Top Publishers Weigh in on Mobile Monetization & User Engagement

Jul 31, 2017
By: Jonathan Harrop

How do publishers of the world’s top apps monetize and engage their users in a meaningful way that is effective & respects the user experience? To find out, Digital Turbine surveyed today’s top-grossing app developers, and the results of the Digital Turbine Summer 2017 Publishing Survey are now available.

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While the full report features 17 pages of data, the top charts and takeaways are below.

Ad Revenue Reliance

According to survey respondents, advertising accounts for 55% of total mobile publisher revenue, and the greatest contributor to this category is mobile video ad monetization. Indeed, 31% of mobile publisher revenue comes from mobile video ads.

Outside of advertising, publishers are far more likely to make money through direct in-app purchases than they are from paid installs or subscriptions. In fact, in-app purchases was the single greatest individual revenue contributor cited, driving 39% of total publisher revenue.


A breakdown of the revenue divide between mobile games and other mobile apps is available in the full report.

Rewarding User Experiences

Albeit not too surprising given the fact that users opt-in to rewarded video ads, a vast majority of publishers (87%) feel that rewarded video ad placements provide a positive user experience.

The next most favorable ad units were those that are well-integrated (native), short in duration (interstitial display), engaging (playable), or modest in stature (banner display). The least favorable ads were those that auto-played before (preroll) or amongst (in-feed) content.

A detailed breakout of each monetization method’s impact on the user experience is available in the full report.

Monetizing Effectively

When asked which monetization methods were most effective, publishers reported that rewarded video ads, in-app purchase systems, and interstitial video were all highly effective. As these methods account for a majority of publisher revenue and also rank well with respect to the user experience, this sentiment was not all too surprising.

A detailed breakout of each monetization method’s effectiveness is available in the full report.

Quantifying & Engaging High Quality Users

When asked which behaviors are early indicators of user quality, publishers cited retention, in-app purchase behavior, and average session duration as key indicators. To engage these users, the majority of publishers (71%) use 3 or more strategies.

The most popular engagement methods used by publishers were achievements, push notifications, value exchange ad integrations, and in-app events. This suggests that users must be rewarded & reminded while content must be refreshed.

A deeper breakout of engagement effectiveness by method is available in the full report.

By Jonathan Harrop
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