Ads are shit. Creepy, tracking, personalised ads are even shitter, and creepy.
People like to use app functionality much more than they like paying cash money to use app functionality.
Apps take time and effort to develop, and most are developed with some sort of ‘profit motive’. Less chance of profits may well lead to less apps, or less effort invested in apps.
To go from a simple ‘personal use’ app with just the basic required functionality to fully polished ready for worldwide release quality takes about 10 times more effort than implementing that basic functionality.
I personally don’t collect any information, I don’t even have crashlytics or any other usage/failure reporting (just the Google play crash reporting). The only info is what the creepy ad tracker gathers, of which they share fuck all with me, neither data nor how they gather or process it.
The GDPR says if the ads provider collects any identifying info the user must give explicit consent. Google say the devs have to do that for their AdMob product. Even though we don’t know what they collect or how they use it.
There are a few tried and tested approaches to software monetisation. (Trial software – from the olden days)
- Buy up front – yeah right…
- time limited trial (Adobe offer a ‘generous’ 7 day trial of photoshop)
- feature limited trial (crippleware)
- free and complete but with ‘buy now’ hints (nagware)
- free and complete but with random (creepy, generally it seems) ads
- freemium – pay for more features or to bin the ads.
Ads are shit, I think I mentioned that. I see about 0.1% ctr – that means one ad per thousand gets clicked (and I get paid). That means 999 people were shown an advert they weren’t interested in, so I can earn a few pence. That’s pretty poor (use of everyone’s time), especially for ‘targeted’ ads, I guess telly must be even worse.
The ‘good’ thing about ads from a dev point of view is its easy to include them, a few lines of code, a bit of xml and the ad space is there. Someone else decides what to show in that space, fuck knows how.
I have about a 1% conversion rate, that is people paying to get rid of the ads. And that is all, no additional features.
So per thousand uses:
- 1 person will see an ad that interests them and click it
- 10 people will be so sick of ads they will pay (1 chf/usd/gbp/eur) to get rid
- 989 people see ads they are not interested in but don’t care enough to pay to remove.
Ads only really make financial sense once your installs are over 100k, and that is pocket money. Scraping a living is probably more like 1M. So niche is not so nice!
The GDPR requires devs to ask for consent, then store that. Which then makes you a data controller! what the effing eff mate? [Edit – looks like this can just be in the app, not on a server so not quite so onerous]
So given that their creepy tracking mischief has leaked out of their banner ad space into my world, I have to ask, Do I still want to rent out a 320×50 pixel chunk of my app to some random ad flinger?
I don’t know yet if I will split my approach EU v rest of world (UK to be phased in in 2019!). Or just sack off ads completely and go freemium/nagware. Should I spend my next few weeks implementing GDPR consent, or a new (creepy tracking free) monetisation approach?
But GDPR has killed off my current business model that’s for sure.