Amazon threatens Google's ad supremacy with Mobile Ads API for Android app developers

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Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is rolling out its Mobile Ads API beta, enabling third-party developers to integrate display advertising into their Android applications and games.

The Amazon Mobile Ads API serves ads to U.S. users across devices including the digital retail giant's own Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD tablets as well as rival Android smartphones and tablets: "Apps that use the Amazon Mobile Ads API may be distributed through any Android platform as long as they are distributed through the Amazon Mobile App Distribution Program," the company notes.

Amazon promises developers "high-quality ads" spotlighting its own products and services as well as its brand partners, alongside four-step API integration and revenue tracking through a single portal. Ad targeting options include latitude and longitude coordinates, gender and floor price; the API also includes an AdListener interface allowing developers to track ad lifecycle events.

"[Developers] can specify a list of advertiser names, advertiser product categories, or URLs that aren't appropriate for your customers using the restrictions page under the Settings menu item," Amazon's FAQ states, adding developers may also promote their Android apps within the Amazon Mobile Ad Network to drive installs. To download the Amazon Mobile Ads API, click here.

Amazon's move into in-app mobile advertising signals its latest threat to Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) dominance over the Android ecosystem. Google launched the Android mobile OS largely to extend core services like advertising and search to the mobile channel; the company generated about $40 billion in total ad revenue in 2012 and recently overhauled its AdWords platform to reach consumers across all device screens, a move advertising industry executives said will increase its mobile ad revenues and assuage concerns that the shift from the desktop to smartphones and tablets is damaging its bottom line.

But while Android developers have struggled to monetize their games via Google's own Play storefront, the Amazon Appstore for Android has proven an increasingly lucrative alternative, boosted by Amazon's retail expertise. Last year, app store analytics firm Flurry reported that for every $1 generated by Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) pacesetting App Store for iOS, Amazon Appstore yields an average of $0.89 per user, while Google Play earns developers just $0.23 per user. In late 2012, Amazon reported that Appstore for Android downloads have increased 500 percent year-over-year.

Last month, Amazon introduced Coins, a virtual currency designed to drive purchases of Kindle Fire-optimized applications, games and in-app goods. Officially launching this May, Amazon Coins will co-exist alongside Appstore for Android credit card purchase options billed to the customer's Amazon account. Each Amazon Coin is worth one cent, so an app priced at $2.99 will cost 299 Amazon Coins. Amazon said it will give away tens of millions of dollars' worth of free Amazon Coins when the effort goes live this spring, adding that consumers can purchase additional Coins using their existing Amazon accounts.

Potential use case scenarios for Amazon Coins include gifts from one Kindle Fire owner to another. Parents also could award children a Coins allowance to control their spending on apps and in-app purchases. Amazon Appstore developers will earn their standard 70 percent revenue share when customers make purchases using Amazon Coins, and Amazon will continue paying developers in U.S. dollars.

For more:
- read this Next Web article
- read this AdWeek article

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