#iOSDevUK: Tehila Sabag: Mobile Monetization – Navigating in a Free Eco-System

My notes from Tehila’s talk at iOSDevUK.

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Credit: Wikimedia

StartApp – mobile monetisation platform. Brains and beauty of the mobile industry. Right ad, right time, right user. Using BA tools and data. Beauty side – most engaging and appealing ads.

How do you make your app stand out in a crowd?

How do I retain the user?

How do I monetise the user?

3 Application types:

Flash light click

  • Can generate a lot of downloads
  • Many free alternatives
  • Minimal usage time
  • Similar apps – wallpapers. widgets calendar.

Action game

  • Super popular
  • Addictive
  • Similar apps – strategy games, puzzles, gambling.

Music player

  • loyal users
  • long sessions
  • many features
  • similar apps – social apps.

Paid app

  • Don’t go there.
  • 90% of apps on iTunes are free.
  • 95% of downloads are for free apps.
  • 90% of paid apps being downloaded less than 500 times per day.
  • Top growing apps on iTunes. Only paid app is Minecraft.
  • Not a recommended business model, but you can try.

Banner adds

  • Most popular.
  • Bring traffic, network places adds.
  • Over 400 networks (admob in 40% of free apps)
    • Acceptance from users
  • ECPM is your BFF.

Do this:

  • Plan and integrate ahead.
  • Engage at the right time (exit point).
  • Use – fill page, app walls, video. Full page interstitials have best ECPM.
  • Test, test and test some more.


  • Use only classic adds.
  • Misplace adds – disrupt UI/gameplay.
  • Don’t be ad-blitzing.
  • Settling for the first network you try.

Clock widget:

  • No space for ads.

Action game:

  • Suited for interstitials.

Music player.

  • Relevant adds.
  • An attention catcher.


  • Use a variety of ad units.
  • Strategically place banners.
  • Analyse performance (need to learn and know the users behaviour, change according to what you see).
  • Take advantage of tracking tools.
  • To make this work, need a LOT of traffic (need a lot of daily actives).


  • eCPM = CR * CTR * layout * 1000
  • CTR
  • CR
  • Factors that impact both CTR and CR (engagement of users with the ads).
  • Payout.

More users click on full screen ads rather than small ads. Need to take that into account.


  • Application is for free.
  • Inside a variety of options for purchases.
  • Dominated by games.
  • Numbers are mind-blowing (e.g. Candy Crush).
  • Don’t go into making a game expecting these numbers, but huge potential.

How to make it work:

  • Plan from day 1
  • Make it highly addictive.
  • Offer purchase at the right time.
  • Create a currency. Even two.


  • Successful app – no child’s play!
  • Not a game? A lot tougher.
  • Need to “hook” the user.
  • Usually works for very high end games.

Flashlight / clock:

  • Not an easy one.
  • You can try this.

Action games:

  • Addicting.
  • Add a social layer.
  • Need to know when each user might agree to purchase.
  • Can be a great fit.

Music player:

  • Pack it with features.
  • Offer a trial.
  • Can be good.


  • Great money making opportunity.
  • Plan ahead.
  • Best suited for games..

Need to find a balance between UX and revenue.


  • Lots of opportunities.
  • Start with making a great app.
  • Don’t settle – test, explore, optimize, analyse.
  • Reach out to the other side – users and ad networks
  • You can turn this into a business.

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