The most common pricing metric for web and mobile ads, CPM stands for “cost-per-mille” and helps keep the advertising world standardized.


What is CPM in advertising?

CPM is short for “Cost-Per-Mille,” with mille being the Latin word for “thousand.” In other words, it’s the cost-per-thousand impressions (not to be confused with CPI, which could refer to cost-per impression or cost-per-install).

To boil it down, CPM is the amount advertisers pay to publishers for every thousand impressions an ad generates. This pricing model has long been used in online advertising, and according to Investopedia, it’s the most common method for pricing web ads.

While mobile ads have gone beyond banners and static images to interactive experiences, videos, and so on, the CPM model still has its place in the mobile advertising world. To calculate the cost-per-thousand views, take the total number of impressions and divide by 1,000. Then divide the campaign budget by that number and you have your CPM. Using this formula can help you figure out how much to budget and what your desired number of impressions will be.

How is CPM different from other types of advertising metrics?

The more traditional CPM advertising model varies a bit from newer forms of mobile and in-app advertising because it doesn’t require a specific outcome from users in order to be considered complete. For example, in cost-per-completed-view, advertisers don’t pay publishers until a video ad is watched in its entirety, so simply looking at the ad isn’t enough in that case. Similarly, cost-per-engagement advertising requires some kind of action beyond the initial impression, like taking a survey or playing a mini-game.

CPM in advertising strips away all of those newer approaches and takes marketing back to basics. And in some scenarios, that’s exactly what the product demands.

Why does CPM matter for publishers and developers?

For game and app publishers, CPM is also an effective metric for estimating the amount of revenue they can expect to make by showing ads in their products. Any specific ad network’s estimated CPM (or eCPM) can be combined with other data points like an app’s daily-active-user count and/or the average number of ad impressions served to forecast the amount of resulting ad revenue they can expect to generate.

Knowing these figures, along with other critical metrics like retention and IAP conversion, is critical for any sophisticated mobile game publisher. It allows them to ensure that their development efforts are remaining net-positive, and clearly illustrates how much time and resources they should allot for updates or optimizations to their portfolio.

When and why should advertisers use a CPM campaign?

CPM in advertising 2

Cute doge lying on bed with his owner and looking happy.

You might be asking yourself why advertisers still use CPM campaigns, as opposed to some of the newer types of pricing models discussed above. Aren’t completed views, proven engagement, clicks, and installs more important than impressions alone?

It’s a fair question, but the truth is, there are still situations in which a CPM pricing model is the right choice, strategically. Perhaps the most important use for CPM in advertising is brand-building. When a product or service is new, branding is essential. You need to get the campaign in front of users first and foremost. It’s rare for audiences to click on an ad for a product made by a brand they’ve never heard of. A CPM campaign is great for creating and elevating brand awareness in preparation for a more conversion-oriented campaign.

CPM campaigns can also help with nailing down your demographic. For example, if an ad is getting way more engagement on an entertainment website aimed at the 18-35 demo than a news outlet for older folks, you know you either need to target that younger group going forward or adjust your marketing accordingly. CPMs are a good way to gauge interest without breaking your advertising budget.

Plus, with the right ad placement, CPM in advertising can still see great clickthrough and sale results. Creating a campaign like that requires expertise and strategy, of course, but with the right marketing partner, you’ll be able to make CPM work for you.

For more information about all things mobile advertising, or to get started on your own CPM campaign, contact the experts at Tapjoy.

Whether your goal is to build brand awareness or acquire customers, mobile ads are a vital part of any comprehensive marketing strategy. Smartphones are now more common than desktop computers, and audiences use them to play games, post on social media, or browse the internet. Meanwhile, app usage has surpassed that of the mobile web, prompting many advertisers to adjust their marketing strategies accordingly.

Furthermore, in-app marketing is a vastly different discipline compared traditional web advertising. To succeed, advertisers and developers must work together to come up with creative ways of leveraging new and compelling mobile ad formats to engage audiences.

The good news is that advertisers and developers alike have a variety mobile ad formats to choose from. Here are some of the core formats to help you get started.



Offerwalls are interactive in-app ad units that give users the opportunity to earn relevant rewards through incentivized actions. This allows developers and publishers to monetize their apps through contextually relevant offers while letting advertisers foster engagement with new audiences. In most cases, offerwalls take the form of in-app storefronts where users can complete objectives for virtual rewards like in-game currency.

Offerwalls can be deployed in any app, but are especially effective in free-to-play mobile games, where they provide an alternative method for engaged players to acquire in-game items or currency. Offerwalls can themselves be used as a vehicle for delivering other types of ad units, although rewarded ads tend to be the most popular with users. Other engagement opportunities include surveys or free trials for brand services.

Offerwalls are a form of value-exchange advertising, so their only hard rule is that users choose to engage with them, as opposed to interstitial formats which arrive unprompted. This has the added benefit of generating higher levels of engagement compared to unrequested advertisements, which in turn maximizes ad revenue for publishers. Pop-up reminders and notifications can still direct users to the offerwall if effectively integrated with the app’s native experience.

To learn more, check out our Offerwall page.


Rich media ads

In the early days of mobile advertising, most ad creative was delivered through largely static mediums like banners or image-based interstitials. Today, advertisers have found great success using modern web technology to feature more engaging experiences and the ability to respond to user input. Modern ad creative can feature video, audio, or any other creative element that enhances the user experience. What’s more, rich media can effectively attract user attention and provides higher engagement than standard creatives.

Facets of rich media advertising can be leveraged in a variety of other formats, most notably as interactive end cards for video advertisements. These are largely web-based interfaces that can include multiple calls-to-action that can direct traffic towards multiple destinations. Alternatively, rich media technology can be used to develop creative that is 100% interaction based, allowing audiences to engage with brands in new and exciting ways.

To learn more, check out our Rich Media Ads page.


Mobile video ads

Mobile video advertisements typically last around 30 seconds and often conclude with an interactive end card that makes use of rich media ad technology. They are an evolution of static interstitial ads which were common in the early days of mobile advertising, reimagined to better support modern device capabilities and advertiser needs.

Mobile Ad Formats

Mobile video ads are especially effective when deployed as full-screen in-app advertisements, while mobile web deployments are more limited. Mobile video ads can be employed as rewarded placements, or delivered as interstitials. In the case of the ladder, it’s recommended that developers carefully monitor and adjust the frequency of interstitial placements, as studies have shown unprompted ads can damage retention if used to excess. When necessary, interstitial videos are best delivered at natural breaks in user experience. For example, a mobile game should have video ads between levels or gameplay activities, not during gameplay.

For more information, check out our Mobile Video Ads page.


Rewarded video

Rewarded video ads are among the most popular forms of advertising on modern mobile devices. They go a step beyond traditional video ads by offering users a measurable benefit in exchange for their time and attention. Whether delivered through an offerwall or a standalone placement, rewarded video ads can provide in-app currency, in-game bonuses, or other kinds of premium content that address the vast majority of users who may not be willing to convert on an IAP purchase but are still eager to engage.

Since their inception, multiple studies and in-market examples have emerged to suggest that rewarded ad placements are among the most well-received by users. Many customers know and understand the premise of value-exchange and are happy to engage with rewarded placements knowing that it supports developers and enables further engagement with the products they love.

To learn more, check out our Rewarded Video page.



Playables are short in-app advertisements that offer audiences the chance to experience a sample of a game or app’s core engagement loop. Instead of presenting users with a static interstitial or passive video, playables use touchscreens and other mobile device capabilities to create a small interactive demonstration. Naturally, they are well-suited to mobile gaming categories.

In their most common form, playables highlight a single gameplay mechanic from the advertised app. This gives players the opportunity to sample a game’s experiential value before installing it, usually from a storefront link within the playable itself.

Some common playable deployment examples include:

To learn more, check out our Playables page.


Today’s mobile ad formats have transformed the way users engage with traditional marketing campaigns. Meanwhile, the emphasis on value-exchange advertising makes it easier to advertisers and developers to maximize performance and revenue.

Mobile ad format expertise is just one way the monetization and advertising experts at Tapjoy help our customers succeed. For more information on mobile ad essentials, contact the Tapjoy team today.

Looking to brush up your mobile marketing fundamentals? Take a look at our strategy article, “Mobile Ad Mediation – What Developers Need To Know”.

When Netflix launched their online video streaming service, it was a groundbreaking innovation that let customers experience content in a new way. Today, streaming isn’t a technological novelty. It’s the standard for how we consume home entertainment. Now we are entering a new chapter for OTT entertainment — one where competition has increased, UA strategies are refined, and cord cutting is no longer a mere convenience.

Video streaming industry growth continues unabated in 2019, but many factors are driving its expansion. It’s crucial for content creators and marketers to evaluate how each platform serves their audience to understand what might come next.



As of writing, Netflix is the undisputed leader of OTT entertainment media. It pioneered the video streaming subscription model, boasts one of the largest on-demand collections, and consistently produces critically-acclaimed original content. Despite these successes, it faces many new challenges — competition from other brands is increasing, and its original content spending has limited the company’s overall profits.

All the same, Netflix maintains impressive growth. The premiere OTT media provider put forward strong performance metrics in its latest quarterly report, gaining 9 million subscribers and doubling its profits. One major driver of this performance is a renewed emphasis on international content to attract global subscribers. Netflix is currently home to 139 million subscribers, well on its way to 150 within the next year.

Netflix’s business model is based entirely around subscription revenue. Netflix’s users and executive team have consistently expressed disdain for ads in the past, and avoid them on their own platform wherever possible. This means Netflix relies heavily on user acquisition and video streaming industry growth for continued revenue.

Since the novelty surrounding streaming has effectively worn off, Netflix has pivoted to an IP-based creative strategy. Social media ads no longer emphasize Netflix’s brand, but the TV shows associated with it — Stranger Things and Orange Is The New Black being prime examples. Considering Netflix’s recent performance boost among US markets, this approach is certainly paying off.



Hulu is relatively smaller than other OTT providers listed here, but claims impressive performance all the same. In 2018, its platform gained 8 million subscribers, bringing the total number of users to 25 million. Hulu also claims to have more individual TV episodes than any other US streaming service, including Netflix itself. As a platform, Hulu is unique for monetizing content through both subscriptions and ad revenue — much like traditional cable packages.

Hulu recently launched a “Culture Lab” that experiments and measures the impact of advertising initiatives. One prime example was the Better Ruins Everything campaign, a Culture Lab initiative that advertised Hulu’s diverse line-up with a celebrity cast. Last year, ad revenue increased by 45% to reach $1.5 billion.


Amazon Prime Video

Video Streaming Industry Growth

While Amazon Prime Video is a fairly new OTT platform compared to Netflix and Hulu, the platform is growing thanks to several competitive advantages. Amazon Prime is currently projected to reach 122 million subscribers worldwide by 2022 — 56 million of which would be in the United States alone.

Prime’s marketing strategy is built on the discovery that customers were less likely to turn to competing retailers once they’d purchased a subscription. In recent years, this has encouraged Amazon to create internal digital ecosystems within its ecommerce platform, of which Videos are just one part.

Amazon’s Prime Video platform is fully integrated with standard Prime subscriptions. This allows customers to become members with a single click, and that enables Amazon to advertise through its standard marketing methods — Prime Day promotions being just one example. Anyone who is attracted to an Amazon membership for the free shipping can then be convinced to stay for an impressive video-on-demand collection.


Facebook Watch

Facebook Watch is a relative newcomer to the OTT scene. As such, its growth and future prospects aren’t guaranteed, although financial experts are optimistic. Along with its original and licensed content, Facebook Watch has the unique offering of social video that sets it apart from Netflix or Amazon.

Unfortunately for Facebook Watch, its initial reception wasn’t promising. While the service has obtained 400 million users, many spend only 1 minute per month on the platform. When eMarketer surveyed Facebook users to determine their viewing habits, 50% of respondents revealed they’d never even heard of the Watch service. Another 24% had never used the service, with regular viewing statistics dropping from there.

The good news is Facebook Watch still has room to grow. The OTT provider has the potential to reach 2 billion Facebook users, most of whom represent international markets. Watch’s original content line-up is also rapidly expanding, thanks to Facebook investments of up to $1 billion.

For marketers, Facebook Watch’s monetization model warrants special attention. Facebook currently plans to generate revenue exclusively through advertising, something few OTT platforms have attempted on  Watch’s scale. Content partners currently take 55% of ad revenue, while the remaining 45% goes to Facebook. Many OTT brands are skeptical of entirely ad-based monetization in a Netflix-dominated market, but such models could become more common if Watch finds its audience.

Within a few short years, OTT media providers have shifted away from Netflix’s monolithic presence towards a highly-competitive streaming ecosystem. This proliferation of choices is only going to increase the number of OTT subscribers, creating opportunities for providers, marketers, entertainment studios, and countless other parties. For help navigating this growing space, please contact the mobile monetization experts at Tapjoy today.

For more information about OTT media services, check out Part 1 of Meghan McAdam’s new Tapjoy blog series — “What Is OTT?

The movement to cultivate an equal opportunity workplace takes many forms in 2019. One of the most promising is Fairygodboss, a career development website specifically designed by and for women. Millions of users visit Fairygodboss each month to search for jobs, find leadership advice, or conduct research on how businesses treat female employees.

Tapjoy recently met with Fairygodboss Senior Director of User Acquisition Ngozi Ogbonna to discuss the unique challenges of building a women-focused career community.


What We Learned:


Hi, Ngozi. Thanks very much for speaking with us. Can you start by telling us about Fairygodboss, and your role within the organization?

Fairygodboss is the largest career community for women. We provide millions of women with career connections, jobs, community advice, and hard-to-find intel about how companies treat women. I’m the Senior Director of User Acquisition, so my role is primarily focused on driving growth via paid and organic media channels.


As a platform, Fairygodboss is geared towards an audience of professional women – a group that has been historically underserved. Does that create any unique challenges from a growth perspective?

Fairygodboss is really unique in that it’s a platform that not only provides really great content and articles for career-minded women, but where women can also apply to jobs at top companies across the US – companies who care about gender equality and supporting women in their work spaces; where they can read real company reviews by women, for women about what it’s like to work at those companies, what the benefits are like, whether women can grow and get promoted there, whether women are paid fairly, and other hard to get intel; as well as access a community of millions of peers to get advice, have meaningful discussions and connect with. Additionally, Fairygodboss also sponsors and produces virtual and physical events around topics about women in the workplace.

One challenge is that across those different value propositions, we have a lot of competitors who also do some of those things. I believe the unique opportunity for Fairygodboss is our community. Our users are driven and ambitious about developing their own careers, but are also determined to help other women advance as well.


What does monetization look like for a unique platform like Fairygodboss? Are there challenges you face that similar websites do not? Are there lessons from other digital companies that proved successful here?

Fairygodboss is a marketplace where we’re building a community of women who are engaged and interested in developing a career that fits their overall life. And on the other side, we’re partnering with companies that are actively looking to attract and recruit those women.

Fairygodboss wants to create an inclusive community where women feel empowered to speak their minds and give honest reviews about their employers. Like any other review site, we rely on the wisdom of the community to convey the truth about a particular company. And anonymity is important to us. While some reviewers register using their work email addresses, others don’t feel comfortable doing so, and we respect that. We look at other platforms that feature user generated content like Indeed or Glassdoor, who have done this well, to see how they’re managing and enforcing their content guidelines. Our content guidelines were crafted in consultation with Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, so that’s something we take very seriously.

From a user engagement standpoint, I like what digital-first brands like Away and Casper are doing. Luggage and mattresses are infrequent purchases, and they both do a great job of continuing to engage their consumers throughout their lifecycles. For us, whether you’re an active job seeker, are just looking for career development advice or want to support the mission of improving the workplace for women, we want Fairygodboss to become a regular destination for you.


Fairygodboss generates profiles on a wide range of employers, from small nonprofits to massive corporate firms. Are there particular industries or business structures that seem particularly supportive of gender equality? Is there any field showing impressive advances in recent years?

We’re seeing the desire for meaningful diversity and inclusion initiatives across a myriad of industries and company sizes. There have been tons of independent studies confirming that diverse teams and organizations are more profitable and successful. Specific fields that are really striving to make more inroads are the tech and financial industries. Collectively, we still have a long way to go in terms of mitigating gender inequality in all workplaces – especially in historically male-dominated industries.


You’re also a co-chair for mBolden and a member of the board for Urban Bush Women. Are there any common themes you see between women’s communities for tech and the arts? Are there any obstacles that make them distinct?

Yes, both organizations are focused on supporting and elevating the voices of women who are underserved in their respective spaces. Showcasing the huge community of leaders and talent that don’t get the recognition they deserve – despite positively impacting and leading innovation in their industries. Both communities are continuing to challenge and make some process in changing those narratives.


What would you personally like to see men in mobile and tech industries do to support their female colleagues?

I think inequality is fostered by the lack of access and opportunities. I would love to see more male colleagues support the visibility and voices of their female colleagues in the workplace. We should all be empowered to challenge existing systems and be the change agents to transform workplace cultures.


Are there any current or upcoming mobile trends or technologies that you find particularly exciting?

The conversations around data – data unification, privacy, transparency, and accuracy – are exciting to me. As performance marketers, we want to measure everything. But we have access to so much data, and with continued legislative and platform changes on how we can collect and use that data – the challenge is figuring out how we can best apply the data in an actionable way. AI and machine learning are helping to solve that problem.


Are there any untapped opportunities for gender equality initiatives like Fairygodboss that you’d like to see more focus on? Are there similar projects someone else is working on that you wish Fairygodboss could be a part of?

Culturally, gender equality and diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives centered around career-minded women are dominating the zeitgeist right now. It’s exciting to see organizations that are focused around that intersection like mBolden, The Wing, Elpha and The Cru continue to expand. The future is female, and I’m excited for all of us to work together to shift the culture and effect lasting change for the next generations.


Tapjoy would like to thank Ngozi Ogbonna for taking the time to join us. For more insights from our Mobile Champions, check out our interview with Playtika’s Jeet Niyogi.

Thanks to companies like Netflix, OTT streaming has become the entertainment medium of the future — but it’s also a far more crowded space than it was a decade ago. Platforms like Hulu, Amazon Video, Disney+, and even HBO have entered the market, each competing for similar audiences. While OTT subscriber acquisition continues, cord cutting and the novelty of streaming are no longer the primary drivers.

So what trends can providers and marketers capitalize on to drive OTT market growth while engaging with customers? Today, we’ll explore three cases that warrant additional discussion: hardware, branded IP, and advertising.


How devices drive OTT subscriber acquisition

Netflix and OTT subscription services may emphasize home viewing, but not everyone watches television shows on a television screen. Customers who stream content to mobile devices represent a growing market, and shouldn’t be ignored in favor of smart TVs and digital media players. In fact, these audiences often overlap — the same individual who watches Game of Thrones after work may also enjoy YouTube videos while riding the bus. OTT providers need to adjust their UA strategies accordingly.

According to one eMarketer report, over 75% of total worldwide video consumption occurs on mobile devices. This figure becomes more modest when focusing on OTT subscription platforms, but an impressive 20% of Netflix viewing still occurs on smartphones with 50% of customers logging in from mobile devices once a month. How customers access OTT platforms can also vary wildly depending on region — 60-70% of Finland’s subscriptions are viewed on cellular networks, while Mexico relies heavily on WiFi connections.

Even if we ignore viewing statistics, smartphones remain a crucial user channel for OTT subscriber acquisition. Netflix data states that 70% of customers view content from televisions, but only 5% use TVs to create an account. Instead, 30% of initial sign-ups occur on mobile devices, before most users transition to a larger screen.

As such, mobile advertising channels have rightfully become a major focus for OTT brands. At Tapjoy, we’ve seen platforms experiment with all kinds of UA tactics, from straight CPI campaigns to free trial subscriptions. The most successful campaigns ultimately drive users down the funnel, which is most effective via apps and mobile web than other avenues.


How IP drives OTT subscriber acquisition

When choosing which OTT services to subscribe to, customers often give major consideration to the original and exclusive content they offer. OTT brands make so secret of their affiliation with franchises like Game of Thrones and Orange Is The New Black, often dubbing them “original series” wherever applicable, making them effective rhetorical devices for marketing subscriptions. As streaming becomes more common, providers have pivoted to emphasize their most popular original IP:

eating popcorn on the couch

In 2019, OTT brands can attract new subscribers by offering exclusive and engaging serial content. In some cases, marketing occurs by word of mouth — as you’ve noticed if water cooler talk revolves around Game of Thrones. But OTT marketing campaigns themselves can attract users by swapping generic brand messaging for IP-focused creative. At Tapjoy, we frequently see upticks in clicks and conversions based around major IP releases. The caveat is that marketers must regularly switch up creative to ensure their IP line-up doesn’t appear stale.


How in-app advertising drives subscriber acquisition

Sometimes, OTT subscriber acquisition is all about practical considerations — most notably, that cord cutters aren’t watching live TV any longer. That means the best way to advertise new OTT services is through digital and mobile channels.

In 2019, the most important digital channel is in-app advertising. As I mentioned in a previous article, three factors maximize conversions and engagement through an in-app environment:

OTT providers, aware of the channel’s immense potential, have turned to in-app advertising to market subscriptions and encourage cross-promotions. Meanwhile social media apps provide an excellent top of funnel opportunity by providing a platform for subscribers to comment on content they’re excited about. Beyond the inherent UA benefits, in-app advertising also lets OTT providers buy new subscribers on a performance basis, cutting down on media waste. It offers lower funnel tracking as well, helping providers measure LTV far more accurately than standard TV ratings.

OTT streaming is here to stay, but no one platform is an undisputed champion. From Netflix to Amazon Prime, each service has unique benefits that attract – and retain – loyal subscribers. Now that streaming technology is no longer novel, in-app advertising and IP-based marketing are essential strategies to ensure your OTT platform thrives. To find out how Tapjoy can address all of your advertising and subscriber growth needs, contact our expert team today!

For more information about OTT media services, check out Meghan’s full blog series starting with What Is OTT?

For years, Netflix was the monolith of OTT media — but no longer. Multiple competitors have stepped up with alternative streaming services, all catering to customers who are tired of traditional cable. But in a world where Netflix has a clear head start, brand hopefuls need to exhaust every opportunity to outpace their competitors. Many are turning to in-app advertising as a solution, and there’s a lot of reasons why, but keeping growth net-positive will require a keen eye for the pitfalls that have impacted the platforms that have come before.

My name is Meghan McAdams, and I lead National Brand Sales at Tapjoy. In my last post, we defined OTT media services and their role in the modern media landscape. Today, we turn our attention to OTT growth marketing and how today’s most sophisticated players are taking a holistic view to their subscriber acquisition and monetization initiatives.


OTT growth means competition for audience attention

While Netflix has critically-acclaimed original programming, part of its initial success was being the only game in town. This pioneering brand quickly became synonymous with streaming subscriptions on principle. Content providers had to partner with Netflix, or risk losing audiences who prefers streaming to cable TV packages.

Today, Netflix isn’t going away but it does face increased competition. OTT growth means a new generation of streaming services have launched, each with network advantages Netflix hasn’t cornered. Many of these platforms were established by traditional cable companies to counter Netflix’s initial disruption:

There’s just one problem — these services cannot be marketed to audiences through traditional channels. The same audience that embraces “cord cutting” isn’t going to see televised commercials for CBS All Access. So where do these brands find new subscribers?


In-app advertising is driving OTT growth

Roughly three billion people own at least one smartphone. They use them to download music, watch movies, post on social media, and — in rare cases — make phone calls! Smartphones are often used as OTT players themselves, streaming online content from WiFi or mobile networks.

Naturally, these devices have become the primary channel for marketers to reach new audiences. Mobile advertising is at least 30 times more effective than traditional advertising methods, and often ranks higher engagement among customers. More importantly, smartphone users spend roughly 90% of their mobile time in apps, most of which are monetized with ads. You would be hard-pressed to find a better marketing opportunity anywhere else.

Second-generation OTT providers are quickly becoming aware of in-app advertising’s potential. Amazon Prime, CBS All Access, and many other brands are running video ad campaigns for original content alongside traditional marketing efforts. Social media apps feature native advertisements for OTT trial subscriptions. In other words, in-app advertising has immense potential for OTT media services, both in terms of subscriptions and cross-promotion. Keeping growth net-positive however, means prioritizing returns as well lowering acquisition costs.


How do OTT platforms monetize their users?

OTT Growth 1

Since the start of the market’s diversification, there’s been more to OTT platform revenue than just paid subscriptions. In this year’s IAS Industry Pulse survey, 44% of brands and 45% of marketers believe OTT is a top advertising industry opportunity. Meanwhile, only 30% of brands and 33% of agencies consider it a priority. It’s also quite telling that 2019 is the first year OTT was included as an IAS survey option.

There are many reasons why OTT growth is a lower priority for brands. Several impressive technological developments are taking place in AI and machine learning that marketers would rather focus on. Perhaps the most understated issue is that OTT marketing is still considered a risk thanks to the rise of OTT ad fraud.


The biggest danger to OTT growth is ad fraud

Bypassing telecommunications networks has granted OTT solutions more freedom in terms of monetization, which in turn feeds growth initiatives. As OTT platforms often leverage advertising themselves as a means of generating revenue-positive growth, it unfortunately also puts them at greater risk of advertising fraud. Every type of fraudulent scheme that digital providers faced in recent decades has OTT equivalents, and it’s limiting market growth potential.

A recent Forbes report on OTT fraud outlined three main concerns:

These are not minor problems. Advertisers still remember the 2016 Methbot device fraud that generated $5 million per day by falsifying 300 million video views. With so much of the free-to-use OTT market based on ad impressions, few brands can take that risk. Sustaining OTT growth in the short term will require increased security from advertising networks. Thankfully, many solutions are taking steps to authenticate digital identities and data sources, ensuring ad impressions are reflect genuine engagement.

As pioneers of the mobile platform, we here at Tapjoy are deeply entrenched in the industry’s most effective anti-fraud practices. We partner with organizations like IAB and were among the first adopters of their open measurement SDK in an effort to keep the subscriber acquisition side of the equation fraud-free.

Consumer demand for OTT services is rising, and the number of entertainment platforms capable of delivering them is on the rise. If the industry can address these roadblocks, we should expect to see significant OTT growth in the years ahead. If you represent an OTT media platform, Tapjoy can help by addressing all of your advertising and monetization needs, so feel free to get in touch!.

For more information about OTT media services, check out Meghan’s full blog series starting with What Is OTT?

When it comes to in-app advertising costs, there’s a lot to keep track of. The alphabet of acronyms alone can be dizzying, and that’s in addition to staying on top of emerging pricing trends.

In this article, we cover:

We’ve compiled everything you need to know about the most common ad pricing models, as well as the key details you need to decide whether or not they’re the right choice to achieve your marketing goals.


Understanding In-App Advertising Cost

To understand the cost of in-app advertising, marketers must first understand the larger world of mobile advertising. Mobile advertising is a subset of mobile marketing that’s been found to be 30% more effective than traditional internet ads. It delivers targeted ad content specifically designed for tablets and smartphones and comes in a variety of formats like rewarded video, static interstitials, and playables.

According to a report from MetrixLab, “mobile now represents a majority of digital media consumption,” with time spent on these devices outpacing the daily screen time given to computers. Considering that nearly 80% of Americans owned smartphones as of early 2018, mobile advertising should be at the forefront of any marketing campaign strategy.

There are a few key types of mobile advertising commonly used today. One of the most effective modes of mobile advertising is in-app ads, which are deployed directly within an active app interface. Since users spend roughly 89% of their browsing time running apps, it’s the core advertising channel for mobile marketers looking to reach new customers. Audiences tend to engage with in-app ads more than alternative formats, and revenue is expected to reach $7 billion by 2020.

There are also mobile web ads. Much like the traditional desktop format, mobile web ads are deployed on websites being viewed specifically by mobile devices. The key difference is mobile versions are optimized for smartphone and tablet viewing instead of a computer monitor. Mobile web pages tend to receive far fewer views than apps and shouldn’t be prioritized, but studies do suggest that engagement rates can be comparable to in-app equivalents.

In App Advertising Cost 2

Native ads are another type of in-app advertising offered by companies like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and look just like the surrounding content in which they appear. They take some skill to execute, as they must match their environment in design and tone, but they’re a good way to garner attention without being intrusive.

While it may not always be realistic for smaller companies, programmatic advertising can automate the process of buying, selling, and deploying ads without manual human approvals, making them an effective way to manage ad inventory through a single interface.

While there’s no one recipe for a successful mobile ad, there are a few best practices that can increase your odds of making an impact, especially when it comes to video ads. First of all, keep it brief. Timing is everything, so don’t interrupt the user in the middle of an activity to blast your message! Instead, find a natural pause in the activity, like between levels in a mobile game.

Don’t invest too heavily in mobile practices that are becoming outdated — like banner ads, for example. Instead, make sure you deliver a targeted experience catered to the user.


Want to learn more about mobile advertising fundamentals? Check out our full blog post, What Is Mobile Advertising? for more helpful details.


Now that you know the basics, let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular pricing models used in the modern digital advertising ecosystem, starting with a favorite of mobile app marketers.


Cost-Per-Install (CPI)

Short for “cost-per-install,” CPI marketing is a pricing model in which marketers only pay when their app actually gets installed by the user. A common type of in-app advertising cost, CPI is calculated by dividing ad spend by the total number of app installs generated by the associated campaign. This provides you with a baseline cost to acquire a single user.

CPI marketing campaigns use a pricing model built around install efficiency. Under this model, advertisers only pay for users that install the app after seeing an ad promoting it. Since CPI campaigns only charge advertisers for confirmed installs, marketers only pay for real users, and are able to protect their budgets.

Individual CPIs vary wildly depending on the country they’re sourced from. The general rule of thumb is that established, wealthy economies like China or the United States demand higher rates while emerging economies like Brazil or India have lower ones. Similarly, Android and iOS apps generate contrasting CPIs. Many studies have found that worldwide, Apple users are willing to spend more on IAPs than Google users, which equates to a higher average CPI.

Each media source will also offer a different rate for deploying CPI campaigns. Social media platforms tend to have the highest rates for their visibility, while other networks vary cost by services offered. Keep this in mind when budgeting — where are you most likely to attract a meaningful audience?

Another thing to consider is that the specific category and genre of your app can dramatically influence the overall CPI. For example, mobile games tend to have a higher CPI than other app categories, while certain gaming genres like casino games can demand above-average CPIs as well. To get the highest returns from CPI ads, some strategies that should be considered are targeting key audiences, optimizing and scaling your campaign, and analyzing other metrics that indicate engaged users.


For more information about cost-per-install marketing, check out our full post What is CPI Marketing?


Cost-Per-View (CPV)

Cost-per-view advertising is another pricing model that helps advertisers mitigate risks and budget more strategically. It’s a particularly popular pricing model for video ads, as it ensures advertisers don’t pay unless their videos are actually watched.

Of course, what qualifies as a “view” varies depending on the source. Google defines a view as 30 seconds (or the duration of the video, if the ad is shorter than half a minute). Twitter’s view duration is much shorter: about “two seconds of play time with at least 50 percent of the video on the screen,” according to Ad Age. No matter how long you consider a view, measuring success (and price) by views provides an immediate look into how ads are performing, what tactics are working, and what areas need attention.

There are a variety of reasons that marketing pros are using CPV marketing, but a big one is this, per Ad Age: “Performance advertisers are able to obtain high-quality users by paying for just a view in front of premium traffic, giving them a competitive advantage when battling for inventory.”


For more detailed information on CPV marketing, read our blog post, What is CPV Marketing?.


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Cost-Per-Completed-View (CPCV)

In the same vein as CPV marketing, CPCV–cost-per-completed-view–is another way for marketers to ensure that their ads are actually being noticed. CPCV ads actually go one step further; instead of just requiring a view, it takes a completed view in order for the impression to count.

Why the distinction? Well, the IAB and Media Ratings Council define a mobile video ad as viewable if at least half of the ad is displayed on the screen for a minimum of one second, but on paper, that’s not very much quality interaction time. Many advertisers are no longer willing to pay for ads that run for such a brief period of time, hence the rise of the CPCV pricing model.

CPCV advertising enables the advertiser to only pay for a video ad once the user has finished watching the entire video. Like with CPV marketing, there are different definitions of what constitutes a completed view, but Tapjoy considers a completed view to be just that — a video that is watched all the way to completion, regardless of length.

Unfortunately, not all publishers are on board with this newer form of advertising. Because average video completion rates on mobile are just 64%, some don’t offer CPCV pricing. The reason why Tapjoy is able to offer CPCV advertising is that our rewarded advertising model provides a balanced exchange of value between the advertiser, publisher, and consumer. As Tapjoy’s Steve Wadsworth wrote about last year in AdExchanger, the industry is moving towards a CPCV model because it addresses many of the transparency, accountability and performance issues that affect the market.


To learn more about the power of CPCV marketing, read our full blog post, “What is CPCV Advertising?


Cost-Per-Engagement (CPE)

One big buzzword in modern advertising: engagement. It’s not enough just to get people to glance ad your ads anymore; skilled marketers are constantly coming up with new experiences users can actually interact with. This has given way to cost-per-engagement advertising, in which advertisers don’t pay for impressions unless a user interacts with it in some meaningful, predetermined way.

Like other pricing models that require a definitive action, it’s a lower-risk way to ensure that your ad spend is producing results. CPE is calculated by dividing your total amount spent by the number of measured engagements. There are only two end results, both beneficial in their own ways: a user engages with the ad (mission accomplished!) or doesn’t (you don’t pay and can retool your campaign without financial sacrifice).

There are many types of engagement, but here are a few of the most popular examples:

It’s up to the advertiser to figure out how they want users to engage with their ads and set that definition. There is one thing that all CPE advertisers generally agree on, though–the engagement must be the result of some high-quality action. Where CPI and CPV campaigns are specific about the action that needs to be taken, CPE ads are constantly finding new ways to engage users. This gives advertisers the freedom to define what counts as engagement on their own terms, which also makes it easier to quickly adapt to new advertising trends and mediums. The increased creative output allowed by this flexibility, as well as smarter budgeting options and stronger engagement levels, are just some of the benefits of CPE advertising.

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CPE campaigns are often delivered to audiences via value-exchange advertising formats like offerwalls. The mobile gaming space in particular is home to some of the most successful CPE campaigns ever run. There are plenty of mediums besides mobile games where CPE ads would work well; they’re also rising on social media. Games are just a natural environment for cost-per-engagement campaigns because they can easily provide players with digital rewards in return for engagement, increasing the odds of interaction.


Want to learn more about cost-per-engagement advertising? Check out our full post on the topic, What Is Cost Per Engagement Advertising?


Keeping up with in-app advertising costs can be overwhelming, but with the right resources, you’ll know your terms and acronyms backwards and forwards. To learn more about any of these topics, simply follow the links above for full articles. And to get started on your own mobile ad campaign with a team of proven pros, contact the mobile advertising experts at Tapjoy.

OTT stands for “over-the-top” and refers to the productized practice of streaming content to customers directly over the web. It represents the future of entertainment — one that is already unfolding.

My name is Meghan McAdams, and I’m the VP of National Brand Sales at Tapjoy. In this blog series, we’ll explore the platforms, opportunities, and challenges that are driving modern online entertainment. We’ll discuss topics like:

But first, it’s important to more clearly define these services and their role in the modern media landscape.


What is OTT?

An “over-the-top” media service is any online content provider that offers streaming media as a standalone product. The term is commonly applied to video-on-demand platforms, but also refers to audio streaming, messaging services, or internet-based voice calling solutions.

OTT services circumvent traditional media distribution channels such as telecommunications networks or cable television providers. As long as you have access to an internet connection — either locally or through a mobile network — you can access the complete service at your leisure.

OTT services are typically monetized via paid subscriptions, but there are exceptions. For example, some OTT platforms might offer in-app purchases or advertising.


Why use OTT?

With over 50% of North Americans maintaining Netflix subscriptions, it’s clear consumers love OTT content. Here are just a few reasons why the format is more appealing than traditional alternatives:


How is OTT content delivered?

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Thanks to its internet-based delivery system, OTT platforms bypass third-party networks that traditionally managed online content. The only things customers need are an internet connection and a compatible hardware device.


What types of content are suitable for OTT solutions?

While the OTT conversation largely revolves around video-on-demand, the technology actually covers a broad range of web-based content:


Is OTT replacing traditional media distribution?

Most OTT services are associated with “cord cutting” — the practice of cancelling TV or phone subscriptions to focus on web-based alternatives. While cord cutting has certainly increased OTT consumer adoption, that doesn’t mean traditional networks will disappear entirely. In fact, customers maintain traditional cable services alongside Netflix or Amazon Prime subscriptions.

It’s also worth remembering that OTT services are still fairly new, and could undergo significant changes as best practices are refined. For example, some experts believe OTT platforms could one day be bundled much like traditional cable packages. In fact, some cable companies offer OTT solutions like HBO Go as part of their premium subscriptions.


What challenges do OTT solutions face?

We no longer live in a world where Netflix is the only OTT game in town. Increased competition will be a major challenge for video OTT solutions in the years ahead:

We’re currently witnessing a new wave of diversification across OTT markets, creating new opportunities and challenges. Recent studies suggest 50% of OTT customers are experiencing “subscription fatigue” from engaging with so many platforms. In time, this could prompt customers to become more selective with their managed subscriptions. Meanwhile, the growth of large-scale platforms like Disney+ could impact the prospects for smaller, niche services.


What are the biggest OTT opportunities?

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Despite these challenges, OTT technology has immense potential. Video streaming services are on the rise globally, with North America representing the most mature markets at a 51% adoption rate. Europe and Asia-Pacific are seeing impressive growth as brands like Netflix expand internationally.

Beyond global adoption rates, major opportunities exist in non-entertainment markets. One recent survey determined that 50% of OTT subscribers pay for educational content, usually in the form of instructional streaming platforms. Streams that emphasize children’s programming or health-based content might hold immense potential.

OTT platforms should also consider the benefits of tiered monetization. While most solutions are subscription based, 20% of subscribers also made in-app purchases in 2018. Casting a wide net when it comes to monetization methods could help OTT solutions grow in the years ahead.

Performance marketing has proven to be an especially successful method of attracting subscribers to OTT platforms in a way that is scalable and predictable for marketers.

Over-the-top media services have been with us for years, but they clearly have room to grow. Increased diversification and competition suggests the market is healthy and growing, and many opportunities remain untapped. Whether you’re following up-and-coming platforms, or enjoying the latest Netflix original series, OTT clearly represents the future of media. It’s an exciting time to be a part of it.

Looking to brush up your mobile marketing fundamentals? Take a look at our strategy article, “Mobile Advertising – Best Practices For Success in 2019”.

Marvel and Avatar are two of the biggest entertainment IPs on the planet, and FoxNext is developing mobile games for both. That creates a unique set of opportunities and challenges for mobile marketing campaigns, but Vivek Girotra is ready for them. Vivek recently spoke with Tapjoy to discuss the mobile trends he believes will impact his corner of the marketing world.


What We Learned:


Hi Vivek. Can you begin by telling us a little about yourself and your role with FoxNext?

Vivek: I’m Vivek and currently Director of User Acquisition Marketing at FoxNext. I’ve spent over ten years in performance marketing, both on the agency and the marketer sides. I work very closely with our media buying, creative, BI and data science teams to ensure we are all aligned and focused on driving our business objectives.


What sort of KPIs are most important to FoxNext in terms of mobile gaming growth and user engagement?

Vivek: At FoxNext, we want players to stick around in the game for years together; so our focus is always on the long-term when it comes to making decisions regarding growth and engagement.

As a UA team, we’re very singularly focused on driving ROI, and so we slice and dice our data by all possible dimensions. We are constantly testing different partners, buying models, optimization strategies, and creative formats to figure out what is going to get us the best bang for our buck. We work very closely with our data scientists to build predictive models and find early indicators to make decisions that will affect future revenue and growth.

We also keep a close eye on retention and regularity and ask questions like: How often do people come back to the game? How engaged are the players? How does the revenue stacking look like for cohorts month-on-month? Is the user base growing or shrinking? We strive to seek answers to such questions on a consistent basis.


Many FoxNext projects are associated with hugely successful properties like the MARVEL franchise. How do brand tie-ins impact your user acquisition efforts?

Vivek: We consider our association with the MARVEL brand to be a great asset. MARVEL has close to 80 years of history and brand goodwill which is a huge advantage when it comes to marketing a game. Users are already familiar with, and have a strong affinity for, many of the characters featured in our games and creatives. In today’s crowded and competitive gaming marketplace, getting over the awareness phase (using the AIDA funnel: Awareness > Interest > Desire > Action) is the biggest hurdle for most new apps. For our game MARVEL Strike Force, our partnership with MARVEL has definitely helped us to establish ourselves quickly and achieve $150 million in revenue during its first year. That’s a testament to the quality of our game, our team’s marketing efforts, and the power of the brand.

On the other hand, our partnership is not exclusive and there are many MARVEL games in the market. That creates a challenge for us to stand out amongst the crowd, create the correct product-market fit and find the right users and monetization strategy.


What are the biggest markets to focus on in 2019, either for mobile gaming or overall entertainment? What kind of spaces remain untapped?

Vivek: Nowadays we are focusing a lot on culturalization in non-English speaking markets. I am very specific in my choice of words here – I didn’t say localization. By culturalization, I mean making our products appealing and resonant with regional cultures. We are not simply slapping translated ad copy onto creative, but we’re fundamentally changing the creative depending on the region. We conduct research into the popular characters, prevalent color palettes, music etc. in different countries and customize the creative and messaging accordingly. We have seen an encouraging response to these initiatives and plan to continue iterating on this subject. Obviously, it is cost and time prohibitive to conduct this process for a large number of countries and so we restrict testing to higher-volume markets. We are lucky to have a highly competent and prolific marketing art team which has been leading this charge.

I also think the popularity of e-sports and social elements will continue to rise in the near future. For the first anniversary of MARVEL Strike Force, we recently released a new social feature called Alliance Wars. It adds a completely new social dimension to the gameplay by letting players form alliances, design custom Helicarriers and face off against other alliances in intense battles. We’ve been getting some really positive feedback and I can see it becoming an important part of the game experience.


What’s it like working with established brands when designing ad creative? Have you found zeroing in on specific brand characteristics like characters or plot lines to be helpful with campaign performance?

Vivek: Working with established brands is definitely a very different experience versus having your own IP. At my earlier firm, we had our own IP and hence had free rein on taking a lot of creative decisions with our advertising. However, with an established brand, one has to understand the brand history, all the associated elements, and work closely with the brand team to ensure alignment on brand guidelines. We have a strong working relationship with MARVEL and have devised efficient processes for marketing and creative approvals. It is definitely helpful to figure out which characters have more mass appeal as they tend to have stronger performance in direct response advertising. However, it’s important to test everything as sometimes the results can buck conventional wisdom too!


What’s one FoxNext game or project you’d be excited for even if you weren’t part of the team?

Vivek: I’m really hyped up about our new game Storyscape, which is in soft launch right now. It’s an interactive story app where you choose your own narrative, but it’s quite different from what’s currently on the market. It’s adult-focused with high production values and elaborate storylines from known IP’s such as Titanic and the X-Files. I sit next to the team creating Storyscape at the FogBank studio in San Francisco, and it has been exciting to watch the game come alive from hand-drawn flowcharts on whiteboards to a beautifully designed and fully functional mobile app over the last year. It’s completely unexplored terrain, and the feedback we’ve received from users has been incredible so far.


We’d like to thank Vivek for taking the time to chat with us. For more insights and trends from mobile industry influencers, check out Tapjoy’s latest interview with FoxNext UA Tech Lead, Dave Riggs.

Mobile ad mediation is an app monetization solution that allows developers and publishers to manage multiple ad networks through a single SDK. These solutions also often consolidate revenue reporting and engagement metrics into a single dashboard instead of requiring monetization managers to merge data manually. Many offer custom reporting options which let publishers analyze CTRs, eCPMs, and response times by platform, region, or app category. This lets them optimize ad bidding, fill ad requests, and effectively monetize as many users as possible.

Mediation platforms work very similarly to standard networks, with a few key differences. Every time an app triggers an ad request, pertinent app and device information is forwarded to the mediation platform. In the case of automated mediation solutions, the platform calculates which ad source has the highest CPM, processes the request, and sends an ad directly to the user. Through this process, developers benefit from the increased likelihood of being able to deliver more impressions in response to their ad requests and achieve higher overall revenue by leveraging the resources of multiple networks at once.

Optimize ads at a lower cost

The ability to simultaneously connect with a wide range of ad networks is hugely beneficial. With a single integration, many developers find it easier to unlock new bids and monetize larger audiences. They’re able to keep overhead down and preserve their engineering cycles for product updates and other more pressing initiatives.

Mobile apps that rely on a single network often struggle to fill ad requests due to the fact that not all ad networks are able to provide 100% global fill rates. Leveraging multiple networks increases the likelihood of engaging with all users through a global ecosystem of ad networks. Rather than manage ad traffic across multiple platforms, a single SDK can source ads by region. This allows publishers to quickly scale monetization efforts, freeing them up to focus on localized efforts for international customers.

Perhaps even more importantly, mediation opens the door to increasing ad revenue with partners who offer incremental revenue plans and are more willing to compete with each other, leading to better rates for publishers.

Meet audience needs and cut down on SDK bloat

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While each ad network offers a similar core service, their individual features can be quite different. Some might specialize in video ads, while others focus on playables, rich media interstitials, or other mobile formats. Ad mediation solutions optimize each network’s offerings within a single dashboard, helping publishers focus on formats that engage their chosen audience. Where available, some solutions give publishers control over which formats to deliver and when.

Managing ad networks through a single platform isn’t just convenient — it can also increase performance. Integrating multiple SDKs at once creates an effect called “SDK bloat”, which has the potential to slow down app performance, degrade the user experience, or even prevent builds. In the past, this forced developers to choose between decreased performance or reduced eCPM. Mobile ad mediation SDKs can help bypass this issue by connecting apps with multiple networks simultaneously.

Automate or go manual

With many mobile ad mediation SDK, developers are free to choose between automatic optimization and manual waterfall management. Automatic optimization can minimize the time spent manually adjusting monetization strategies, and can help save smaller teams time. Alternatively, monetization managers can also handle things manually in the event that they have preexisting business relationships with specific ad networks or prefer a more hands-on approach. Most mediation platforms are purposefully-designed to automatically handle assigned tasks with limited input from team members. For small studios that can’t always afford a dedicated monetization manager, it can be a valuable source of time and resource savings.

Ready to get started with mobile ad mediation?

Tapjoy has recently acquired Tapdaq, a leading mobile ad mediation and monetization platform, to offer mobile publishers an even more powerful suite of ad monetization solutions. Check out our blog post to learn more!

Looking to brush up your mobile marketing fundamentals? Take a look at our latest strategy article, “What Is Mobile Advertising?