The App Developer’s Holiday Checklist

Oct 20, 2022
By: Carolyn Hom

Where has the time gone? The holidays are here, and 2022 is winding down — now’s the time to wrap your app and prepare for the increase in holiday spend. App developers like you are hard at work lining up in-app events to capture the seasonal spirit and advertisers have plans to capture eyes and hearts before year’s end. 

In 2021, DT FairBid saw a 24% increase in publisher revenues across the platform comparing Q3 to Q4. In addition, eCPMs for full-screen formats like interstitials and rewarded video served through DT Exchange saw a 14% increase, confirming that Q4 is indeed the season of giving. 

Kick off the holiday season with these quick tips for your apps: 

Upgrade Your SDKs 

We can’t stress this enough, and you’ll also hear this from other partners who require SDK integrations – keep your SDKs up-to-date! Companies who build SDKs are always working to improve their technology.This could mean better ad rendering, bug fixes, updated legal and privacy compliance, backend optimizations, and more — all in the name of providing app developers the best experience and performance. 

DT FairBid has a monthly update cadence in order to provide updated support for our mediated demand partners. DT Exchange updates release several times per year to continue building best-in-class ad rendering capabilities to deliver higher performance for advertisers and higher CPMs for publishers. DT Offer Wall is a tried and true workhorse SDK — updates here are less frequent but if your SDK is more than a year old, we definitely recommend updating to ensure optimization for newer operating systems and privacy rules. 

Diversify Your Demand

Brands, now having a better understanding of the attention economics of mobile games, are more excited than ever to find the high viewability, completion rates, and attention scores available through in-app mobile ad formats. Ensuring that you’re connected to demand sources that provide ample brand demand will help with retention, provide positive user experiences with the ads, and capture the increased budgets and pricing characteristic of Q4. 

Bidders, waterfall networks, and DSPs are all supported through DT FairBid – find the right mix of demand for your app to maximize yield. Bidding sources (both mediated SDKs and through DT Exchange with 180+ DSPs, already included in your DT FairBid integration) compete in real time for every impression and up the ante to bring stronger CPMs for your audience. Waterfall networks who have been reliable workhorses in the mobile ad delivery space provide strong demand operating on performance models to deliver ads optimized to convert. 

Check out the latest list of supported networks through DT FairBid and reach out to your DT account manager to discuss your goals and find recommendations to help you exceed them with the right demand mix. 

Update CPM Floors for Waterfall Networks 

Holiday CPMs are coming — with bidding demand sources, no additional action is needed but waterfall demand might need that extra bump to stay competitive with increased pricing. Brands, in particular, favor banners as an ad format with which they can quickly turn up the volume.. Last year, we saw a 32% increase in CPMs for banners on DT Exchange. We recommend upping your price floors to meet that expected increase and keep non-bidding demand competitive. Work with your account manager for recommendations unique to your apps. 

Create a Brand Safe Environment with app-ads.txt

Remember this file you had to add to your developer website URL to authorize the selling of your in-app inventory to advertisers? This IAB-developed framework not only helps prevent the unauthorized sale of your app inventory, but also builds confidence for advertisers to know that they are buying your traffic, as intended. 

This file isn’t updated frequently, but does change as DT partners with new buyers bidding through the DT Exchange. If you haven’t updated your app-ads.txt file across your connected demand sources, now’s the perfect time to make sure you’ve got the latest and greatest list to ensure the right conditions to invite advertisers to connect to your audience. View the latest app-ads.txt list for Digital Turbine, then copy and paste it into the root folder of your developer website. 

Stay Up-to-date with SKAdnetwork

Specific to apps built for iOS and introduced with iOS 14, an up-to-date SKAdnetwork implementation ensures that installs get attributed correctly to your app. This means the associated cost per install revenue also gets attributed to you — get that money!

DT built a handy SKAdnetwork updater tool for you – regardless of which monetization platform(s) you use – to automatically grab the latest info.plist files and have them ready to go on project compilation. Read more about the tool and how to use it here.  

In case you need a review of all the things required for iOS14 and beyond, here’s a quick reminder

Increase Engagement with Currency Sales and Content Sinks

Encouraging engagement with your app during the holiday season will also be important to take advantage of the higher CPMs and overall budgets being spent on in-app mobile ad formats. Seasonal timed events will encourage users to open your app more often to enjoy some of the limited offerings and can lead to higher IAP revenue with the timed urgency. These “content sinks” encourage more spending in your app and help to cut down on virtual currency hoarding that can cause inflation within your in-app economy. 

For those users who don’t want to spend more on IAP, offering virtual currency sales will also provide opportunities for users to earn through ads – think rewarded video and offer wall engagements – to secure that seasonal offering. Double point promotions increase engagement from users already familiar with those ad formats and also entice newer users to try out rewarded ad formats for the first time, with higher virtual payouts. 

Virtual currency sales in tandem with content sinks are a great strategy, especially during the holidays, to keep your users engaged and yielding higher LTVs. 

“As always, Digital Turbine’s reputation as a hands-on monetization partner has proven itself. We saw 78% higher ARPDAU with DT Offer Wall’s Virtual Currency Sale by implementing Digital Turbine’s recommendations” 

Harrison Botwick, VP Revenue, Lucky Day

Complete Final QA Checks

Before app stores go into hibernation for the (northern hemisphere) winter, you’ll need to make sure your app(s) are fully QA’d so that there are no surprises lurking in the wings while app review teams are taking some well-deserved rest. 

DT FairBid’s mediation test suite has you covered, available for iOS, Android, and Unity builds; quickly check your mediated networks’ integration status down the individual instance setup with clear messaging on errors detected or being ready to go live. This tool reduces the need to troubleshoot integration mistakes with concise messaging around exactly what is missing or misconfigured. 

Rest assured, all supported networks are vetted and tested with our own FairBid engineering team to ensure that launches with the latest FairBid and mediated partner SDKs are compatible. Check out the latest supported mediated network versions in these tables.  

Don’t forget to make your holiday list and check it twice! Let DT’s convenient automation tools and knowledgeable teams support you to keep the coming months nice. 

By Carolyn Hom
Read more by this author