There's a growing trend toward implementing ad monetization into apps beyond games - but Sweatcoin's been there from the start. Having built a robust rewarded video strategy already back in 2017, Sweatcoin's all but perfected their ad monetization.
ironSource sat down with their team to learn a bit more about how they got started in ad monetization, their top tips for apps looking to do the same, and their experience with ironSource LevelPlay as a mediation partner.
Tell us a bit about Sweatcoin and what your app business is all about.
Sweatcoin is a free app which rewards your daily steps with a new-generation currency you can spend on cool products, donate to charity or convert into crypto. Why? Because when you look after your health, you benefit society. You are more productive. You help save billions of dollars in healthcare. Your movement has real value and you deserve a share in it.
Sweatcoin relies heavily on ad monetization as a revenue stream - at what point did you start implementing ads into your app and why?
Sweatcoin originally implemented rewarded video ads in 2017, with the introduction of a Daily Rewards feature. This placement allows each user to watch up to three rewarded video ads every day in exchange for a randomized amount of sweatcoin currency.
The aim was to increase engagement by giving users a tangible reason to return to the app on a daily basis, and given the popularity of the Daily Rewards placement in the present day, that was definitely a success!
You recently switched to ironSource LevelPlay mediation. What qualities do you look for in a mediation partner and why?
The considerations around choosing a mediation partner are pretty unique and the wrong choice presents a fair amount of risk compared to say, the decision to choose an additional network partner.
With that in mind, we have tried to keep the principle of de-risking prominent in our decision making. That meant looking at each major provider and assessing duration and track record in the marketplace of serving publishers well, but also the strength of our relationships and where we felt valued as partners.
We also needed to be sure that we would be choosing a product feature set that facilitates us reaching our potential in ad monetization. For Sweatcoin, that means access to the strongest possible selection of potential network partners, a quick and easy way to A/B test new setups, and an analytics package that is fast and easy to use on a day to day basis.
What type of internal processes do you have in place to support ad monetization? Team setup? Optimizations? Automation?
Our product team works closely alongside a consultant to manage the ad monetization. Weekly calls and monthly performance reviews allow us to assess our current trajectory and plan appropriate development time to adapt to industry developments. We periodically review and test new network partners, as well as conduct experiments on the user experience that are designed to create greater user engagement with the Daily Rewards feature.
What are some tips you have for other app developers looking to get started with ad monetization?
If there is currently no obvious way to introduce rewarded video in your app, consider whether forging a path towards that is worth the resource. Sweatcoin has found that introducing rewarded video has not only created another hugely significant revenue stream for the app, but it also provided a sustained uplift to our other key performance metrics.
"Introducing rewarded video has not only created another hugely significant revenue stream for the app, but it also provided a sustained uplift to our other key performance metrics"
Spend more time choosing your mediator than any single network partner. The risk/reward relationship associated with your decision to choose a mediator is very different because it will affect the utility of ALL your network partners.
Develop an A/B testing process that continually searches for incremental performance improvements. A singular A/B test may yield only a minor improvement, but repeating this process over time will have a massive compounding effect.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced when it comes to ad monetization? How did you overcome them?
A big part of what we think makes Sweatcoin unique is our brand. We want to have complete awareness of what campaigns our users are being exposed to, and we look to avoid being affiliated with anything that we feel is not aligned with our brand. This can be a challenge when you are serving ads at scale to a global audience, but we have found that being swift and proactive when it comes to shutting off inappropriate campaigns has been a good defense against this.
Another ongoing challenge is balancing the desire to increase our revenue yield with protecting the user experience inside the app. This means that we do not consider showing our users system-initiated ads. Instead, we continue to overcome this challenge by finding creative ways to increase engagement with our existing opt-in placement. We can be sure that when users interact more with this placement, it does not harm other key performance metrics, but actually improves them.
Which ironSource LevelPlay mediation products are you eager to start using?
AdQuality by ironSource is something that we are really excited about using. We are hoping the insights we get from the tool can be factored into our future product development cycles to further improve how we provide value to our audience.
"AdQuality by ironSource is something that we are really excited about using"
The Direct Deals functionality that ironSource LevelPlay offers is also very attractive to us. Sweatcoin is in somewhat of a unique position amongst mobile publishers, in that we already possess the infrastructure to serve some advertisers directly; the Marketplace area of the app facilitates this. The possibility of also offering these advertisers access to our audience through the rewarded video placement allows us to increase the value that we can offer them as partners.
What’s your favorite part about working with ironSource?
ironSource has been a great partner for Sweatcoin and we are delighted to be expanding that partnership to work with their mediation platform.
"What we enjoy about working with ironSource is their consistency; they always deliver what they promise"
What we enjoy about working with ironSource is their consistency; they always deliver what they promise. We really feel that they have valued the relationship that they have with us from day one.