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10 Things to Consider When Choosing a Mobile Ad Network

There are several well-known players in the mobile ad network game. But how do you even begin to pick one? With advances in technology and other shifts, how can you find the right mobile ad network?

We have 10 to-think-abouts to consider as you choose.

Pavel Golubev, Blogger

January 5, 2016

7 Min Read

As a developer, generating revenue is the meat-and-potatoes of your business. And partnering with the right mobile ad network can maximize that revenue and streamline operations. But if you don’t select the network that aligns with your goals and preferences, you’ll miss out on that potential revenue (the worst kind of FOMO).

So, developers must be careful and methodical when choosing a mobile ad network.

Ready to narrow down your options? Keep these ten considerations in mind as you pick a mobile ad network that will make you money.

1. Transparency

First and foremost, a network should be upfront about how they work. Metrics are also paramount, but you really can’t even begin to consider those elements until you’ve confirmed the network is transparent and trustworthy.

Look for a network that’s open about their set-up, goals and history. It’s always valuable to seek a second opinion, but if you can’t determine what the network stands for from the get-go, it may not be worth your time.

2. Payment Options

Here’s the bottom line—look for consistent payments, a schedule that fits your circumstances and an attractive payment method.

Here’s everything before the bottom line:

  • You’ll want to know what the payment options look like.

  • Consider the payment schedule and method as well as any potential threshold you’ll need to meet before being paid.

  • The most common methods of payment are PayPal, ACH, wire transfers and checks. Always confirm your network has the payment method you prefer before opting in.

  • You’ll likely find a lot of net 15, net 30 and net 60 payment schedules (meaning you wait up to 15, 30 or 60 days for payout). However, immediate payouts are available and a good option for developers who want access to consistent cash flow.

  • If your network has a good eCPM, you won’t have to worry too much about meeting those thresholds but it’s still an important deciding factor.

3. eCPM

Start with this fundamental metric as your base to determine how much revenue is coming in from various ad campaigns. One of your biggest priorities is to, of course, increase revenue.

As you study individual mobile ad networks, check out how each particular network’s average eCPM compares to the rest of the industry.

This consideration goes back to transparency. eCPM rates should be easily accessible and comparable by country.

Pair the eCPM with the fill rate for a fuller analysis. Sure, you can expect some complications from time to time but this rate needs to be as close to 100 percent as possible to avoid missing out on revenue. You’ll also want a network with enough campaigns available for a variety of devices, locations, and platforms.

Be sure to determine how consistent the fill rate and eCPM have been over time.

4. SDK

A bloated, overly complicated SDK will weaken the performance of your app fast—and thus weaken your revenue stream.

As you explore mobile ad networks, look for an SDK that is:

  • Streamlined

  • Well-tested

  • Quick to integrate

  • Capable of connecting across multiple platforms

  • Designed to enhance the app’s performance

You really don’t want to spend a lot of time coding and getting comfortable with a new dev kit.

5. Ease of Use

Some ad networks require a learning curve. It’s up to you to decide how much time you want to invest into getting started and tinkering with the network.

At the very least, look for an easy to use dashboard with analytics including breakdowns and reports. Here you’ll get to the heart of how parameters are working. The actual network itself should feature a streamlined user flow and have readily available support staff.

Look for reviews and try talking to other developers to find out how their experience was with the network. The best information comes from first-hand conversations.

Did it live up to its claims? Was it easy to get started? How accessible and knowledge is the support staff? The information obtained from these hands-on experiences is invaluable.

6. Analytics and Reporting Specifics

It probably comes as no surprise in this age of big data, but mobile analytics and reporting are crucial to your success. Look for a network that has a simple to use interface so you can access key performance indicators like eCPMs quickly. You’ll also want to know the types of metrics available, what format they’re delivered in, and if your developer can work custom integration magic on them.

When you know how the data is going to look, and are sure it’s user-friendly for you and gives you the insights you need, you’ll be on your way to understanding how your ads are performing.

7. Ad-Blocking Issues

Of course ad-blocking software is nothing new, especially for desktop users. In fact, according to recent article, as much as 29% of iPhone users already use ad-blockers. But it’s new for mobile. Just last week Apple announced mobile ad-blocking for their new version of iOS, one of the most widely used mobile operating systems in the world. The Huffington Post has gone as far as to call Apple’s move a “frontal assault on [its] arch-rival Google,” considering the loss of traffic for Google’s own AdMob network.

If knowing how much of your inventory is lost to ad-blocking software is important to you (and it should be knowing this helps you better manage ads being served to both browsers and devices), look for a mobile ad network that provides this info in their reporting. Plus, seeing how a particular network deals with such an issue can tell you a lot about their approach to other problems.

8. Formats and Platforms

There are so many ways to show mobile ads to users – from in a browser like Safari to within a mobile app itself. As a publisher or an advertiser you’ll want to know how your mobile ad network handles specific formats like banners and native advertisements (aka ads that match the context in which they appear) so you can choose the right ads for each format.

But different platforms (iOS, Windows, Android, not to mention all the devices) make this issue a little bigger. You’ll  want to investigate the mobile network’s experience with each platforms and understand which users on which platforms respond best to which ad (hence the importance of reporting!).

9. Relationships with Publishers and Developers

You can only judge a mobile ad network on what they’ve already delivered. Have a look at the network’s existing partners or its “premium” publishers. If you recognize the names and see trusted brands, known media outlets, and successful tech companies, you’re in right place.

Smaller networks can display only a handful, whereas a larger, more established mobile network might have hundreds or thousands. It is important to query any available information regarding these partners and check for levels of involvement and success.

10. Special Deals and Perks

Admittedly, everyone loves a good perk – even mobile ad network users. Many mobile networks provide high-performing clients with special features or privileges. InMobi’s Lifetime Value Platform, for example, allows publishers and app developers to send special messages to users who meet various criteria or follow specific behaviors.

Know about these perks before you sign on the dotted line, and even insist on some up front to  nab a great deal from the start. Remember that your relationship with the mobile network, like any ad network, is subject to negotiation.

Have you forgotten one or more of these steps in when selecting your mobile ad network? How did it affect your time and business? Let me know in the comments!

Originally posted on Appodeal. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Medium, and Linkedin.

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