What are the Most Important Metrics in Mobile Ad Monetization
Demystify mobile ad monetization metrics with our detailed guide. Boost your app's profitability through informed data-driven strategies.
Jovan Ristic

Mobile advertising is indispensable in generating revenue for developers and publishers alike, often determining the success or failure of an app or game in the increasingly competitive market.

According to our internal research, 91% of top-grossing games are using ads to monetize their games, alongside other monetization methods, such as in-app purchases, subscriptions, etc.

Understanding and optimizing the key metrics in mobile ad monetization is crucial for maximizing revenue and enhancing user experience and engagement. Focusing solely on the top line, such as the number of downloads, can be misleading and result in suboptimal strategies that ultimately hinder long-term success. Seasoned monetization managers know that delving deeper into these metrics is essential to unlocking the true potential of mobile advertising.

In this article, we’ll outline the most critical metrics for mobile ad monetization that experienced professionals should keep a close eye on. We will dive into each metric, discuss the factors that impact them, and provide actionable optimization tips. 

By understanding and leveraging these key performance indicators, you will be better equipped to fine-tune your monetization strategies, ultimately driving higher revenue and securing a competitive edge in the ever-evolving mobile gaming industry.

Ad Revenue

Ad revenue is the total income generated from ads displayed within an app or game. As such, it is one of the key indicators of the success of an ad monetization strategy. By monitoring and analyzing ad revenue, developers and publishers can make data-driven decisions to optimize their monetization strategies, identify areas for improvement, and allocate resources more effectively. 

What is Ad Revenue?

Ad revenue is the money generated through in-app advertising and is calculated by multiplying the eCPM by the total ad impressions.

Ad Revenue = eCPM * Ad impressions/1000

Several factors can influence ad revenue, including:

  • Ad formats you are using: Different ad types, such as banners, interstitials, or rewarded videos, can generate varying amounts of revenue depending on their effectiveness and user experience.
  • User engagement: Higher engagement results in more ad views and increased revenue (with a well-optimized strategy). Engaging app content and features can encourage users to spend more time within the app, increasing ad exposure.
  • Ad placements: Strategically placed ads can maximize visibility and revenue by ensuring ads are shown in optimal, high-converting points of the app or game flow without disrupting the user experience.
  • Waterfall setup: The configuration of the ad waterfall, or the sequential order in which ad networks are called to fill an ad request, can significantly impact ad revenue. An optimized waterfall setup can prioritize the highest-paying ad networks, leading to increased revenue generation.

How to Increase Mobile Ad Revenue?

To maximize the potential of your ad monetization strategy, it is essential to implement optimization techniques that effectively address the factors influencing ad revenue. Based on the factors listed above, consider implementing the following methods:

  • Experiment with a variety of ad formats and assess their performance. Use data to determine which formats resonate best with your users and focus on those that generate the highest revenue.
  • Conduct A/B tests to identify the most effective ad placements that maximize visibility without disrupting the user experience. Continuously analyze user interaction with ads and make data-driven decisions on ad placements.
  • Regularly review and optimize your ad waterfall setup. Prioritize ad networks with higher eCPMs and fill rates.

Ad Impressions

Ad impressions refer to the number of times an ad is displayed, indicating the reach and visibility of ads within your app or game. 

Ad impressions and clicks should not be mistaken for one another. Ad impressions represent the number of times an ad was viewed by users and is not dependent on how many times those users clicked on the ad.

Several factors affect ad impressions:

  • User engagement: Higher user engagement leads to more ad views and impressions. Engaging app content and features encourage users to spend more time within the app, increasing ad exposure.
  • Ad frequency: The number of ads shown to users within a specific timeframe impacts impressions. Striking a balance between ad frequency and user experience is essential to maximize impressions without overwhelming users.
  • Ad placements: Strategic ad placement affects visibility and impressions. Ensuring ads are displayed in optimal locations within the app without disrupting the user experience can significantly improve ad impressions.

To optimize ad impressions, consider implementing the following strategies:

  • Adjust ad frequency based on user behavior and preferences. Monitor ad performance metrics to identify the optimal frequency that maximizes impressions without negatively impacting the user experience.
  • Place ads in high-visibility locations within your app or game, ensuring that ads are easily viewable without being intrusive. Conduct A/B tests to ensure you are making the best use of the available locations..

Effective Cost Per Mille (eCPM)

eCPM, or Effective Cost Per Mille, is a vital metric in mobile ad monetization. It represents the estimated revenue generated per 1,000 ad impressions, providing insights into your campaigns' overall performance and profitability. eCPM allows you to compare different ad networks, ad formats, and campaigns, making it an essential tool for optimizing your monetization strategy.

To calculate eCPM, divide the total earnings from a specific ad campaign by the total number of impressions it received, then multiply the result by 1,000:

eCPM = (Total Earnings / Total Impressions) x 1,000

This metric can reveal valuable information about your ad monetization strategy. A higher eCPM indicates that your ads are more effective in generating revenue, while a lower eCPM suggests that there may be room for improvement. By analyzing eCPM, you can identify high-performing ads, ad networks, and areas that may require further optimization.

To optimize eCPM, consider the following:

  • Experiment with various formats: Different formats, such as banners, interstitials, and rewarded videos, may have different eCPMs. Test multiple formats to identify those that perform best in your app or game.
  • Monitor ad quality: High-quality ads can increase user engagement and eCPM. Work with reliable ad networks that deliver engaging and relevant ads to your audience.
  • Optimize ad placements: Ad placement can significantly impact eCPM. Test various placements to find the most effective placements that do not disrupt the user experience.
  • Optimize your waterfalls. By continuously optimizing your waterfall instances that work alongside the bidding sources, you can ensure maximization of eCPM.

Fill Rate

The fill rate in mobile ad monetization represents the percentage of ad requests successfully filled with ads. It is calculated by dividing the number of ads served by the total number of ad requests made. A high fill rate indicates that a large portion of ad requests is being met with relevant ads, while a low fill rate suggests that there might be missed monetization opportunities.

Fill rate = Ads served (Impressions) / total number of ad requests

The fill rate can be analyzed at both the app and the instance levels, and understanding the difference between these levels is essential for optimizing your ad monetization strategy.

  • App-level fill rate refers to the overall fill rate for your entire app or game. It considers all ad requests made by the app, regardless of the specific ad placements, ad formats, or instances. The app-level fill rate provides a broad overview of how well your monetization strategy is performing as a whole. Still, it may not reveal issues with specific ad placements or instances.

  • Instance-level fill rate: This focuses on the fill rate for a specific ad placement or instance within your app or game. It provides a more granular view of how each ad placement is performing and can help you identify underperforming placements or instances that may require optimization. By analyzing instance-level fill rates, you can uncover whether or not your pricing strategy is correct at that specific time or whether it requires you to higher or lower your prices.

The fill rate plays a vital role in ad monetization by directly impacting the revenue generation potential of your app or game. A comprehensive understanding of both app-level and instance-level fill rates is essential to optimize your monetization strategy effectively.

Engagement Rate

The engagement rate in ad monetization measures the percentage of daily active users that has watched at least one ad. It is best to track it per ad format. It is typically calculated by dividing the number of users that watched at least one ad by the total number of ad impressions served. A higher engagement rate indicates that users find the ads relevant and engaging, leading to better monetization outcomes.

Engagement rate = Engaged users / Total active users

Several factors influence the engagement rate in ad monetization:

  • Ad format: Different ad formats, such as banners, interstitials, or rewarded videos, can have varying levels of engagement. Some formats may be more effective in capturing user attention and driving interaction.
  • User experience: The overall user experience within the app or game can impact ad engagement. If ads are seamlessly integrated into the app without being disruptive or intrusive, users may be more inclined to engage with them.
  • Rewards - In the case of rewarded video ads, the reward itself (the type and value) can determine whether or not users will be attracted to opt-in and watch ads
  • Placement visibility - Engagement rate for opt-in formats (such as rewarded video ads or offer wall) depends significantly on how visible ads are. In other words, it is very important where in the game the ads are placed, as users need to find them before they can opt-in.

To optimize engagement rates, consider implementing the following strategies:

  • Experiment with user-initiated ad formats, such as offerwalls or rewarded video ads, that generally have higher engagement rates due to the rewards they offer users in return. 
  • Track engagement metrics for each format and prioritize those that yield the highest engagement rates.
  • Avoid placing ads in disruptive locations and ensure they don't impede the user experience. This can encourage users to interact with ads without feeling overwhelmed.

Usage Rate

Usage rate in ad monetization refers to the number of ads displayed to an average user that has watched at least one ad. It is calculated by dividing the number of unique daily ad views by the number of unique users that watched at least one ad. 

Usage Rate = Total Ad Impressions / Total Engaged Users

Engagement and usage rates are critical metrics that reveal the monetization potential of a given game. Engagement rate represents the percentage of users engaging with ads within an app, while usage rate measures the number of ad impressions per the same user. These metrics illustrate how effectively a developer encourages users to engage with ads and how many users interact with the maximum number of ads possible.

The dual objectives of optimizing engagement and usage rates are to maximize the number of users engaging with ads and encourage those users to interact with as many ads as possible. One approach to increasing engagement and usage rates is developing an effective rewarded ad strategy. Rewarded ads offer users valuable incentives, such as in-app currency or premium content, in exchange for engaging with ads.

To create a successful rewarded ad strategy, ensuring that the value exchange is worthwhile for users without undermining the in-app economy is crucial. Striking the right balance between incentives and in-app value can motivate users to repeatedly engage with rewarded ads, increasing engagement and usage rates.

Impressions per Daily Active User (IMPDAU)

Impressions per Daily Active User (IMPDAU) is an ad monetization metric developers use to gauge the effectiveness of their ad monetization strategy in terms of daily ad impressions. It calculates the average number of ads displayed to each active user on any given day.

To determine IMPDAU, divide the total number of daily ad impressions by the number of daily active users:

IMPDAU = (Total Daily Ad Impressions) / (Daily Active Users)

IMPDAU plays a vital role in evaluating the ongoing success of a monetization strategy. This metric is particularly useful in various scenarios, such as assessing the impact of new bidding partners or adjusting a waterfall setup, analyzing ARPDAU, and evaluating the effects of new game features.

Average Revenue Per Daily Active User (ARPDAU)

Average Ad Revenue Per Daily Active User (Ad ARPDAU) is used to quantify the daily revenue generated from ads by each active user.

To calculate Ad ARPDAU, divide the total ad revenue earned from the app or game within 24 hours by the number of active users during the same period:

Ad ARPDAU = Total Ad Revenue in 24-hour Period / Number of Active Users in 24-hour Period

By monitoring ARPDAU, developers can gain insights into daily ad performance, evaluate the impact of placement changes, events, or promotions on revenue, and utilize the data to make informed decisions for improving ad performance and measuring outcomes.

Optimize Key Metrics and Elevate Your Ad Monetization

Understanding and optimizing the key metrics we’ve outlined above are crucial steps for maximizing the potential of your mobile ad monetization strategy. By leveraging these metrics effectively, you can create a more engaging and profitable experience for your users.

If you want to level up your ad monetization strategy, consider partnering with GameBiz Consulting. Our team of experienced ad monetization experts can help you analyze and optimize these critical metrics, ensuring that your app or game reaches its full revenue potential.

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