Many of the challenges facing app publishers today are ones that build gradually over time. Such challenges can be hard to identify until their weight hits critical mass and something snaps. Regular strategy sessions focused on identifying market challenges and enacting organizational policies and initiatives to counter those challenges are vital. 

As app publishers sit down to plot their strategic initiatives and goals for 2019, the following represent key challenges that they need to address. 

The Need for Flexible Integration Options

SDK bloat is real. And it has been for some time now. Although software development kits represent a great way to add functionality to an app, more integrations lead to more ongoing maintenance by developers as well as larger app download sizes for users. While it’s natural for app publishers to want to broaden their monetization opportunities as much as possible, advertising SDKs can pile on top of each other over time and become a notable burden.

To keep apps lean and mean, publishers need to look for monetization partners that offer flexible integration options that don’t rely only on SDKs. For example, integrations through server-to-server application program interfaces (APIs) can help publishers avoid SDK bloat and streamline updates in the future. 

Of course, integrations – whether API or SDK — take time and resources, so it’s natural that publishers might hesitate to move forward without understanding the value that a given monetization partner might provide. In this regard, look for partners that offer tag-based options that will let you test the waters first. Such options don’t require any technical expertise to implement, and they can enable publishers to get a sense of results right away. If the results look good, the publisher can then move forward on a deeper integration, be it via an API or SDK. 

Increasing Diversity of Demand

Too many app publishers’ ad revenue streams today are dependent on one type of demand partner. While revenue might initially look strong, a lack of diversity in demand can cause problems in the long run.

One common problem is competition within app verticals. Because so many demand partners focus on mobile campaigns designed to drive app installs, publishers that work with these focused partners can come to find that the majority of ads being shown within their apps are actually competitive in nature, urging users to download apps similar to their own. The problem here is obvious: The more a publisher drives installs of competitive apps, the more they drive their audience to mobile experiences other than their own. Over time, the short-term ad revenue isn’t worth the potential user churn. 

Separately, if an app becomes overly reliant on a single type of demand partner, they can find themselves more vulnerable to marketplace shifts. Advertisers in certain verticals tend to ride the same waves, and sometimes sudden developments in their space can cause them to pull back their ad budgets. Publishers can protect themselves from these ebbs and flows by working with multiple demand partners that can offer them a healthy mix of performance and awareness focused campaigns.

App publishers today operate in an environment of constant disruption—technological disruption, competitive disruption, consumer behavior disruption, you name it. Amid the chaos and constant fires to put out, it can be hard for publishers to step back and proactively reassess their strategic course, but this is a vital undertaking to ensure that your organization is charting the right course for the coming year. In doing so this year, publishers must be sure to address the above growing marketplace challenges.