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10 tips on app monetization by Ads

Showing ads inside your mobile apps / games is one of the most powerful methods for making money from mobile platforms. Here are 10 such tips that any developer should be aware of who is interested in making money from mobile.

10. Display Ads only in free apps

If your app is a paid application then display of Ads is a big NO NO. Besides that, if your app allows in-app purchases then you should ensure that once any purchase has been done, the Ads should be disabled.

09. Dont try to get false clicks

This the most common mistake that almost every new developer does – trying to get clicks by accident or by “cheating”. For example you have a racing game where your user is expected to tap very often to collect boosts. And once in a while, instead of showing a boosts you are popping an ad. Similarly overlapping Ads with game content , buttons or placing them in such a way that user clicks on them by accident – all attribute to “cheating”.

Not only such clicks are often detected and are marked as “false clicks”, they dont give you any revenue. On top of that you might come in the red zone of your ad provider if you are doing it too much.

08. Reward your users to watch video Ads

Video ads by structure are very intrusive. The user is kinda hijacked from the main application for sometime and you might actually loose him if he gets a little “too interested” in the ad. So the least you want is that letting your users hijacked without their consent.

A good way could be to ask your user if he wants to watch a video Ad and informing him in advance what he can expect in return. For example “Get 100 coins for watching a video ? ” with “Yes” and “No” buttons.

07. Banner Ads are the last choice

Based on past experience and on what I have heard from most of the developers : Banner Ads ( the 300×50 type Ads ) are really a waste. Not only they occupy costly real estate of your application, they dont result in much revenue either. Its that kinda money which you can let go for the sake of user experience.

06. Choose your ad provider wisely

Choosing your ad provider can be the single most important decision that can decide what you will take home as revenue. Ad providers’ effectiveness vary by region , audience , application genre and so much more. So you have to do some salt test before you finally decide on where to give your traffic.

05. Cache your ads

No user will wait for eternity to see your ad. So the ad better be there ( prepared ) when it has to be shown. Then its not the time to send a request to fetch it. It should have already been fetched and cached. This is a smart way of showing Ads and making sure that your slots dont go vacant.

04. In house Ads are a cost too

You can choose to show your other apps ad inside your application ( called in house ads ). While this may sound as a FREE ad – its actually not. Think of it this way, the same slot could have been used to show some ad that could have earned you something. So say you showed 100,000 in house Ads. Now consider this, that instead of showing these you had shown genuine Ads. With a CTR of 1% you would have got 1000 clicks. And for an average of 0.5 $ CPC this would mean a revenue of 50$. That is the money you did not earn because you showed your own Ads.

The question is – what if there is an Ad network that can get you more than 100,000 impressions for 50$ ? Wouldn’t it be wiser for you to run your “in house ads” as a paid campaign on that network and let your app do its normal monetization.

You might say hows that possible. Its possible because your app inventory might cost more than some other apps. If people are willing to pay more to get Ad slot in your app then you would want to earn from it and use that cash to do your own ads some where else.

Bottom line is that in house ads are NOT FREE and you have to be a little careful when to show them in which apps and when to give that traffic to others.

03. Tweak your Ad content

Admob allows you to select what kinda ads you want to show – text,video and image. Its a known fact that text ads are not as good as image or video when it comes to paying. You can choose to avoid text ads. Some providers like Chartboost, Revmob let you select the minimum CPC/CPM for which you want to show Ads. Choose these options and you will see an improvement in overall CPC and CPM.

Your application genre is an important point to consider while trying to choose which kind of ads you want to show. Getting user info and passing it to the ad provider can help in this. You can collect user’s gender,location etc settings and pass it to ad provider – which in return can work on it and give you “targeted ads”.

For example : males are more prone to click on harley davidson contest and ladies are more prone to check out the pink colored leather bags. Showing relevant Ads means more clicks.

02. Keep an eye on fill rate

Always keep an eye on fill rate. You get very limited shots to show an ad to your user. Make them count. There are many networks that claim to deliver very high eCPM – but important thing is – what is their fill rate. If an ad provider cannot fill your request for an ad – it does not matter what it “could” pay you for that “not delivered” ad.

01. Use Ad mediation

Once you have made sure that you dont get an empty slot ( meaning a place where your provider doesnt have an ad to show ), the next thing to consider is we maximize our returns. A very simple and smart way to do this is – stack your networks. By stacking I mean that implement a fall back option mechanism. So lets say network “X” promises a very high eCPM but a very low fill rate and network “Y” promises a high fill rate but a low eCPM. Clearly you would want X to take priority and if X fails to deliver an Ad then go for Y. So this way you will end up

a. Getting maximum fill rate for your app

b. The maximum paying networks are given first chance. Only when they fail – the others come into play.

Hope you have enjoyed my post. Would be great to read your comments.

Mayank Sharma is the CTO of Unomer, a mobile in-app market research platform. He is a recognized expert in mobile technologies and is passionate about sharing his experience on topics like app monetization, user acquisition, retention, engagement and analytics. Mayank started his engineering career in the VLSI industry working for leading chip design companies. He then founded ServeSilicon Technologies and created over 75 successful mobile apps and games. Mayank completed his Bachelor of Technology in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

If you have any specific queries Mayank can be reached at and check out

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