Category Archives: ad networks

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Best practices for using video ads in Windows apps

Interstitial videos are a highly engaging ad format that, if used right, have much higher monetization potential as compared to more traditional ad formats. Interstitial videos are typically 15-60 seconds long and take up the full screen space, getting the user engaged in the brand or app being advertised and result in much better conversions compared to standard ad formats.
Here are some do’s and don’ts for using interstitial videos in your app for maximum yield:
Have a clear user experience defined in the app or game to the point where the video ad is shown – Since the video ad overlays the app screen completely, it must be used with caution and should never disrupt the user during game play or app usage. Typical examples of usage of interstitial ads are in between game levels or switching to a new tab in a content app.
Set the ad unit mediation configuration to ‘Automatic’ – This allows Microsoft to determine the best waterfall order of ad units for every incoming ad request, giving developers maximum revenue potential from their apps.
Maintain good viewability of the video ad – The Media Ratings Council defines video viewability as, “At least 50% of the pixels in the ad are on an in-focus browser tab on the viewable space of the browser page; the pixel requirement is met for at least two continuous seconds or more at any point in the ad.” Many advertisers only pay when the impression is viewable, for better yield and to avoid fraud. Make sure that when you display the video ad in your app, it plays fully and is not hidden under any other screen in the app.
Pre-caching for long time periods – Video ad demand is transient by nature. An ad that is available at a given moment may not be available to play a few seconds later from the same ad provider. Given this, app developers should minimize the ad pre-fetch to less than 8 seconds before they are ready to display the ad in the app.
Fire multiple requests repeatedly – In case of a No Ad response, it is recommended that the developer should not fire multiple ad requests constantly. By firing multiple requests and not showing an ad when available, the ad unit becomes more likely to get marked as low quality, further decreasing the chances of getting an ad in the future. Make the next ad request only when it is aligned with the user flow in the app or game and you are ready to show an ad again.
We are working closely with our partner ad networks to bring the best demand to Windows apps and improve fill rates and monetization for our publishers. To know more about adding video ads in your apps, read the article here. Stay tuned for more announcements in this space!

Understanding the ad mediation configuration in the Microsoft ad mediation service

We announced the general availability of the Microsoft ad mediation service in May 2017. The federated cloud based ad mediation service is designed to help app developers maximize their ad revenue. In this blog post, we will go deeper into the mechanics of how a developer can configure their ad network choices to achieve the best possible yield.
Configuring mediation for your application
Developers can setup ad mediation in the Windows Dev center for their ad enabled applications. The ad mediation service mediates ad requests between a plethora of ad networks. The mediation configuration UX in the Monetize with Ads page for an application provides the developer control over managing the mediation configuration for that application.

Microsoft optimized configuration
The default option that is selected is for Microsoft to choose the best mediation settings for the app. This allows the machine learning algorithms that we employ to make ad requests to the best possible available ad networks to ensure highest yield for the developers.
The yield management algorithms use a mixture of User Profile (Age/Gender, Behavioral​ Segmentation, Location​, Time of the day, Day of the week​, Ad Engagement Rate​), Publisher quality score (Ad Size, Ad Format, Ad Placement​, Similar Apps, Category, CTR​, Viewability Signals, Quality Score) and Historical data score (Historical CPM, Historical Sell-through Rate​) parameters for their computation.
The machine learning algorithm looks at various parameters to compute the waterfall order of the ad partners that would get the maximum yield for the application developer.
It is strongly recommended that developers choose this default option for maximizing yield for their ad enabled apps.
Manual configuration
A developer can also manually configure the rank order of the ad networks to serve ads on a given ad unit. These selections can be done across all markets or can be customized for specific markets. When the option for letting Microsoft choose the best mediation settings is unselected, the list of available ad networks and their order is shown. The developer can play around with these settings and set it up to their desired values, including setting specific order for different markets. They can also remove ad networks from the waterfall by toggling the ‘Active’ checkbox in the configuration UX, as shown below.

If you notice the choice of networks here, you can see the presence of both paid and other (non-paid) ad networks. The percentages indicate the percentage of times the ad request will be sent to the ‘type’ of ad networks first. The percentages allow for the developer to allocate between paid and non-paid ad networks. This gives them flexibility to play with the type of ads being shown based on their requirements. For example, if a developer wants to use a given week to just promote their app, they can mark the paid ads to 0% and non-paid House and Community ads to 100%.
In the above screenshot, the ad request would be sent first to the other ad networks 30% first before it would be sent to the paid networks. If the developer does not have any House or Community ad campaigns setup, no ads would be returned for them.
Although it is recommended that developers use the Microsoft optimized configuration option, there are a few advanced scenarios in which a developer would choose to go with a manual configuration:
The developer wants to exclude a few ad networks from serving
The developer wants to tweak the ratio of paid and free ads
The developer wants specific configuration for different markets
The configuration can be changed once per day and takes a couple of hours to take effect. Developers can learn more about configuring their ad unit for optimal yield here.
Examining the performance of the various ad networks in the Analytics page can help the developer choose the method of configuration for their ad networks.
We hope this gives you insight into how you can use the ad mediation service to increase your yield. Please let us know if you have any questions or comments!