In the first half of 2012, Guohe decided to shift the focus to game app cross promotion and established a new brand, MIX. Founded in 2010, Guohe initially aimed to become a mobile ad exchange that had integrated several mobile ad networks including AdChina, Adwo, Madhouse, InMobi, etc. It also joined Baidu’s mobile ad platform in mid-2012 in the hope to share revenues from a bigger platform.
Two years later, mobile app-focused advertising didn’t turn out to be encouraging to Guohe. The revenue shared from a bigger platform like Baidu was minor too.
Now, one year after it shifted focus to mobile game advertising, Guohe concludes it’s the right direction.
No wonder. Mobile game is one of the hottest businesses — if not the very hottest — in China’s mobile Internet market. There were crazy acquisitions (here and here) or IPO plans. Online gaming giants such as Tencent and Shanda have establish separate mobile game platforms. Mobile apps with huge user bases like WeChat turn to mobile gaming to make their first money in the mobile Internet era. People including Qihoo CEO Zhou Hongyi estimate that the mobile gaming market would be bigger than that of client games or web games (or browser games).
Like Chartboost, Guohe offers cross promotion and game network. The difference is Guohe’s cross promotion helps one game place ads on many games at one time. With Guohe, game developers decide where in a game ads are allowed; Guohe would decide for registered game developers in which games to place ads.
Guohe charges advertisers CPM-based fees and shares revenues with developers on a CPC basis. The click-through rate with its game network is 7-14% and that with the cross promotion is higher than 13%, according to Guohe. The activation rate is 6-15%.
In the past year Guohe only served games on iOS platform. It will open the business to Android games this week. So far Guohe platform has over 1500 registered developers, over 1000 iOS games have embedded with its SDK.
With no more than 30 employees, Guohe, backed by venture capital, expects to break even this year.