As people increasingly use mobile devices to view websites, developers are taking proactive steps to make their sites more mobile-accessible by:
- Designing responsive mobile themes
- Making existing themes more mobile-friendly
- And converting websites into mobile apps.
Despite this activity, the development of monetization options for web apps has not kept up. Considering that it is already more difficult to display banner ads on those small mobile screens, a lot of websites are feeling the pinch.
Nevertheless, there are some bold websites and services that are figuring out new and exciting ways to generate revenue with WordPress sites. Below the ad, learn about some WordPress plugins that cover three methods for monetizing your mobile site: Affiliate Marketing, Interstitial Ads, and Banner Ads.
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When advertising, in general, it is crucial that your audience is shown products that they are predisposed to like or be interested in. For mobile web app visitors, this is no different; they prefer to see ads that are not only relevant to the kinds of products they buy, but also to the activities they perform with their mobile devices.
And this is why affiliate marketing plugins that display apps are so worthwhile. People who use smartphones are already predisposed to use their phones to perform actions in the app market, whether that is finding, trying, downloading, or purchasing apps. With these affiliate plugins for apps, you can turn your users’ interest in smartphone apps to your profit:
The AppStore Links plugin can be used to display ads for apps on your site in two ways. First, it allows you to create a widget that shows the top 10 apps for a country by category (i.e. Mac Top Free, iPad Top Paid, iPhone Top Grossing). Second, you can add a link to an app that is continually updated from Apple’s servers in your posts or pages with a shortcode. More than a simple text link, their link displays the app’s title, description, rating, icon, price and more. To collect revenue from these ad clicks, you can simply enter your Tradedoubler Affiliate ID in their interface.
- App Store Assistant is also designed to show attractive app links in your site’s posts and pages. Unlike AppStore Links: they allow you to customize the look and ensure that the links work with your theme; you have to manually add feeds for the category of app you would like to display; and it supports three affiliate networks: Tradedoubler, LinkShare, and DGM. To get an idea of what their links look like, check out a demo site here.
- youAPPi’s smartAPP plugin creates a widget that you can add to your sidebar, footer, or wherever else you display widgets in your site’s theme. They take most of the work out of displaying an ad for apps with a simple registration and only a few display options: you can customize the display format (matrix or vertical), dimensions, icon size, # of apps, and whether it should be enabled for all visitors or only mobile visitors. If I have one reservation, it is that you don’t receive any reporting and tracking information until you receive 1,000 clicks! That’s clicks. Not impressions. Clicks.
- A simple, attractive, and clever answer to the question of how best to advertise apps, this plugin allows you to use the Smart App Banner feature that was added in iOS 6. After installation of the plugin, you will see an interface in your site’s back end where you can enter the App ID, Affiliate Data, and App Argument. Enter the information for an app (only one, at this time) and that’s it, now you can display an app at the top of your mobile site’s page and get paid whenever your users choose to purchase it.
Mobile phone screens are small. Some are smaller than others, but none of them are all that large when compared to that of even the smallest netbook. This means that most banner ads end up being either (1) shrunk to a size where they aren’t very visible or (2) end up taking up a lot space and crowding out your content.
One solution to the space issue is Interstitial Ads: those ads you come across sometimes that take up the entire page and prevent you from heading to the next page until the ad has finished displaying. Although not a favorite of most users, they offer the advantage of being unavoidable (which is much of the reason that users don’t like them). Your visitors are forced to see the ads, thereby garnering you a guaranteed impression and encouraging the likelihood of click-throughs (users actually see the ads, for once).
- Really the only option for displaying interstitial ads on a WordPress web app, Mobicow is, fortunately, an excellent option. To get Mobicow running on your site, simply install their WordPress plugin, sign up for the service, add your app and site IDs, and wait for Mobicow to approve your site (they accept most sites). You can then choose whether the ads are displayed over or under your site and whether they should be served every 30 minutes, hour, four hours, eights hours, or day. The publisher is paid by CPM and they provide a clear and informative interface for tracking your ad impressions.
Despite the growth of other interesting ad types and options, the banner ad continues to be the default methods of advertising for the majority of sites. Consequently, ad servers have been working out ways to continue to be able to deliver banner ads on mobile devices.
Google has so far managed to provide two different answers for this: AdSense for mobile & AdMob. Basically, the major difference between the two is that AdMob is intended for native apps, while AdSense is for web apps. Despite this seemingly clear-cut distinction, there is actually a fair amount of overlap between when and how they can be run. Take a look below at a couple of plugins that allow you to continue displaying banner ads on your mobile-enabled site:
- Among the many features that this plugin offers, WordPress Mobile Pack allows you to display either AdSense or Admob ads in a mobile-enabled widget. A one-stop solution to configuring your website to display on mobile devices, WPM makes it very easy for you to create a low-investment mobile version of your existing site.
- If you don’t particularly want to run Google AdSense or AdMob ads, but do want to run banner ads, you also have a couple of options available to you. Udinra Adsense Alternatives allows you to run ads from alternative ad servers Inmobi and Chitika.
Bonus: Want something truly unique and unexpected? Check out this plugin, MobileRevenu, which creates a mobile theme, redirects your users to the theme, and then allows you to insert paid affiliate links. Doesn’t sound so unusual, right? Well, install the plugin and check out the types of links it offers.