RadioFM is a popular app in India that aggregates radio stations from around the world so that users can find their favorite frequencies, wherever they are. “People living away from their homes should be able to connect to their home radio,” says Atul Sachdeva, co-founder of RadioFM. He saw the opportunity when more traditional radio stations began to establish an online presence to better connect with their listeners. Launched in March 2013, the RadioFM app makes it easy for listeners to navigate to an old favorite station or discover a new one from their hometown, or anywhere in the world.
Atul oversees the organization’s product roadmap and monetization, and has had a years-long partnership with Google for RadioFM’s advertising strategy. In 2019, when the team was focusing on revenue growth opportunities, they decided to integrate Google’s app open ads. Without cannibalizing revenue from other ad formats, app open ads lifted eCPM by 13%, increased ARPDAU by 20% — all while maintaining the same great listener experience.
Searching for growth
For the first six months following the launch of RadioFM, the organization had no monetization strategy in place. Then traffic started to pick up, and the brainstorming began. The team quickly decided to partner with AdMob. At the time, their app was only available through the Google Play Store, and RadioFM liked the idea of working with another Google product for their advertising. “AdMob was a logical partner,” says Sachdeva.
In the early days of monetization, RadioFM implemented banners, then interstitials, then native ads. These combinations of ad formats brought in a steady revenue, but in 2019, the team decided to pursue a more growth-driven strategy. They reached out to their account manager at Google and discussed the available options. “That’s when app open ads came to the rescue,” says Sachdeva.
Experimenting with a new format
Unlike other ads the team had used, app open ads display right when a user opens the app. As the team at RadioFM is highly experimental, releasing at least two new features each month, they were enthusiastic about trying out a new format.
First, RadioFM had to decide if they wanted to limit how often the ad displayed for a user. They decided to cap the ad at twice a day, which meant that if a user opened the app a third time that day, they wouldn’t see the ad on the third open. The team chose to launch the ad format on Android, the platform where they had the greatest volume of users. They started out by running an A/B test for 2 weeks, keeping an eye on retention and any potential negative reviews in the Google Play Store about ad formats. Neither area showed any significant change, and so, about a month after their initial brainstorm with Google, RadioFM launched app open ads for all Android listeners.
After seeing the success of this format, we will be replicating it in other apps
Building out new revenue streams
Due to their unique display timing, app open ads don’t cannibalize earnings from RadioFM’s other ad formats such as interstitials and banners — all earnings are a distinct, additional source of revenue. With app open ads, Sachdeva and his team saw an eCPM lift of 13%, while ARPDAU increased by 20%.
“After seeing the success of this format, we will be replicating it in other apps,” says Sachdeva, who adds that the immediate next step is to integrate app open ads into the RadioFM iOS app. Soon after, they’ll get started on implementing it into the company’s remaining apps.
As for what’s next for the company, Sachdeva and his team are working full speed ahead to add in podcasts for their listeners. “Radio and podcasts go hand-in-hand,” he says. “We’re already in advanced plans to include them.”