Top 5 mobile app monetisation hacks


Generating revenue a free-to-play game or app can feel like a complex challenge.  Striking a balance between keeping players engaged and willing for ad messages is a constant push and pull, leaving app developers and publishers with many questions about how to achieve the highest app performance efficiently. 

Likewise, when promoting an app, marketers want to ensure the highest campaign performance. These helpful ‘cheats’ can cut the guesswork when strapped for time.

What ad formats work best?

Rule of thumb

If you have enough traffic, A/B test different ad formats and placements and then run with the methods that produce the highest engagement and conversions. 

The hack

While there are lots of ad formats to consider, using a combination of full-screen interstitial ads and video ads have proven to be more effective than traditional display banners. 

Ad placement is key. Interstitials work well in between game levels, or during app transition periods, while video ads work well when they are introduced a little later in the gameplay. 

Keep them short – 15 seconds is deal – and use a vertical layout for additional ease to the audience.

What metrics should I pay attention to?

Rule of thumb

Acknowledging a gut feeling is important, but always follow up on a hunch by taking a look at your analytics dashboard and base your decisions on actual data. The information you need is available from most ad network partners and mediation networks, so use it.

The hack

A complicated dashboard can sometimes prevent you from understanding a complete picture of performance. If you find yourself overwhelmed by all the data, concentrate on the single most important metric: customer lifetime value (LTV).

LTV is a holistic view of the all the revenue a single consumer will generate from the time of app download, taking into account future profits until the app is no longer used.  Once you understand which type of customers are your most valuable, you can concentrate on attracting the valuable users, and stop spending on attracting ones that aren’t.

LTV must meet or exceed customer acquisition cost. In other words, LTV tells you if new customers are worth more than the cost of acquiring them.

How can I gain a competitive edge?

Rule of thumb

Research what advertising strategy works for your category.

The hack

Okay, there’s no real time-saving hack here.  This one takes some effort, but it’s not hard – just copy the successful ones. There are several great resources to help you collect competitive intelligence.

Pose questions in forum communities such as Facebook’s App Entrepreneurs; good websites to check are and; and many ad networks also publish whitepapers and case studies that can be quite handy.

How do I target the most relevant users?

Rule of thumb

Understand your target audience and what advertising content they will be interested in. Keep in mind the more general your audience, the more audience you will reach. The more specific your audience, the more narrow your reach. 

The hack

Target broadly using device, carrier, geo-location, demographics such as age, gender, education and income, and contextual factors such as special interests, then refine your targeting parameters as your most relevant audience comes forward. 

‘Re-targeting’ based on a user’s suspected interest in your app is a great first step toward an advanced targeting strategy. Go ahead and target the ‘clickers’. The truth is that users may click on an ad many times before they download.  These clickers are actually prime candidates for conversion. 

Better yet, if your budget permits, ask your advertising platform partner for its managed services, and let it go to work for you.

How do I boost engagement?

Rule of thumb

Engagement is everything. If your users aren’t engaged with your game they aren’t going to be engaged with the advertising. Think about your funnel and how users move through your game and ensure advertising is a welcomed interval. 

The hack

Give your users a chance to experience something special in your game. Using incentivised video ads by rewarding players with a game perk (e.g. an extra life, bonus weapon or skill, level advancement) at the precise moment when they need one, in exchange for watching the video ad, is a wonderful way of introducing an ad as a welcome and helpful vehicle, and keeps your users engaged in your app longer. 


Sourced from Dale Carr, founder and CEO, Leadbolt

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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