What is mobile ad mediation and how does it work? wave

Mobile Ad Mediation for Android Apps Explained

best practices, tips November 19, 2018  •  5 min read


The mobile app industry is booming! By 2021 it's expected to become the third biggest economy on the planet. One of the main reasons for such growth is the massive in-app investments coming to apps from advertisers.


After the advertisers discovered the real potential of in-app traffic, they started to divert marketing budgets from the web to in-app ad campaigns. App Annie estimates that in-app ad spendings will triple and reach an estimated $201 billion by 2021. Given that, new mobile ad formats, performance tracking platforms, and ad mediation solutions evolved.


Ad mediation earned a reputation as a holistic app monetization solution that allows app developers to drive scalable revenue to their mobile apps. In this article, we'll dive deep into the process of mobile ad mediation, explain how the ad mediation works and go through its main benefits for Android app developers.

What is Mobile Ad Mediation?

Mobile advertising is one of the first and foremost options that comes to mind when app developers decide to earn with their apps. Android app developers who started in-app monetization with ads will come to mobile ad mediation sooner or later.


Mobile ad mediation is the process of app monetization that implies adding, managing and the optimization of different mobile in-app ads coming from multiple demand partners.


The number of ad partners added to one app for ad mediation may vary from 2 to 10 or even more. For adding a new ad partner into app mediation, the developer goes through the process of a one-time Software Development Kit (SDK) integration. Usually, it takes no more than one day to integrate.

The Main Benefits of Mobile Ad Mediation

Compared to app monetization with only one advertiser, mobile ad mediation drives explicit benefits for app developers.

1. Higher CPM rates

When monetizing your app with only one ad partner, you limit the potential of your app. In this case, you always agree to sell your impressions for the offered (and the only possible) price. The thing is that your ad partner may have weak hands in your major countries. As a result, you won't get paid a fair price for your traffic.


In its turn, ad mediation ensures high CPM rates by the integration with multiple demand partners. While monetizing your app with many ad networks simultaneously, you make them compete for your inventory. So competition arises, the rates go up, and the ad partner with the highest bid wins the impression.


Hence, you always sell your inventory for the most competitive CPMs and keep your monthly revenues a high level. Such an approach also minimizes chances for unsold impressions to come out as well as revealing the real value of your traffic.

2. Better fill rate

In addition to CPMs, fill rate is another crucial metric to define the monthly income of app developers.


With ad mediation the volumes of your unsold inventory approach zero, and as a result, the in-app fill rate grows. One ad network rarely has the demand to fill 100% of your ad requests coming from various geos. Even if you were offered a $ 1 CPM, with a 10% fill rate, your real eCPM (effective CPM) will stay under $ 0.1. The rest of the 90% of your users won't see any ads, and you won't see any profits unless you add more ad partners in your ad mediation. The more ad networks you include to ad mediation, the more traffic you'll monetize.


For example, an average fill rate for all Epom Apps partner apps hovers around 97%. Our partnerships with ad networks and direct advertisers allows us to guarantee a near-100% fill rate as well as high eCPM rates.

3. The most relevant ad partners in one pool

While working with multiple mobile ad networks at a time, you may test completely different ad formats, ad content and ad campaign settings. After comparison of these results, you may choose the best-paying partners for your ad mediation pool and switch off the weakest ones. Yet again, ad mediation helps discover the most profitable combinations of ads for every specific app.


You'll also understand which ads drive better engagement and loyalty to your audience.

4. Less SDK bloat

Ad mediation not necessarily means overloading your app with tons of new SDKs. In fact, it's quite the opposite. When you monetize your mobile app with an ad mediator, you implement only one SDK with all the demand packed inside of it.


Epom Apps provides app developers with an SDK that neither slows down the work of an app nor affects the UX. At the same time, this SDK contains enough demand to provide an app with a near-100% fill rate.

Types of Mobile Ad Mediation

There are two types of mobile ad mediations: app developers can handle ad mediation by themselves or with the help of ad mediators. The latter are usually represented by ad networks or ad agencies. So, what is the main difference?

1. Ad Mediation on your own

When ad mediation lays on app developer's shoulders, it requires a lot of homework to be done. First, you have to find and contact your future demand partners one by one. Second, you need to negotiate the CPM rates, fill rate and payment terms. Lastly, you need to get their SDKs and add them into your app code.


An alternative to the scenario mentioned above is getting an AdMob account or signing up for any other self-serve monetization platform that is already connected to multiple advertising companies. The main reason why more than 2.8 million mobile apps installed AdMob's SDK is that the platform doesn't have any requirements on the size of the in-app audience.


hough the integration with AdMob is fast, the following monetization requires a lot of manual work. For example, app developers have to connect to every demand source by themselves, manage ad mediation with multiple SDKs and always keep an eye on the performance. In a nutshell, ad mediation with AdMob may be complicated especially for those who launch in-app ads for the first time.


All in all, running ad mediation on your own has its distinct advantages as well as shortcomings:


Pros

  1. You can monetize your app even with a tiny number of DAU/MAU.
  2. You are free to decide which mobile ad formats, ad spots and frequency capping to choose.
  3. You only work with ad partners whose demand fits your audience and your values in the best way possible.
  4. You don't share your profits with any third-party company.

Cons

  1. A money-making ad mediation requires a lot of invested time and effort.
  2. Before any new launch, you'll have to test-drive different ad formats, ad spots and other ad campaign settings to find the best-working formula for your app.
  3. You have to deal with everyday optimization to keep your CPMs and fill rate at a good level.
  4. While working with multiple demand sources, you risk overloading your app with SDKs.
  5. Your monthly revenue will be split into parts that arrive at different times.

2. Ad Mediation with an ad mediator

Today the mobile app industry is overflowing with app monetization platforms and ad mediators who are eager to help you with your app monetization. The ad mediator is already connected to a bunch of ad partners like ad agencies, DSPs or ad networks. Hence, while working with only one ad mediator you can access the world's best advertisers and mobile ad networks through a single SDK.


Let's assume that the majority of your in-app audience comes from Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. App monetization with only one ad network will probably drive good profits in some of these countries. However, one ad network won't be able to monetize all of your inventory. Having three ad networks with a strong position in the aforementioned region will increase your chances to get close to a 100% fill rate.


The 2018 survey on ad mediation shows that 40% of app developers who use ads in their apps monetize traffic using only one ad network; 44% prefer mediating from 2 to 4 ad networks simultaneously, and a mere 16% are working with more than five ad networks.


The bigger number of ad networks in the app will result in a higher fill rate and revenue. At the same time, the more ad networks you have in a pool, the more complicated ad mediation you will need to handle.


App monetization with an ad mediator boasts its explicit upsides:

  1. You'll have the best-matching mobile ad demand handed to you on a silver platter.
  2. On-boarding process is fast and simple as you need to add only 1 SDK to your code.
  3. With only one ad mediator you can reach a near-100% fill rate.
  4. Ad mediator ensures better CPM rates and higher monthly revenue.
  5. Some ad mediators handle everyday optimization, performance tracking, etc by themselves.
  6. Your monthly payment will arrive as one lump sum at a negotiated date.
  7. You save an incredible amount of time and resources which helps you to focus on your job.

The only downside of running ads with an ad mediator is that you'll probably have to share your monthly revenue with your ad mediator. Usually, app monetization platforms take no more than 10% of your income. However, this sum sounds fair considering the amount of work that ad mediator has to deal with.


In a nutshell, a partnership with even one ad mediator can take all the monetization hassle off your shoulders. You should browse the market to find one with a demand, ad formats and a geography that best suit your app. The quality and the number of integrated ad networks are also important factors to consider when choosing an ad mediator.

How Does Mobile Ad Mediation Work?

Depending on whether you monetize your app by yourself or rely on the ad mediator, the scheme of the ad mediation process may look differently.
When you get into app monetization with an ad mediator, your ad mediation flow will look like this:


Infographics mobile ad mediation with ad mediator for Android apps

When the user navigates your mobile app, the app sends requests to the ad mediator. Then, the ad mediator analyzes the information about the ad request and passes it to various ad networks and demand partners. After getting the request, advertisers with a matching demand start to compete for the ad impression in real time. The advertiser with the highest bid wins the impression. The winner-ad shows in the app.


As ad mediators may be connected to hundreds of demand partners, the chances that your impression won't be sold are very low. On the ad mediator's side, everything works automatically, and the whole process of choosing the right ad for your impression lasts no longer than a few milliseconds.


In this scheme, your role is to enjoy growing revenues in your publisher's dashboard.


When you run your ad mediation by yourself, the whole ad mediation process will look almost the same, but the only difference being - you are the one who controls the order of ads to be displayed in your app.


App monetization with ads: mobile ad mediation for Android mobile apps

As you see in the picture, your app sends a request to multiple ad partners directly. If the first integrated ad partner has an ad with a requested targeting and price, they will send you a response with an ad to be shown. Otherwise, the ad request goes to the second ad partner in the queue.


In the second case, you create the ad mediation logic on your own. This means you'll have to choose priorities for different demand partners and place their SDKs in a specific order.


Be mindful of the fact that the configured logic may not bring expected results on the first try. Usually, the process of ad mediation requires a few tests with different priorities, demand partners and ad formats involved.


After getting your first results to the back end, review the logic of your ad mediation. The numbers in your advertiser's dashboard will also help you measure the effectiveness of your advertising as well as give you some insights on the proper ad mediation.

The key tips that will help you make the most of mobile ad mediation

  1. Analyze the interests, demographics and behavior of your audience before going live with ads.
  2. Think of the place and time for ads to be shown. Make sure that ads won't affect the UX or the work of your app negatively.
  3. Test-drive different ad formats to discover the most engaging and best-paying (and of course, less intrusive).
  4. Try to not overload your app with ads. In this situation less is more; fewer, but better quality and native-looking are preferred.
  5. If you decide to handle ad mediation by yourself, don't forget to track ad performance, optimize your ad activities and keep analytics under control. Precise optimization is the key to high revenue through competitive rates and high fill rates. So don't leave your analytics off-hand!

Conclusions


On the whole, Mobile ad mediation is literally the best solution to gain the edge in app monetization. Ad mediation is a tool to maximize in-app revenues, but only when set up and managed properly. App monetization platforms that are also known as ad mediators have everything that your app needs for profitable and sustainable ad mediation. Embark on your ad monetization journey today and reap results quickly!


Sign up for Epom Apps monetization platform today and we'll and we'll maintain the smoothest ad mediation for your app.


Sign Up

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