Challenges in app Monetization — and how to resolve them

By Robert Sala
VP, Business Development
May 6, 2021

Last year we saw a record-breaking 218 billion mobile apps downloaded from the app stores. And, with thousands of new apps released each week, app owners are up against strong competition for making a real profit. Many developers choose to monetize their apps through methods including pay-per-download, in-app purchases, subscriptions, and in-app advertising — with the latter being the most popular and impactful strategy in today’s mobile ecosystem. 

The process of app monetization, however, can be overwhelming for many developers, as they navigate an extremely complex ad monetization landscape and consider adopting techniques and technology that fits their revenue KPIs. Let’s look at some of the main challenges that come with app monetization and how they can be overcome:

Challenges With Demand 

Often publishers struggle with the lack of diverse demand available and not having connections with a good mix of brand and performance advertisers to purchase their inventory. Developers choosing just one monetization partner are relying on few demand sources which can hinder their opportunities to access demand on a more global scale. Working with more than one monetization partner for different apps can be beneficial in driving better performance for certain app verticals or for particular geos. 

Additionally, publishers should partner with a credible SSP or ad exchange that supports Private Marketplace (PMP) deals to achieve higher CPMs and stronger relationships with buyers. Working with Verve Group allows publishers to run PMP deals granting access to elevated ad campaigns, guaranteed spends, and higher margins. At the same time, publishers experimenting with mediation should remember to add monetization partners that provide the flexibility to work with multiple mediation or in-app bidding platforms and support multiple integration methods, with the SDK as a core offering.

Challenges With Ad Quality

Some developers do not consider the quality of ad creatives that they allow within their apps which can severely affect user experience. In order to safeguard inventory, publishers need to ensure that automated and manual checks are in place for detecting fraudulent and undesirable ads. In addition, publishers should carefully consider the trade-offs between the monetization potential of the ad format and the experience it could deliver within an app environment. As a general rule of thumb, high-impact ad formats such as video work best in engaging users within an in-app context. Verve Group’s dedicated in-house ad quality team allows publishers to secure their inventory effectively with stringent demand onboarding policies, strict ad content guidelines, and automated checks through our partnership with GeoEdge, complemented with internal tools for screening ads.

Challenges With SDK Credibility

Within the mobile ecosystem today there exists a considerable amount of fraudulent SDKs which can damage a publisher’s reputation and violate user privacy. To combat this, it’s necessary to carry out thorough checks before implementing a partner’s SDK, as well as ensuring the SDK is lightweight and robust so that the user experience will not be compromised. Publishers can examine the SDK footprint of the partner and check how their SDK safeguards user privacy. In our mission to promote growth and transparency in the ecosystem, Verve Group’s HyBid SDK is available on GitHub and is open-source to the public, granting developers transparent insights into the SDK data and security practices, control, and access to flexible feedback loops with our development team.

Challenges Around Privacy

With the Apple iOS 14.5 update and the deprecation of the IDFA, mobile app publishers are facing challenges around future-proofing monetization. To combat the impact on revenues by user opt-in rates, app owners should experiment with SDK partners offering on-device monetization solutions (that do not require any form of identifier or PII). On-device audiences can ensure that user addressability is maintained and their iOS inventory appeals to advertisers — brand and performance alike. Alternatively, identity solutions that require user email authentication are also a viable option to in-app publishers. However, it’s important to note that authenticated identity providers will still require user consent and therefore it’s likely that they may not cover the entire spectrum of users you might see in your app. 

Verve Group is currently beta testing our on-device audience monetization technology for publishers. It’s a privacy-first approach that does not require any persistent and deprecated device identifiers. Reach out to your account manager to find out more.

To learn about how Verve Group can help you monetize your apps effectively and with dedicated support, contact us here and we’d be happy to help.

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