In the previous parts we’ve covered reasons to monetize with ads, things you need to understand in the process and ways to improve the returns on you investment into implementing ads into your apps and games.
In this final part we will address some real and imaginary reasons against ads.
“Religion”, allergy, etc.
While the heading doesn’t look serious, it is, in fact, the most difficult objection to overcome. If you hate ads with a passion, not much can change your mind. I still encourage you to re-read the first part of the series and consider the pros and cons of using ads versus forgoing the revenue they could potentially generate for you. After all you are in the app business and you should consider what is best for it.
You may still conclude that ads is not the right way to monetize your app or game, but you should come to this conclusion logically, without any prejudice.
Rarely/short running apps
Ad based monetization is volume based. Even if you have a decent number of active users of your app, but if they launch it once a week and spend a few seconds there (by design), then you should most definitely look at other monetization models. Ads won’t do much for you in this case.
Negative effect on user experience
Obviously it’s hard to claim that ads improve user experience or don’t affect it at all. Having said that, the same could be said about any attempt to monetize. Paid apps put a barrier to entry and free-to-play games alter the whole gameplay to improve monetization. So, unless you are making apps as a hobby, you will have to choose your “poison” at some point. The bottom line is that you evaluate your user base and decide which method is the best compromise between revenue for you and experience for them.
Extra permission requirements and privacy concerns
When you serve ads from an ad network the data goes to that ad network and sometimes it is more data than you are comfortable with. However, the same amount of data (usually more) is also transferred to your analytics service, crash reporting service, etc. Unless you don’t use any of those, it is not very likely that you will add some extra permission requirements for your app by using ads. And as for privacy concerns, you should obviously do some research on the firm whose SDK you plan to integrate into your apps.
High revenue unpredictability
With paid apps or in-app purchases your revenues are pretty stable relative to your user acquisition efforts. This is not the case with ads. Your ad network may have a very good month with a huge advertiser spending a lot of money. But the month ends and that advertiser’s budget goes with it and the same provider generates pennies on the dollar compared to the previous month.
When you monetize with ads it is very important to maintain discipline and hold off on leasing that Ferrari when you have a good month. You may need that money to amortize low revenues in the forthcoming months. The best way to mitigate this is to implement the “waterfall” mechanism we’ve covered in the earlier part. This way you can dynamically control your ad configuration and choose the best performing provider at any point in time.
Optimizing ad revenue takes time and effort
Starting to monetize with ads is really easy. Making the most of it is not. But with some reasonable effort you can get to a place where you are able to react to changes in the market and then you can decide on how proactive you want to be with it. You don’t have to prioritize revenue optimization when you have more important things to do.
As you can see, you can find a reason to quickly dismiss ad monetization, but none of these reasons are a silver bullet and applicable in every situation. More often than not, ads can improve your monetization, in turn allowing you to afford spending more time working on your apps and in the end improving experience for your users.
I strongly encourage you to include ads into your monetization strategy and I’m pretty sure that you won’t regret it.