Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Leadbolt CPI App Arbitrage – Case Study


So I recently found out that Leadbolt can facilitate cost per install (CPI) Android based campaigns in their system.  Check out the info here:  Leadbolt CPI.  Read the last line on the page to see what I’m talking about.  Not only was it CPI traffic, but it was NON-INCENT CPI traffic which means its usually a higher quality type traffic.  The only barrier to entry to using this traffic was they require an Insertion Order of no less than $5,000.00 to start and you must be the owner of the application (which means no grabbing an app install offer from a CPA network and putting it there..  this won’t work.)  So I approached the network and was able to talk them down to a $3000.00 (my favorite number) IO to get things started.

Now that I was in, I need an app to promote.  To be as open as possible, I found a “Jobs” mobile formatted CPA offer over on the Neverblue network that was paying out $2.50 per lead.

Neverblue Job Scout Campaign

I figured I could create a mobile app wrapper around the offer and have my own lead gen android application with an embedded cpa offer for monetization.  Simple right?  Actually it was.  Not gonna go into the details of creating the app per say, but let’s just say at the end of the day the process was simple to do.  I uploaded the app to Google Play, provided a description and published it.  The only additional thing I had to do was import Leadbolt’s tracking SDK into the app.  This would allow me to monitor conversions (installs) within the Leadbolt tracking console.

Working with my account manager I learned that in order to be a competitive bidder I needed to bid somewhere between $1.25 to $1.50 an install.  Crap!!, thats pretty expensive for my taste for a CPI campaign. I’m used to spending about .20 an install for traffic, however, that was incent traffic.   I figured hey I’d try it anyway since is Non-Incent traffic right and the lead would be more qualified.  Also, I had an out clause in place that stated that if for any reasons the traffic was not working out for me that I could stop the campaign and get my remaining deposit back. Plus I was capping my install budget to $100.00 a day.  So with those security blankets in place, I got the campaign started.

This test was conducted over a 2 week time frame.  I’ve included a chart below that details my results.  The first thing you may take notice of is the fact that 1st 4 days of the campaign I was getting a few installs Nothing breath taking, but a consistent amount of installs and then the following 7 days the installs came in at a trickle.  This was because I was doing some optimization based on converting handsets…   You’ll see that the installs picked back up later on.

Leadbolt CPI Campaign Stats

All and all you can see from this chart that this case study was a failure.  Although I was getting Non-Incent installs, the percentage of installs that were actually translating to a CPA conversion was relatively low.  Based on my calculations, in order for me to break even, I’d need to have had a conversion rate of 50% on my CPA offer.  I was no where near those numbers.  This as something I expected, in the back of my mind.  I wanted to collect the data to see how well this concept would work.  Here’s the thing, I’m brokering a CPA offer within my application.  Although this gives me immediate revenue, this limits me revenue ceiling per conversion at $2.50.  However, if I create my own offer, which is relatively easy as well, I’m sure I could theoretically extend that revenue ceiling to say $10.00 or more per conversion, thus allowing me to pay a higher CPI on the front end.

I’m in the process of testing this out at the moment and will provide more case studies in the future around this subject of App CPI arbitrage.

Although this example did not work out to my liking, I know this model has potential.

Till Next Time

Ollie James Hales

signing off.



7 Responses to “Leadbolt CPI App Arbitrage – Case Study”
  1. bbeams says:

    Hey Ollie, great to see what your testing. I am experimenting with creating my own offer at the moment. Yet to see if it will be profitable but I am learning a lot. Brett

  2. admin says:

    Yeah Brett,

    I’ve come to realize that the money is in owning your own offer or product. Sucks running an offer for a long time and then the rug get pulled from you all a sudden. Just happened to me this morning with an offer I was running. Oh well, that’s how this game goes…

    Hey keep me abreast of your offer. Maybe we can exchange ideas and stuff.

  3. chart3 says:

    Thanks again Ollie for sharing such important and useful information.

  4. admin says:

    No problem man…..trying to document what I do and hopefully get some ideas from the readers of my blog.

  5. Marcovan says:

    Another great case study. I didn’t even know LB did CPI.

    And yes… the money is owning the offers your self. I’m heavily researching to set up my own offers in the mobile space

  6. Jason says:

    Well, incent traffic can be an effective tool in order to reach the particular goals. But you have to make sure, that you attracting the target audience almost exclusively. We can offer you high-quality traffic from Android phones. Check out our system at

  7. didmi says:


    Thank you for sharing your insights.

    Although your bottom-line is negative, I can see an opportunity here if you promote multiple advertisers at once instead of one affiliate program. This strategy is nothing new and has been implemented for more than a decade by most of the desktop affiliates.

    My question is this:

    Why did you create an app to promote such affiliate programs on mobile?

    This creates an additional barrier to get scale since you need to invest a lot of money to have your app installed on users’ handsets prior to generating revenue through affiliate programs.

    Is it to create your own community of users then get organic traffic and stop buying media in the long term?
    Not sure if this is the right choice since the % of active app users is dropping drastically when you stop advertising.

    Wouldn’t it be cheaper to buy standard mobile ad inventory then redirect users to your mobile websites and embed affiliate links/images from multiple advertisers?

    Just my two cents here. Trying to build a profitable model.

    Please send me your thoughts.

    Thanks and Regards,


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