The Chinese Internet company Cheetah Mobile -- known for its apps Clean Master and Battery Doctor, which have been downloaded millions of times -- needed a way to help developers monetize their apps with new advertising formats.
The company had grown from about 10 employees who built software for PCs when it was founded in 2010 to more than 1,000 employees working on developing apps for mobile.
Basically, the goal was to find a way to brand its products and increase engagement and revenue after growth flattened. So the company began working with Google, using AdMob to find new ways to improve results. It expanded the use of native display ads and Google's newly launched native video ad format.
The strategy diversified the ad mix and increased user engagement through video. Opting in to video ads alongside display ads resulted in higher overall performance.
Cheetah Mobile saw a lift in eCPMs of more than 34%, and was able to increase revenue by more than 31% by placing the ads in the flow of the app on the results page after the intended user action was complete.
Although search advertising and marketing have become staples in most media-buying strategies, other types of media are needed to complete the mix. In this case, customizing video ads to match the look and feel of the app further ensured that introducing new ads into the mix did not disrupt the user experience.
The challenge occurred when traffic began to level off, so Cheetah had to explore new options to increase revenue. AdMob launched its native video beta in February 2016.
The company tried Facebook video ads in the fourth quarter of 2016 and saw a revenue boost, so when AdMob officially launched native video ads in February 2017, Cheetah integrated AdMob's video SDK as part of a group of original publishers.
The company also expanded its video ad business in other ways. During the fourth quarter of 2016, Cheetah began offering vertical video formats across multiple mobile products through Cheetah Ads, its recently re-branded ad business.
Today the company uses more than five different ad networks, including Facebook, Mopub and Yahoo, but the results depend on specific products and ad placements.