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Whats the best way to make money through ads on a mobile app?

The application involves limited user interaction, roughly 30 or so seconds at a time at which I may have 1-5 instances to revolve between banner ads. The ads we wish to show pertain to food/restaurants and will be catered to the user based on user-set perimeters. If those perimeters are not able to be met there will be "priority" spots available for sale.

Whats the best route to pursue when using ads to maximize my companies profits?
I would love to hear some peoples personal experiences, pros/cons.

7 Replies

Christopher Cioffi
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Christopher Cioffi Entrepreneur • Advisor
CEO at mPoint Media, Inc.
Bret,

There are many factors that go into an advertising strategy for a mobile application. I can help you evaluate and determine your best options if you have time today we can conduct a quick phone call. I have a lot of experience in advertising and the options are numerous.

1. Who will be selling the ad space? In house staff, Supply Side Partner etc.
2. How much do you know about your users that can be passed in an ad request?
3. What are your uniques? How many users does you app have currently?
4. What is the open rate?
5. What is your expected unique growth?
6. How many views do you expect each unique to generate on a daily basis?

This is not a comprehensive list of questions just a taste of the sort of areas that will need to be understood in order to build a media kit. You are selling an audience and the more you understand the worth of your audience the better you will be at demanding value.

Finally, you mention that you only want to sell food related ads. I understand that your content is food related and this may be a great fit, however, you will want to maximize your ad yield and limiting yourself to one advertising category may leave money on the table. So, I would like to understand your app and the user parameters before I comment on this strategy.
Patricia Neuray
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Patricia Neuray Entrepreneur
Cofounder at Ripe Daily Network
Hi Bret; I think the first thing to consider is how many people have downloaded your app and at what frequency are they using it? Do you also have any independent research that supports demographics about the audience i.e. age, income etc. If you are going to try to sell direct to advertisers, you are most likely going to get asked those questions constantly. Also, who are the competitors in your space? Depending on those answers, you might want to try to have your inventory sold through a demand supply platform or DSP. They will auction your inventory off to highest bidder based on parameters that you set up. You could also put your inventory on a mobile ad network that specializes in representing apps or mobile sites that have similar demographics. That would ensure that you get a higher price rather than a generic ad network that is representing a variety of apps or mobile sites that have a more general audience. Hope that helps! Good luck!
Bret Gardner
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Bret Gardner Entrepreneur • Advisor
CEO at Food Roll, LLC.
Hey Patricia,

This is our first application and we are currently seeking a developer. That being said, we have zero app downloads right now and we are still pre-beta.

We do not have any viable competition worth mentioning, they are almost non existent. They are web-based and are more of a joke than anything actually functional. less than 500 downloads (but for good reason).

I am just trying to get ahead of the game. I don't really know where to start on a pre-evaluation. The app is created to be a in-and-out app. You open, you roll, you get your catered output. With each output you have a banner ad. The average person may roll 3 times before choosing (some more some less) but with each roll, we give a new ad.. how can we turn those views into profit?

Any information you can toss my way would be much appreciated!

Thank you
Bret Gardner
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Bret Gardner Entrepreneur • Advisor
CEO at Food Roll, LLC.
Chris,

I would love to take you up on that phone call. I've messaged you directly with my contact information. Please respond with a good time to reach you and I will make it happen.

Thanks!
Joanan Hernandez
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Joanan Hernandez Entrepreneur
CEO & Founder at Mollejuo
Chris,

This can be summed up in two factors, you either:

1) Have a lot of downloads

or

2) You have a lot of use

If you have both, it's even better!

That's the way to persuade people/companies to advertise in your app. Number 1 can be twisted to have a lot of downloads. Number two, is more difficult. Whatever it is, don't be going into the app world thinking people will download by the thousands your app just because is there. Those days are long gone.

Best of luck!
Patricia Neuray
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Patricia Neuray Entrepreneur
Cofounder at Ripe Daily Network
Hi Bret: Since your product is still in beta, you are going to have a tough time getting an advertiser without any data points. My suggestion might be to find one advertiser and give them an exclusive sponsorship for the first month after it launches. I would approach a company that has a product that is targeted towards your audience. You could also work with them on a co-promotion of the app i.e. press release, coverage in applicable online pubs as well and they would have an incentive to promote this as well. After you have more information about your audience, downloads etc you could then take it to a broader advertiser base. I would be happy to discuss further if it would be helpful? Feel free to send an email directly to [removed to protect privacy]. Patricia
Chris Beshore
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Chris Beshore Advisor
iOS App Developer & Indie iOS Focus Weekly Curator
Hi Brett. To generate any kind of substantial revenue you will need huge download numbers. For example, one of my apps uses videos to generate income. I average about 1,200 downloads a day and make between $12-$18 each day. Banner ads have been even less profitable for me. The pros are that it's easy to add these ads to an app and users do expect ads, to an extent.

You should also consider other monetization strategies at launch. Personally, I would be more concerned with creating a solid app that fills a niche than monetizing at launch. Monetizing has to be part of the roadmap, but consider developing an audience first and finding a way to generate revenue after you have data points and a better idea of how the app will be used. Many apps are made. Few generate sustainable income.
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