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Monetization Insights from Top Mobile Publishers

Posted Feb 19, 2020

With a growing audience and evolving technology, it can be pretty challenging to keep up with the latest in mobile marketing and advertising. Effective monetization methods, user experience, and acquiring high-quality users are all vital to an app’s success. So how do the most successful mobile publishers achieve these goals? We asked them!

AdColony recently surveyed the top-grossing app developers to get insights on their monetization channels, how they determine user quality, plans for programmatic advertising, and more relevant topics. The AdColony Mobile Publishing Survey features exclusive data from both gaming and non-gaming publishers who average at least 3M monthly average users (MAU). Read on for highlights from the survey. 

Survey Highlights:

User retention is the strongest indicator of user quality.
Publishers who participated in our survey shared the factors they believed were indicators of user quality. Retention (58%), average session time (43%), and in-app purchases (41%) were the top choices. Since the last edition of the survey, publishers’ views on this matter have changed significantly. IAP was previously chosen by 79% of surveyed publishers but has now dropped by 38%.

Rewarded video ads have the most impact on UX.
When publishers were asked to rank monetization channels on their impact on user experience, rewarded video ads received the highest average score (11.3) for having the most favorable impact on UX. Other high-scoring types included interstitial video (10.4), interstitial display (10.3), and preroll video ads (9.4). Banner display ads have recently made a comeback in hypercasual apps and according to surveyed publishers, are better for UX (8.6) than in-app purchases (5.9) and paid subscriptions (3.58) which received the lowest average score.

Monetization teams are small but growing.
Almost half of publishers (48%) with 50+ employees said they have monetization teams of more than 6 people. The previous edition of this survey had a majority of publishers with 50+ employees saying they only had 1-3 managing monetization at their companies. As the mobile game and app industries expand, so do the opportunities for increased revenue. With so many avenues to pursue, mobile publishers are needing bigger teams to manage revenue streams.

Publishers are planning for programmatic advertising.
By the end of the year, more than 60% of publishers will have incorporated programmatic solutions into their monetization strategy. 43% of respondents said they were already serving ads programmatically. Only 6% of surveyed publishers said they were not planning at this time or have no plans to ever utilize programmatic advertising.

Trust is the most important quality in an ad monetization partner.
The survey asked mobile publishers to rank the qualities they look for in an ad monetization partner. Trust was regarded as the most important quality by 34% of respondents while eCPM (19%) and ad fill (15%) were next but significantly behind. The lowest ranking qualities were ease of integration, SDK reliability and size, and ad quality.

About the Study
The AdColony Mobile Publishing Survey provides insights, benchmarks, and trends from the world’s top-grossing app developers.

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