Advertisers, Developers

6 Steps to Boost App Ad Revenue This Holiday Season

by Tony Deane on Nov 4, 2022

Q4 for many mobile-based businesses has a history of seeing significant surges through in-app engagement, app ad revenue, and ad spend. For instance, between 2020 and 2021, average app and game revenue from Q1 to Q4 has grown 22.5% (Sensor Tower/ It presents a huge opportunity for app publishers who have faced difficult economic headwinds this year to get back on track.

By following the tips below, you can position yourself for continued app ad revenue growth into the Q4 holiday peak and beyond.

1. Demand Diversification

Activating more demand for your inventory increases competition for every impression, which leads to higher eCPMs. Start adding new demand sources/ad partners into your stack, or turn on inactive sources that have already been incorporated. Consider adding brand-heavy networks such as Ogury, HyperMX, and InMobi this holiday season to take advantage of increased advertiser budgets.

If you’re a publisher who uses MAX — our industry-leading mediation platform — you’ll benefit from the largest unified auction in our industry with 25+ networks — including 20+ bidders — and AppLovin’s premium demand sources: the AppLovin Network and the AppLovin Exchange (ALX). Check out our latest network bidders — Criteo and BidMachine — as potential new additions to your ad stack.

Check out the Getting Started Guide for more on network integrations in MAX

2. New Ad Formats

Open your app to additional revenue opportunities by increasing the number of ad formats you support. Some of the more popular formats include: 

  • Banners – Banner ads are easy to integrate, are a high-demand and established format, and have become a staple for brand ads.
  • Interstitials – Interstitial ads sport a rich, interactive canvas that supports multiple creative formats, yielding higher-than-average CPMs. 
  • Rewarded video – Rewarded ads include utility in the form of in-app/in-game items, provide additional fullscreen video opportunities that don’t interrupt app experiences, and are highly engaging for your users.
  • Native ads – Native ads seamlessly fit in with the content/apps in which they are displayed, creating a more comfortable and engaging ad experience.

You are likely using one or multiple types of these ads already, so choose one or more to test to find which works best for you. 

3. A/B Test, Measure, and Move

New demand sources and ad formats greatly increase the chances of boosting your ad revenue. While making revenue-generating changes, you need to focus on the data and measure the ARPDAU impact of additions to your monetization stack with A/B testing. We advise doing this before rolling out major changes across the board, and to fully understand what’s driving the lift so you can take full advantage of success metrics that surface during that research. 

With MAX, it’s easy to A/B test additional networks, waterfall configurations, pricing, and ad frequency to drive positive results.

Here’s how to set up an A/B test

4. Re-invest Revenue Gains in Smart Acquisition

The saying “you have to spend money to make money” rings true in the app industry. Be ready to create and take advantage of a flywheel of growth during the holidays this year. Increased revenue gives you more to invest in acquisition, which in turn gives you more users and ad impression opportunities to drive further revenue into 2023. 

Using mediation that is connected to a strong acquisition network, like AppLovin’s MAX and AppDiscovery, enables you to interpret the monetization value of users more accurately and bid based on the determined value to fully power that growth opportunity. AppDiscovery’s automated Ad ROAS and Total ROAS campaigns use monetization data from MAX and machine learning to hit your targets.

Learn how SayGames increased total portfolio installs by more than 25% through MAX and AppDiscovery’s Ad ROAS campaigns

5. Direct Deals

Publishers can maximize the value of their inventory and strengthen key partnerships by selling inventory direct to advertisers.

A recent addition to MAX, Direct Sold has already seen significant uptake from our most successful and growth-driven publishers. It allows you to create, execute, and report on highly targeted ad campaigns with custom prices and specific goals for those ad campaigns. Use cases include direct-to-advertiser, promotional, cross-promo, and backfill campaigns.

How to launch your first Direct Sold campaign

6. Positive Ad Experiences = Positive App Ad Revenue

Getting users to your app is hard, keeping them is even harder. A bad ad experience can cause high churn levels in your apps – luckily, it’s an easy one to fix. This step will not only help you during Q4, it will also help keep your users around longer and continue growth into 2023.

Publishers need to manage the ad experience for end users, put a stop to risky ads immediately, and monitor competitors that are advertising in their apps. MAX Ad Review’s innovative (and invite-only) new feature, User Journey, allows publishers to simply enter a user’s unique ID to see a timeline of ads shown to quickly identify and eliminate inappropriate ads. 

Learn how to use Ad Review and implement your own custom rules for the type of content you consider to be risky

Our First Seasonal Summary

‘Tis the season to update and optimize how your ad stack is implemented, and how to help it perform at its best. Your competition is doing everything they can to boost revenue and growth during Q4 – and you should too.

What’s next for the app industry? 

Are you interested in key trends and predictions for 2023? Drop your info below and be the first to receive, and take advantage of insights to help drive your growth in the new year. 

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