LeadBolt caught my attention because they offer more than the traditional mobile ad service of simply providing an ad to fill a 320x50 pixel space. As well as a variety of ad sizes, they also offer a number novel features, such as:
- Ads as notifications
- Interstitial ads
- Content unlocking
I was a little skeptical about the ads as notifications, thinking some users may find them annoying. The interstitials (full screen ads between pages in the app) may have some uses when used appropriately. But for me, the feature of most interest is the ability to allow users of unlock content by interacting with ads.
Many developers have opted for an approach where they release a free "lite" version and also a paid "pro" version of an app. The free version intended to encourage users to upgrade to the paid version. I have tried this approach in the past with moderate success - but the number of users willing to upgrade is often a very small proportion - rates of 1 sale per 1000 free downloads are not uncommon.
The promise of the content unlock approach then, is that if users are to be rewarded with "free stuff", they are more likely to engage with the ads. Your premium content can reach a potentially larger audience while still ensuring you can generate income, thanks to the greater response rate to these kinds of ads. That's the theory, anyway.
So I decided to trial LeadBolt in one of my apps. But pretty quickly I hit the same dreaded problem that I had hit previously with MobClix: The SDK requires the android READ_PHONE_STATE permission. It seems to be becoming almost a pattern than my attempts to implement SDK from third parties are frustrated due to excessive permission requirements. For details on this permissions issue, see my previous article.
So what to do?I contacted LeadBolt about the permission requirements, and they were at least responsive and replied they would look into it so see if it the READ_PHONE_STATE permission could be made optional. Until then I won't be implementing LeadBolt. However, because the features they offer are still potentially interesting to me, I will keep it on my list of possible services to look at again in the future. If this permission issue does not affect you, then you can create a LeadBolt account here.
I the next article, I'll be taking a look at MoPub.