3 Steps to Increase Mobile Ad Revenue in 2013

Hey folks, it is 2013, and hope your mobile business is thriving!

2012 was, I'd say, finally, the year of mobile advertising. And it is supposed to get better this year. I don't think the momentum will slow down in 2013, so get your apps and games in high gear!

Let's make some money!

So, you wanna increase your mobile ad revenues this year? Who doesn't? Here let me share a few tips and directions on how to go about with your app's revenue increment in 2013.

1 - Increase downloads

Simple point, more downloads equals more ads display equals more moolah! It is all about traffic. This is probably the 101 in business education, you just need more customers.

It has gotten rather tough now, with the competition increasing daily, and apps count currently at a ridiculous number in the market. It will require some work, not gonna be easy.

How will you increase the downloads? I'd probably re-work on the app-store optimisation bit. Mainly better icons and graphics. This area has been my main weakness, hope I can get some divine/un-divine intervention and get some better art out.

There are also other ways to increase downloads. These include :

  • cross promote your apps
  • make more apps
  • advertise (pick a CPA type ad network please)
  • forum postings (never worked for me and many others, but who knows?)
  • get some reviews from famous sites
  • make an awesome blog like mine (muahahhaha!!), and you will make some friends who will help with the initial downloads when you announce them (again, thanks to all that have supported with my previous app releases!)
  • social media (achievements and bragging rights postings to social sites can help in increment of downloads)

2 - Increase active installs

Active installs, not downloads, there is a difference here. This is an important aspect of how Google ranks your app in the market. How do I know? I dreamt it last night.

Create apps and games that will make users stick with it for a longer time. Make more levels, make more achievements (people just love them badges), make leaderboards in-game.

Stickiness of an app will help propel your app up the charts, which will drive more downloads. The more app time a user has with your app, the more ad delivery opportunity you have, which means the more money making opportunity you have. If you're using push ads, this will give your apps a longer life in generating the revenues.

3 - Optimize your ads

The ad networks, in my past experience, each have their ups and downs. I've often seen people complaining that a certain CPC ad network has dropped in eCPM. Complaining alone is not gonna work. You need to take action. Move, and change your ad network provider.

You should also experiment to see which ad network will make it worth your effort investing in them. Time changes every second (d'oh!), your apps need to keep up with it. Besides, this also means you release a new update of your app on the market, which is a good practise every now and then to refresh your audience.

Buying a Ferrari

I won't be buying a Ferrari this year for sure. The money can be better invested in making a better life. But I am planning on increasing my mobile ad revenue.

What about you? Got something planned? Any additional steps to the above to share?

Hope you have a wonderful 2013!



  1. Hi Bill,

    Do you still have high numbers with HeyZap (1 - 5 dollars range)?

    Back on the topic, probably good plan would be to release two games at the same time and to cross-promote them in pair. So, on that way you will get (maybe) better visibility on top new list.

    Lets say that you release game A and game B so in game A puts some banner like "If you like this game you will like game B too!" and vise versa.


  2. Hi Bojan,

    Heyzap's fairy tale looks at an end. Pretty short lived high eCPM. I only get $1.xx ecpm for their ads now.

    Great idea there about releasing two games and cross promoting them. Getting in the top lists is really important for us small time devs, and the cross promotion is a pretty cool way to go about it.

    Thanks for the tip.


  3. Hi all,

    I just implement new way to serve the ads, I call it Self-Adserver:
    I add all ad networks into my app: Applovin, Admob, InMobi, TapforTap and my banner too.
    When my app starts, it will read a small file on my host to know which ad network will be display. By this way I can switch to higher eCPM ad network and cross promote my new app too.
    I think it's perfect solution because I don't stuck with only one ad network and I can change to another ad network without update my app.
    Just my sharing. Good luck to you :D

    1. Hi susu,

      Good idea there. With the ad networks each having their own peaks and valleys, it is best way to optimize our ad network remotely.

    2. What is the difference between your solution and mediation ?

    3. susu's solution allows greater flexibility which he can control from his own server.

      Theoretically, it is the same as mediation.

      Issues with mediation:

      1 - Say you use admob's mediation, they will decide how they optimise your ad networks. You can decide your own optimisation method on your own server.

      2 - You can add more ad networks to your apps, as mediation sometimes have limits on this.

      3 - If your account gets suspended in the mediation network, all your apps will be ad-less. This happened to David from www.makingmoneywithandroid.com. Own servers would have allowed him to continue serving alternative ad network ads.

  4. Hi there bill

    You said go for a CPA network to advertise your app. I want to ask you, why? i was thinking to advertise using admob is it a bad idea? What network you suggest? Cpa networks seem to charge to much :\

    1. Hi Steve,

      Admob is a horrible option to advertise apps in. It is probably a great option for website advertising, but not for apps.

      I experimented a little with my admob traffic, and started posting house ads. From over 25k impressions, I had 863 clicks. My downloads of the free game was still within the usual range (in fact it was on the lower end). This experiment in real life could have costed about $50. Click based ads are not suitable for apps.

      Here are a couple more examples:

      Example 1

      Example 2

      A CPA network will make your money be worth it. Yes, it is more expensive, but you will be sure that all your money spent will be on proper downloads of your app.

      Also, when going the advertising route, do try to work out if your potential gains from the ad spend will be big enough. We indies are already on low budget, can't aford to throw our money away :)

      I can't really suggest any particular network as I have not done any advertising myself. But have a look at leadbolt or appbrain's ads. Should be more or less-ish..

    2. Yes you are right Bill. I am currently running my own house adds propagating my own app od AdMob. It seems to be wasting of clicks. I have tried in 2012 Millenial Media promo 1$ + 100$ from them. No observable results !

  5. From the examples i can see it´s because they are paid apps but if you say that even free apps are not worth advertising then i will probably follow your advice.

    Might be good idea use some of the earnings earned with appbrain and use them to promote. Too bad is that it seems you can only promote the apps that have been added to your account
    and not promote other apps that are not integrated with appbrain.

    Thanks Bill :)

    1. Good luck Steve! Do share with us if you do decide on advertising, and what was the outcome.

    2. Hi Bill

      Just spent $10 dollars advertising one app in appbrain just for the kicks. What i can i tell it´s insane it spent my $10 dollars in less then 5 minutes lol. After my budget ran out appbrain paused my campaign but it kept charging me for some minutes resulting in $18 spent, so when you pause it isn´t instant. Final result´s are:
      Impressions: 3,212
      clicks: 193
      CTR: 6.01%
      Installs: 90
      IR: 2.80%
      Avg CPI: $0.20
      Total Cost: $18.00

      I made the campaign worldwide without targeting certain countries. It does seem effective but the minimum bid is $0.20 per install, a bit high for us indie developers perhaps.

    3. Interesting i got half number of clicks turned in install´s you kinda get the feeling cpc advertising is better judging by this number´s lol you would´t pay $.10 per click lol

    4. Hi Steve,

      Thanks for the numbers.

      Do you have to pay the extra $8 then? Wonder if AppBrain is deliberately doing this... hmm...

      I agree $0.20 per install is pretty high, might work if you have $1000 to spend, might put your apps on the trending list perhaps?

      Also, how much return do you get from each of your apps? Does it justify $0.20 per install?

      Probably targetting US traffic alone would have been better for your experiment, as the ads eCPM for US is higher.

    5. I am not sure what happens that i am in debt to them, but for now they didn´t do anything, probably they will only charge when i transfer more money to make a new campaign.

      Yes i do agree with you about targeting US traffic but might be much more difficult to appear in treading section for the US because of heavy competition. Another thing is if you target only US it might take much more time to deplete your money, maybe that´s because it depleted the money so fast it´s because nobody is targeting low eCPM countries.

      I am getting about $4,5 daily per app right now, using appbrain with startapp. I am looking for more ways to push up revenues, still not sure about airpush lol. I have a spot for banners, do you think admob is the best for banners? I am using applovin

    6. My opinion is that targetting US alone would still deplete your money as fast, as the market is US alone is super huge.

      You're right, it might not put your app in trending list, but if you have a new app out, it might put you high on the new apps sections. With a few hundred $ of course.

      Admob banners are horrible, but we don't have much options when it comes to banners, as they are all performing horribly. Give admob or millenial media a try, but don't expect much. Airpush will surely help in increasing revenue, give them a try :P

    7. Hi Steve.

      I am using the some mobile ad network site like :Admob(Google Adwords), Airpush, inmobi . i spent the lot of money($3500) in airpush($1000) & inmoboi($2500) but best result give me inmobi , because no. of new visiter in Inmobi was 84% approx. And airpush , when i start the campaign airpush give me 70-80% new visitor but after some time it give only 30-40% new visitor so, in this duration my apps installation ratio going to down.

      After that i am using the Appbran, its better then other it give me $0.20 to $0.30 rate downloads per installation country wise.

      Kindly suggest the name any other platform (in CPI base) are low cost.

    8. Hi ,

      Again i'll share to other stats with you, i am promote the some apps through facebook campaign(CPC). i notice that philippines , malayisa & indonesia cpc rate is 0.80-1.20 INR ($0.01 - $0.02) normally i judge every third click convert to installation (CTR is 30-40%).
      Once again if any suggestion for me , how to improve my app installation with minimum cost .

      i am facing the some problem on iSO section. In this section CPI rate is very high $1.0/install.. Kindly suggest how to reduce CPI.

  6. Hi guys,

    I tried TapforTap (tapfortap.com) a tap-exchange-network and I think it's good for Steve's case. Why? Because you don't need to spend a cent to promote your app. When the user tap on ads in your app, you will earn credits. You can spend that credits to promote your new apps and get new users. You even can earn real money if you don't want credits.

    My experience: I have 1 hot app that generate many credits. I use it to "push" my new 2 apps and make money too. In 3 weeks I got 65 new users and $71. I have to say it like "win-win" model for developers. You guys need to try to believe.

    PS 1: If you want, you can use my referral link here
    PS 2: Bill, you can delete the link, I'll never mind :D

    1. Hi susu,

      Thanks for the feedback, and no problem about the referral link. Looks interesting.

      Tapfortap does require screen real-estate, just like banner ads do. I've not used them before, but might use our idea for new app launches soon :D


    2. Hi Susu

      I already use tap for tap on my iphone apps lol they combined give me 1000 downloads daily and tap for tap gives me more 7 downloads per day, nothing to brag about. And after 2 months i only earned $0.71 how do you get $71 from them?

  7. Hi Steve,

    Did you adjust the slide on TapforTap? Mine is 90% for money and 10% for new users. I just use their Android SDK not iPhone so maybe it's different?

  8. I adjusted today to 100% to user´s it was 50% for each i will wait and see how things goes :)

  9. By the way did somebody here already tried making a campaign directly with other developers and paying them directly without using an ad network?. This is possible by keep the referral installs with google analytics i tested this between my apps and it works! :)

    1. Actually I was just thinking about it the past few days. Admob been pathetic in revenues, so I was wondering if I could sell the 25-35k daily impressions on admob that I have to other developers.

      Mind sharing the rates you went with?

    2. I only used that system between my apps just to see how the referrer system works. I do know some developers pay directly to other developer to promote their apps and keep track of the number´s of install´s generated by that developer on google analytics. This way you can cut expenses by cutting the middle man the ad network. Don´t know about selling ad impressions from a network.

      About the rate´s i was thinking about $0,10 per successful download for the first try just to test the water´s :)

    3. Thanks Steve, looks like another approach for CPA model there. That's why CPA works better than CPC :D


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