Leaving money on the table is the biggest fear of all for app developers. It’s survival of the fittest when it comes to mobile monetization, especially when most mobile apps and mobile games rely on generating income outside the price of admission.
Keeping one eye on the future is often the best way to stay ahead of the pack. So with that in mind, here are our top five mobile monetization predictions for 2019.
1. Unified auction has its coming-out party
The mobile in-app ad space is finally heading (no pun intended) toward a level playing field, thanks to a shift toward a unified auction where all types of demand sources can compete equally for ad impressions.
Unlike the currently accepted waterfall model—where certain demand sources get first refusal on impressions before they trickle down to everyone else—a unified auction is far more fair, transparent, and efficient. Publishers get the best price for their ad inventory, and advertisers have an equal chance to compete.
Our own Fyber FairBid is leading the charge into 2019, with all SDK-based ad networks, all top DSPs, and direct advertisers included in our unified auction platform. This Fyber FairBid unified auction solution means no single demand source is favored over another, and the highest bidder wins. It should help eliminate latency for end users and missed revenue opportunities for mobile app publishers.
2. Mobile video continues to roll
Mobile video ads—whether interstitials or rewarded video—are a great way to monetize mobile apps, and they’re only going to grow in strength over 2019.
eMarketer estimated in September 2018 that by the end of 2018, mobile video ad spend in the U.S. will grow by 29.2%, tallying $12.99 billion. The market research firm also forecasted that U.S. mobile video ad spend will increase by 22.6% in 2019, climbing to $15.93 billion.
Image via eMarketer
The popularity of rewarded video in particular looks set to keep growing in 2019. It’s no surprise, really, given that the ad format appeals to both end users and advertisers. Mobile games research by 2CV found that rewarded video ads are 53% more likely to be described positively than video interstitials, and players are 23% more likely to buy or use an advertised product seen in a rewarded video.
3. The offer wall isn’t going anywhere
Offer walls, the granddaddy of rewarded advertising, remain a great way to monetize non-paying users. And offer walls are now seeing a growth in adoption by non-gaming apps—like message service TextMe and dating app Lovoo—which will likely continue in the coming year.
With the entirely opt-in offer wall format, users can earn currency or other rewards by selecting and completing offers. This non-disruptive experience helps boost engagement and retention while giving developers and publishers a high payout complement to rewarded video and in-app purchases. Offer walls are a win-win, and they’re here to stay in 2019.
4. Brands open their wallets to mobile apps
For too long, big brands have simply transferred their desktop ad campaigns to mobile web, missing out on the opportunities offered by in-app advertising. But they’re finally starting to wake up to the power of mobile apps—which consume an incredible 90% of our smartphone internet time, according to eMarketer.
In our recent survey of brand advertisers and agency media planners on their thoughts about advertising in-app and in mobile games, we learned that 77% of brand advertisers have asked their agency to invest in in-app advertising inventory. And in-app advertising is predicted to account for 43% of total digital ad budgets within the next five years, up from a current 34%.
Big brand buyers are particularly targeting the potential of mobile games within the in-app ad space. The survey revealed that 87% of brand advertisers plan to advertise in mobile games in the future, with playables and rewarded video seen as the most effective in-app ad formats.
5. 5G will start to change the game
2019 will see the first generation of 5G-compatible smartphones rolling out, along with 5G mobile networks across a number of major U.S. cities. The promise of super-fast internet access on-the-go could herald major changes in the delivery of in-app ads, with faster processing and loading times, higher definition video, and enhanced real-time personalization.
5G is an evolutionary step, according to Charles Hu, the chief technology officer at PMX Agency. “What it allows us to do is have a more stable and faster exchange and retrieval of data, so we can do more complex advertising,” he says.
But with great power comes great responsibility, and advertisers should remember that ads are not always better just because they’re more eye-popping. The best ads are those that don’t annoy the end user—so timing, placement, and relevance will always remain key.