With ten million monthly active users, 1Weather is the third-largest weather app in the Google Play marketplace. Owned and operated by Pinsight Media, the app has a growing organic user base and comes preinstalled on Sprint and Tracfone mobile devices. Though 1Weather has been successful since it was originally introduced in 2013, last year Pinsight knew it was time for a change to their app monetization strategy. The company saw untapped potential for growing revenue by increasing video inventory and enabling guaranteed deals for premium advertisers. That's why, starting in February 2019, 1Weather switched to Google Ad Manager.
A streamlined approach to ad serving
1Weather chose Ad Manager as its single mediation platform because of its seamless integration features, support for private marketplace (PMP) deals, access to demand from a diverse set of platforms, and unified reporting. Since 1Weather’s small-but-mighty staff is responsible for managing its own app monetization, the controls around direct deals were critical in helping them scale their app’s direct sales business.
But before 1Weather could go direct, it also needed to develop a better understanding of advertiser requirements, user engagement, and viewability. So it started by implementing Open Bidding. 1Weather then used Ad Manager to connect to other mobile ad platforms via header bidding. “We needed to find the optimum mix of programmatic, private marketplace deals and direct advertising,” explains Srikanth Subramanian, Vice President and General Manager for 1Weather. “Google had the right combination of product features and advertising demand - with a great team to help make this happen.”
After a year, the impact of migrating to Ad Manager was clear. CPMs doubled, ad density increased by half, and revenue grew nearly 400% year over year. Though 1Weather initially planned to move just half of 1Weather's inventory to Ad Manager, it was so happy with the initial results the company decided to migrate all of the app’s inventory to the platform.
“Our goal is to create the optimal mix between programmatic and direct sales, while allowing buyers from across the spectrum to access each impression."
, Vice President and General Manager, 1Weather
Diversifying ad format offerings
Before migrating to Ad Manager, native and video formats had been a small component of 1Weather’s monetization strategy. Since they made the switch, video has become increasingly important, representing 25% of the app's overall ad revenue. They’ve also introduced native video weather news content supported by pre-roll ad units to create a smooth user experience. In 2020, 1Weather has continued to invest heavily in video. The company's in-house app development team is currently redesigning the 1Weather app to seamlessly incorporate additional video ad formats, including interstitial and in-stream video.
With the expansion of their video strategy, 1Weather is honing in on their Programmatic Direct business to provide buyers access through a wider range of transaction types. “Our goal is to create the optimal mix between programmatic and direct sales, while allowing buyers from across the spectrum to access each impression,” says Srikanth. “We want to sell 30-40% of our inventory via PMP deals over the next 18 months.”
By using a single platform to manage all ad buys, 1Weather also gained a unified reporting module that provides true and transparent metrics. That proved especially helpful with an ad ops team consisting of just two people. The company is now adding a third team member dedicated solely to handling programmatic direct deals.
“We pride ourselves in being obsessed with building highly-rated user experiences around weather,” added Srikanth. “We found Google Ad Manager as the best fit offering for our advertising needs.”