Today’s customers demand fast and responsive access to the most frequently used parts of a service or business.
From shopping, to car insurance, to personal finance, even mortgage shopping, customers want it on their phones and tablets, and they want it for free.
Apps are a must-have for almost every company in today’s fast-paced digital world.
Ads have proven time and time again to be the most effective way to support the development and ongoing support of an app, or even turn a profit, but there are important things to keep in mind when monetizing your mobile experience.
Choose The Right Advertising Partner
Ad providers come in a variety of sizes and specialties, from their product (video, display, rich media, etc.) to their focus (brands, other apps, etc.). Some generate focus on quantity over quality, putting their display ads in front of as many eyes as possible. Some generate clicks from quality users by working with the largest and most successful brands. Other ad providers use a wealth of data and machine learning to focus on getting high quality users (determined by how likely users are going to monetize later, how much and long they’ll use a given app, etc.) viewing their video and rich media ads. These higher quality users are more loyal and generate a higher ROI, so advertisers pay more for their eyes and engagement.
The quality versus quantity debate is one worth keeping tabs on. Quality-focused networks generate viewers that are hyper-relevant to your business whereas quantity-focused networks generate as large a pool of viewers as possible. Both have their pros and cons, but quality-based networks tend to result in higher earnings.
Do the research before you integrate and make sure the partner you’re choosing is right for your mobile experience.
A good ad partner will also help and share best practices, stay on top of current trends, and have someone assigned to your account to make sure you’re happy. Remember – a good ad provider is a partner, and views you the same way.
Plan Monetization From The Beginning
Regardless of the type of app, monetization should be considered from the beginning. Charging for an app that’s supplemental to your core service, such as shopping or banking, is a non-starter. An app that costs real money will automatically hit a barrier that the most successful apps don’t have.
Planning ahead will pay off. You need to plan where you want your users to interact with ads. Do you want to reward them for interacting with ads, or do they just need to see them occasionally? Consider the ad medium, whether its video ads, rich media, display/banner, or a combination of both. Give some thought to how users will interact with these ads.
Thinking about each of these questions will help your mobile experience reach the goals and objectives you’re looking for.
Make Ads Additive, Not Interruptive
One of the most popular integrations in mobile gaming is the rewarded video ad zone, where players receive in-game rewards such as an extra life or currency for engaging with an ad.
This approach has become incredibly successful because it’s a value exchange between the publisher and the player. The publisher gets an ad view and the player gets appreciation for engaging.
Pop-up banner ads, or other ads that disrupt the user experience, can be a big turn off if not used at an appropriate time.
For example, let’s say there’s a movie you want to watch. You’re ready to check out movie times and buy movie tickets. When you land on the page, you accidentally tap on an ad for the latest rom-com that loaded milliseconds before your thumb hit the screen. Chances are you’ll be a bit frustrated.
This type of full-screen advertisement should come at a natural break in the experience – when a player dies in a game, for instance. Choosing a high quality ad provider will also help with this, since faster loading content makes ads less intrusive.
Focus on engagement and messaging
Generally speaking, once you have a mobile app, that’s going to be the number one point of contact a customer or user will have with your company.
Push notifications and in-app notifications are an important part of having an app. Messaging in general can be useful to notify customers of new features, remind them when timers are up, or to reveal when things they were waiting for become available. Some notifications can be automated, but others can advertise special sales or limited-time events, and may need to be scheduled or planned in advance.
Each notification is an invitation to engage with your app, and every engagement can be an an ad view or a purchase, leading to higher monetization. Messaging, engagement, and active management of your app shows you care about the user experience. Caring keeps users engaged, and that means better monetization.
Don’t sweat the day-to-day numbers
If you’re monetizing with a good ad partner, you can log in and see earnings, impressions, and a variety of other stats. Stats like earnings, eCPM (effective cost per thousand impressions), fill rate, clicks, and Ad Average Revenue Per Daily Active User (ARPDAU) should be transparent, allowing you to tweak small things and look for room to improve your monetization strategy.
Look for trends, run experiments, and optimize based on your findings, but don’t sweat the small stuff either. Just like smart investing, monetizing well means focusing on long-term trends.
Mobile advertising can still be a whitewater rapid ride of peaks and troughs from time to time, like when a large advertiser floods ad networks with a big campaign and lots of cash. When that cash is gone, you may think your app is suddenly monetizing much worse when that isn’t really the case.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to an account manager and see what’s going on if you do see a long-term trend. A good ad partner will help you identify what may be causing a downward trend, and offer best practices to correct it.
Wrapping it all up
Whether you’re just dipping your toes into mobile, or jumping in feet first, monetization is and will remain one of the most important aspects of the industry. Ignoring monetization is a perilous choice that very few businesses can support.
Take your time, do your research, and plan ahead. If you approach it with a cool head and a specific goal and gameplan in mind, it’s hard to fail. Once you’re comfortable, learning from the experience becomes that much easier, and success will follow success.
The Art & Science of App Monetization