Monday, December 15, 2014

Why using just one ad provider is being foolish

So, you've built an app and now want to make money from it. That seems a reasonable desire.
For whatever reason (hopefully strategic, but often for simplicity) you decide to put ads in the app as a way for making money.

All that's good but here's a common mistake developers often make. They only use a single ad provider.

Here's why that's a mistake.
No ad provider will have ads for you to show all the time. No traditional advertiser will always have an advert for you to show every time you request one. This is known as the fill rate. It's typically shown as a percentage and is the number of ads delivered divided by the number of adverts requested.

There are variations by country, user and type of app, but for most mobile advert providers, to get a fill rate of 40% from a global app is very good. It's often common to see rates as low as 10%.
That means that for every 10 times you want to show an advert (and be paid for doing so) you can only show (and be paid for showing) between 1 and 4 adverts.

There's a simple solution to this though. When one ad provider doesn't have an ad to show, "fall back" to use another ad provider and ask them for an ad. And so on and so on.

Fortunately there are tools that can help you do this. The two main ones in the Windows world are AdRotator and Ad Mediator.
Both will let you specify a list of ad providers to use and the order in which they should be contacted.

Here's how Ad Mediator visualize the process:

This is all well and good, but what about when none of the ad providers you're using have an ad to show?
There are no traditional ad providers who always have an ad for you to show (100% fill rate) and even when you integrate all the advertising providers there are there will still be times when none of them have an ad for you to display.

This is where AdDuplex comes in. AdDuplex* are different from traditional app ad providers in two key ways that are relevant to this conversation.
Firstly, they do have a 100% fill rate. They will always have an ad for you to show. (Subject to network connectivity - but then if the app can't connect to the web then all bets are off.)
Secondly, they don't pay you for showing ads. When we're discussing making money from showing ads this might seem like a big issue though. But consider the scenario: None of the ad providers you use have an ad to show, so, rather than letting the space in your app where you would show adverts go to waste you can use it for something else. You can use it to promote your app. This is where AdDuplex is different. It is not a traditional advertising platform, rather it's a cross promotion network. You display ads for other people's apps in your app and they show your ads in theirs. It works on a simple exchange basis. For every 10 ads you show, 8 are shown for your app(s) and the other 2 slots are sold to fund the service.

This is the key then. If you've got space in your app that you have dedicated to displaying ads with the aim of making money then if there are no paid for ads to display, use that space to promote the app itself. This will help you grow the number users of your app and, in turn, the number of paid for ads you can potentially display in the future.

If you're not yet using AdDuplex but wish to start, then register using promo code:
ML10-1OFKNH and you'll get an exchange rate of 90% (compared to the usual 80% for the first 6 months)

If you are putting ads in your app you should be using a mediation or rotation service that includes use of AdDuplex.

* Disclaimer: I'm an advocate for AdDuplex which means that I'm paid to talk about them. Don't be fooled though. I believed and talked about them this way before I became an advocate. That's one of the reasons I became one.


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