Kelly is a Senior Director at Pixel United overseeing advertising strategies and ad monetization. She is a 10+ year mobile and digital advertising industry veteran who held ad monetization leadership positions at Zynga and Glu. Kelly spent the last few years at Pixel United focused on accelerating its ad monetization growth and innovating advertising’s ecosystem.
Read Kelly's latest article: "Tried-and-True Ways to Keep Up with the Ad Monetization Industry"
I was exploring a career in digital/PC and came across a QA job. I started as a QA and saw how companies earned money from advertising. Before that, I never thought about profit from advertising—I only looked at advertising as “those popups.” As time went on, it became my mission. I wanted to show people that advertising isn't only “popups.” Ad monetization can be a seamless integration that results in a great user experience. Soon, I landed an ad operations role and worked at various companies, including Viacom, Ad Network, Zynga, Glu and now Pixel United. My mission and goals remain the same. I don't want ads to be an intrusive experience—I want them to be a positive, user-friendly experience.
I believe in learning from mistakes. If I could go back, I would learn more about the technical side of ad monetization. I focused primarily on the business side and the app itself, but not the technical side. I would learn about the mechanics of ad monetization to help automate processes. This way, I could better understand issues and resolve them quickly.
Where do I begin? I like many things about mobile monetization, but here are my top two.
I see brands as the next big thing in mobile app monetization, especially gaming. When monetization professionals for mobile games launch a campaign or ad strategy, branding is the last thing on their minds. However, as time goes by, consumers are more glued to their phones than ever before. This is a huge opportunity in mobile advertising that brands have not yet unlocked. It is also a very challenging topic, as brands and mobile performance use different metrics.
This is my favorite part! Since starting a career in ad monetization, my goal has been to create a seamless ad experience and a positive user experience. So the question is how? There is no simple answer, sadly. My main advice is to treat every genre and game differently. UX should not be viewed as “one size fits all.” Ingrain these key points:
Networking is power. Networking with publishers/developers lets us share knowledge and untangle issues together. It can have an outsized impact on performance.
I often see people treating ad monetization strategy with a set it and forget it approach. Even when we find an optimal point, we revisit the segmentation and A/B test a quarter or two later. There will be factors you can modify and optimize as users churn and new users arrive. When you find an optimal point, set it for now but always come back to it.
One size does NOT fit all. Do I sound like a broken record? Consider and treat every genre and game differently. This starts from the ad unit, ad placements, user segmentations, network partner and frequency. Each game has its' own personality and uniqueness.
These are my go-to's in no particular order as they all cover different parts of the industry.