We recently hosted an online hangout with India’s leading mobile-first companies, as part of the inDecode series, discussing what’s on everyone’s minds - Native Advertising. As part of the session, I also had an interesting Q&A with Jasjit Singh, Director of Product Management at Mobikwik, on his experience and insights on native ad monetization. Mobikwik is working to provide a mobile wallet for every Indian, and is an InMobi monetization partner.
Me: Were you wary when beginning ad monetization? What factors did you consider?
Jasjit: Contrary to popular belief, monetization if done well adds to the existing revenue stream without any major impact on the KPIs that an app wants to drive. For us, the KPIs post monetization have in fact improved drastically as we focused on new key features with a monetization story in them.
To summarize, the three factors we looked at were -
i. Ensuring that we add a revenue stream with minimal or no impact on the overall user experience of the app.
ii. Focusing on the “empty sessions”, or the sessions where there were no transactions for monetization.
iii. Trying out multiple formats and then scaling the formats that ended up working for us.
Me: Choosing ad formats can get very confusing, very fast. Which ad formats did you try and how did they work out?
Jasjit: (Laughs) That’s true! We started out with the traditional favourite, banner ads. However, the eCPMs and engagement metrics were not great. We then moved to interstitials which gave us good revenue, but we couldn't add an interstitial on each page as this would be extremely intrusive and would ruin the user experience.
We realized that with native ads, we would be able to maximize on our metrics, without compromising on user experience. Not compromising our user experience was very important to us. Since native ads have the ability to match the form and function of a the product experience, monetization becomes much easier. Native has given us extremely high eCPM yields and we are very happy the format is engaging and has actually enhanced our users’ experience.
Me: Well, your experiences followed the path of evolution of ad formats themselves. How do you see native advertising evolving?
Jasjit: Considering the kind of returns, and engaging user experience native ads provide, I strongly believe native ads are here to stay.
Eventually, more formats like InMobi’s Native Storyboards will come into the market. Such formats have components of engagement and even retention which are core to any app. From being an eyesore, native ads truly have the potential to make powerful monetization stories.
Me: Lastly, what advice would you give app developers who are considering ad monetization?
Jasjit: Well, I think firstly it is crucial to think about the users who you want to target and create a powerful story around ad monetization. And secondly keep trying out different formats before locking in on THE format.
It depends on your app, your user experience and most of all your target audience. It’s crucial to be patient and work with the brand or ad network to continue optimizing and improvising the experience.
Thanks for sharing, Jasjit! It’s great to listen to practical insights from someone with hands-on experience in ad monetization at scale!