Mobile advertising is a crowded and high-growth, lucrative environment; the ideal conditions for innovation. In an industry where minute margins can mean the difference between survival and ‘death’ as an app, the pressure has never been greater to make mobile advertising technology as efficient, effective, and easy as possible.  

One of the most promising innovations in this industry is ad mediation - ‘super SDKs’ that combine the power of multiple mobile ad networks into a single smart platform that can optimize across all of them. Below, we’ll take a look at how ad mediation came to be, and how the creators and partners in ad mediation are tilting the ecosystem in their favor.

The SDK problem

The mobile industry is crammed with monetization SDKs that all promise high eCPMs and fill rates. But the truth is, there is no single network SDK that can give optimal rates for every app, in every geo, for every placement - it simply isn’t feasible. That’s why app developers tend to add multiple SDKs to their app to maximize their revenue opportunities.

While this strategy has the potential to increase revenue, multiple integrations leads to a host of complexities and issues well-known to all who have tried.

The most obvious problem is that managing a handful of SDKs requires constant maintenance and heavy development time. Each SDK needs to be fitted specifically for the app, and every update on behalf of the app or the SDK inevitably leads to a profusion of bugs. Worst of all, they slow down the device and negatively impact the performance and running of the app, leading to an inconsistent and unpredictable user experience.

Another pain for app developers in this scenario is trying to consolidate all of the reporting that comes from each SDK. Each network measures and reports their results differently, leading to a jumble of conflicting information about the status and efficiency of monetization efforts.

At the end of the day, even the use of multiple SDKs causes apps to leave significant money on the table. App developers are forced to constantly test the placements and settings for each SDK in order to get the most revenue, and all amidst fluctuating rates and ad campaigns.    

Enter mobile ad mediation

It was only a matter of time before the industry would respond to fix the leak of revenue and efficiency.

Ad mediation platforms take the benefits and strengths of having multiple SDKs and remediate or altogether eliminate most of the issues that make them a headache for app developers.

From the engineering perspective, ad mediation SDKs cut out many intensive development hours because the app developer is back to working with a single SDK. All of the individual SDK updates are handled on the side of the mediation platform, so the app itself is not affected.

Of course, adding any third party platform to your app necessitates a few adjustments - but overall this is a huge burden off the backs of the engineers. Plus, all of the data from the disparate networks is consolidated into a single, consistent report that is easy to understand and react to.

But what gets app developers most excited is the nearly guaranteed boost in revenue that comes from switching to a mediation SDK. The most advanced mediation technology uses a ‘weighted’ system that ensures that users only see the most valuable ads from each ad network in the SDK. Since there is more ad demand volume, fill rates increase without the sacrifice of quality. When it comes to the bottom line, mediation platforms are simply more intelligent than the clutter of multiple SDKs.

Just as app developers choose monetization SDKs based on the types of ad formats and ad network strength, the same is true for mediation platforms. There are several strong video ad mediation SDKs available, including Admob and MoPub, that have each doubled the number of integrations of their product in the last year. For those who want to simultaneously leverage all major ad formats, there are platforms like our own Mediation SSP that mediate interstitial demand in addition to video ads.

While still relatively early in its lifecycle, ad mediation is proving to be an effective solution for the diverse pains of traditional SDK monetization. Instead of taking them at their word, this new format forces ad networks to prove that they truly have the best eCPMS for your app. With less investment and more payout for app developers, ad mediation is a significant step forward for the efficiency, profitability, and health of the mobile ad ecosystem.

Think ad mediation is right for you? Download the ironSource mediation platform here!
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