Combat ad fatigue and save your app

Combat ad fatigue and save your app

By 2020, Ad Fatigue (ad lassitudinem) is expected to cost digital publishers $27 billion. Although the in-app environment has been largely immune to Ad Fatigue, this will change as mobile ad budgets continue their migration to apps. Additionally, app users are active on other platforms.

Therefore, they are either symptomatic or already susceptible to Ad Fatigue. Only by taking measures to ensure a good user experience can publishers prevent Ad Fatigue from developing within their user base and extending to the greater digital environment.

What is ad fatigue and what causes it?

Ad Fatigue (AF) is a psychobehavioral syndrome with genetic, cultural and environmental factors. Clinically, it is is characterized by affect instability, increased ad disturbance and decreased ad engagement.

Unfortunately, every internet user appears to possess a genetic predisposition to Ad Fatigue and culture can mediate its development. Additionally, changes in the macro digital environment have contributed to its prevalence since the release of the first digital banner in 1994.

Acutely, the micro digital environments that users visit, i.e. apps and websites, cause Ad Fatigue. For instance, properties that overexpose their users to ads either in number or frequency are particularly toxic.

Progression and prognosis

AF’s progression has three sequential phases: ad irritability, banner blindness and ad hostility. Left untreated, Acute Ad Fatigue progresses into Chronic Ad Fatigue Syndrome (CAFS).

Once a user develops CAFS, they typically employ ad blocking technology. Desktop and mobile web publishers are provided a glimmer of hope: users can be convinced to stop using the technology.

But app developers have no such hope: users will abandon the app altogether. Coupled with an abandonment rate of 25% from healthy users, Ad Fatigue presents app publishers with an existential threat.

An existential problem for app publishers

The bad news? AF has evolved to pandemic proportions. All users are exhibiting the symptoms of one of its three stages. The good news? You can take steps today that will prevent the majority of your users from developing its chronic form.

While most of the onus has been put on advertisers to prevent Ad Fatigue, ad networks need to provide publishers the tools to effectively combat it. After all, their app/s are on the chopping block once users develop AF.

To combat Ad Fatigue, publishers need an ad network that works with premium advertisers and provides an SDK equipped with engaging formats and tools to control for ad exposure.

Your ad network’s SDK is your primary tool

Relevant, non-intrusive ads ensure engagement and engagement is inversely related to Ad Fatigue. Reward Video and Native Ads are the latest research-supported ad formats that demonstrate high rates of engagement.

However, no matter how engaging the ad, users will quickly develop Ad Fatigue if they are exposed to ads too many times. Thus, publishers need to specifically control for redundancy and frequency.

With adaptive targeting, publishers can control for redundancy by preventing their users from seeing additional ads for products they’ve converted on. For frequency, day and lifetime capping allow publishers to decide how often and long users will see the same ad.

Prevent in-app Ad Fatigue today or pay for it tomorrow

Like one’s physical health, the actions that publishers take today will determine their app’s health tomorrow. Only through consistent monitoring and application of knowledge will they be able to maintain their app’s health over time.

The decisions publishers make over how they arrange their formats and control for exposure will be unique to their individual user base. Nonetheless, one thing is certain in this cross-device world: less is more and the ad network publishers partner with should allow them to do more with less.

Give your app and ad network’s SDK a check-up today. Otherwise, the only indication that your user base has developed AF will be when their numbers have inexplicably and unexpectedly plummeted…never to return.

Sound off; let the community know how you beat Ad Fatigue and add to the discussion!

Kyle Buzzell

Kyle Buzzell

Content Manager

Psychology, sales and now marketing…Kyle uses his background and love of writing to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.

Ecommerce 101: get ’em in with an ad network

Ecommerce 101: get ’em in with an ad network

You’ve implemented website best practices, and created a social media and content schedule to increase long-term engagement. Now it’s time to spend money to make money: using an ad network to get ‘em in.

We are going to look at how to best rate an ad network and make the most out of your campaigns. While website design/SEO, social media and content are long-term plays, advertising provides immediate traffic.

We want to cover display networks that broker traffic between publishers and advertisers. In this case, you’ll be operating as the latter. They are difficult to vet because there are many and they vary in their offers. Let’s dig in.

An ad network is an ad network is an ad network…

and an apple is an apple is an apple…they all have a similar shape and nutrition profile. But did you know there are 7,500 varieties of apples? The same goes for ad networks; each has its own size and color.

You probably have a favorite apple or two based on your preference. Choosing an ad network will be a little more complicated. You need to rate them according to the 3Ts: traffic, targeting and tracking.

Traffic: not all is created equal

At the end of the day, it’s all about traffic and publishers are the ones providing it. You “buy” traffic by paying for space on the publisher’s property, i.e. website/app. Your network needs to provide premium publishers and monitor for fraud.

Otherwise, you could waste money and worse, risk brand image. To the former, there are publishers who will sell space but not display the ads that purchase it on their site through various schemes.

Not even Google and Facebook can claim that their traffic is 100% clean. Nonetheless, the network you choose should proactively combat fraud, like Adcash…apologies for the plug but this is one area we excel in.

Targeting: your traffic is only as good as your targeting

You want access to a large pool of premium traffic but you also have a specific demographic in mind. If you aren’t provided the proper targeting options then your budget efficiency will suffer and margins will tighten.

For every cent you spend on advertising, you subtract one from every sale you make; you have to make it count. Basic targeting features include geo, language, device, browser and IP. These are a good place to start but you need more.

Your ad network should provide category and interest targeting at the very least.

Category targeting allows you to limit the sites that your ads to only those of a specific theme. The strength of this targeting is also its drawback: it targets the site. Your users visit multiple sites with multiple categories/themes.

A way to improve category targeting? The buyer personas you created in part 3. Ask yourself, “What site categories are my buyer personas likely visiting?” Create a target diagram with your answers.

Your bullseye will be the category most closely related to your product/service. The next ring will be the second closest, so on so forth. You should have three to four rings beyond your bullseye…test, track and adjust.

Interest targeting presents an easier way to reach your audience because it will track them according to their interests, regardless of the site they visit. As with category targeting, you’ll want to create a diagram to determine corollary interests.

Tracking: Track or throw your money into the wind

Most ad platforms provide what can be described as mandatory conversion tracking. It provides accountability and proof that you are getting the impressions you paid for. But it should also provide informative tracking.

There are 3rd-party platforms that provide both forms of tracking and integration isn’t too complicated. Regardless of your level of expertise, all integration costs one thing: time, which we want to save.

Why informative tracking? This type of tracking allows you to track what google would call micro conversions. These are events that lead up to your ultimate, revenue-producing conversion; your macro conversion.

By tracking the events that lead to conversion, you can identify where your audience is reaching a bottleneck within the buyer’s journey. For instance, you can track those who’ve provided their email address, filled out the shipping form, etc.

Make the most of your ad network budget

You’ve found your network: you need to make the most of the traffic your ads produce. Most of your visitors will leave empty-handed regardless of the channel you use. Don’t worry, you can improve the odds.

According to a small study conducted by Fairfax Media, your ads should possess 4 characteristics to be memorable:

  • Contrasting colors/brand colors
  • Simple, concise messaging
  • Clear, uncluttered design
  • Prominent brand logos/symbols

Control for exposure through frequency capping. If a user has seen your ad three times and hasn’t engaged with it, they likely never will. Continuing to advertise to them reduces budget efficiency and courts ill will.

For those who do engage with your ad, they should be taken to a landing page. If you don’t create a landing page, your conversions will reflect it. It’s simple, users demonstrate intent when they click your ad.

Sending them to a homepage is either lazy or greedy. You told me to come into your store to buy a Coke and then send me to your cooler to find it among all the other sodas. Instead, send me to where it is clearly displayed.

Consider including a small discount in return for email addresses. By acquiring email addresses, you create the opportunity to recapture some of your spend down the road through remarketing efforts.

Your ad network homework and what’s up next

You’ve done it, you’ve made it to the end of section 1 of the Ecommerce 101 series, get ‘em in. Hopefully, you’ve completed the homework and are consistently applying the principles we’ve covered in all four parts.
The pace will increase as we cover what to do when you get ‘em in, converting ‘em. As always, there is homework involved. It’s now time to expand your scope and look at alternative ad networks.

Naturally, I’m partial to Adcash and believe that it is the best ad network to partner with. Registration is free and starting budgets are low: here’s a pretty balanced review of where we get it right and less than right.

But I want you to make an informed decision, so evaluate a few according to the 3Ts. Also, if you haven’t created a campaign thus far DO IT. You don’t have to run it now, just create it. And we’re on to section 2, convert ‘em. See ya soon.

With such a large network, there are bound to be a few great insights out there. Don’t keep them a secret! Add to the discussion and comment below!

Kyle Buzzell

Kyle Buzzell

Content Manager

Psychology, sales and now marketing…Kyle uses his background and love of writing to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.

Is your network’s SDK undermining app engagement?

Is your network’s SDK undermining app engagement?

At the end of the day, the metric most important for you is engagement. Otherwise, you won’t build, maintain or sustainably monetize your user base. Engagement is the soil that everything grows from and if you don’t tend to it, nothing will grow.

The good news is that you’ve got a hearty app. The bad news is that the ad network SDKs you are using to monetize that engagement are likely doing more harm than good.

The qualities of a good SDK? It’s light, it plays well with others and provides ads that actually help to engage your users. With the Adcash SDK 2.3, we’ve kept it light, kept it friendly and added a load of “nutrients” to do just that.

You reap what you sew

The ad formats you choose will make or break your monetization strategy. Shown too frequently, your users will leave your app for another. Shown too infrequently, well what are you displaying ads for anyway?

The same goes for if they are too intrusive. If the ads you display are unnoticeable, you won’t get the clicks, installs or other actions that provide revenue. Luckily, there are two formats that solve both issues.

Rewarded video: Give your users a little control

Opt-in, highly engaging video ads that provide a reward to the user for viewing. Users only interrupt their in-app experience when they are ready. You might be concerned about how often the user will decide to do this.

Don’t worry, rewarded video ads will actually increase your ad revenue…at least your contemporaries think so. In fact, rewarded video ads may even help to increase in-app purchases.

Native ads: To intrude or not to intrude, is there a question?

Your users don’t want to be interrupted; it’s that simple. It’s not the ad that they have an issue with, it’s the intrusion. But there is a fine line between noticeable and intrusive.

With native ads, the ad is integrated within the content, avoiding both banner blindness and interstitial intrusion: priceless. With the Adcash SDK 2.3, you can display ads as part of a content wall, stream or feed.

Redundancy, overexposure and latency: the 3 sins to growth

No matter how engaging the ad format, if it commits any of these three sins your user will run and not look back. With the Adcash SDK 2.3, we’ve absolved your monetization strategy of them.

With adaptive targeting, users that convert through an ad will not see it again. After all, they’re in your app for personalization and seeing the same ad for the same product/service that they just converted for is a little impersonal.

Overexposed users result in an underexposed app and an underexposed app results in paltry revenue. With day and lifetime capping, you decide how exposed your users will be to the same ad.

And…latency. Those dots are probably less than the amount of time your ads have to load before your users become frustrated. We’ve further optimized our SDK so that ads are loaded in the blink of an eye.

Growing seasons are time bound, make yours count!

You don’t have much time; every second you spend optimizing your app for your ad network is one you’re not tilling your soil and preparing it for optimal growth.

With the interstitial smart zone, you no longer have to create two zones for what is effectively the same format: static and video interstitial formats. Now, our zone will select the one with the highest yield.

With our eCPM floor, you decide the value of your traffic. If you don’t want to sell your traffic for less than a specific amount, you don’t have to. After all, you cultivated your traffic…you know its worth.

Video ads are the Miracle Grow of monetization strategies as the internet is becoming one giant video stream. But even if your app doesn’t provide video, you should be able to provide video ads. You can with us.

The Adcash SDK 2.3 does all this and is even easy to handle

Engagement, your soil. The quality of your soil will determine whether you grow and retain your user base or not. The choices you make for an ad partner can undermine those efforts. Make it count and choose a partner that understands it so well that they can talk about it in gardening terms.

With such a large network, there are bound to be a few great insights out there. Don’t keep them a secret! Add to the discussion and comment below!

Kyle Buzzell

Kyle Buzzell

Content Manager

Psychology, sales and now marketing…Kyle uses his background and love of writing to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.

They’re out there, use AppInstall to find your users

They’re out there, use AppInstall to find your users

You’re courting picky users

App stores are expected to gross $52 billion in 2016 and it’s expected to almost double by 2020: it won’t be easy. In Google and Apple stores alone, there are almost 5 million apps, but users spend 90% of their time in only a few.

The developed market is close to saturation, but it’s not all doom and gloom. Emerging markets will buoy demand and app streaming technology will continue to develop and breach app store walls.

Users will download their apps from app stores but they won’t find them there, which is good. Ultimately, there’ll be more users who’ll be able to find your app more easily.

Do they know your app exists?

It probably took you about 4-6 months to develop V1.0 of your app’s value proposition. Because you were thinking about positioning during the conception and development phase, your app store listing didn’t take long to create.

But, your work isn’t finished…not by a long shot. Gone are the days where you could create your listing, sit back and count the money.

In fact, those days never existed and if you believe they did, you are indulging in golden age thinking. If you want your future users to know that your app exists, you have to tell them. Build it and they may come; promote it and they will.

Employ matchmakers and say hello

Promoting, advertising, marketing…business terms dressed in formal attire that describe a process: dating. Starting with ‘hello’, it leads to conversation and ends in a relationship.

Unlike most people, your app’s goal is to start many relationships.

Your app’s dating profile is your app store listing and the ad networks are your matchmakers. The best provide you a popular, yet selective platform, which provides targeting and other tools to find matches efficiently.

Port your app profile with AppInstall

Your app listing is great; it should be portable. With Adcash, it is. Using AppInstall, you just plug your app listing URL in and it will pull the specifics from the listing in moments…seconds actually.

Whether you’re creating an in-app or mobile web ad, AppInstall transfers your description copy, your creatives, and ratings. Customize your ad by masking specific fields, altering your description copy and/or providing additional creatives.

AppInstall will help your app find its perfect matches

Your users are waiting to be introduced to your app and only tier 1 networks will provide you the users you’re after. However, it’s not just about the quality of matches is it?

You also want to be efficient…not a word often used in the dating world, but you’re courting users and busy working on improving your app’s features.

You’ve already created a winning profile, it just needs to be shown to interested users. Wherever they are, Adcash is there. Port your app store listing using AppInstall by getting in touch today and help your app find its perfect users.

With such a large network, there are bound to be a few great insights out there. Don’t keep them a secret! Add to the discussion and comment below!

Kyle Buzzell

Kyle Buzzell

Content Manager

Psychology, sales and now marketing…Kyle uses his background and love of writing to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.

Where Should Your Mobile Ad Budget Go?

Where Should Your Mobile Ad Budget Go?

We’ve received many requests to discuss each comparison of our recent infographic on in-app and mobile web channels in greater detail. It’s taken a little while, but what follows is a detailed treatment that will help you decide where to allocate your mobile ad budget.

When allocating your budget, it can feel like there is a multi-front battle taking place. At first glance, everything looks like it holds the same level of importance, making it difficult to decide which front to address.

What to do, what to do? Admittedly, it will never be a simple black and white answer. If you wanted black and white, you should’ve gone into accounting. Alas, we’re in advertising and operate in shades of gray.


People spend more time in-app than mobile web…quite a lot more. While great for publishers, session length is not always of great importance for advertisers. For instance, most advertisers implement frequency caps that limit the number of times an ad is shown to the same user.

What is important for all campaigns? Reach

Mobile users appreciate the convenience that mobile web browsers provide for accessing content. Specifically, users like that they can access the majority of their content without the need to switch between apps.

Meanwhile, the Google-spearheaded AMP project to make mobile pages load faster is demonstrating promising results. As convenience is maintained and load times reduced, it is likely that mobile browsers will continue to give greater access to unique and varied users.

However, there is a trade-off: campaign impact. It is like adjusting the nozzle of a water hose. You can adjust the nozzle to spread the water over a greater area, but it will lose pressure. You may reach more people, but your message will have less impact.

Winner — Mobile Web…with a trade-off


Ad targeting is a function of precision and persistence. The more information, the more precise your targeting; the more persistence, the greater amount of information you can gather.

Smartphones have a Unique Device Identifier (UDID), a permanent serial number for each handset. Due to privacy concerns, advertisers have access to semi-permanent proxies, known as advertiser IDs.

These IDs anonymize user while recording their in-app behaviors. This data can be sliced, diced, and sold to advertisers who use it to tailor their ads to the user. Apps also provide the user’s precise longitude and latitude.

Coupled with the granularity of demographic and behavioral information, apps provide incredible targeting opportunities to advertisers

Meanwhile, mobile web browsers rely on network-based IP addresses. These addresses provide relative approximations of who and where the user is. For example, many users can have the same IP, such as in office buildings.

Of course, when a user completes an action, a proxy ID can be created and the user is “identified”. However, the user can’t be removed from the ad pool because the proxy ID is attached to the network IP.

Advertiser IDs are also more persistent. Although users can change them and limit ad tracking altogether, the majority of users don’t appear to care to so long as some benefit is provided.

Cookies are still the standby for mobile web browsers and, are less stable and persistent than advertiser IDs…they typically don’t last for more than 30 days. The result? Less information to target with.

Winner — In-app


Targeting precision and environment are the keys to engagement. Advertisers can tailor their ads better when more information is provided. A well-tailored ad is like a bespoke suit, it fits better.

Even if apps and mobile web provided the same level of targeting, mobile web can’t match the app environment. The app environment is curated and immersive — this encourages greater engagement.

When features are added to an immersive environment, the features become an extension of that environment. The best amusement/theme parks do this, turning goods into features of the environment.

The same is true for in-app ads, especially video. Think back to an in-app game you’ve played; it probably imposed game breaks through video ads. How are they designed? They may or may not have CGI sequences, but all provide examples of gameplay.

Even if the video has a different micro theme, e.g. genre, the macro theme is identical. Thus, it is psychologically camouflaged and considered less intrusive because of its theme congruence.

Coupled with targeting, in-app ads can possess both micro and macro theme congruence, encouraging even greater engagement. It’s simple, if we like something, the worst we can feel is neutral toward similar things.

Winner — In-App


There are a number of factors that influence conversion. Ad format, design and copy quality, targeting and timing are only a few of them. However, at the end of the day, we’re talking about engagement.

These and other factors underly engagement, which underlies conversion

Generally, app conversions are on another planet than mobile web. Why? Apps are like prime real estate; the space is limited, the location ideal, and anything within it derives value from the space. Likewise, the value of the space can be enhanced by what is placed within it.

Ads within the app derive value from the mere fact that they are within the app and ad quality also influences app value — the relationship is bidirectional. For example, if two apps provide the same functionality, features, and number of ads, the user will choose the app that has higher quality ads.

We can also infer the user’s affinity for an app from the amount of time he uses it. Remember from above, we tend to feel positively towards things we consider similar to those we like.

We also tend to feel positively towards those things that are liked by the things we like — it borrows credibility. An ad is essentially borrowing credibility from the app, which makes us more likely to engage with them…and remember…

Engagement produces conversions

Winner — In-App

Conversion Tracking

A draw is a draw…Let’s leave it at that and continue.

Winner — Draw


Aside from having less advertising space than mobile web, fewer formats are available in-app and the popular formats have high conversion rates, such as interstitial video.

As discussed in Targeting, in-app provides better targeting. With better targeting, traffic quality improves. Additionally, app store approval processes are stringent and apps are considered more brand safe as a result.

These factors drive prices upward.

Aside from the above, the mobile web market shares the same traffic pool with desktop. In general, if supply is saturated, prices will be lower. These factors drive prices downward.

Therefore, you get more bang for your buck when you advertise through mobile web. The further you stretch your budget, the more boost you get with  your reach as well.

Winner — Mobile Web

Ad Blocking

Ad blocking is here to stay, and advertisers are noticing. I won’t quibble over their level of impact here, but everyone can agree that there IS impact. Yes, ad blockers are available for both apps and mobile web browsers.

However, it’s unlikely that there will be widespread adoption in-app because people don’t like to pay for apps and likely never will. Although publishers can monetize their app through other strategies such as in-app purchases, paywalls, subscriptions, sponsorship, etc…it’s not enough.

It is partially due to a cognitive bias called anchoring, which directly impacts our perception. For instance, if two people are told that a building is around 200m and later asked to estimate its height, their estimates will “anchor” around 200m, regardless of its true height.

The app market anchor is 0…a big fat zero. What does this mean? No ads, no apps.

Winner — In-App

So, which channel wins the battle for your mobile ad budget?

If you just look at the score, it appears that in-app is superior to mobile web. But, appearances are misleading in this case. Mobile web still has a place in advertising and best practices would suggest that you should use both channels.

You have to generate leads and convert prospects. By using both channels, you have more opportunity to bring more people into the top of your funnel (lead generation) while sending more out of the bottom (conversion).

What we have here is not two opposing channels, but two sides of the same coin. Each channel has its respective role and the importance of that role will change as your goals change.

If your goal is to grab more leads while stretching your budget, then you will tip the scale toward mobile web. If you’re happy with the top of your funnel and want to concentrate on the bottom, then you will tip your budget towards in-app.

But, when you change your goals, you change your balance. More likely, you will most often take a balanced approach with your mobile ad budget. So, the question isn’t where should you allocate your budget, it’s which channel should you give greater weight to now?

With such a large network, there are bound to be a few great insights out there. Don’t keep them a secret! Add to the discussion and comment below!

Kyle Buzzell

Kyle Buzzell

Content Manager

Psychology, sales and now marketing…Kyle uses his background and love of writing to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.

Use Ad Mediation or Get Left Behind

Use Ad Mediation or Get Left Behind

It’s simple; you need to work with multiple networks to maximize your app’s earning potential, which is a product of two measurements:

  1. Fill Rate — the rate at which ads are successfully shown to users.
  2. eCPM — a prediction of how much an ad network will pay per 1,000 impressions.

But, here is the catch…


Working with multiple ad networks can be a headache of migraine proportions. Of course, you can send manual requests to each network, but how will you know that you are choosing the network with the highest eCPM?

One solution is to create a back-end system that automates and optimizes the request process for you. Let’s take a high-level view:

  1. Gather historical data from each network to predict eCPM
  2. Create a request hierarchy with decision logic that is mapped to specific filters
  3. Optimize your request hierarchy according to eCPM and other network data
  4. Automate the system so that it does all of this in as close to real time as possible
  5. Maintain the system and update it whenever necessary, e.g. when you add a network.

Luckily there is an alternative…using a mediation platform


With a mediation platform, you create a “mediation stack” of the ad networks you work with and provide the parameters for how the platform will choose between them. Once the mediation stack is set-up, the platform will send ad requests to the networks according to their relative position until the requests are filled.

Mediation Diagram

The mediation platform maps the requests against filters, such as geo. It also optimizes the mediation stack for eCPM and other key network data for you. Therefore, you can be certain that your requests are filled with the most relevant, highest paying ads.

Maintenance is simple and usually a matter of clicks. Ultimately, your monetization strategy becomes semi-automated, providing you more time to optimize your app or create others.

Why is Adcash talking about this?


Our goal is to make your monetization strategy as streamlined as possible and don’t think that you should have to choose between Adcash and other mediation-friendly networks. That is why we have recently created an adapter that allows our SDK to be integrated with Admob and Mopub mediation platforms.

Now, you can benefit from Adcash’s global ad network while ensuring that your requests are filled on the rare occasion that we are unable to provide demand for your traffic. Our SDK and integration guides can be found here. Get our SDK today and stay ahead of your competition with Adcash!

Add to the conversation! With such a large network, there are bound to be a few great insights out there. Don’t keep them a secret. Comment below!

Kyle Buzzell

Kyle Buzzell

Content Manager

Psychology, sales and now marketing…Kyle uses his background and love of writing to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.

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