Money makes the world go round and this could not be truer in the mobile app world. Every day, app developers seek more efficient ways to monetize their apps. And the go-to resource for this is advertising. The past year has been a busy one for mobile app marketing with the growth of video advertising and the arrival of rewarded advertising. But what does the future hold for mobile app developers looking to monetize their apps?
So you are an app developer. You have done the easy part: build your app. Now comes the hard bit: turning it into a solid source of revenue. Mobile is a big deal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be a big deal for you. You need to create a sustainable mobile business and think well before you chose which monetization strategy to use. There are a number of bankable app monetization strategies to choose from, and here we will aim to present another option to add to your arsenal.
In-app advertising is the model most frequently used by developers. But over half a decade after the release of the first iPhone and the revolution in mobile hardware and software that followed, the mobile ad world is still stuck with the dreaded, ugly banner ads. Surely there must be something better than that out there. After all, like Steve Jobs said, “Mobile ads suck”! And there are not many that disagree; in fact, it is widely accepted by big brands as true. But since advertising is what was working, this is what most app developers were offered: banner ads, interstitials, video ads, offer walls and such. Developers are usually confused on which to use, but at the end of the day their aim is to strike a balance between their need to retain users with their need to earn revenue.
Unfortunately, ads provide a very unpleasant experience on mobile devices: a survey of 5,000 mobile users, showed that people are generally annoyed by the current different ad formats, that take up valuable screen space and force users to click on them. Even worse, there are ads out there that “kidnap” the users, taking them out of the native app to watch an ad.
So, is this the end? Well, maybe not. Yes, mobile ads suck and they will probably always suck. But perhaps they can suck a little less if someone puts a little more thought into them. The industry is now being presented with a new option, that focuses more on finding a way to improve the experience while increasing revenue rather than the 10% who are clicking on banner ads and the like.
Introducing monetization with surveys
Monetization with surveys is one of the new players in the mobile app monetization landscape.
How does it work?
The process is simple: find the free DIY online tool, sign up, select your audience, create your survey by adding your questions, pay and hey presto, real time results! Your survey is distributed to thousands of mobile ads that are using the platform. You get results and the app developer is paid for every completed survey through their app. A win-win situation.
How does it look?
Every time a survey is available, an in-app indicator informs the user that he has the option to participate. If they chose to do so, they are rewarded by being entered into a draw for a prize. The prizes are usually gift cards, provided by the platform. There is always the option not to participate, or stop and close the survey at any time. If they chose to do so, all survey-related information disappears from their mobile screen and they return to their app.
When a user decides to take a survey, they are presented with a series of questions, all presented in a mobile-optimized way. Survey builders are given several types of questions to chose from, including Single Answer, Multiple Answer, Rating Questions, Open-Ended, and Ranking – type. There is even the possibility to insert images for participants to respond to. Once the survey is completed, users may enter their email address to be informed if they win. Winning users are notified of the outcome on the day of the draw.
Key value propositions
Surveys are climbing on the list of preferred ad formats available to app developers that are looking for way to increase their revenue:
– It’s a new interactive format, different to ads.
Surveys are an interactive format of monetization, requiring user input. Users are highly engaged in-app, as they get to share their opinion and participate in interesting surveys. It is a far cry from ads made for the masses, where clicking takes you to another website or to download another app. Surveys can be fun and engaging, particularly when the user can see what others have responded too – this increases the completion rate, and likewise, the app publisher’s revenue.
– Users participate in draws and may win gifts
Users who participate in surveys have the opportunity to win gifts in draws – simply by sharing their opinion.
– Users stay within the app
Users never leave the app. Once a survey is completed, users pick up where they left off, in the app interface. This is possibly what sets surveys apart from the traditional advertising methods, where users who click on an ad are taken to a website or get redirected to download another app – with no guarantee they ever come back. This way publishers lose valuable customers.
– Surveys pay up to 20x more than classic advertising networks
Publishers are paid per completed survey. It’s a CPA model where the action is a survey completion. Payouts for surveys are quite high; for example, surveys may pay up to 20x more than the classic advertising networks available.
– Publishers do not have to change anything in their app UI
With surveys, everything is rendered as an overlay so publishers don’t have to change anything in the UI of the app. With most advertising solutions, publishers need to allocate a space in the app’s UI in order to render the ad units (banner ads, for example). On the other hand, in surveys everything is displayed as an overlay, so no changes are needed. Integration therefore becomes simple and takes less than 2 minutes since it requires only one line of code to activate.
– When a survey is completed, the UI stays clear of ads/surveys
Users may take part in one survey per day, in order to ensure the quality of the results and the user experience. Therefore, once a survey is completed everything disappears from the app UI and the user may return where he left off, without any ads or other surveys. Moreover, when no survey is available, there is nothing shown within the app.
– Publishers are allowed to incentivize users with in-app goodies for completed surveys
Surveys can be a really good alternative to rewarded videos since publishers can incentivize users with temporary ad removal or in-app goodies. This is a quite popular option since surveys pay well, and users prefer to interact with them resulting to higher revenues to the developers.
– Surveys can be part of a multiple-monetization strategy
Since surveys address market research field – a different marketplace than advertising – they can be paired nicely with any pre-existing monetization system a publisher may be using, even on the same screen, to boost revenue. The fact that surveys are minimally obtrusive makes them ideal for this.
– Publishers can create internal surveys for free and gather feedback from their users
When surveys are already integrated in the apps as a monetization solution, publishers can use the DIY survey tool for free in order to get feedback from their users. For example, publishers can create surveys to ask about new app features with questions like: “What would you like to see in a future release?” or “What you didn’t like in our last update?”. This opens a new avenue of dialogue with their users, giving publishers valuable information to use in future development cycles. Information that a lot of people would have to pay good money to have access to, not to mention the time and effort that would have to put into collecting such data.
Publishers can also use the DIY survey tool to perform A/B testing for future concepts.
Publishers can get insights for their apps
Publishers using a survey platform can also benefit from profiles that the platform is building upon respondents that complete surveys. Having said that, publishers have direct access to a real time analytics/insights dashboard where they can learn more about their app’s users and thus make better marketing and development decisions.
To conclude, surveys are a new, frictionless way to monetize mobile apps, and add a new revenue stream to a publisher’s current monetization solutions. Surveys can add value in more ways than one: by increasing app revenue when pair with existing monetization systems, by providing access to valuable feedback and analytics, as well as a/b testing of an app. End result: increased revenue without ads, and a better app that users like to see and use.