In the ever changing world of mobile app development we see developers come and go because they don’t have the marketing skills to see their creation become financially successful for them to continue. My purpose for writing this article is to share a little knowledge and experience to give back to the community and hopefully help a few of you keep the lights on.
Everyone wants to create the next “Angry Birds”, but the reality is that the big hits are few and far between so the savvy developer knows to spread his exposure out over larger numbers of applications that ALL make a little revenue with the potential that there will be a few that make good income for you. When you approach your business this way it gives you a base to work with and then you have a net to fall into while you are walking the tightrope of developing that next MONSTER APP!
Successful mobile app publishing requires that you do not put all of your eggs in one basket, which means you neither put all of your capital into one app, nor do you allocate all of your traffic and impressions to one Ad Network. I go into this is more detail in this post, “Why Set and Forget Will Kill…” You must constantly test because as the Ad Network’s inventory of advertisers and available ads is constantly changing as fast as everything else in this fast paced and constantly evolving industry.
Mobile app developers and publishers who want to have a successful and long lasting business must be open to changes but at the same time must be able to differentiate between ideas and opinions that are valuable and actionable, meaning that the time and cost required to implement them results in an acceptable increase in return on investment or ROI. You can get good information from your users and also from investors if you are a public company, BUT, you have to remember not to let the “tail wag the dog” – there is a good reason why football fans aren’t calling the plays for NFL football teams and the same applies here – if you let investors run your company then they can ruin your company as well.
Hire talented people to help you accomplish your mission and only hire people that you can trust to do the job you hire them for. As you grow as a mobile developer you will have to learn to let go of more and more in order to focus on the details that will make you or break you as a mobile app developer. Developing an application is one thing, monetizing it is quite another animal altogether which is why employing someone who is competent and adept at analyzing data from your users, ad networks, etc is crucial to your ultimate survival as a mobile app developer in the future.
The difference in eCPM and fill rates from one ad network to another can mean the difference in whether you can afford to grow or even maintain operations. If a network is only getting a 50% fill rate and you are sending them a million impressions a month, 500k of them are effectively going in the garbage – you are earning nothing on them. You need to get as close to 100% as possible, I haven’t found one yet that can give that but if you test properly you can optimize each app for each ad network that will give you the highest percentages. I have seen variations across different Ad Networks of fill rates from 20% to 90% and eCPMS have varied from .50 to over $2.00 – NOT paying attention to that can cost you a fortune, it can also cost you your business.
I’ll write more on this subject in the future but in closing just remember that this is a new frontier we are in and you must constantly test to be sure you are optimizing revenue for each mobile application you bring to market, unless you are some mega rich philanthropist who has a thing for giving away mobile apps, but if you were you probably wouldn’t be reading this…
Share this article
Okay, now that I have you attention let me explain further and hopefully I can give back to the community with some tips that any app developer or publisher should know if they intend to remain a viable business going forward. Many mobile app publishers and developers have either zero or very little marketing experience, they know PHP, but they don’t know eCPM! The lack of knowledge in this crucial area of a mobile app business can be costly.
This article is mainly directed towards in app advertising, however there are a couple of little nuggets you may pick up from this for other areas of your business. Many new mobile app publishers will choose to just use iAds or AdMob and leave it at that but that type of set it and forget it business model is literally costing larger companies millions of dollars!
This is still the Wild Wild West of the mobile app publishing and advertsing sector of mobile app technology, there are many other opportunities for those publishers who take the time to watch their data, analyze it and make changes DAILY!
First, you must realize what fill rates and eCPMS are and why you must pay very close attention to them in order to not only stop the bleeding in your in app advertising revenue but also maximize your ROI for every app in your inventory.
The screenshot above represents the key data that you need to be concerned with when managing the ad networks for your mobile applications and/or websites. Now I am no analytically gifted data nerd so this is entirely in “laymen’s terms”, LOL.
The number of impressions is the number of times your app displayed ads, the fill rate is the percentage calculated between the number of requests for ads and actual impressions shown. For Ad Networks that track actual click throughs, the clicks, conversions, and CTR numbers track the progress of the user through the ad networks from the app.
eCPM represents your profit or earnings per thousand impressions. Bottom line – the higher the fill rate and the higher your eCPMs, the more money you will earn. I know of many developers and publishers that run their advertising only through iAds, iAds fill rates are below 50%, so that means that 50% of your traffic is seeing no ads at all! THAT is costing you money every hour of every day.
This post is a work in progress and will be added to as I have more to give you, but the main point I want to make to all developers out there is to not put all of your eggs in one basket. Whether you are seeking ad revenue from your app inventory or you desire to create ad campaigns for promoting your own apps across ad networks, you must select several different ad networks and test them against each other. Some applications will perform substantially better across various ad networks and can be as much as $3-4 difference in eCPM!
DO THE MATH, ” NUMBERS” GUYS!
If you are getting a decent number of impressions, this can be costing you hundreds if not thousands of dollars everyday. This is why it is crucial for any mobile app development or publishing company to have someone on staff to maintain, analyze and oversee the advertising and marketing for each mobile application and website in your inventory.
STAY TUNED – Click on the RSS Button to subscribe to the feed and get my updates… I will include some Ad Networks for you when I update this post…