Looking at the history of computers and software, it’s safe to say that one of the main reasons behind their development was to automate as much as possible, leaving humans to do creative things that machines are unable to accomplish.
In the last few decades, automation has touched many areas of our life, from warehouse logistics to software development. One interesting example of the latter category is automated mobile marketing service AppInTop, which recently came out of private beta.
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The service, launched by a team of Russian programmers and online marketers, offers mobile app developers a fully automated advertising process — from banner ad generation to campaign planning.
For a 20 percent commission from your advertising budget, AppInTop will create an optimal campaign, buying traffic from about a hundred of different advertising networks and making adjustments almost in real-time, once every three hours.
The service’s founder and CEO Nikolay Evdokimov told TNW that changes to campaigns can be made even more often but traffic sources are slow with reporting the stats, which is the only limitation.
We spoke to Evdokimov about the story behind AppInTop and its team, which is divided between Russia and Southeast Asia.
Tech entrepreneur #4
AppInTop’s 32-year-old CEO has a long track record in online marketing business being also the founder of Seopult, a major Russian service that — surprise! — automates search engine optimization tasks.
“We’ve been automating advertising processes for many years and launched a few projects in Russia,” Evdokimov said. “In the last (few) years we started to receive many requests related to mobile advertising and subsequently created an agency to work in this area. The next step was to create AppInTop; we started developing it a year ago, and now it’s in a stable beta version.”
In the end of 2013, Russian online magazine Hopes & Fears compiled a rating of the most successful young entrepreneurs, in which Evdokimov holds the fourth position — just two places below Pavel Durov, the founder and former CEO of VK.com.
The irony here is however that Evdokimov has not lived in Russia since 2010, spending about a half of his time in Thailand and the other half in Singapore.
“The team of AppInTop is divided about equally between Russia and Thailand,” Evdokimov explained. “In Moscow, we have our backend developers and the local marketing team, while the head office with top managers, global marketing team, designers and front-end developers is located in Phuket. We’re practicing different agile methodologies and have no problem whatsoever in working this way.”
Taking advantage of living in sunny Thailand and knowing the local market, Evdokimov has founded another company in addition to his marketing project, Web 3.0 Asia.
“We help online projects to enter Asian markets, ‘localize’ their business in terms of finances, language, and mentality,” he said.
AppInTop, however, is Evdokimov’s first project for a global audience.
“Expansion in mobile advertising market is very simple, you don’t really need to put a lot of effort to go global,” he explained. “There’s one app store per platform, and by buying traffic from global suppliers we automatically work with a lot of different countries.”
At the moment of writing, AppInTop can be used in 30 countries, but in the near future the number will increase to 50.
The West and the rest
Unlike Seopult, which raised a $10 million series-A round in 2012, AppInTop has yet to land any external funding.
“AppInTop has been working for the last two years as a profitable mobile marketing agency,” Evdokimov said. “We might think about attracting funding in a year or so, but now the project is bootstrapping.”
A week after launching private beta, the stats are as the company had predicted, the CEO says proudly. The service sees 250 to 300 new users registering and 25 to 30 new campaigns launching daily. Most clients come from the company’s key market, the US; about 70% of them are game developers, while the rest advertises all kinds of apps.
In addition to the core services, AppInTop offers developers advanced stats — both for their own apps and for the market as a whole. For example, you can see how much would it cost to get to the top of an app store based on your app’s cost of install, or even learn how much fellow developers make on their apps.
To work with the data and generate banners — which is a challenging engineering task in and of itself — AppInTop has 25 servers in a data center in Germany. And it seems like they will need more soon, as the service’s next goal is to launch a fully automated solution to produce video ads for mobile advertising campaigns.
”We have already brought the amount of time a human needs to create a video ad down to about 10 minutes. But in the next few months we hope to create a fully automatic procedure with no manual labor involved,“ Evdokimov said.
Header image credit: AFP/Getty Images