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By: Alex Genadinik, Founder, Problemio 

Monetizing mobile applications is very difficult. For many developers, publishing ads on their apps is the only real option they have to make any real money from their apps. Most developers do not want to contaminate their apps with ads, but in order to earn revenue and continue working on the app, many developers give in, and publish ads on their apps. In this article, I will go over two ways in which I tried to publish ads on my Problemio apps, and offer some good-practice techniques in order for your ad publishing campaign to be successful.

Ads From 3rd Party Ad Networks:

Most developers place ads available from numerous 3rd party ad networks. These ads can appear in many shapes and forms such as banner ads, take-over interstitial ads, push notification ads, or a number of other kinds of creatively made ads.

I am personally not a fan of such ads because I know users don’t like any of those ads. I know I don’t like those ads when I see them on my phone. Plus, most of the time, they earn very little money, but I wanted to give it a try, so I placed ads on this Android marketing app. At the time I placed the ad, this was the #1 marketing app for Android. Take a look at the steep drop that occurred almost immediately after I added the ads in the beginning of April:


My users didn’t like the ads, gave the app a number of 1-star reviews and the app dropped in rankings with the rankings dropped the number of downloads. I removed the ads some time mid-April, but as you can see, that did not help the app recover and I am still working on resuscitating it.

So if you do place 3rd party ads on your app, make sure they are not intrusive, and do not break the usability flow. Also, make sure that it is clear to the user what is happening, and that the value they get is an order of magnitude greater than the annoyance the ad carries with it.

Native Ads:

Now let’s examine how to publish ads in a more smooth and integrated way. You must have a good app where users are having a good experience and are engaged. Once you have such an app, the native ads appear as suggestions for users to do things that are additive to their experience, and the ads must appear as the rest of the elements on your app. An example of such use of native ads is in my Android business plan app. Inside this app, at some points where it is additive to user experience, I suggest that people get one of my premium apps. My premium apps have to do with business ideas, marketing, and fundraising. So when users on the free premium app get to the point where they need to learn about any of those topics, I place a button that looks just like the rest of the content, suggesting that people check out the apps that cover those topics in depth.

So far the latter approach has worked much more effectively than the former approach because I have 100% control of where and how the ad is displayed, and can make sure that the ad is additive to the overall user experience which is key. Whatever you do, the ad must either be additive to the user experience, or at least not hamper it.


Alex Genadinik is a mobile developer and a marketer. Currently he is the founder of Problemio business apps. Alex holds a B.S in Computer Science from San Jose State University. Say hello on Twitter @genadinik and let him know what you thought of the article.


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