Mobile advertising for developers


I gave a talk on mobile advertising from the application developer's perspective at Mobile Camp Boston in March. These are my rough notes.

Why I care
  • The applications that we build at Nellymoser depend on recurring revenue as part of their biz model--we have skin in the game.
  • Monthly recurring charges (MRC) don't work well enough, a la carte purchasing isn't good enough--MRC is a barrier to user.
  • We need better revenue source, and in-app ads provide an interesting alternative.
  • Richard Kasperowski
    • Nellymoser Engineering Manager
    • Mobile since 2003
    • Founder of Boston Mobile, etc.
  • Nellymoser
    • Mobile 2.0
    • Rich mobile app's
    • Audio & video on demand
    • Social networking
    • Personalization
Want to share my experiece with mobile advertising, including the challenges, and hear how you do it.
Compare mobile app's to the ISP I use at home. I pay for a data connection--I don't have to pay by the month for every web site or app I use.

  • Let's be honest: the mobile app is itself an ad, reinforcing someone's brand. For example, the CBS Sports Mobile app is branded to distinguish it from ESPN; the Virgin Mobile Headliner music app is branded to distinguish Virgin Mobile from other carriers.
In-app through an ad supplier/ad agency
  • Immature: unreliable, not documented well, etc.
  • Ad supplier offers library that you include in your app
    • Benefits
      • guaranteed to work?
      • Rich media ads
    • Challenges
      • Too large--your app won't fit on target handsets when combined with the ad library
      • Rich media ad inventory not available
  • Ad supplier offers simple RESTful web service
    • Inputs: app ID, handset user agent, end user ID
    • Outputs: sized banner ad, sized full screen ad, URL for click-through to related WAP site
    • Challenges
      • Custom
      • Scant documentation
      • Reliability of ad service: hard to cope with reliability issues, given handset constraints
        • e.g. if ad server is down, can't necessarily timeout gracefully on mobile handset
    • also report impressions via RESTful interface
  • Players: Third Screen, MillennialMedia
  • Paid for impression of banner ad, paid more for impression of full screen ad, paid more for click-through to related WAP site
In-app, app-specific
  • E.g., featured artists UI element at top of screen in a music app
  • E.g., featured artist start page widget in a music app
  • Ad suppliers: how can we integrate better?
  • Developers: what coping strategies do you use?
Actual user demographics difficult to know
  • Carriers guard this information.
  • Difficult to obtain end user phone number

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