Monetize Your Mobile Traffic

Key Mobile Considerations for Publishers

The volume of mobile traffic continues to increase dramatically, but monetizing smartphone users' activity is still a challenge for information publishers.

There are a few problems with mobile monetization as it stands today. First, the mobile advertising industry remains relatively nascent, and ad spending just has not kept pace with the amount of time consumers are spending on their mobile devices. Translation: Mobile ad prices should be far higher than they are today. There is no shortage of statistics detailing the length of time users are engaged with (using) their smartphones as compared to desktop usage, but that has simply not resulted in bigger profits for publishers... yet.

The other main issue is the creative ad units themselves. Most publishers are focused almost exclusively on display advertising (banners) as a means to generate revenue and at times will even use the same assets they do on desktop sites, which is a problem. Fortunately, there are quite a few alternative solutions to explore. JiWire, for example, has long provided the ability for advertisers to leverage mobile devices' GPS capabilities to serve geographically targeted ads, but they are certainly not alone. Google's new "enhanced campaigns" for advertisers address the challenges of multi-device usage and "context" better than any vendor before, which will soon translate to higher CPCs for advertisers and bigger profits for digital publishers.

Greater relevance (be it location or based on the time of day) for users means more clicks, and more clicks equal additional revenue for mobile publishers. But content providers cannot, and should not, stop there. There is much to consider when the objective is increasing revenue from mobile users.

Consider Platform Usage

Most mobile advertising networks, which enable publishers to monetize this type of traffic, will support the major platforms of iOS and Android. But there are others (depending on the breakdown of mobile device type of a digital audience) including Windows Phone, Blackberry and even j2me (Java Platform Micro Edition or Java ME), which is designed for mobile devices and embedded systems.

Mobile Features Matter

Once the type of mobile device traffic has been identified, it's time to consider the features of prospective networks. Some potential areas of assessment include the presence of real-time reporting, open source software development kits and the availability of virtual currency options (to name but a few). Each enterprise and network has varying degrees of appropriateness for each other, so take the time to explore the benefits and drawbacks of each before opting for one platform over another.

The Ad Format Question

Whether mobile initiatives are app-based or Webbased, it is essential to consider what type/style/format can be accepted and, ultimately, deployed. Most networks offer a variety of choices, from the traditional (yet mobile friendly) banner, to more interactive formats including sponsored alert dialogs and push dialogs, app walls and interstitials and video.

Revenue Models

The opportunities for publishers of mobile content are not unlike their desktop counterparts, from CPM to CPC and even some interesting CPA and CPI (cost per install) models that are quite attractive to publishers. Understanding the intended audience and the available opportunities in a mobile presence (be it app or mobile Web) will reveal the appropriate model for an enterprise. Publishers should choose wisely, but remember to test different combinations of networks and models to ensure the highest profits possible.

The Global Mobile Ad Networks

There is certainly no shortage of networks that publishers can use right now to monetize their mobile traffic. There are emerging vendors such as Adfonic, Leadbolt, inMobi, Madvertise, BuzzCity, Admoda, Mojiva, as well as industry leaders including Google's Admob, Millennial Media and GreySripe (to name but a few). Each of these networks have their own specialty, support for different format types, targeting options and costs, so analyze each closely to determine their appropriateness for your mobile initiatives.

BIG LIST of Mobile Ad Networks: Find a mobile-focused advertising network to match the mobile marketing efforts of your enterprise!