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Is using Ad Networks worth it?

05-01-2012, 09:36 AM
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 93
Is using Ad Networks worth it?


I've found myself in an odd position, currently my game Pocket Ninjas is in the top 25 free games and top 50 free apps. It was totally unexpected (I have done zero advertising and it hasn't been featured) and has been downloaded roughly 500k in the last week. I have some IAPs that are making me some very solid revenue but have been inundated with emails from various Ad Networks that want to help me further "monetize" my game.

I guess my question is since I have ZERO experience with Ad Networks, does anybody have any insight they could offer? Personally I hate when I download a game and am faced with ads and never expected or thought about including any in my games, but I also never expected a game I made to be much of a hit so I don't want to automatically dismiss anything either. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


05-01-2012, 11:58 AM
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 543
I have a Minecraft reference app which uses iAd and AdMob. Since I don't have tracking, I don't know exactly how many users I have put to put some perspective, I have 1-2M total downloads (over the course of 1 1/2 years) and about 150k updaters per update (I'm assuming ~100k MAU)

iAd has great eCPM but has a problem with fill rate. From what I can tell, it seems common to supplement iAds which another type, such as AdMob. I believe it also depends on your app, and certain apps tend to get better/more ad inventory. I'm not sure what factors play in here.

In terms of iAds, I'm seeing eCPM's slightly north of $1.00 which sounds like a lot more than AdMob's ~eCPM of ~$0.10-$0.20, but AdMob cycles the ads relatively frequently, increasing the number of impressions but dropping the eCPM. That said, my AdMob dashboard does show 99.99% fill rate. (If you're not familiar, fill rate is simply the actual # of ads served versus the number of ads requested -- if you request an ad but there is no inventory, it does not count as an impression)

It's hard for me to predict how a game might do in the top charts like Pocket Ninja, but I did notice my eCPM tended to drop as my impressions rose, giving me the impression that adding more users wouldn't necessarily help my overall revenue. That said, I'm currently sitting at about 30-50k impressions per day with iAd which equates to $30-$50 per day (I get another $30-50/day with iAd).

All in all, the app is currently doing $2,000+ per month. If you're in the Top 25, I'm guessing you have significantly higher numbers, and you stand to earn quite a lot. One strategy I might pursue for my free game (which I plan to be ad supported with IAP) is to simply remove ads for ANY IAP purchase, which should hopefully reduce any complaints about the ads.

Hope that helps. If you have any specific iAd questions, I'll do my best to answer.