Digital Turbine Presents the Mobile App Monetization Survey

Nov 10, 2021
By: Jean Ortiz-Luis

With evolving technology, increased user activity, and a shift toward consumer privacy, it can be pretty challenging to keep up with the latest in mobile app monetization. There have been many predictions on the changing state of in-app advertising, but we still have yet to learn the full scope of the recent years’ effects. So how have mobile publishers dealt with these changes? We asked them!

Digital Turbine learned from our valued clients about the current trends in the in-app monetization ecosystem. App publishers, small developers to large, from all over the world, have given us insight into where the industry is right now and where it is headed.

The Mobile App Monetization Survey was distributed globally and garnered responses from 300+ mobile publishers. The survey asked respondents 30 questions regarding monetization strategies, revenue sources, and the impact of AppTrackingTransparency. The mobile publishers included gaming and non-gaming app developers.

See below for the survey highlights and don’t forget to download the full report!

Survey Highlights

  • Video ads are publishers’ top choice. — Most gaming (82%) and non-gaming apps (78%) use video ads for monetization. According to publishers from all regions, video ads also bring in the most revenue. Display ads are widely used especially in non-gaming apps. When looking at specific monetization methods within video and display, rewarded video and banner display are the most commonly used.
  • What brings in more money: in-app ads or in-app purchases? Depends on the app. — It has become clear over the years that publishers don’t need to (and shouldn’t) choose between IAA and IAP. It is all about having a good mix. The great debate continues on what is more effective, but it really depends on the type of app. When it comes to the revenue split between IAA and IAP, over half of our clients say their revenue leans heavily to one side or the other. According to publishers surveyed, hyper-casual drives the most revenue with in-app ads.
  • Publishers prioritize strong relationships with monetization partners. — Most publishers turn to mediation platforms for their efficiency, but many still value direct deals with agencies and ad networks. Building relationships with ad networks allows for better service and optimization and could lead to higher eCPMs. Publishers of all sizes consider trust to be the most important quality of a monetization partner. Quality of service was also highly rated alongside results-based qualities like ad fill and eCPM.
  • We still have to wait to see AppTrackingTransparency’s full impact. — Though the industry expected a seismic shift, we’ve yet to see the full impact of Apple’s privacy changes. While some have reported drops in revenue, most publishers say it is too early to tell. Additionally, publishers with higher daily audiences were more willing to shift spend from iOS to Android but many said budgets remained the same. There are also still a number of app companies that have yet to adopt SKAdNetwork. Larger companies have been quicker to adopt presumably because of more resources and bigger teams.

By Jean Ortiz-Luis
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