There are many questions you need to answer in order to get the most from your mobile ad monetization. Do you want to set up monetization on your own or hire a monetization manager? Should you switch to programmatic or use a conventional waterfall? Whether you want manual or automatic? Should you test cross-promo? Or have direct deals with ad networks?

But don’t let yourself get stressed out too soon, we’re here to answer all of those questions and more today. We’ll help you wrap your mind around all the things you need to bear in mind while tuning your ad mediation.

Ad Mediation Checklist

Still, we know that sounds like a lot to talk about. To get started, here is a 2-in-1 checklist and table of contents for you:

  • Does it have programmatic header bidding capabilities?
  • Does it use a hybrid header bidding model?
  • Will you be able to easily manage direct relationships with networks and connect your own ad network accounts?
  • How transparent and representative is its dashboard?
  • Can you run cross-promo and direct deals from advertisers and see detailed reports?
  • How granular will your data be? Will you be able to find out your ad LTV or eCPM decay?
  • Can you divide your audience into segments?
  • When will you receive your payment and how long will you have to wait?

Programmatic Header Bidding

Let’s start with one of the most recent industry trends — Programmatic Header Bidding. It’s a digital technology that allows mediations to simultaneously offer inventory to multiple ad exchanges and ad networks for bidding.

How is this better than the previously used so-called Conventional Waterfall? Waterfall uses historical data and price floors to decide which demand sources to send requests to. By contrast, header bidding sends requests to all the available demand sources.

It’s clear to see that programmatic has way more revenue potential since it uses real-time data. With conventional waterfall, mediation sends requests only to those ad demands that have historically offered bigger bids for similar ad campaigns. It will continue to send those requests until it gets a fill.

On the other hand, programmatic makes no use of historical data. It sends requests simultaneously to all available networks, choosing the biggest bids from amongst partners that conventional waterfall might have never reached.

Getting the Most From Programmatic and Conventional Waterfall

If programmatic is so much more advanced, why fuse both of those models? The reason is technological stack. Not all ad demand sources have the tech capable of supporting programmatic exchange. Still they might be more than competitive in terms of fills and bids. So, in order to give you more revenue – without leaving money on the table – most developed mediations use hybrid header bidding models.

Our Hybrid Header Bidding Model consists of 3 stages. The first is a programmatic auction and the second is a conventional waterfall. At the third stage, it takes the best bids from the programmatic side and incorporates them into a conventional waterfall. Let the best bids win, increasing your profits!

To Control or Automate?

It’s good to have the option. The most profound mediations have their own tools that can help you control all aspects of ad monetization. Though, some are more transparent than the others. At Appodeal, we call our tool Demand Control Center or DCC.

DCC gives you the freedom to manage direct relationships with networks by connecting your own ad network accounts straight from the dashboard. You can configure deals with demand sources and give your best performing networks priority in the waterfall.

DCC also allows you to manage ad units: add or remove them whenever you need. E.g. add additional ad units to best performing networks with higher price floors. Or connect your own ad network accounts to have more control over mediation.

Or if you aren’t ready to allocate resources to some of the above, you can easily rely on our automatic optimization. Manually managing waterfall is very time consuming and demands constant awareness and adjustment. Someone from your team would need to focus on keeping track of the waterfall and making changes when necessary.

More Details, More Transparency

When choosing an ad monetization partner, it’s always helpful to pay attention to how detailed and useful its dashboard is. The most important metrics that should be clearly represented are retention rate, DAU (daily active users), ARPDAU (average revenue per daily active users), eCPM, fill rateб and revenue. These metrics let you see if your app’s user base is healthy. The more detailed the information in your  dashboard the better.

Appodeal Dashboard has robust statistics to help you analyze performance in many different dimensions and make data-driven decisions.

What about Cross-promo and Direct Deals?

This capacity is an important feature, even if you don't have multiple apps and aren’t currently thinking about direct deals from advertisers. At Appodeal we call it Ad Server and it has two primary uses:

  • To allow you to cross promote your own applications and channeling traffic where it’s best monetized.
  • To run your own direct deals from advertisers, bypassing the auction process.

Our ad server not only gives you the ability to do all that, but also provides detailed reports on each of those ad unites.

How Much Will I Get? And When?

Well, let’s be honest. We all need money. Whether you want to make your apps the most profitable on the market or gather funds to continue development, money is important. Just as important as the timeliness of its arrival in your pockets.

App networks have different Net payments, like Net 45, which means that you get your money 45 days from the moment you see them in your dashboard. 45 days is a big period of time, so when you choose your mediation you need to be aware of its Net terms. At Appodeal we use Net 30.

Instant payments can also be useful, especially for rapidly growing games. Sometimes you need money NOW and don’t want to wait. So be ready to part with a certain percentage of your income in order to get money faster, allowing you to reinvest in your games without losing momentum.

Data Is the Key

Ad revenue attribution lets you see granular impression level data. The most important metrics that you can gauge with this data are ad LTV and eCPM decay. Both are vital if you want to make strategic, data-driven decisions about your ad monetization.

Our other product DataCore makes use of this detailed raw data to provide you with actionable insights aimed at increasing your app’s performance.

Audience Segmentation

Two more useful features are Segments and Placements. Users can be divided by Segments in order to analyze their performance, revenue and eCPM separately. You can then choose different ad monetization strategies for each segment.

Impression settings can also be configured separately for each Placement, giving you more freedom and revenue potential.

Different Ad Formats

The most effective and widespread types are rewarded videos, video ads, playable ads, interstitials, native ads, banners. Depending on your ad monetization model and app type, different formats can perform better or worse. And as long as there is no silver bullet, it’s good to have a lot of options.

Quantity and Quality of Ad Demand Sources

The more ad demand sources you can add to your mediation stack the better. Here’s why:

  • It adds variety to ad creatives;
  • It creates more competition for an ad impression;
  • It ultimately generates more ad revenue.

It still goes without saying that quality should not be replaced by quantity. Always check what partners are available with mediation. Does it include access to different types of demand sources: ad networks, ad exchanges, and DSPs? It should include some big names and top eCPM performers like Google AdMob, Facebook, and Liftoff. Does it also include region-specific options for your app’s target markets, like Ogury for Europe, Yandex and MyTarget for CIS regions and Mobvista for China?

SDK Integration

The last, but in no way the least. All the benefits shown above can be easily destroyed if you can’t integrate SDK into your app. Or if it takes too long for you to integrate other networks with your mediation. Also, some ad mediations tend to require countless steps and adaptors to integrate ad networks into the mediation.

Be wary of that and always check how hard it is to integrate your future partner’s SDK and what it takes to add other ad networks and exchanges to your account.

At Appodeal, we have only one SDK integration. Plus, we provide you with 24/7 technical support to guide you through every step of integration.

What’s Next?

We hope this article will make your decision easier and more grounded. If you’re interested in learning more about a mediation that has all of the above features, make sure to check Appodeal’s page or get in touch with our team.

Or maybe you want to know more about UA? We have a very in-depth content piece on UA pricing models. We’d love for you to take a look at it as well.