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Boosting LTV by Disabling Aggressive Ad Networks – NewPubCo’s Success

Sometimes we do not realize how an Ad Network may affect the retention rates or other metrics of our game. Sometimes the ads we push to our users are not aligned with their needs or are not properly targeted.
Our monetization experts at Appodeal had that situation with one of our clients, NewPubCo, and we suspected that there was an aggressive network that was negatively impacting the monetization strategy of one of their mobile games.
So we turned it off, and the results speak for themselves:
eARPU on Day 365
eROAS on Day 365
CTR for UA Campaigns
Profit for UA Campaigns
Keep reading to learn all the details of this success story.

Challenge #1: Optimizing the Ad Monetization Setup

During the time of this success story, in-app advertising was the monetization model that rendered the highest profits for NewPubCo’s games.
In a situation like this, Appodeal faced the following dilemma:
Should we create an ad strategy focused solely on increasing revenue, at the risk of negatively impacting our retention metrics?
Or should we reduce user churn & increase the LTV by protecting users from an aggressive ad network, potentially lowering their daily revenue (ARPDAU)?
In Appodeal, we decided to test what would happen in both cases and chose the most effective outcome.
For that, we built a monetization strategy to balance the ad delivery to users, while maintaining the retention rates. This could ensure the developer a high daily ad income.
But to find the perfect balance is not always as easy as it seems.

Challenge #2: Assessing the Cost of Opportunity

For every publisher, to give up a high ARPDAU is never easy.
Monetization managers check every day their monetization dashboards, and see their income fluctuations from previous periods.
When the KPIs start to fall, your mobile business is facing a serious threat. Therefore, we decided to be more gentle with our in-app ads while taking care of our users & gameplay.

First KPI: CTR

It’s not an easy feat to increase the CTR (click-through rate) of the in-app ads.
Some of the most common tactics to increase the CTR usually go against the game loop and retention metrics. That’s because users don’t want to get their game experience interrupted by too many ads.
Moreover, if video ads are hard to stop, the “X/close” button is hard to click, or users misclick on the ad, that’s a negative experience for the user.
Sometimes, users get so annoyed that they end up closing the app right away or even uninstalling it.


Some publishers and game studios believe that, in order to keep and increase the ARPDAU (Average Revenue per Daily Active User), the game must push as many ads to the user, as soon as possible. With all the profits they get from that aggressive ad monetization strategy, they re-invest the ad revenues on User Acquisition campaigns to attract more users.
However, sometimes these strategies don't always bring the highest LTV. The churn rate caused by aggressive advertising is too high.

The Solution: Disabling an Aggressive Ad Network

From Appodeal, we decided to A/B test what would happen to our retention rates when turning off one of the aggressive ad networks in NewPubCo’s monetization strategy.
Would LTV's growth compensate for the loss in ARPDAU?
Every game is unique, and this was not an easy question to answer. Therefore, if we noticed a loss in our daily ad income, we would be ready to act.
In experiments like this, the simpler and more detailed the Business Intelligence data, the better it is to draw results and conclusions. So we set everything up with our trusted tools in the Appodeal dashboard.

First Results: Realistic short-term KPIs

A few days after disabling the aggressive ad network, we checked the results.
You can observe in the next chart, how that aggressive ad network was artificially inflating the CTR and ARPU.
The CTR decreased x3 times and became much more realistic and coherent with the industry average. The “before” scenario, with a 22.5% CTR was most likely the aggressive network bringing missclicks and also artificially boosting the ARPU.
The ARPU was slightly impacted and overall deflated by 10%. However, other performance metrics, such as Retention Rates, DAU (Daily Active Users), and other metrics showed us this was the right choice.
The quality of the ad increased, and we improved the user experience in the long run, as the next section proves.

Final Results: Boost LTV and Long-Term Growth

NewPubCo’s UA (User Acquisition) campaigns highly benefited from removing the aggressive ad network. A higher number of users were staying in the app, which led to an increase in the effectiveness of our advertising costs.
The eROAS (effective Return of Ad Spend) on day 365 boosted by 35% and the eARPU (estimated Average Revenue per User) on day 365 also increased by 10%.
So after all, disconnecting the aggressive ad network led us to a small decrease in in-app ad revenues.
But in the long run, we were able to reduce the user churn, increase our LTV, and keep growing NewPubCo’s game into the top charts.
Vlad Gurgov Video
Vlad Gurgov, NewPubCo

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