App open ads are a relatively new ad format, and developers still find them somewhat confusing. Even though Applovin announced that their MAX mediation platform now supports app open ads, which have been around since September, the feature is still invite-only.
This is a perfect opportunity to discuss this innovative ad format and how developers can use it to their advantage.
In this article, we aim to provide a comprehensive overview of app open ads, including:
App open ads are designed so ads publishers can monetize their app load screens. Whenever your app is brought to the foreground, you can display app open ads to users, who can close them anytime. The app open ad will automatically display a small branding area to indicate they are still using your app.
This is a relatively new ad format first introduced in the west as the Admob app open ads. They have been around for approximately two years. In addition to images, rich media, and video ads, app open ads offer a variety of advertising assets for revenue generation.
When the user opens the app, the load screen displays for a couple of seconds before the app's content appears. During that time, the user sees the app open ad. Once they close the ad, they are taken to the app's main screen. You can see an example of an app open ad below.
In a nutshell, the user experience with app open ads entails the following:
A few important traits set app open ads apart from other ads:
According to their online session, AdMob app open ads can reach up to 70% of interstitial ad eCPMs. However, when we tested the format (in a non-gaming app, at scale), the eCPMs were significantly lower.
In conclusion, app open ads generated results that ranged from 13% to 39% of interstitial ads' eCPMs.
As we already mentioned, app open ads are a relatively new form of advertising. This type of ad has only been available on a limited number of platforms, with Admob by Google and Pangle being the only two providers at the moment.
A few months ago, Google dropped a major announcement that it will no longer tolerate disrupting ad experiences, referring primarily to interstitial ads.
This update, in effect since September 30, tackled major implementation issues such as showing interstitial ads during the level or at the start of the app.
You can read more about what the non-compliant ad placements are according to the new policies here.
But how does this affect app open ads? Are they compliant with the new Google Better Ads Experience policies?
Since app open ads are not full-screen ads, they are not affected by disruptive ad policies. In fact, during their seminar on the changes, Google representatives explicitly listed app open ads as a compliant form of advertising, and one preferable to interstitial ads shown at the start of the app.
None of the main mediation providers on the market currently support this ad format. However, developers may be able to develop their own setup to handle AdMob and Pangle.
Applovin recently announced that their mediation platform MAX now offers app open ads and that all networks can be used for competitive mediation setups. However, this is only partially correct (according to the above definitions).
MAX currently supports:
Basically, MAX offers an interstitial ad that appears in the app start placement instead of an actual app open ad.
However, we can increase competitiveness and achieve higher eCPM levels by facilitating multiple networks.
Renaming these interstitial ads and using them instead of app open ads has several disadvantages:
Similar to interstitial ads, app open ads are more suitable for casual games, although app open ads provide a less intrusive experience than interstitial ads. Therefore, app open ads may be a great addition to your game monetization strategy based on your game type.
Make sure you carefully consider your segmentation setup (show app open ads only to non-paying users who have spent more than X days in your game) to maximize ad revenue without hurting retention (and, therefore, LTV).
It is worth considering app open ads as eCPMs are declining, and stores and regulators enforce more privacy restrictions.
If you need help implementing this relatively new ad format, GameBiz Consulting can help you get started. With decades of experience in the mobile game industry, we offer tailored app and game monetization strategies to help you maximize your games’ earning potential.