After one day of participating in the iAd mobile advertising program, one App Store developer reported results that were too good to be true. And, generally, if it’s too good to be true, it’s simply not true. This developer of a modest app reports almost $1,400 in revenue in one day, and at an eCPM of nearly $150. The article has since been updated with a splash of cold water and I’ll add to that splash.
The stratospheric eCPM of $147+ could actually be accurate, but it won’t last. I remember my early days at About.com when some display ads were still around $100 CPM – and I wasn’t even there in the “early-early” days when it was MiningCo. But those days didn’t last because the rates were artificially high since marketers had no basis of performance to compare. Mobile today is the same way – no one yet knows what a good CPM is or will be, and only time in market will allow this to stabilize.
I’m additionally reminded of the early Google AdSense days. A publisher would put AdSense on their site and, a few days later, their dashboard would report super earnings. But when payout time arrived, Google made adjustments to account for a number of things, including click fraud, and many saw much more modest payouts. (Sure, Google settled a lawsuit about this, but my guess is that the settlement was still cheaper than if they paid the originally reported values.) Ultimately, mobile will take some time to go through this vetting process to assure that the reporting, and payout, is accurate and (relatively) fraud free.
There’s undoubtedly a future for mobile advertising, but the crystal ball is still rather cloudy on the value of that future. Time will tell.