Mobile ads have been a hot trend in 2013 and even in 2014, but that is not the case in 2015. Today, mobile is far more than just a hot topic — it is an absolute necessity to every site monetization strategy. The rapid growth of traffic from smartphones and tablets provides new opportunities for publishers, however it also creates new challenges.
Choosing between various types of mobile sites and apps may prove to be confusing and daunting if you aren’t sure about what works best for you. The same goes for determining when to launch advertising on your mobile inventory. Answer the four questions outlined below to get a clearer vision of how you should work with your mobile inventory.
1. When Should I Start Monetizing My Mobile Traffic?
Remember that timing is subjective when it comes to online advertising and monetization. You need to monitor your audience’s reaction when launching campaigns, adding new ad units, or rearranging the banner layout. Still, the general recommendation is to start monetising as soon as you have an app or a mobile version of your website.
Additionally, you can display mobile-friendly ads on a site that hasn’t yet been optimized for smartphones and tablets, and get revenue from your existing mobile traffic. UniMobile from Epom Ad Server is one of the solutions that makes this approach possible. This solution also enables you to improve the user experience as it adjusts the ads to the size of the screen they are displayed on.
2. Mobile Website, App, or Both?
Consider apps as a more efficient type of mobile inventory and mobile websites as a more accessible one. According to Medialets, in-app ads attract 16% more views and have a 50% higher CTR than mobile web ads. On the other hand, mobile websites enable the users to access content without having to install additional software, which helps you attract new audiences. This is why top publishers — including Forbes, Techcrunch, and Bloomberg — apply both approaches.
Apps provide you with better results, but they are more expensive. Their development costs more, and in many cases you’ll have to build different versions for Android, iOS, and Windows devices. Besides, you will need to invest into app store optimization. For this reason, starting with a mobile website is more sensible, especially if your budget is limited. Ideally, creating an app will be the next step in your mobile expansion.
3. Responsive Design or a Mobile Version of a Website?
Use responsive design if you’ve decided to make your site mobile-friendly. Websites of this type are based on fluid and flexible grids that adapt to various screen sizes and account for a holistic cross-platform user experience.
An alternative approach known as ‘m.’ sites implies that you build a separate mobile-specific version of a website and attach it to a dedicated subdomain. Mobile-specific versions are often easier to build when it comes to websites with complex structures and extensive codebases, but they are often deemed to be outdated. More importantly, they are harder to maintain because they require an additional front-end section that needs to be optimized separately.
4. Native or Hybrid App?
If you are building an app, put an increased focus on what platform you will be using. If performance is critical, create dedicated native apps for Android, iOS, and Windows, starting with the OS that brings you most of your traffic. However, this strategy is better suited for more expensive and large-scale projects which include games and graphic-heavy programs, shopping catalogues, social apps, etc.
You can speed up the app building process and reduce overall costs with development frameworks. Additionally, you can opt for a cross-platform hybrid app which mimics the structure and functionality of a website in a mobile application format. Mobile applications for Wikipedia and BBC have been written using this approach.
Your monetization strategy for mobile traffic depends on how you plan to work with your audience. This means that you will get the most valuable insights from analysing your visitors’ behaviour. When it comes to optimizing your ad space for mobile, starting with a responsive website is recommended because it will help you attract new visitors and ensure your current users can easily access your site. Developing an app requires additional spendings, but it will enable you to monetize your mobile traffic more effectively.