Bad experience with Interstitials & Admob recommendations.

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by jmon, Jul 17, 2015.

  1. jmon

    jmon Well-Known Member Licensed User


    I wanted to share my experience with interstitials, and the *awesome* recommendations from Admob.

    One of my app was running Admob ads, but just banners only (refresh rate 60s). The good thing about this library is that it doesn't require scary permissions and I had a lot of download and pretty good retention rate.
    I was getting a pretty good money from it, always going up. I was in second position of the search keywords related to my app, so I had a good install rate, +1 rate and retention rate. Note that my app rating was about 3.6 at that time.

    ●The Phone Call:
    Then, I received a phone call from Google Admob Singapore (about 1 1/2 month ago)...
    We talked for about 40 minutes on the phone. Basically they wanted to talk to me on ways to improve revenue with my app. They had very aggressive techniques, that I thought were not matching my ideas about what an app should be.

    ●They suggested things like:
    - Adding Interstitials (and pushed for that). They told me to put one interstitial EVERY 1 minute, after doing an action.
    - Keep my banner ads
    - Adding subscription, like WEEKLY payments to see the content of my app, otherwise be limited to see only 10% of it
    - In app purchase to remove the ads, unlock content.
    - push notifications

    I found these recommendations very money oriented, and not respectful towards the user. I told them that I thought the users wouldn't like the app because of the amount of ads. They told me that this would drive up the installs of the paid version of my app (which doesn't have ads). They also suggested that I add weekly subscription to remove ads.

    I also asked them that 1 ad every minute was a bit too much. They said that they did some survey and that this was a good rate.

    ●What I did:
    So I though I would do something. I added interstitials to my app. Admob was saying that I would have a CTR 5-7x higher. I was showing 1 ad every 1:30 min.

    I didn't do any of the previous recommendations because I found them not very ethical.

    But I didn't want to just release an update with more ads. So I really worked a lot on adding new features and improve the overall user experience, and released the new app + interstitials.

    ●The good part:
    Yes, I saw an increase in revenue, but just for a week. After that it went down.

    ●The consequences:
    • Install rate:
    Right away I saw my install rate going down. within 2 weeks it was down about 20-30%. I think that this may be related to the additional permission (hardware id / wifi state / phone state) which sounded weird for my app.​

    • Average session duration & page views:
    I also noticed that the average session duration went down by more then half (from 4 minutes to 1:30 - 2:00min). That show in my case that the users would leave the application after seeing the first interstitial.
    • Rating:
    My app rating was going up :-S. I was receiving 5 stars after 5 stars, I guess that even though there was a problem with the ads, people really enjoyed the app. So after a month I went from 3.6 to 3.9 and now close to 4.​

    ●The fall:
    Because of the lower install rate, my app went down from 2nd place for some search keywords to 4th, and then 8th position. That drove the install rate even more down.
    Previously, for about 2 years, my "current install by device" was always positive, never going down. Since the change, it has been continuously down.

    Funny enough, nobody was buying my paid version anymore!

    ●What I did after that (1)!
    I changed the ad display rate to one SINGLE add after 2 minutes + 1 action.
    That improved the average session duration and page views, but not the install rate.

    ●What I did after that (2)!
    I removed the Interstitials! Removed the permissions! but the bad was done already. My app ranking was down to 8th place, so I still have a low install rate, but my retention rate, page views and average session duration is back to what it was before.
    Lots of +1, and People buy my paid app :) like before !

    But right now, I have lost 50% of my usual revenue, and I have to rebuild confidence and ranking from scratch...

    ●Admob's reply!
    I sent an email after 1 month to Admob, and explained the story, with graphs and charts. They just replied that it was probably not linked to interstitials, and that it could be just the app cycle, and some new app were better and so on..

    In my opinion it is very linked to this intersitial release. But I could be wrong.

    Lol, they actually tried to convince me into using re-marketing strategies to get users back to my app. Now pay some ads to get your users back! (I never paid ads before).

    ●What I learnt from that
    ►I should have stick with my own way of what an app and a user is, and not fall to those capitalistic ways of seeing users and apps. I always primarily wanted to make a beautiful app, useful and simple. I didn't like the banners at first, but I found that the paid version was a good alternative to that, for the users who want to.
    ►People are OK to see banners, because they can ignore them if they like. They are not "In your face". They are also not prone to accidental clicks and do not interfere with the user's flow.
    ►People buy paid apps when they feel that they want to reward the developer, or if they like the app. They don't just buy to avoid the ads.
    ►Use permissions that make sense with your app. In my case, a simple app didn't need the Wifi state and hardware ID permissions, and didn't make sense in this context.
    ►Maybe their recommendations could have worked for an app that was more useful than mine, where the user HAS to keep it, no matter what.

    Anyone had a similar experience? Any recommendations appreciated!

    Last edited: Jul 17, 2015
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