Are you a mobile developer looking to monetize your app by showing ads to your users? If so, you should be using mobile ad mediation.
What is mobile ad mediation?
Mobile ad mediation is an ad serving technology that allows devs to work with many mobile ad sources at the same time. Ad mediation layers are able to send ad requests to multiple mobile ad sources who compete to fill your ad inventory at the highest price. Mobile ad mediation allows a dev to monetize their ad inventory and maximize revenue.
Where do the ads come from?
Using ad mediation gives devs access to three types of mobile ad sources.
The first ad source comes from programmatic buyers who use a Demand Side Platform (DSP). DSPs use bidding technology to access ad inventory through the ad mediation exchange. The exchange contains hundreds of partners competing to fill your ad inventory. DSPs integrate through a server-to-server connection. This means there is no need to integrate their individual software development kits (SDKs). However, DSPs usually pay lower eCPMs (revenue earned per 1000 impressions) when compared to other ad sources.
The second ad source are direct ad networks. All ad mediation layers come with a few of these partners whose SDK works with the mediation layer. These SDK(s) can be part of a dev’s integration into the mobile ad mediation layer. It is not mandatory to integrate these extra SDKs. But, these integrated partners usually offer higher eCPMs and ad fill, thereby increasing competition for your ad inventory. They can do this because the SDK integration gives them more information on how their ads are performing in your app. Direct ad network partners also rely on building relationships with devs to understand the demand for your app. Doing this keeps eCPMs high.
The third ad source comes directly from advertisers. This source is more relevant to devs who have a direct sales team. The dev can build relationships with advertisers, ad agencies, and trading desks. They can then receive direct ad campaigns for specific budgets at negotiated prices. These are generally the highest eCPMs a dev can receive because they remove any middlemen such as ad mediation exchanges or ad networks. Devs should allow direct campaigns to serve ads before ad networks and DSPs to drive revenue.
How does it work?
All mobile ad mediation layers work the same. When an ad request is made, there is a waterfall system, which gives the first opportunity to fill the request to the ad source with the highest eCPM. If the ad is not sent for any reason, such as a connection error, loss of internet connection, or hitting an impression limit; the request falls to the next ad source in the waterfall to fill the request. The waterfall system ensures that every ad request has multiple chances to be filled by competing sources. Having this system increases ad fill rate and revenue.
Each time an ad network has the chance to fill an ad request in the waterfall, hundreds of DSPs in the ad exchange bid to beat the eCPM of the ad source trying to fill the request. The DSPs in the ad exchange compete with the ad networks and direct campaigns, increasing competition and revenue for the developer. A good rule of thumb is the more DSPs in the mediation layer, the better.
This ad mediation waterfall system can either be automated, self-serve or both. Choosing one option over another comes down to a question of availability. Since eCPMs are constantly changing, waterfalls must be updated with the latest eCPMs frequently or devs risk losing money. Devs who have the time to build relationships and optimize the waterfall closely should choose self-serve. This strategy can be time-consuming but offers more control over the types of ads shown. Devs who are short on time can opt to automatically update waterfalls, but that leaves an algorithm responsible for maximizing your revenue. Also, in addition to automated or self-serve waterfall systems, mobile ad mediation layers offer dedicated personal account managers. They can be helpful for technical assistance and waterfall optimizations.
What’s the ROI?
It is hard for devs to understand which ad networks, DSP exchanges, and direct ad campaigns are best to integrate into their app. A mobile ad mediation layer simplifies that process by allowing instant access to hundreds of ad sources.
The exact ROI will depend on a number of factors such as the type of app, the target audience, and the ad formats being used (banners, static interstitials, video interstitials, etc.) For more information, check out my complete guide to mobile ad formats.
Also, using an ad mediation layer will reduce a dev’s cost by only having to integrate a few SDKs at once. It costs less than integrating ad network after ad network to find the one that works best. That process could take months and cost precious time.
Also, by integrating an ad mediation layer, devs will gain access to hundreds of ad sources which will drive competition, increase ad fill and revenue. The mobile landscape is always changing so it is best to go with a solution that will give you the most flexibility to grow revenue. When monetizing mobile ads, ad mediation is vital to success.
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