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The MoPub Transition: Updates & Recommendations for MoPub Publishers

Photo by Everett Bartels on Unsplash

Summary:

Applovin has announced a due-date date for MoPub customers to migrate to Max — and while Applovin hinted at an aggressive timeline early on — many guessed the transition would happen slowly over 2022. They were wrong. As of today, the entirety of MoPub will be shut down at the end of Q1: March 31st, 2022.

Source: Applovin email to MoPub publishers, sent 11/22/21

Looking ahead:

This puts many publishers in a tough situation: scheduling, spec’ing, integrating, testing, and releasing a new mediation platform with minimal disruption to the business will prove a difficult endeavor. There’s a reason Apple delayed the policy change in iOS14, and part of that reason for the change was the difficulty in updating the ad SDKs to support the new policies. This is a much harder and more involved change for MoPub customers.

At this stage it’s unclear what will happen to users who don’t update the app by March 31, previous iterations of the MoPub SDK gave two years before deprecation, but the wording “sunset” indicates Applovin will not offer backward support and will not serve ads afterwards.

Applovin has been very vocal in soliciting input from MoPub customers. If this timeline offers you challenges, we’ve been advising MoPub clients to reach out to Applovin to request considerations for an extension.

Recommendations: Plan slow to move fast

As many already know, Q4 is an important time for advertising, this week—notably Black Friday—has historically been the highest grossing week in the year.

Therefore, we recommend– as most app developers will agree—you should refrain from making any production changes to your mediation until January 1st, which historically sees the worst ad performance of the year. Then in January 1st, prioritize the development and ad operation migration efforts making sure you plan for ample time to integrate, test and roll-out your chosen platform replacement.

In the meantime consider stack-ranking and prioritizing your existing networks to ensure they’re on your chosen platform, if they’re not, we’re recommending you contact them to find out their plans or timelines for being supported. 

Performing a migration:

As of today migrations from MoPub to any other platforms remain manual. We are offering customers consolidated MoPub account profiles to ease their migration of 3rd parties to MAX or another platform but by and large the tools offered by MAX (login required) seem to be a simply mediation integration how-to.

That said, since announcing the acquisition Applovin does seem to have made some platform advancements, notably supporting MREC for Android and iOS for select networks. On the topic of offering the ability to integrate with 3rd party networks, Applovin claims support in Q1. Applovin doesn’t support native ads, and doesn’t appear to plan to do so.

In closing:

An aggressive, accelerated migration timeline will prove tough for a vast majority of MoPub customers. There will likely be a contingent of legacy users that will never update to your migrated SDKs and their revenue will be lost. This will be tough for apps that rely on ad whales for achieving their overall customer LTVs.

And while it’s easy to armchair quarterback in a situation like this, it is worth considering the upside of a complete ad-stack refresh. Odds are you have a number of backlogged updates, initiatives, and other to-dos that have been pushed aside. In the words of one of our customers “the switching cost of your ad stack is now zero,” you have the opportunity to now prioritize the new serving logic, new SDKs, or new AB testing framework in your app. Changes that will likely end up helping overall user LTVs.

Consider Geoff Hladik, who’s done some incredibly clever things in adding remote configuration logic to test when to offer ads to users, increasing both retention and LTV by 21%, or how Random Logic Games is combining impression-level ad data with Firebase AB tests and can definitively measure how different game mechanics increase user LTVs by 10%. They say necessity is the mother of all invention, the bright side of a forced migration is the possibility to add sophistication complexity to bring your business to the next level.

If you’d like to connect with us, we’d be happy to share thoughts, recommendations, and best practices we’ve seen in the market,

-Adam Landis