Webtrends Brings Drag-and-Drop Interface and Ads API Integration to its App Creation Services

Mobile and social analytics provider Webtrends has upgraded its app creation and promotion packages with collaboration functionality, drag-and-drop interface, and integration with its Facebook ads API services. The improvements allow users to design apps without programming, run advertising campaigns with automatic dynamic bid management, and view post click conversion and engagement analytics within the same system. Peter Yared, CEO of Webtrends’ recent full-service and self-service app creator acquisition Transpond, spoke with us about trends in the types of apps the company’s clients have been using.

Webtrends acquired Transpond in August and has integrated its services and technology to offer start-to-finish solutions for launching apps on platforms including Facebook, MySpace, iPhone, Android, and Facebook Connect websites. Yared says that clients of the two separate companies frequently requested the other’s services, so joining the teams seemed logical. Many other companies we’ve profiled recently, including InvolverContext OptionalVitrue, and Wildfire offer app creation services. However, these services don’t offer the efficiency of marketing spend available through a Facebook ads API tool, or self-service app design which is as easy as with Webtrends.

Previously, Webtrends clients had to use coordinates and pixel counts to position and size design elements when creating apps. The new drag-and-drop interface makes composition similar to designing a Powerpoint presentation. Marketing teams familiar with arranging creative assets to make banner ads will be able to publish applications without the help of engineers.

Webtrends has added a collaboration inviter which allows clients to give additional team members permission to edit an app or view analytics on its performance. Collaborators can’t edit apps concurrently, but the the system works well for dividing initial app creation and post-publishing maintenance responsibilities.

Once apps have been installed on a Facebook Page, released to an app store, or otherwise published, Webtrends can conduct managed spend advertising campaigns to promote the app through its Facebook ads API tool. Targeting parameters and creative elements are combined to create all the possible permutations of an ad. Clients set a budget and specific bid maximums, and Webtrends’ algorithms automatically adjust bid prices to maximize conversions or other desired metrics. Typically, an advertising tool or full-service provider would have to provide conversion tracking pixels to be embedded in the app’s code, but with Webtrends the apps are created with conversion tracking already on board.

Webtrends offers three Social Accelerator Packages. $15,000 buys a single campaign, $30,000 buys multiple campaigns, and $45,000 gets clients set up with multiple apps and a schedule for rotating them through a Facebook Page tab. Each package comes with advertising, of which Webtrends takes 10% of spend, so the $15,000 package is actually $10,000 in app creation and consulting, $4500 to Facebook in advertising, and $500 for Webtrends’ ad fee. While this is a relatively high markup on advertising, clients have the entire custom app creation and optimized marketing process handled within a single system.

Since Webtrends works with clients to find the most appropriate, best performing apps for their campaigns, we asked Yared if he had noticed any trends in what types of apps have been the most successful lately. He says the company was a bit surprised to see a resurgence in popularity and performance of older app types such as badges, especially for non-profits, and this-or-that voting apps. Yared believes that after a period where brands would devote “$150,000 to a big campaign and make really complicated apps that click off into iframes just to justify their spend, clients are going back to basics.” Songs cards which can be posted to walls, web forms, and other low-touch apps are performing significantly better than high-touch, user generated content apps and contests where users upload photos or video.

Yareds advice? “Give something to your fans every two weeks that interests them — keep the content fresh, and keep cycling though apps.”

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