Friday, December 31, 2010

Why I Click on Android Ads

Plain and Simple, it helps developers. 

Being a developer in the highly competitive Android market for some time now, we at Black Market Apps have pretty much seen it from all angles.  As many know, the #1 issue in the Android market as a developer is visibility.  Many quality apps never get seen because once they are far down the "Just In" list, if they dont make it onto a "Top Paid" or "Top Free" list they simply disappear into the abyss of the market, never to be seen or heard from again.

I used to think this was due to google having an immature market platform, but during the course of creating our first free app (Make It Rain Free) and deciding to try out out Admob I came to a realization.  They just want developers to buy ads, under the guise that it increases visibility.

It may seem obvious, but is actually very clever on Googles part.  One thing I didnt realize is that developers dont get paid for displaying ads on their apps, they only get paid if someone clicks on them (for the most part).  On the flip side though, they make it easy to buy ads that are not simply "Cost Per Click" if you dont know what you're doing. 

So, in essence, they can display as many ads as they want for free and just tell the developers that bought the ads they had a low CTR ("Click Through Rate").  It's also interesting that the terms by which you generate revenue as a publisher with ads are a complete mystery.

So, while Admob's TOS say specifically that I cant tell anyone to click on an ad, I can tell you why I click them, at least on apps that i like.

1. It helps the developer that's displaying them.  It's a free way to help them out, which in turn allows them to go on creating new apps. 

2. In a roundabout way it pressures google to make a better Ad service.  If people feel duped, they wont use the service so i think it adds to the pressure to serve more relevant ads versus serving any ad to any app on the market thats willing to display it.

3.  I've actually found some good apps from ads (Did I say something dirty?!?).

So, while the general consensus seems to be that ads are annoying (and they can be).  I now see that its just a developer, not unlike us, just trying to be seen. 

If just clicking helps build a better Android development community, i'm all for it.

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