How app developers can optimize ads revenue during COVID-19

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People are turning to apps to stay informed, inspired and entertained while spending time at home. For example, searches for "meditation apps" have grown globally by over 90 percent since last year.1 While more app usage and more ad impressions would typically suggest more revenue for app developers, reduced ad spend has led to lower overall revenue in some cases. To help developers mitigate the impact and optimize ads revenue, here are some best practices.

Capture the revenue opportunity from the growth in user engagement 

Stay on top of changing user behaviors

Enable user metrics to help understand changes in how people are using your app, so you can take actions to optimize revenue. For example, if you notice an uptick in active users, you could increase the value of rewarded ads to help drive more ad interactions. 

Help people stay engaged

Consider making changes to your app to further extend user engagement. PlayDots, maker of the popular Dots game, gave all users three hours of infinite lives daily for free for a full month in April. This allowed users to enjoy the game fully and boosted the number of levels completed, which led to more ads being watched. Rewarded ads is another great way to earn additional revenue from increased user engagement for IAP-heavy apps (in-app purchases).  Implementing rewarded ads can unlock premium content for non-paying users and keep them more engaged. 

Earn more revenue with smart segmentation

If you are concerned about negative impact from ads on paying users, smart segmentation can help you monetize non-purchasers with a personalized experience. This feature uses machine learning to predict and segment these two groups of users and will only show ads to predicted non-purchasers. BlackLight Studio Games saw a 38 percent increase in interstitial ad revenue and no impact on IAPs after implementing smart segmentation. 

Unlock more impressions to boost revenue while ensuring a good user experience

Explore more ad formats

Diversifying your ad format strategy can increase total ad placements to help drive up revenue. AdMob offers many engaging ad formats for you to choose from. For example, rewarded ads offer a great user experience. Native ads allow you to customize the look and feel to match the visual design of your app. And, banner and interstitial ads are very easy-to-implement.

Adjust ad frequency caps 

Frequency caps allow you to set the number of times ads appear to the same user. Relaxing this setting will increase ad density to help you earn more. One thing to note is that higher ad frequency caps may affect user retention. We recommend using Firebase Remote Config to A/B test the changes before rolling them out to all users to ensure a good user experience. 

Increase operational efficiency with automated features 

Maximize revenue from multiple networks with mediation

Waterfall management takes up a lot of time and manual work. Ad Network Optimization offers an easy solution to help you automate that process and free up time to spend on other areas of your business. This feature automatically pulls in the freshest CPM value from each network in the waterfall and allows the one with the highest eCPM to serve the ad. 

Optimize AdMob demand on other platforms

If you are using a different platform to mediate AdMob demand, you can set your ad units to a Google optimized eCPM floor which allows Google to dynamically set the floors based on your preference. The AdMob Network’s eCPM floor placement will then be adjusted with the other ad networks automatically to help you maximize total revenue. 

We hope the best practices shared here can help inform your monetization strategy during this time. If you’re interested in other tips to help your app business, check out Google Play’s best practices for your in-app products and subscriptions.

1. Google Data, Global English, Feb 26 - Apr 25, 2020 vs Feb 25 - Apr 25, 2019