The Art & Science of App Monetization


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.

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.

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.

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.

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