Ad based app or paid app? That is the question many developers have faced. Do I charge a one time cost for my app or do I hope the user run the app with enough frequency to generate a decent level of ad revenue?

Windows Phone ads pay by impression in that you don't have to click on the ad banner for the developer to receive credit/revenue from that view.  The downside is that not everyone likes to see that ad banner regardless of how discrete they are placed.  If you choose the ad supported option, there are a few options available and Improvisoft has compiled a listing of their favorites along with rankings (in Jewels).

  • Millennial Media SDK (0/5 Jewels): While the API was highly customizable, the SDK proved to be unstable. Shutter animation would be closed more times than not, obscuring the ads. "Millenial had a lot of promise. This company has a good website and SDKs for 10 platforms including well-known 4.2.X versions for Android and iPhone. But it didn’t take long to realize that there is little delivery on that promise..."
  • AdDuplex SDK - version 1.1 Beta (3/5 Jewels): Described as a simple SDK with minimal documentation and a minimal API, it may be too minimal for some. Improvisoft notes that AdDuplex works, but there is room for improvement ranging from better ad appearance to better SDK documentation.  To give AdDuplex a little credit, it is still a Beta and these improvements may be in the works.
  • Smaato SDK v1.2 (2/5 Jewels): Smaato serves advertisements to over 220 countries. With no other functional ad-network for WP7 XNA games providing ads outside the US, that's a strength you have to recognize. Otherwise, Smaato is described as being the ugliest ad-network the reviewer has seen for Windows Phone.
  • Microsoft Advertising pubCenter SDK v5.1.0.166 (3.5/5 Jewels): Described as the best ad network for displaying ads on U.S. based Windows Phones, pubCenter does have some limitations. PubCenter is U.S. based only, the number of advertisers are fewer (more repeat ads), and while ads can be text or graphical they are not rich-media capable or to the size requested.

The skinny of it is that not every ad network is perfect and it seems that there isn't a "one size fits all" solution. Some may provide better coverage, cleaner appearance or simply easier to manage.

So...for the developers in the crowd what ad network do you find works best? Or do you prefer to avoid ad supported apps all together.

Source: Improvisoft