Monetization is easily one of the most important goals for app developers. Most developers create an app with hopes of eventually monetizing it. However mobile app monetization is no easy feat and developers typically commit many mistakes while attempting to effectively monetize their app.

Here are some app monetization mistakes app developers must steer clear of:

  1. Choosing pay-per-install as the default monetization strategy:
    The very first monetization hurdle that app developers have to cross is choosing the right monetization model. App developers are often confused about what monetization strategy would be the best for their app. A common practice is to default to pay-per-install as the go to monetization strategy. This is a huge mistake as every app is unique and thus should have a monetization strategy that fits it. A major risk with this strategy is that it might actually become a deterrent for users to download the app because they don’t think they app is worth the cost. Conversely, if the app turns out to be a smash hit, the developers might not be able to reap the full benefits of it because of the predetermined cost. It is very important for app developers to research all different monetization models available and make an informed decision based on their app’s characteristics.
  2. Not optimizing for different ad formats:
    There are many types of ad formats available and the developers who see the best monetization results are ones who utilize the power of different ad formats effectively. A lot of app developers stick to one or two types of formats for ads and fail to use the power of individual ad formats optimally. It is recommended to use different ad formats in different ad slots and the developers should evaluate the performance and efficiency of each regularly.
  3. Showing intrusive ads:
    App developers must take a lot of care to ensure that their ads are not disruptive to the user experience. Sending intrusive ads are actually counterproductive and they might end up annoying users enough to alienate them. User experience is everything and app developers must take efforts to ensure that they provide the best experience to their users even while displaying ads. Typically, native and interstitial ads have the best user experience associated with them. The ads should be tied in with the app functionality seamlessly so it doesn’t disrupt the user experience. Users tend to be more receptive to a well-placed ad.
  4. Not harnessing the power of analytics:
    With the sheer number of analytics providers in the market today, literally everything about your app can be measured. There is almost too much data available to app developers. So much so that most developers are not making full use of the power of analytics. Often developers don’t quite know how to analyze the huge amount of data available to them. It is crucial that developers don’t get caught in measuring only vanity metrics, but learn how to measure what is important and take suitable measures.
  5. No regard to user privacy:
    User privacy is a wildly debated topic and one that is the most exploited in the mobile world. Private user data is being traded to create more targeted ads. It is the app developers’ responsibility to take appropriate permissions from the end users and be transparent about how their data is going to be used.  It is very important that developers treat user data privacy with utmost care. Users should also be given an easy opt-out option so they have full control on how their data is handled. Companies like Personagraph safeguard end user privacy yet give advertisers and developers tools to target them appropriately. App developers should consider utilizing such services.
  6. Lack of audience intelligence/proper segmentation:
    One of The biggest problem of the mobile ecosystem today is the lack of proper knowledge about the end users. With the limitation of cookies in mobile phones, it is very hard to follow user behavior across apps and the mobile web and unify it into a single user profile. However, there are new disruptive services, like Personagraph, that give app developers deep insights into who their users really are. Once app developers know their users’ interests and demographics, they can send suitable ads or push messages accordingly. App developers must clearly define and identify their target users and create a monetization strategy accordingly.
  7. Excluding metadata:
    Metadata is typically the data that users have agreed to share with the app, which the app developer can further share with advertisers. This data could include: age, gender, income level, location etc. Such data is gold and app developers must share it with advertisers who will leverage it to send more targeted ads and push notifications to the users. This would result in higher eCPMs and thus more money for the developers. The users in turn benefit from being served with only the most relevant and highly targeted ads and push notifications.
  8. Misunderstanding eCPM:
    eCPM helps app developers judge the effectiveness of their monetization strategy. Often developers ignore or drop ad formats or networks solely based on eCPM. This is not a good practice. eCPM doesn’t always tell the full story. Forexample, a particular ad format can have lower eCPM compared to another ad format, but higher overall impressions, which in turn can lead to more revenue. App developers must take into account other metrics like fill rate, retention rate in addition to eCPM to judge the effectiveness of their monetization strategy.

Developers need to put in the time and the effort to develop a robust, well thought of monetization strategy and avoid all the pitfalls mentioned above.

This post was originally published on the Personagraph knowledge academy: Think Tank