11 minutes

How to choose an App Monetization Platform?

App monetization is a simple way of making money from your product, just by offering advertising space within your app or game. But how to decide what is the best platform to achieve it?

Slavica Grgić

May 17, 2019

The business of mobile apps and games sounds fun? Well, to actually turn an app or game into business, you’ll need to monetize it, and for that, you’ll need a right partner, a right app monetization platform.

In 2018, there were 194 billion mobile downloads. According to AppAnnie, that number has been steadily increasing in the past few years. The technology boom has allowed users to have more apps on their phones without having the need to delete them – average user in the United States, South Korea, Japan, and Australia has over 100 apps on their phone.

Average Number of Ad platforms used in 2017 and 2018.

The number of ad platforms game publishers use grew with the number of downloads. In 1 year, the number of ad platforms used has risen up to 45% in some categories.

Mobile apps are developed for different reasons. Mobile apps can be a marketing channel, an extension of a platform or a service, a way to acquire new users or keep the loyal ones engaged and satisfied. If you’re still reading this article, I’m assuming that your goal is to earn money from your app.

There are different models for monetization of mobile apps, and monetization solutions should be an integral part of user experience. That’s why you need to think about app monetization when you start developing the app. Don’t make the same mistake many app publishers make when they start thinking about monetization after the game is published.

There are different monetization strategies for your app, we wrote more about it in one of our previous articles. After you’ve decided what is the best strategy for your app, you’ll need to choose a platform that will help you reach your goals.

What is ad monetization?

The idea of ad monetization is that you can generate sustainable revenue through your app or mobile game without having to do any hard work. You just need to feature ads from other advertisers in your app or game. In return for your advertising space, you’ll receive a profit.

Most common monetization strategies are:

  1. Advertising based monetization strategy
  2. Freemium model
  3. Paid mobile apps
  4. Subscription model
  5. In-app purchases
Freemium model of app monetization.

Before making a final decision, go through these questions that will help you decide which platform is the best fit for you.

Is their focus on monetization?

There are so many options to choose from. You might be using a mobile ad network to acquire new users, a good thing to know is that many mobile ad networks offer ad mediation and monetization. For example, AppLovin is the biggest mobile ad network following Facebook and Google according to AppsFlyer. AppLovin provides one solution for mobile developers – a place where they can grow their apps and monetize them. It all depends on what you’re searching for.

Some platforms will be completely specialized for one function, while others will be one-stop-solution. Unity is known as a real-time creation platform used to create half of the world’s games. With Unity Ads, game developers can monetize their games, and advertisers reach target audiences across more than 1 billion unique devices. AdMob, for example, specializes in running ads on mobile devices. It is a Google-owned mobile ad network that serves over 200 billion ad request worldwide every month with over 1 million advertisers and has 1 million apps currently running on the AdMob ad network.

What does the app monetization platform specializes in?

Some mobile monetization platforms will be a better choice for apps, other for games. A good thing would be to check out the competition and see what they’re doing. Tools like MobileAction will enable you to see which ads are competitors running, how much impressions they had and which platforms they’re advertising on. You can even see which SDK’s they’ve integrated. To make the best decision for your app, it would be a good thing to take a similar app that is successful in what they’re doing and research their networks.

Do they work with all kinds of mobile apps, or just with some categories like mobile games?

Monetization platforms that are specialized in a certain category will offer you expertise directly related to the content of your app. Different types of apps are used differently and to get the most of your monetization you should have a partner who knows how to optimize for your type of app.

Which ad exchanges and networks does the app monetization platform works with?

App monetization is a simple way of making money from your product, just by offering advertising space within your app or game. But you would probably want to have at least some control over what will be displayed within your app. AI will decide what is the best place to display the ads, and that is not always the best solution for you. Good monetization solution will provide you with a level of oversight and control over the ads.

Some ad formats bring more revenue than others, and according to App Annie, video ads generate the most revenue.

As your advertising demands go up, you’ll need an ad exchange or ad exchange that can meet your needs. Some networks are very open and work on scale, while some are more selective of who they work with.

What ad formats they support?

Some formats will be easier to support, while some will be harder to implement. Formats like banner ads and display ads are quite easy to implement, and it’s not surprising that they’re most often used. They’ll also have some of the lowest per-impression costs.

As time passes, advertisers have to offer more immersive and interactive ad formats like rewarded video and 360-degree video ads that will provide a better user experience. But not every app monetization platform is going to offer you those kinds of ads.

That is another reason to choose a partner who is on top of the trends and constantly innovating.

How is the monetization integrated?

Image result for sdk integration
SDK integration diagram for app monetization.

How accurate the tracking is and how it is done on the server (back-end) side? API integrations will be easier to integrate, but SDK’s will give you more options.

SDK will allow you to call back certain functions, while API is limited with the functions you can control over the informations you’re sending and receiving.

How about mediation?

Ad mediation is a technology that sends ad requests to multiple ad networks to ensure publishers find the best available network to fill their ad slots. Depending on how big solution you’re looking for, you might need to work with dozens of different ad sources and associated SDKs.

Plenty of apps will have between 15 and 18 ad networks/exchange SDKs. A mediation platform will manage requests from all these places into one single source. It will make your app lighter and easier to use, but it will give you more traffic and help you reach your goals.

How long are they in business?

Mobile advertising space is constantly changing, with new players emerging, but it’s good to know how long has your partner been in business and what he has to offer. It all depends on what you’re searching for.

How it is determined which ad will be shown?

This is one of the most important questions you’ll ask yourself. Without proper insight into how ads are displayed, you could end up with the poor quality ads that will deter your users and leave both sides dissatisfied.

In the majority of cases, the ad network or exchange will seek which ad is the best choice for a particular set of users. AI technologies come in hand, learning which ad is best to show where.

In situations where multiple advertisers want to display their ads within the same app, you would think that logical choice would be to display the ads of the highest bidder. It’s not always the case.

Waterfall technique in app monetization.

Many platforms use the waterfall technique of determining which ads will be shown. Waterfall technique means that you’ve set ad network A to serve an ad first, and ad network B to serve an ad in case ad network A has nothing to serve. It is still commonly used, but there are disadvantages to using it. It can lead to latency and suboptimal ad fill rates.

Modern ad networks use real-time bidding to determine which ad is the best to choose in any given time.

User acquisition?

What is user acquisition?

Is there any chance to advertise your app and acquire more users while you’re at it? User acquisition, or commonly referred to as UA is the act of acquiring new users for an app, game, platform or service. User acquisition is building an audience through marketing-driven activity. User acquisition journey never stops, and why not make it a bit easier? Some monetization platforms that will help you monetize your app through advertising will also give you an opportunity to acquire more users through advertising.

It can be a win-win situation because the more users you have, you’ll have more opportunity to display ads within your app.

Customer support?

We’ve all had to go call customer support and stay on hold for hours, waiting for our problem to be solved. Well, if you already have an opportunity to choose, you’ll want a partner who will be able to solve your problem even before it happens. In the world of mobile, time is money and you don’t want to lose any second of your time.

How about innovations?

Are they playing it safe or changing the industry? Innovations like user level ad revenue that IronSource introduced last year are changing the industry and set the bar higher. That kind of partner you’ll be looking for.

To sum up:

There are plenty of things to think about when it comes to monetization. If you have an MVP and a user base, why not make some money while you’re at it? With a choice of the right partner, you won’t bore your users with annoying ads and you’ll be able to acquire more users.

You’re probably wondering what are top Mobile Ad Networks For Monetization in 2019?

These are top mobile ad networks for monetization according to AppsFlyer’s Performance Index. AppsFlyer is a global leader in mobile attribution and marketing analytics. First one was released in 2015. In the latest publication, 14.5 billion of installs and 250 media ad networks are analyzed. AppsFlyer only included media that met strict conditions for anti-fraud practices and low fraud rate.

  • Facebook & Instagram (Audience Network)
  • Google AdMob
  • Applovin
  • UnityAds
  • ironSource
  • Apple Search Ads
  • Vungle
  • CrossInstall
  • Chartboost
  • AdColony

I think you’ll also find these articles interesting! 👇 💁

Mobile user acquisition – 7 ways to attract new users
What is user acquisition (UA)?
11 Key Mobile Game Metrics That Developers MUST Track

About Udonis:

We are an award-winning marketing agency specialized in mobile apps & games. We help scale products that people love, keeping the attention on data and results. Have questions, need help? 🤗 Email us at hello@udonis.co!

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