Low eCPM in Microsoft Advertising pubCenter for non US developers?

Sleep Bug was released on Windows Phone Marketplace in March 2011. It was released as a free app with advertisement (Microsoft Advertising pubCenter). Initially pubCenter was not available to Norwegian developers, but as many others I created an account and started getting impressions. Although eCPM (effective cost per thousand impressions) where not even close to when pubCenter was released I reached eCPM of 3-6 dollars on good days.

In October 2011 pubCenter became available to Norwegian developers so I created a new pubCenter account and transferred my revenue from my old US pubCenter account to my newly created Norwegian account. I also released a new version of Sleep Bug and updated the ad unit. Unfortunately the eCPM on my Norwegian developer account did not come even close to what I was used to. eCPM was as low as 0.1-0.3 dollar, and that forced me to think differently. I had to make some changes to increase revenue and decided to create a PRO version. When it comes to functionality the PRO version is identical to the free version, but it contains 9 extra scenes.

Deciding on the price of the app was not easy but I figured out that 1.99 was a fair price for the app. I think users who consider buying this app will buy it regardless weather its 0.99 or 1.99 (it would definitely not scare away 50% of the potential buyers). To promote the pro version I released a new free version with banners promoting the paid version of Sleep Bug. Within a week Sleep Bug Pro was top 20 in the top paid rankings in the US. A thing to notice here is that among the top 20 apps in the Health and Fitness category mine is the only one that does not contain a trial version. Based on this I’m pretty sure the ranking system in the Marketplace for paid apps heavily weights purchases instead of trial downloads.

One could argue that I should have removed Sleep Bug from the free section and only offer a paid version, but I decided not to do this due to the size of the application (Sleep Bug Pro is 225MB).

When it comes to downloads of the free version vs. the paid version the ratio is about 4.0%. Not very high but it generates 500-700 dollar a month. This is far more then pubCenter generated (the US pubCenter account generated 1000 dollars in 5 months).

Below is an image showing the current ranking of the PRO version. Currently it is top 100 in 26 countries (in the Health and Fitness category).