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Your mobile app is a snowball. At the top of a hill, you packed and shaped it. Now, you’re ready to do something with it - to make it generate revenue. You have two choices: you can throw it as hard as you can and watch it sail to the base of the hill and crumble, or you can give it a gentle roll and watch it grow and pick up speed until it becomes an unstoppable, revenue-generating force.

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Read the Complete Guide to App Monetization for Publishers

Obviously, you want your mobile app and its ability to bring in revenue to grow over time rather than collapsing before it gets anywhere. You want the snowball effect. But how do you get there? How do you build your app into a revenue machine? Through app monetization with advertising.

Below, we discuss how to build an app monetization strategy that will last for years and scale up as you grow. To learn more about how to increase your app revenue, speak with the app monetization team at Playwire.

Building a User Base Is Always Step One for App Monetization

Monetizing your app is exciting. But it’s important not to get ahead of yourself. For publishers, building a user base must always be the first step in mobile app monetization. It’s completely understandable to want to start running app ads as soon as possible to see the revenue roll in - it’s just human nature - but introducing ads too quickly can erode your user base before it has even reached a viable point.

Keep in mind, too, that focusing on app monetization in the early days of your app draws your attention away from where it should be: on getting your app exactly right. Before you worry about advertising or its impacts on the user experience (UX) inside your app, worry about your app being great and attracting mobile users to use it. 

There may be one small exception to this rule. If you are already a huge, well-known brand, it may be reasonable to expect that your app will quickly have a broad user base capable of generating ad revenue right out of the gate. But this is a lone exception to a fairly hard rule.

Introducing In-App Ads: Season to Taste

The directive to “season to taste” applies to building your app monetization strategy in largely the same way it applies to recipes. The only difference is that the taste you’re seasoning to is both yours and your users’. 

What we mean here is that you should start slowly when you begin to run ads in your app. Don’t dump the whole salt shaker in the pot; add a pinch and see how it goes. For most apps, that will mean starting small and non-intrusive - think small banner ads in one or two spots in the app.

Then, ask users what they think. Starting in the early days of your app monetization efforts, you need to balance your strategy with user feedback. 

Keep in mind that, almost without fail, there will always be some complaints when you implement ads in your app. You can’t really avoid that, but you shouldn’t cut and run the first time you hear a complaint. 

Balance complaints with your potential to bring in ad revenue. Did you get negative feedback from 1% of your surveyed audience? That’s not so bad if you have the right monetization strategies in place. But if you heard complaints from 50%, that’s a sign you need to take a step back and look at ad placement, ad content and your app’s offering.

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Chess.com | Ad Monetization Case Study

Start Aiming Your App Monetization Goals Higher

Once you’ve tested small, non-intrusive ads and made adjustments based on user feedback, you can start aiming higher. This is when app monetization starts to get fun. You can smartly introduce higher-dollar ads like interstitials, pre-roll video ads, gamified ads and other custom formats that take your revenue potential to new heights.

Never Stop Optimizing Your App Monetization Strategy

At this point, your revenue is soaring and you feel like you have won the app monetization game, but slowing down is the biggest mistake you can make. Never stop optimizing your ad placement, frequency and available inventory types. 

The most successful publishers Playwire works with focus on user feedback throughout the evolution of their apps and beyond. When you try something new or change something up, look for user feedback just like you would have in the early days. Feedback that is 100% against ads of all types happens and is never helpful. But feedback about ad placement and type is. Look for that and react accordingly. 

Take your analysis even further by paying close attention to all available analytics data. That way, you can see how users are actually reacting to ads. Are they bouncing at the sight of pre-roll video? Are they engaging more with certain formats? This data is gold for publishers who want to improve their app monetization strategies.

Maintain Control of the Ads You Show

A word of caution to publishers who are developing their app revenue strategies: don’t rely too heavily on the ad offerings of software development kits (SDKs) and other automated platforms. Performance-based SDKs optimize for price, which is a good thing, but they are blind to some issues that take human eyes to see.

For example, an automated app advertising strategy might let competitor ads run inside your app. If you have a bowling game app and are advertising another bowling app, you’re begging your users to leave and take some of your revenue with them.

The other benefit of a human-managed app monetization campaign is that you can get access to brand advertising dollars that simply don’t exist inside automated platforms. Those brand dollars take you from revenue streams to revenue rivers. 

Build a Revenue Machine with Playwire’s App Monetization Platform

Your app should turn your team’s time and effort into revenue. And it needs to return more and more over time. At Playwire, we build app monetization strategies that exceed publishers’ expectations and give the room and revenue necessary to grow.

With our human-managed, automation-driven revenue amplification platform, your app’s revenue potential is virtually unlimited. Ready to get started? Contact Playwire by calling 1-561-206-4621 or contacting us online today.