Regarding the forced move now to the Advertising ID - for Admob users that means you HAVE to switch from the old Admob SDK to the new Google Play services version of the SDK. Since the old Admob does not support Advertising ID.
Those who’ve already done this - is there something to watch out for (any pitfalls ?) - that is not obvious from the migration guide.
For reference, here are the Google references for that:
Google Play Services Migration
Set Up Google Play Services SDK
ANDROID 2.2 AND EARLIER
For the new one - you need to target above Android 3.2 (not a problem) - but the minSdkVersion should be Android 2.3+ (API 9+) in AndroidManifest.xml
For me this will mean - what should I do about the Android 2.2 (API 8) users of the apps ? For them the app would just disappear from Google Play. But they would continue to use their apps for some time - still using the old Admob SDK without the new advertising ID.
So would Admob penalize me for that ? Or is the screening process only for new apps or updates ? The language on Google Developer Console does not suggest so:
As of March 28, 2014 , the new Google Play Developer Program Policy (“Content Policy”) will be in effect for all new applications submitted to the service. Any pre-existing applications must achieve compliance or be voluntarily unpublished by the developer within 15 days of the issuance of this notification.
A reasonable middle ground interpretation of this for “pre-existing apps” would suggest that - as long as you have updated the app on Google Play then you are ok. If the same app continues to use the old Admob SDK without advertising ID - then you are still ok. Let’s hope this is what Google intends as well.
The good news regarding EXCLUDING Android 2.2 (or below Android 2.3 to be precise) is that for one of my apps, the number of current installs for:
Android 2.2 - 2000
Android 2.3 - 12 (i.e. is a rare version)
Android 2.3.3 to 2.3.7 - 12,000
Total current installed base of 80,000.
So Android 2.2 is a relatively small 2000 out of 80,000 current installs.
MEDIATION setups AND PUBLISHER IDs should continue to work
Google says SAME publisher IDs you are using now will work. And says it is compatible with “existing mediation adapters” (???)
The Google Play services library does support publisher IDs from the legacy AdMob console, and is compatible with existing mediation adapters.
ORPHAN APP INSTALLATIONS
Publisher ID working is understandable. But how will the other mediation adapter .jar files for AppBrain, mmedia and others work ?
It would be one thing if the other advertisers issue mediation adapters for the new Google Play stuff. But until that happens, what should we do - continue to use the old adapters as if the old Admob SDK is being used ?
In any case, if other advertisers have not issues Google Play compliant SDKs yet - then the mediation adapters are the least of the problem - the issue becomes whether one should REMOVE the other ad networks (until compliant .jar files become available from them).
IF we remove all other ad networks - and just use Admob Google Play services version. Then a few versions of your app will be going out WITHOUT other ad networks SDKs. Let’s call these the special case versions of your app. A year later, after you’ve added back all the ad networks SDKs, and you get complacent - you change the mediation settings in Admob to give traffic to another ad network.
HOWEVER, you are forgetting that maybe 10% of your user base is still using that “special case version” of the app - and those apps will crash because they were shipped without other ad network SDKs.
So what is the solution ?
Maybe start using NEW publication ID for the new version of the apps (using the new Google Play services version of Admob).
This way you are ALWAYS clear what apps are affected by what publication ID.
However, you run the risk of having to build up an “app reputation” again for the apps - leaving behind the understanding Admob may have built up already for your app user base (thereby sending you higher quality targeted ads).
Or should one just ABANDON all other ad networks - and just stick to Admob from now on ?
Or should one switch to using a “temporary” (in your mind) publication ID for these versions of your app. Once you have all the Google-compliant ad networks SDKs, then you can switch back to using your “old” publication IDs again.
AUTOMATIC UPDATES OF NEW GOOGLE PLAY services version of Admob
We have been told that with new Google Play services Admob - that the SDK will be updated along with Google Play updates. So you won’t have to keep updating the Admob SDK .jar file in your apps ?
What is happening in this case ? You are setting a marker in your app that it will use the Google Play services - as outlined here:
However, do ALL versions of Google Play services support Admob ad delivery ?
What percentage of Android users are running OLD versions of Google Play that does not have Admob capabilities ? (potential for revenue loss as no ads be delivered to them - or the app crashes in worst case scenario).
Is Google Play FORCIBLY updated by Google for all android users ?
One thing promised by Google is that even on non-Google Play devices (like Amazon Kindle or the new Nokia X android phones) - that ads will STILL be delivered EVEN if there is no Google Play on that device:
The Google Play services library supports even devices that don’t have the Google Play store. To update such devices, download and bundle the latest Google Play services SDK; then relaunch your apps to propagate updates to your users. Devices that do have the Google Play store are automatically updated to the latest version.
Is this “download and bundling” the same as the default case - or do you need to do something extra beyond just the reference to the Google Play services in Eclipse (as suggested in the link above) ?