[New Podcast] How to Monetize Your Mobile App With Programmatic Ads

Read Time: 5 - 10 min

Jocelyn Sheltraw, mobile strategist at the Rubicon Project, shares her experience with programmatic advertising and how this leads to the monetization of apps. The process of monetization of mobile apps has changed in recent years, moving away from cost-to-install apps, and towards in-app purchases and advertisements.

Jocelyn encourages app developers to consider multiple facets of their applications in order to optimize success in monetization. Programmatic advertising is an important part of this equation, and is highly encouraged for those who are prepared to monetize their apps.

Mobile app monetization is the ultimate goal of most app developers today.

The industry of mobile applications and the way that app developers monetize their apps has evolved a great deal in recent years. With a shocking 55% of people playing mobile games daily and the mobile app install business making nearly $6 billion in the last year alone, this space is incredibly appealing to those with a passion for technology and a desire to make money.

To get a bit more insight about this industry and how app developers can monetize their mobile apps, we spoke with Jocelyn Sheltraw, mobile strategist at Rubicon Project. Rubicon Project aims to change the advertising space into one that is safe and mutually beneficial. Jocelyn explained to us the process of programmatic advertising and the benefits this process has in monetization of mobile applications.

Below are some of the insights that Jocelyn shared with us.

The Rise of Programmatic Advertising

Jocelyn has been involved in the mobile industry since graduating college. She even developed her own app, Chair, before joining the Rubicon Project team. Her diverse experiences in this industry have made her extremely knowledgeable about the way mobile app advertising works today.

Jocelyn explained to us that programmatic advertising is an invaluable tool in the monetization of applications.

“Simply put,” she said, “programmatic is the utilization of a platform to automate the buying and selling process using computers and algorithms.”

Programmatic advertising uses real-time bidding on ad space based upon the potential interest of the app user.

The process of programmatic advertising takes place in milliseconds.This process greatly enhances the consumer experience and does not require the use of human interaction to facilitate bidding, which would only slow the process. According to Jocelyn, “85% of mobile display ads are going to be traded programmatically by 2019.”


The success of programmatic advertising in the mobile application space is likely due to the forward thinking of the app developers themselves. In recent years, the monetization of apps has moved away from cost-to-install applications, and toward in-app purchases and advertisements.

Jocelyn believes that the desire of most in the industry is fulfilled in programmatic advertising: “Everyone in this space is working towards the same goal: how do we buy and sell ads without annoying users?”

Mobile App Monetization

The high user engagement, targeted audiences, and immersive formats all make the mobile application space a unique opportunity for programmatic advertising, and in turn, monetization.

App developers should consider a few things in the monetization process: text stack efficiency, support of buying methods, mobile formats, and internal sales strategies.

If an app developer has implemented plans to ensure they are meeting all these criteria,  they are in a good place to monetize their app. This means they are being efficient, able to support all buying methods of their inventory, support all mobile formats, and have an explainable internal sales strategy.

App developers should experiment with these ideas in order to set themselves up for successful monetization.

“The key to success,” Jocelyn said, “comes down to a healthy dose of realism, experimentation, and a data-driven mindset.”



Concerns in Mobile App Space

The success of the mobile application business does not come without it’s challenges. Specifically, the prevalence of app install fraudulence is a major concern for those in the industry. Recent statistics are estimating mobile web inventory to be around 56% fraudulent.

Fraudulent app installers have become more sophisticated in their methods, but are met with much resistance from the industry. Jocelyn encouraged those in the industry to come together to protect the honesty and transparency of app installation.

Many initiatives are taking place to combat this fraudulent behavior. Rubicon Project is one of many companies in the industry that seeks to end fraudulent app installation. Rubicon Project encourages transparency and positive change in this space.


Where is the future of mobile headed?

We pose this question to each of our guests. Jocelyn had some great insights to share:

“I think the future of apps and just mobile in general is much more focused on people, companies, consumers, all beginning to change their mindsets to be much more nimble, data-driven, experimental, and really putting a consumer experience at the forefront …  We all need to be working together if we want to move this space forward.”

This post is based on a podcast interview with Jocelyn Sheltraw from Rubicon Project. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to Appy Hour.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here:

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