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Top 3 misconceptions about mobile ads

Although ads are often a cornerstone of successful app businesses, some developers have misconceptions that hold them back from trying ads in their app. We thought it would be helpful to address some of the more common misconceptions we’ve heard to help app publishers uncover opportunities to increase their revenue.

1) Ads interrupt the app experience of my users

One common misconception is that ads will negatively impact the app experience, when in reality most ad formats today are designed to either integrate seamlessly with your app, add to the user experience, or both.

For example, rewarded ads can give people a bonus in exchange for watching an advertisement and are a great way to make premium content available to non-paying users.

                                                       Example of a rewarded ad

Interstitial ads are shown at natural breakpoints in your app, such as between levels or at loading screens, and allow you to engage users when they would otherwise be looking at a “waiting” screen.

                                                      Example of an interstitial ad

Finally, native ads can be designed to match the look and feel of your app to integrate seamlessly with your app’s content, causing virtually no disruption to the user experience while earning you revenue.

                                  Example of a native ad

2) I can't control what ads show up in my app

App publishers are justifiably concerned about what ads show up in their app, so we’ve taken steps to ensure that your app will only serve ads that meet the guidelines you’ve set. Our ad controls allow you to set a maximum content rating level orblock ads by category, ad type, URL, and more.  Both of these controls can be applied to a single app or to your whole AdMob account.  


For example, applying a maximum rating of G to your account ensures that only G-rated ads are served across all of your apps.  However, you can simultaneously set a maximum rating of T for a specific app to allow it to include PG and T rated ads as well.  For even more control, our Ad Review Center allows you to review individual ads on a creative-by-creative basis to decide whether you want to continue serving them. We’ve designed these features to ensure that you only serve ads you feel are appropriate for your users.

3) Ads will drive away my paying app users

Some publishers avoid including ads in their app because they don’t want to interrupt the experience of their paying users.  To address this, we offer a tool called smart segmentation that allows you to only show ads to non-paying users while preserving the ad-free experience for paying users.


Smart segmentation has worked well for several publishers including BlackLight Studio Games, who wanted to expand monetization in their game Ludo SuperStar without hurting paid user experience, retention, and in-app purchase (IAP) revenue.  After implementing smart segmentation, they experienced a 23% increase in game revenue with no changes to user retention or average revenue per user (ARPU).

We hope this helps clear up some common misconceptions around how ads can fit into your mobile app. Even if your app is paid or offers in-app purchases, consider testing ads in your app to maximize your revenue and grow your mobile app business.  For a more detailed breakdown of app business models, download our free No-Nonsense Guide to App Monetization. And if you’re ready to start earning money with ads, sign up for an AdMob account today.



Using the web to help young people find work


South Africa has the world’s highest recorded youth unemployment rate. Many young people are unable to access job opportunities due to a lack of financial resources and necessary work experience. Allan van der Muelen, the co-founder of start-up Zlto, is changing this. 

Zlto is a web-based digital rewards platform that incentivizes young people to gain work experience by volunteering in the community. Users build a digital resume by uploading completed work assignments, showing both their impact on the project and the skills they gained while completing the task. For each project they also earn Zlto, a digital currency that can be spent on a range of items, like food, clothing, mobile data and transportation, thanks to collaborations with national retail partners. 

“I work with young people to show them that they do have choices and the Web is giving them access to even more,” he says. In 2018, Zlto won the Google Impact Challenge and more recently started working with Chrome engineers to streamline their web app. 

Zlto’s user dashboard is the portal to volunteer opportunities and provides a progress summary.

People access Zlto through devices with limited capabilities and with limited data and connections. So providing them with instant access to the platform is critical to the company’s success. By building on the web, the Zlto team was able to make the app widely accessible. A typical Zlto user accesses their web app three times a day, so it’s critical that their experience is reliable. The Zlto team uses modern web technologies to ensure the app is responsive and reliable, and they use tools including Google’s Lighthouse to monitor the app’s performance and make instant fixes.

Zlto is having a notable impact in the Cape Town Flats, securing permanent work for more than 2,300 young people in the last 12 months; there are 36,000 volunteers working with more than 1.2 million people in the community. The team is now piloting the launch of Zlto in Tanzania as well as the United Kingdom, working with the Newbigin House charity in support of asylum seekers and other individuals.


Making Pixel more helpful with the first Pixel feature drop

Your phone should get better over time. Your Pixel automatically updates regularly with fixes and improvements. Now, your Pixel will also get bigger updates in new Pixel feature drops.  Our first one, coming this month, includes a new way to capture portraits, easier Duo calls and automatic call screening. 

More photo controls

Now, you can turn a photo into a portrait on Pixel by blurring the background post-snap. So whether you took the photo years ago, or you forgot to turn on portrait mode, you can easily give each picture an artistic look with Portrait Blur in Google Photos. 


Put an end to robocalls

With our latest update to Call Screen on Pixel 4 in the US, the Google Assistant now helps you automatically screen unknown callers and filter out detected robocalls before your phone ever rings, so you’re not interrupted by them. And when it’s not a robocall, your phone rings a few moments later with helpful context about who is calling and why. Call Screen works on your device and does not use Wi-Fi or data, which makes the screening fast and the content private to you.


Improved video calls on Duo 

Video calls are better on Pixel 4 with new Duo features that let you focus on conversations instead of logistics. Auto-framing keeps your face centered during your Duo video calls, even as you move around, thanks to Pixel 4’s wide-angle lens. And if another person joins you in the shot, the camera automatically adjusts to keep both of you in the frame.


Now, the playback on your Duo calls is even smoother, too. When a bad connection leads to spotty audio, a machine learning model on your Pixel 4 predicts the likely next sound and helps you to keep the conversation going with minimum disruptions. Pixel 4’s Smooth Display also reduces choppiness on your video feed, refreshing up to 90 times a second.

When you make Duo video calls on Pixel 2, 3 and 4, you can now apply a portrait filter as well. You’ll look sharper against the gentle blur of your background, while the busy office or messy bedroom behind you goes out of focus.


With the latest update to Pixel 4, you'll also get amazingly fast accuracy in Google Maps with improved on-device computing for much better location quality. 

More helpful features for more Pixels

In addition to new features for Pixel 4, we’re also bringing new apps and features to Pixel 2, 3 and 3a:

  • The Recorder app is now available on older generations of Pixel.
  • Pixel 3 and 3a users will get Live Caption. 
  • Digital Wellbeing is getting updates too. Focus mode is rolling out to help you stay productive and minimize distractions by pausing apps you've selected in a single tap. You can now set an automatic schedule, take a short break or end Focus mode early without disrupting your schedule.
  • Flip to Shhh will also join the Digital Wellbeing features on Pixel 2 and 2XL.
  • If you use a Pixel 4 in the UK, Canada, Ireland, Singapore and Australia, you’ll soon get the new Google Assistant (English only), which is even faster and more helpful.

A more efficient phone

In addition to these new experiences, all Pixel devices will also receive an update to its memory management in the feature drop. With this new enhancement, your phone proactively compresses cached applications so that users can run multiple applications at the same time -- like games, streaming content and more.


Pixel phones have always received monthly updates to improve performance and make your device safe. Now, feature drops will bring more helpful and fun features to users on a regular basis to continue to make your Pixel better than ever. 


These features are already rolling out, and will hit Pixel devices in the coming weeks. To get the new features, update to the latest version of Android and go to the Play Store to start downloading your updated apps.



Keep your audience engaged post holidays

Congrats on completing the marathon. What happens now? 

You might notice a drop in your RPMs and impressions. Don’t panic, it’s ok. You didn’t do anything wrong it’s the January blues. Remember that RPMs and internet traffic drive spikes but can also drive drops. As internet traffic decreases after the holiday, it is common to experience a drop in January. This is your RPMs returning to normal. This represents a new opportunity for you to focus on retaining the audience you gained and experiment with your AdSense account. 


How to retain your audience? 

Top trending January 

Users are still online in January but their searches are different. This could be the time of a year for a perfect match between their searches and your content. Users have many topics on their radar, such as lifestyle, health and travel.


Check Google Trends to find out what search queries were trending in your audience’s location last January.


What about the next few months?

January isn’t the right time of the year that matches with your content? Good news, there’s a lot of seasonal holidays to watch out for in the following months. Here’s a list of seasonal peaks in 2020. Let’s find yours.


New year - new ideas 

If you are thinking of starting a new site, make sure to take a look at these AMP-first tips. Creating an AMP-first site gives you a high performance - faster page load time, better user experience on mobile and more overall traffic. Review the WordPress themes that make creating an AMP site easy. Create the site, install theme and install the AMP plugin

Learn more about themes.


Experiment with your AdSense account

It’s time to have some fun and try out some changes. Is there a feature you wanted to test before the holiday but didn’t get a chance to implement it? Why not try it now? Visit the Optimization tab in your AdSense account. It provides you with bespoke recommendations that could improve performance, and A/B experiments to help you make more informed decisions for your site. 

Learn more about opportunities and experiments.


End of quarter tip

Take note of each end of quarter in your region. Why? Advertisers tend to spend more at the end of each quarter when they have budget leftover. Remember, an increase in advertiser spent also means potential increase of RPMs.



¡Buenas! A multiplayer Doodle celebrating Lotería

A smile instantly comes to my face when I think of Lotería. I think of being with my extended family in Mexico for the holidays, scattering around my Tia Cruz’s house, anxiously waiting for a round to start. I think of us trying to distract each other from our boards by tossing beans. Mostly, I think of the laughter and the excitement; I think about how all the worries of the world melted away, even if just for a few hours. 

So when our team was trying to come up with new concepts for interactive Doodles this year, I immediately thought of Lotería. The game itself is so simple and magical, and I wanted to see how it could come to life in the digital space and tap into that sense of connection. And so the Lotería Doodle was born.

Originating in Italy in the 15th century, Lotería first moved to Spain before reaching Mexico in 1769. The rules are similar to Bingo: Players mark spots on a tabla, or board, with a token (traditionally a raw bean) and attempt to fill it before all other players. A designated card announcer randomly pulls colorfully illustrated cards like La Luna or El Arbol. A shout of “¡lotería!” or “¡buenas!” declares victory for one lucky player, ending the round. 

Today’s interactive Doodle celebrates this iconic game on the anniversary of the day it was first copyrighted in Mexico. It’s also our second-ever multiplayer experience in a Doodle: Play the game with friends in a private match, or match with others around the globe at random.

We collaborated with five Mexican and Mexican-American illustrators to reimagine most of the iconic Lotería game art for the Doodle—and even added new cards for a fun sorpresa. Popular Mexican YouTuber Luisito Comunica also serves as the game card announcer for the Doodle.

Today, Lotería’s iconic imagery and the experience it fosters across generations remains a source of pride and celebration for Mexican culture. Whether you play today with your familia or with a new amig@ from the other side of the world, we hope today’s Doodle inspires fun, curiosity and a healthy dose of competencia.

 ¡Feliz Aniversario, Lotería!


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