Presented by Lab Cave

So you are a publisher or developer and you’re already monetizing your game or app using an ad mediation. Everything works as it should so why would you even think about changing your current solution? The reason: you could potentially earn more money or get a better set of features than your present mediation platform.

If you are thinking about getting a better ad monetization experience, this article will help you understand the different aspects you should consider when choosing your next platform.

Test scope

It’s important to remember that you need to test the new ad mediation platform first to check that the performance is better than the one you’re already using before integrating it into all of your apps. Therefore, it’s important to define your test scope perfectly. Here are some things to consider:

  • Don’t test your best game: You shouldn’t perform the first tests in the game that generates a big portion of your total revenue.
  • Enough volume: You need enough traffic to test the performance in your new mediation. Choose a game with a stable and certain amount of daily ad impressions whilst keeping the previous tip in mind.
  • Fallback strategy: Anything could go wrong such as production game crashes, revenue drop, wrong implementation just to name a few. So try to have a good and fast rollback strategy just in case anything fails, for example, try using Google Play staged rollouts feature.

Test definition

In order to compare, it’s very important that both mediations are competing equally, otherwise it will render the test invalid. There are three main aspects to consider here:

  • The game should be the same: You musn’t change anything apart from the mediation. Any other changes might potentially affect the user’s or ad’s behaviour, therefore invalidating the test. The game should be exactly the same: UI, core loop, ad networks, ad placements and even the same bugs! The only difference should be the ad mediation integration.
  • New ad units: For each ad network you have to create new ad units (only for the new mediation) so you have well differentiated metrics. Otherwise, when you come to compare the results, you won’t know which metrics correspond to which mediation performance. Also, make sure the newly created ad units are configured exactly the same way, including the same frequency capping and eCPM floors. Notice that even if you update your game in the store, a lot of users don’t update your game to the latest version, so those requests will use the old mediation.
  • Seasonality: The test needs to be done during a similar period of time. Ideally, tests should be performed in parallel, but unfortunately that’s not always possible. Therefore, avoid running the test during holiday seasons like Christmas, Thanksgiving or Spring Break as both the number of impressions and eCPMs usually increase and then you can’t compare that with another period of time.

Comparing results

So when it comes to analyzing the results, which metrics are you going to use to choose the winner? Total revenue is important here but it isn’t the key metric, basically because it depends on the number of impressions and the eCPM. Due to the fact that both test results aren’t going to have exactly the same number of impressions and revenue, you need to make sure that each rendered impression is the best for your game. Instead, you should focus on the ARPDAU (Average Revenue per Daily Active User) or the LTV (Lifetime Value) which better measures the performance by user. Ideally, this should be compared using a country breakdown.

It goes without saying that you should perform a deeper analysis by looking at all the different metrics. All the data collected should help you reach a conclusion and make a more informed decision.

Don’t focus only on metrics

You have to realize that not everything is about eCPM, impressions, ARPDAU or fill rate. You need to consider other aspects that will help you get the most of your monetization. Some mediation platforms offer you some tools and metrics that others don’t, providing added value as these features help you understand your users better and their ads behaviour to better optimize your game in the long term.

Supported ad networks and formats, waterfall customization, advertisers report, mediation personalization and a well auto-optimized performance are features you need to pay attention to, as well as others like easy integration, SDK size, adoption and a good technical documentation.

Lab Cave mediation

Lab Cave is a company with more than 300 published apps in both main stores, App Store and Google Play. We have tested a lot of different mediations until we developed our own solution based on our own experience with the idea of creating something for developers by developers. If you want to know more, don’t hesitate to contact us here.

Esteban Vargas is Mediation Development Team Lead at Lab Cave.

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