Meetup wrap-up: Monetize your app this holiday!

Dollar symbol gold

Millennial Media, the Baltimore-based company that offers a mobile advertising platform, sponsored the 11/17/10 Washington iPhone/Android/Smartphone Developers meetupencouraging developers to get ads into their apps now in time for the holiday season. Companies spend the largest portions of their ad budgets in the fourth quarter of the year (October to December) so now is the time to get in on the action, according to Millennial Media.

The company offered two important hints to increase your profits using mobile ads:

  1. Gather and send “metadata” about your users (age, location, etc.) to the ad platform. This will allow them to serve highly targeted ads that command higher rates.
  2. Serve ads in highest demand. Millennial Media has certain ad inventory (such as videos) that is harder to move, so it pays more to developers when they display it.

Millennial Media's developer portal lists the ad types in highest demand. The developers touted the portal as self-service and a quick, easy way to get started putting ads in your apps.

Other tips Millennial shared:

  • Start thinking about ads early on during development. Developers often call them at the last minute right before submitting to the App Store, but thinking about an ad strategy earlier in the development cycle increases the chances of success.
  • Try multiple ad providers in your app to see which perform best.

The Millennial Media team was smart and answered a lot of questions from the audience. The presenters included Kerry Nagle, VP, Publisher Services; Steve McCord, Senior Director, Product Development; and Chris Brown, Senior Engineer. Their presentation offered a rich introduction to both the technical and strategic details of mobile advertising.

App demo: Newsreel

The Meetup also included an app demo by Christopher Schroeder of BizzyTime. He’s created a “smart” RSS reader call Newsreel that filters articles to decrease news overload. The app can "auto-read" articles based on rules you set. Schroeder used the New York Times feed as an example; if he doesn't read the articles within a day, he wants them marked as "read" because he knows he'll never get to them. Newsreel can also remove duplicates so you don’t see "GM stock offering" or "Beatles in iTunes" stories 50 times.

Schroeder plans to use an ad-supported model and to charge for an ad-free version of the app. He also plans to use a brute-force method to get the word out with paid reviews or ads. He didn’t mention any plans for a viral or social strategy to market the app.

Smartphone Developer Meetup group notes

The Meetup’s organizer, Pete Erickson, mentioned he would like to double the size of the Washington iPhone/Android/Smartphone Developers group within the next year. He also announced Disruptathon 2011, an effort to bring 750 people to DC with top-notch speakers on innovation. The conference is scheduled for September 2011.

Image credit: Dollar sign: Wikimedia.