The latest issue of App Marketer magazine features an interview with the one and only Jesse Lakes, GeoRiot CEO / Co-Founder! Jesse is always eager to jump into a lively one-on-one affiliate marketing chat, but we want to thank Trey and the folks at App Marketer magazine for the opportunity to have such a thought-provoking conversation.
Scroll down to check out highlights from the interview and then head to the App Store where you’ll receive a complimentary three-month subscription to App Marketer magazine when you download the issue in its entirety. (Use code “3monthvip”.)
Trey Woods, App Marketer Magazine: Can you go into a little detail about GeoRiot and things you’re working on right now?
Jesse Lakes, GeoRiot CEO / Co-Founder: To dive into GeoRiot lets take a step back and dive into the affiliate program. A lot of our audience probably knows that the App Store, in general, is a pretty fragmented place. There are 155 different App Stores now around the world, and each of those stores can be their own unique entities, so you can easily click and share your app across the global market, or you can specify what countries you want to be in. On top of that global fragmentation, you have a bit of fragmentation within Apple’s affiliate program as well. Even though they call it the iTunes / App Store Affiliate program as if its singular, that’s not the case whatsoever. In fact, it’s actually a collection of 45 different country-specific affiliate programs, each of the affiliate programs are managed by different affiliate networks. So 45 affiliate programs and 4 affiliate networks, each of those affiliate networks use their own proprietary tracking systems – they’re only specific to certain countries. So it ends up being a bit of a mess for our clients. So what GeoRiot does is we really solve that global fragmentation issue, not only at the storefront level but at the affiliate level as well. The basic idea is we allow our clients to use just a single link and that link will work for an international audience and will allow you to maximize your revenue by using multiple affiliate programs simultaneously. So that’s it in a gist, of course, that was a lot, but we can dive further into it.
Trey: The key thing that stuck out is “multiple affiliate programs simultaneously”. What you can do there it really saves time, energy and puts everything together in a simpler process which you explain was a complicated thing that you guys have made really simple. A developer who wants to focus more on their apps or their marketing can just implement what you have and get right into it.
Jesse: We find so many of our clients never even really knew the affiliate program existed but they’re already linking within iTunes to promote their apps or their friends apps and the affiliate program is a brilliant use there because you’re doing the same thing; you’re linking to the iTunes or App Store, but now you’re able to earn that revenue share on top of it, plus you get some basic tracking as well, so its really just a win-win thing for everyone. We’re surprised more people aren’t using the program.
Trey: Yeah, so this is just a wakeup call to all the subscribers of the magazine, that you guys are really doing some great stuff. Speaking of that, I wanted to see if you could touch on your biggest success right now. With apps in particular, but also with GeoRiot so people can know how you’ve made an impact so far.
Jesse: That’s a great question, I think our biggest piece is really the education aspect you know, so many app developers don’t realize there’s this great potential for an activity they’re already doing. I think some of our biggest wins are just helping people understand that the affiliate program will, for a few instances be a primary revenue model, but for so many app developers, so many game developers, its this amazing secondary revenue model, maybe making money through in-app upgrades or ads, but the affiliate program is just a no-brainer, you’re going to want to do it anyway, so let us help you figure it out. It is a very technical process and we’re trying very hard to make it easier its still a little bit of work to dive in, but I think our greatest success so far is just helping people understand where the potential is and helping them get there.
Trey: Speaking of that, your focus is on the educational aspect of things. I want to tap into how GeoRiot can really help app marketers.
Jesse: The basic problem is that the affiliate program is so fragmented. The GeoRiot service allows the link to be managed from the back end and as you get accepted into more and more affiliate programs you can put those in and the same links will start honoring those tracking codes within about 15 minutes. Our whole goal is to make it as easy as possible. Make one link work everywhere and earn international commissions. It’s just a little work up front. I feel like a broken record repeating the same thing over and over again.
Trey: You said a lot of things. How can someone earn commissions with worldwide affiliate tracking? How does it work?
Jesse: The affiliate program is essentially a program you can sign up for that allows you to earn commission on traffic that you refer. Apple has it set up in different countries, with four different affiliate programs and it’ll pay you either 4% or 5% commission on all the sales you refer over a 72-hour period. So essentially what you have is a specialized link and when someone clicks on the specialized link, a little bit of tracking code is sent along and that user who clicked on the link is going to end up with a cookie and that cookie lasts for 72 hours and when they go, even though they might not buy the app you referred them to, but anything they buy in that 72 hours is going to earn you a commission. So this could be a digital book, TV shows, music, anything inside the iTunes Store, App Store, iBookstore, or the Mac App store is eligible for these commissions. Even if you’re linking to a free app, you know, 5% of a $0 purchase is still zero dollars, but that user may go on to buy a movie and so you may end up with .20 or .25 cents of commission for referring that person. So that’s the affiliate program in a nutshell: it’s all about the specialized link, the 4-5% commission, and the 72-hour window.
Trey: Some people think, “5%, that’s nothing”. But if you put a cookie on someone’s phone, anything someone buys within that period you’re eligible. That’s something people don’t consider. They think its just 5%, and it is 5%, but its 5% of everything, not just the app the purchased at that time.
Jesse: That’s a key point, it makes a lot of sense to still link to free content. There are so many apps that follow the “freemium” business model and developers are hesitant to use the affiliate program. They think “what’s it going to do for me, it’s a lot of extra work to earn 5% off a zero dollar purchase”. But if you look beyond that initial purchase at the 72-hour window it can really add up. We have some very successful clients that leverage it for that reason.
Trey: How Can someone market an app using GR?
Jesse: GeoRiot really works behind the scenes; it’s B2B. Ideally, the consumer will never see us in action. We try to re-route people as fast as humanly possible, well, as fast as computer-possible. So as far as how can they use it to market their app, we still encourage traditional marketing methods: cross-promotion, email, social media, paid ads, etc. There are five in total. It’s really just, any time you’re linking to the app store, use the affiliate program.
Trey: So, to close, can you tell us how someone gets going with GeoRiot either with apps they already have in the store or apps they’re looking to release shortly?
Jesse: The basic step is to sign up with GeoRiot we’ll send you info on how to get signed up for the affiliate programs – we work in conjunction with (not instead of) the affiliate programs and networks. There’s a little bit of hand-holding and work to get things set up initially, but once you’re set up, and have set your links up then you can just start collecting your commission checks from around the world. So, come talk to us and we’ll get the party started!
Trey: That’s really kind of cool that you’ve simplified such a complicated process. What’s the one thing you’d want a developer who’s watching this interview to take away?
Jesse: The biggest thing is that its always going to be a little work up front, but I ‘d really encourage app developers to just dive into it. Clear a couple of hours, let’s get started because as soon as you get started, then you can forget about it. (Until you start receiving commission checks in the mail.) But if you put it off, your app may have a random spike and you could lose out on hundreds or thousands of dollars in commissions. That’s my biggest thing, don’t push it off, just dive in, we’re always here to help make it as painless of a process as possible.
Trey: We’ve learned a lot today. And I just want to stress, that if you aren’t linking and using the affiliate program for your apps, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. Head to GeoRiot.com to learn more and sign up, it’s something simple to implement that can really change the game. I know developers who are making hundreds of thousands of dollars just with affiliate programs inside their apps. This is something you can really use to build your business.