While the industry moves closer to an in-app bidding world, waterfall management is still the reality for monetization teams. Most of the time, developers are managing multiple hybrid waterfalls, and there are many instances where manual activity is required. Optimizing the waterfall is therefore a crucial part of a winning ad monetization strategy and will be for a while longer.

Until in-app bidding fully arrives, here are 5 best practices to manage your waterfalls more effectively:

Add multiple bidders and ad networks

Whenever possible, we recommend adding multiples networks as well as real time bidding solutions, as this introduces competition for your inventory. This will help improve fill rate, which can lead to a higher average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU). What’s more, adding traditional networks will help fill the gaps to generate the highest revenue and eCPMs for your supply.

Focus on more line items around your bidders’ eCPMs

Once you add in bidders and traditional networks, you’ll be able to understand the average eCPM of your inventory. Understanding your CPM distribution empowers you to not only identify your revenue sources, but also to promote revenue growth. Bidders typically drive high volume around the middle of your waterfall. Adding more traditional line items around the bidders’ eCPMs will pressure bidders to become more competitive and bid higher to win more impressions. This helps increase the average revenue from users who see ads.

A/B test your new waterfall

As you refine your waterfall pricing structure, you can use a quick A/B test to see if this adjustment is indeed boosting your revenue. Simply compare your existing waterfall against the new waterfall, then implement the one that drives the highest instances.

Consider backfill calls

To maximize your fill rate, consider having networks backfill ad calls.

Ask your ad networks to review anonymized waterfall data

Providing networks with anonymized waterfall data gives them insight into their competition and how many impressions they might miss due to low performance. We recommend sharing data consistently to receive actionable feedback from partners.

By following the 5 best practices above, you can refine your waterfalls and ensure you get the most value from your ad monetization strategy.