Digital Pill: Blacklist in Ad Monetization

Published by Digital Limbo on

What do we mean by blacklist in ad monetization? It’s a list we will share with our partner ad networks to prevent them from promoting specific apps or categories within our app.


One of the biggest concerns of integrating ads in our mobile game is to show competitor ads and lose users to them: for this reason many publishers apply a very strict blacklist to try prevent churning.

Also, entire categories are often filtered out, such as religion, politics, sex, gambling or violence. However,  while these exclusions make sense to protect your user base and avoid bad reviews or complains, banning competitors’ ads is not (always) a good idea.

Why is that?

  • If your competitors are big brands or they do a lot of user acquisition, users likely to churn will churn anyway seeing advertisement somewhere else. As a publisher, not only will you lose your users, but you will also miss out their potential ad revenue.
  • The eCPM will be affected as excluded campaigns will be replaced by most likely lower eCPM ones.
  • A blacklist “war” could be started with the competition and this will eventually hurt your UA team, making it harder to get new users as their campaigns will be blocked by competitors as a response to our own blacklist. As a result, CPIs will increase.
  • Last but not least, there is no scenario in which applying a blacklist will increase ad revenue. Full stop.

One solution to avoid being strict with a blacklist is to have a solid user segmentation in place: in this way you can decide to show advertisement to a specific user category or not, how many ads, at which point of their life span and so on. It is certainly a softer way to tackle this topic without necessarily losing income from advertising.

The bottom line here is: if my game is better than the competitors’ ones, why should I be afraid of losing my players to them?

See you for the next digital pill!


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