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About the Series

Welcome to the Ad Tech Build vs. Buy Series. In this series we’ve tapped the expertise of our team, each of which has years of industry working with the pieces of the ad tech stack you’re considering implementing or purchasing.

In today’s entry in the series, we rely on the expertise of Andrew Petroka, our Sr. Director of Product. He has over 10 years of experience in ad tech, much of it spent helping build solutions for app monetization. If anyone can tell you what you’ll need to know to decide on the right strategy for building an app monetization solution, it’s him!

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Raider.IO increased its revenue by 50% by switching to Playwire

Is it Time for an App Monetization Solution?

An app is just an app — until you monetize it. Then, it’s an asset that supports your hard work as a publisher and, hopefully, grows your business. Most publishers are already aware that they need to monetize their apps. The “why” is clear, but the “how” can be pretty murky.

That’s because there’s more than one way to monetize an app with ads. To be more specific, there are two basic ways: the “build it yourself” route or working with an app revenue partner like Playwire

Which way is better? That’s exactly what we explore in this post. Read on to learn more.

Playwire didn’t invent apps, but we did build a comprehensive SDK that makes app monetization easy and gets you access to the most demand. Interested? Contact us.

One SDK or a Portfolio of SDKs

If you’ve built an app, you know what an SDK is. It’s a software development kit. You use these to create apps, but they have another important purpose: monetizing apps.

There are dozens of SDKs to choose from as you seek to monetize your app. Each one has its unique points of value, as well as some setup headaches. By the time you’re done getting everything set up with your chosen SDK, you’re probably not going to want to do another one for a while. 

Unfortunately, that leaves you with a problem. A single SDK gets you access to only a fraction of the available demand for your ad inventory. It’s sort of like buying a single stock. The value of your investment lives and dies by the price of that stock. To get broad exposure to the market and really start pulling in some returns, you have to invest in a lot of different stocks.

If a single SDK is a single stock, then Playwire’s app monetization SDK is a well-developed stock portfolio. That’s because ours is an SDK of SDKs. In other words, the Playwire SDK includes nine major mediation partners’ SDKs, as well as that of Google, Prebid and Amazon’s Transparent Ad Marketplace (TAM).

It’s still one installation. But it gives you access to as much demand as 12 SDKs, including the biggest and most powerful ones from the major players like Amazon and Google. 

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A Little Competition or a Lot of Competition

Access to all that demand is a good thing for your app revenue in itself. But there’s an added benefit: more competition drives up your cost per mille (CPM) rates. In mobile app advertising, more competition for inventory is always a good thing for publishers.

The way this works is really simple. If you do it the DIY way and set up one, two, three or even four SDKs, you are going to generate only a fraction of the competition for your inventory that Playwire’s SDK will generate. In combination with in-app header bidding, more advertiser demand across more platforms means way higher CPMs.

In order to get access to the level of competition in the RAMP SDK, you’d need to integrate at least 12 different SDKs, build a header bidding solution (see the next section), and then maintain all that code. That takes an entire development team to pull off. (Just ask our development team since they had to do it!)

DIY App Header Bidding or a Turnkey Alternative

Header bidding is arguably one of the most impactful ad tech innovations in recent years. It’s the alternative to the old waterfall method. By keeping advertisers blind to other bids and taking not the first acceptable bid but the best bid, header bidding gives mobile app and web publishers alike access to much, much more revenue.

The problem is that header bidding doesn’t come standard with all mobile SDKs. You often have to integrate it, which generates an entirely separate list of tasks and potential headaches, as well as new things that can break on you and hamstring your revenue at least temporarily.

Playwire’s SDK, on the other hand, includes header bidding functionality. We’re all about maximizing revenue for publishers, and you can’t do that in the world of app advertising without header bidding. 

Managing Dependencies One at a Time or All at a Time

When you’re building a mobile SDK, you have all these little moving parts that have to work in perfect harmony. Those little moving parts are called dependencies. If one thing breaks, it can throw off the whole system, and revenue can stop flowing to the publisher. The solution developers have come up with is called dependency management tools.

Playwire’s SDK uses dependency management tools. The effect is that everything works together the way it is supposed to and nothing breaks. It’s all packaged for the publisher and ready to go. But this isn’t what makes us stand out from the DIY route. 

Other SDKs use dependency management tools, but they make everything work for that one SDK — that fraction of the available demand for your inventory. To integrate more SDKs, you have to deal with more sets of dependency management tools. What makes Playwire’s SDK special is that our dependency management tools bundle 12 partners’ worth of demand together. One set of tools gets you access to the demand of 12 platforms. It’s one to many instead of many to many.

App Monetization the Hard Way or the Playwire Way: Your Choice

You can do this the hard way if you want. Lots of publishers do, but they’re left wondering: is my mobile app revenue really where it could be? Am I leaving money on the table? Without Playwire on your side, you very likely are leaving money on the table. 

The good news is that the easy way — the Playwire way — is as simple as getting in touch with us. If you’re ready to bring your app revenue to the next level, we’re ready to do it for you. Reach out to us today. 

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