partners that we work with, are almost entirely focussed on smartphones. While a big share of the mobile market (and GetJar legacy business) is still feature phones, given the technical constrains and limited future (we give them a couple of years), nobody is investing in the segment.
The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.
As you look to grow, what are the biggest challenges you face?
Android fragmentation is among the biggest challenges. We had to deal with fragmentation back in Java days, so we know how difficult it is. Among other challenges are poor Android monetisation. Relative to iOS, an average Android user is worth 5x less. This is primarily because Google on the one hand has not solved billing for Android, and on the other hand does not allow any alternative billing platforms.
Another issue is that the move to earn from mobile advertising dollars is slow. It took 15 years for the internet to attract only 10 per cent of the potential advertising budgets from ‘old media’ (TV, radio and print), if measured by ad dollars relative to the consumer engagement.
A third issue is that despite being large Android markets, business is very difficult in China and Korea as Google Play is not allowed, and distribution is very controlled and fragmented.
How excited are you by the 4G roll-outs taking place worldwide?
Absolutely excited! Numerous times we’ve measured a direct correlation between data connection speed/reliability and app engagement.
What would be your advice to those looking to develop apps?
One advice would be to seriously look at freemium/in-app vs. the paid business model. At GetJar, we get to see how different business models perform and it’s absolutely clear that a successful Freemium/in-app business model is not just better than paid, but often 10-20 times better! E.g. we’ve seen a casual game raise its RPM (revenue per thousand users) from $12 to $240 when it moved from paid to optimised in-app (selling levels, upgrades and other virtual goods).
Why are you choosing to attend the LTE World Summit?
We work a lot with app developers. Many of them are very interested in carrier APIs, especially with the rise of LTE, where a lot of app activity depends on the network (streaming services, location, etc.). I hope that sharing some of the biggest developer challenges will help the operators to better optimise their networks and services for developer, and ultimately consumer, needs.