Newbie looking for guidance on app monetization

I’m a junior android developer on my way to create my first app. It’s already consuming almost all of my free time, which is already limited due to my day job (I work as an outsource junior developer for other applications). As you already know, the prospect of making money from an app, acts as the number one factor for its survival. I don’t claim that I want to make a living out of it, but it would be cool if I could make some money which I could invest back into the app itself. As I have cooperated in the past with digital marketers, my experience showed me that a good way to earn profit, is through ads.
I took a look around the forum’s threads, and stumbled upon a ton of questions and answers, of technical nature about ads that due to my lack of knowledge gave me a headache (told you, I’m a noob!).
Since I’m on the beginner’s level, I have some beginner’s questions to ask. So if anyone is kind enough to enlighten me, I would be more than grateful!

[li]Where is the best placement for an ad to show up in an app?
[/li][li]When is the best time for an ad to show up in an app?
[/li][li]Is it best to show only ads relative to the concept of my app, and is there a way to do so?
[/li][li]Do, the factors questioned above, even matter?
[/li][li]Do you have some ad network to recommend for a starter?

Thank you all, in advance :slight_smile:

Welcome :slight_smile: I will give you my opinion based on my experience…

1&2) On app launch. It’s the most profitable placement. I would avoid banners. After the on app launch ad, you can give the best experience to your users without ads (depend on the session length of your app, and other factors… you may include some interstitial after some time of the app being used)
3) It depends, sure I would choose some categories that are similar (some ad networks let you do that), and include games.
4) Placement of the ad sure it does matter.
5) Mobilecore is the one that I’m using for a long time. Good eCPM (it’s what tells you how much you will earn every 1000 impressions), great support and no problem with the money.

Hope it helps, good luck!

Hello @ceholo, welcome to the forum.

Defining a monetization strategy upfront while designing your app is one of the best practises. However there is no great answer to any of the questions since everything depends on the context and structure of your app and there is no one better than you to judge.

Where is the best placement for an ad to show up in an app?

Firstly you have to see what type of ads fit best for your app according to its context. If you do not have a reward system embedded in your strategy you should decide what it should be best for your app, Interstitials banner ads, exit ads. It really depends on how is your app’s flow. Try not to interrupt user while using the app and place the ads that can fill part of the flow of the app.

When is the best time for an ad to show up in an app?

Again this depends heavily on the context of the app. Studies has shown that users may not get annoyed too much if user sees an ad early on in the lifecycle of the app usage or after a successful level completion. Try to capitalize about positive emotions of the user during the app usage. Do not bother users on critical points of the app since this converts only to frustration and affects retention.

Is it best to show only ads relative to the concept of my app, and is there a way to do so?

This is something that would be awesome but very few networks out there allow some sort of filtering of ads by category and again this is too general.

Do, the factors questioned above, even matter?

Of course everything matters. The time and place an ad is shown, the feelings of the user and a lot of other factors can make this work or lead you to failure!

Do you have some ad network to recommend for a starter?

Usually everyone starts with AdMob and then you can experiment with other networks. :slight_smile: Never rely on a single ad network.

Some other things that you should consider is what is the profile of your user base like age groups, geographies etc in order to be able to choose more wisely your ad networks.

Hope this post helped you a little bit :slight_smile:

Most of what @andreasv wrote is very accurate. However, with so many decisions you have to make, it must be super confusing for you to know what’s right. So let me try to help:

  1. Start with an interstitial at app launch. This is usually the best time, place and ad type to show an ad. There are many more options of course, but this will be less intrusive than others. And usually make more moeny.
  2. In the first few months, you should be more focused on getting users to install your app and use it frequently. Money should come later.
  3. Don’t put too many ads in your app. It will make your users uninstall it. If you want to add more ads to your app, do it slowly.
  4. Always use more than 1 ad network. That’s a general rule that all developers should consider. You never know what will happen tomorrow. We’ve seen already so many networks shut down. Always better to minimize your dependency on one supplier.
    Don’t be affraid to make mistakes! You will surely make a few. The only mistakes you should never make are the mistakes that will make Google ban your app. And here’s a summary of what will make Google do that:
    a place where app developers share ideas, discuss exciting new projects and above all - have fun!

Hope this helps :slight_smile:

+1 to most of the points raised above.
@ceholo may I ask what type of app are you developing? is it a game or a utility app? The advertising experience is different for game/utility apps and you can find your own optimal ad placement usually by starting from the best practices for each category and then doing your own trial and error.

When selecting an ad placement, try to have the following in mind:
a) you want a location that is highly visible (more eyeballs -> more clicks -> more money for you)
b) you don’t want to interrupt your normal user experience to display ads (interruption == frustration -> users abandoning your app or even leaving bad reviews)
c) as @jonathan said already, start slowly with a couple ad placements at the beginning to test the waters and user appetite (bonus: use a variety of ad placements, if possible, to delay as possible any potential advertising fatigue)

You should aim for the first month after launch to generate some revenue from mobile ads and then after you make sure your app is sticky enough and users come back, you can put your energy into optimizing and maximizing revenue.

P.S. in my opinion, although it’s an easy integration there are better alternatives than displaying an interstitial to a first-time user at app launch - if you had to put yourself in your users shoes, do you want the first thing that you see once you open the app you just downloaded to be a full-screen ad? In my head, this is the definition of being intrusive and one of the main problems of the traditional mobile advertising strategies out there. Put your users interests first while creating an awesome UX and revenue from ads will eventually follow.

As andreasv and jonathan pointed out, there are the proven best practices.

I do suggest you give both of them a try since our solution doesn’t collide with theirs and would help you gain more revenue from your app.

In a general sense, if a user does not visit your app (running in the background), it is not monetized but what if you could monetize it even if it’s not running in the background?

That’s why we created HomeBase - it is an out of the box solution for monetization of your most prized real estate - the lockscreen.

I suggest you give us a try by signing up here.



Thank you all for your responses! It’s been a great help for me.
I’ll try to sum up the best points made until now (followed by some questions that emerged)

@andreasv What does age or geography, have to do with choosing an ad network?

@jonathan Thank you for the guide on Google’s rules and also for the excellent advice :smiley:
Do you have any additional reading for me?

@mak My app is a utility, used by companies with a lot of employees working different swifts (coffee shops, bars etc.), for internal organization.
Do you have any alternatives to propose instead of interstitial ads?

Hello @ceholo, thank you for your message. Geography and age group can be a major factor when choosing an ad network. For example, if most of your apps have user base from Italy then if you choose an ad network that does not have ads for Italy then it does not make any sense. Ad networks are strong in different geographies. For example we have very good inventory in Greece (since are offices are there too) where other ad networks have very poor connections there to attract inventory.

Age group can also be a major factor. For example if your apps are for kids you should search more deeply for the right network for you. Most of ad networks comply with COPPA regulations and therefore it will be difficult for you to monetize your apps. However we have seen ad networks rising for kids audience.

Just my 2 cents in this thread :slight_smile:

If you are a junior developer,all the tips above are enough for you to know about app monetization,but i think you should improve your app quality and user experience firstly then consider monetization,many developers try to make money too early to succeed

@ceholo I’m sure you can find lots of ideas layed around this forum that can get you started in the right direction.

I have more experience with native ads (we develop technology that powers them) and I’d suggest to give them a try as well, as they can provide full customization and flexibility. If you want to become more familiar with the concept of native ads I’d suggest you check out this article.

P.S. my 2cents, if you are developing an enterprise app (and you are building internal tools for a small number of people) then mobile ads might not be the most suitable business model for you as they require a significant volume of eyeballs to become effective. You might want to consider offering in-app purchases (IAP) as well for the more premium features you bake in your app.