Ad Monetization Waterfall: Auto vs Manual Setup

Published by Digital Limbo on

When it comes to monetizing through ads in a mobile app, the easiest way to go is to setup a mediation layer, integrate a few  ad networks and leave the waterfall management to the mediation algorithm.

The so called “waterfall” is basically the order in which the integrated ad networks are initiated – one at a time – and ranked by performance (eCPM, latency, fill rate and more) to show an ad.

Let’s give a look at the ad requests/fill flow:



In this case the mediation layer is taking care of the delivering order: this is the so-called auto-mediation that is when we leave to the system the decision of choosing which provider has to deliver an impression.

In general, the mediation algorithm will show ads from the network that in the last few days has delivered the highest eCPM.

However, it’s possible to override this order by applying a manual ranking, in this case is the ad monetization manager who defines a specific rank of the video providers.

In this example we have defined a specific order:

  1.  Ad Network A will receive all the first requests, no matter the eCPM, until they run out of campaigns to display.
  2.  When this happens, all requests will be received by the 2nd network (Ad Network B), until they have video ads available.
  3.  All the remaining requests will be handled by the other networks, based on the mediation algorithm.

However this is not the best solution.

Why not?

Because the eCPM is not the same for every impression served by the same network the more ads are requested, the more it decreases.

In the next article we will give a closer look at this dynamic and we will introduce the concept of eCPM floors, which are necessary to achieve the best results in ad monetization.


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