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Liftoff's Sven Elstermann on monetising in today's competitive app landscape

In an ever more challenging market, how can mobile marketers and publishers drive revenue and boost in-app ad performance? Liftoff's Sven Elstermann explains...
Liftoff's Sven Elstermann on monetising in today's competitive app landscape
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It’s a challenging time for app monetisation. Competition has never been higher, with over 700,000 games available between the Google Play and iOS app stores vying for users' attention. Meanwhile, inflation continues to rise, resulting in many users curbing their spending simply out of necessity. To top it all off, user acquisition has become more challenging because of changes to privacy policies.

Thankfully, mobile app development expert Sven Elstermann, Senior Manager of Product Management at Liftoff, has knowledge that can make the lives of mobile marketers and app publishers a whole lot easier. Liftoff’s SDK offers seamless integration and an easy-to-use interface, enabling publishers to drive revenue and boost their in-app ad performance.

Better yet, Liftoff’s SDK has recently received a substantial upgrade to SDK 7, introducing a new suite of advanced features and quality-of-life changes, such as real-time ads and ad download optimisation. We spoke to Sven to learn more about how these improvements can help address the many monetisation challenges publishers currently face. Adapting to new ad networks and technologies constantly challenges the mobile app ecosystem. How does this impact app publishers' monetisation strategies?

Sven: Adapting to new ad networks and technologies is both an opportunity and a challenge. While the main networks can offer higher revenue potential, integrating them seamlessly and ensuring they align with the app's user experience can be complex. Publishers need to evaluate the performance of different networks, test their impact on user engagement, and determine the optimal mix for their monetisation strategy.

This often requires constant monitoring, testing, and adjusting to stay ahead of industry trends. In the spirit of supporting our publishers to succeed, Liftoff Monetise recently overhauled the SDK with a new code base rewritten from scratch, making it lighter, easier to integrate, and more performant. To maximise revenue and improve user experience, publishers are often advised to present the right mix of ad formats to their users. Can you tell us some of app publishers' main challenges when selecting the ideal ad formats for their apps?

Selecting suitable ad formats is crucial for a successful monetisation strategy. Publishers often need help finding the right balance between user experience and revenue generation. They need to consider the impact of various ad formats on app performance, user engagement, and overall satisfaction. Additionally, they need to adapt to changing trends in ad formats while ensuring that ads remain relevant and non-intrusive to users.

Currently, the Vungle SDK is integrated in 95 percent of the top 100 gaming apps showing ads. The latest SDK allows publishers to integrate fullscreen (rewarded video, interstitial) and non-fullscreen (banner, native, MREC). We encourage publishers to revisit non-fullscreen ad formats that often integrate more seamlessly into the user journey. More information about this is in our recent blog, How to Leverage Banner and Native Ads to Maximise Your App’s Revenue, which outlines potential revenue opportunities by ad format. Some publishers still have concerns about ads impacting user retention. What’s the best way for them to mitigate those worries and ensure ads have a consistently positive effect on overall app performance?

Sven: User retention and effective monetisation are intertwined. Balancing the need for revenue with user satisfaction is a constant challenge, and publishers must continuously evaluate their strategies to keep users engaged and returning to their apps.

Publishers must also find ways to generate revenue without negatively affecting user experience. Intrusive ads or frequent interruptions can lead to user churn, damaging the app's long-term success. Once again, in-depth testing is crucial to understanding the impact of ads on overall app performance.

Ad formats or creatives can impact user experience and ad rendering. To ensure the continuing success of our partners, SDK 7 comes with new features like real-time ads and ad download optimisation. Those features ultimately drive improved render rate and higher revenue that we see with early adopters. Besides that, SDK 7 is moving to an instance-based API, allowing multiple ads per placement, which should increase monetisation opportunities for publishers. More features often translate into more technical issues or bugs, which can be inevitable in mobile advertising integration. How do these impact monetisation efforts for app publishers?

Sven: Bugs and technical issues can have a significant impact on monetisation. Concretely, if an ad fails to load correctly or causes the app to crash, users may become frustrated and abandon the app altogether. Such bugs and issues lead to immediate revenue loss and tarnish the app's reputation, affecting user trust and potential future revenue. Timely bug reporting and effective communication between development and monetisation teams are crucial to addressing technical issues swiftly.

Liftoff Monetise’s technical support is available around the clock to support our partners during and after SDK integration. One key feature of SDK 7 is error logging. It provides us with an in-depth view into the health of our SDK, letting us proactively detect and fix even minor issues before they reach large numbers of users. Can you share insights on how mobile app publishers can overcome these challenges and build successful monetisation strategies?

Sven: Overcoming these challenges requires a holistic approach. Publishers should focus on maintaining a user-centric mindset. This involves regularly soliciting user feedback, analysing data, and leveraging user behaviour insights to fine-tune ad placements and formats. Collaboration between development, marketing, and monetisation teams is vital for a seamless user experience and effective bug reporting.

Additionally, we work with our publisher partners to stay updated with industry trends and innovate to adapt to evolving monetisation opportunities while prioritising user satisfaction. Another example of how we own these initiatives for a better user experience is Liftoff Creative Studio. 90 percent of our top 100 advertisers use custom creative made by Creative Studio to ensure we deliver a premium experience. Thank you, Sven, for sharing your insights on these challenges. It's evident that mobile app monetisation is a delicate balance between generating revenue and delivering an exceptional user experience.

Finding that balance is critical to achieving long-term success in this competitive app landscape. At Liftoff, we are developing a privacy-first platform that addresses the complete app growth cycle — from app design and development to marketing, measurement, and beyond.

One of our primary goals is to support and accelerate growth opportunities for our partners.
Outside of our monetisation solution Monetise, Liftoff as a platform can help publishers improve their games thanks to GameRefinery's unique competitive data and grow their user base by tapping into our direct SDK integration inventory (using Liftoff Direct) as well as other premium networks with our programmatic buying solution Accelerate. Each case is unique, and I advise publishers to contact our teams to evaluate how we can best support them.

If you think Liftoff’s Monetise team can boost the performance of your app, then visit their website to get in touch or sign up for the platform.