What is SDK in CTV/OTT advertising and how it works

Dec 09, 2020

What does SDK mean? SDK, or software development kit, is a collection of tools, libraries, and APIs that can be used for application development, e.g. for game consoles, computer systems, software frameworks, etc. As follows from its definition, SDKs make it simple to integrate software with your services without having to develop from scratch. In most companies, any feature and any app can be created in-house by a team of developers, but it can take a good deal of time. Software Development Kits are an excellent solution  to this issue, saving time and effort by providing premade tools and technologies that are provenand stable. It also comes in handy for less experienced developers,  when a developer simply wants to make use of a ready-made kit to facilitate the task. Since SDKs are commonly used for app creation on core platforms such as  iOS and Android, it is far simpler to make use of an SDK than it is to find an expert who could develop the same apps and features as quickly and efficiently from scratch.

SDK vs API

SDKs are sometimes compared to APIs, because they are both used for adding site features and app development. But how similar are they?? An API, or application programming interface, is a set of rules and protocols that are used for application software building. Simply put, these are programming instructions that are usually used to provide third parties/customers with access to their data or systems, e.g. to perform actions within a website or app, fill in forms, submit something, etc. For example, if you offer a service that implies booking or scheduling, it is an API that makes it possible for your clients to book and schedule right on the site.  Consequently, SDKs and APIs aren’t really comparable because they are parts of a single process of app development, and very often are used in tandem. 

They both serve as tools to facilitate software development, but serve different roles in that process. 

In fact, SDKs often include APIs, code fragments, libraries, guides, and rules for better software development.  One way to look at it is that if an application needs to be built, the SDK would be the building block, the basis, and the instrument. But if the app being created needs to communicate with other apps and outside data, then an API is often necessary. An API is an interface, a bridge used for communication – but not for the creation of new applications. An SDK is made for building a specific product or app in a specific programming language. 

SDK in mobile advertising

SDKs can be used for mobile advertising within Apple or Android devices. The appropriate SDK influences app rankings and monetization.

Mobile SDK is a code fragment that can help mobile apps connect to services and technologies developed by external companies. Integrated ad SDK helps access analytical and engagement tools, quickly boost revenues, avoiding performance issues, and connect to ad networks for smooth in-app ads operation. 

It is hard to imagine a successful mobile app monetization that doesn’t use a mobile advertising SDK. It is much easier to connect apps to ad networks and increase monetization by using SDKs than to create complicated systems or develop anything from the ground up. The solution is mutually beneficial for developers and publishers.

Benefits of SDK advertising 

There are lots of reasons marketers should use SDKs. The first and most evident one is fast integration. Instead of developing a feature or an app from scratch, publishers can save time and money by using an SDK. It also allows to avoid surplus experiments and debugs, and thus a product can quickly be brought to market. SDK helps save a great number of resources without sacrificing quality. All you need is to integrate it and enjoy the results.

With the help of SDK integration, it is possible to improve the app rankings and optimization because of the little chance that your app will crash. SDKs created by third-party companies are usually reliable, so you don’t have to worry that they might go wrong. SDKs also commonly come with security features built in, a crucial aspect of modern software development.

All in all, we may sum up that SDK provides publishers and developers with the following advantages:

  • quick integration (developers get information quickly and don’t have to code from scratch, which simplifies and speeds up the development and deployment process)
  • better performance (DSPs prefer cooperating with SDK-based publishers because it is easy to check and verify the inventory, and transparent interaction brings more fruitful results; it becomes especially important nowadays due to fraudulent traffic)
  • fewer technical issues (ad tech companies prefer SDK because it is an easy and lightweight solution, therefore a minimum of crashes and operating issues are expected)
  • stability (SDKs do not affect app performance and even in case of bugs they are easily fixed; moreover, hours of testing make sure SDK is reliable). 
  • widen reach (when a good product uses quality SDK, it increases integration and brand exposure, letting it share more great features and technologies)

Apart from that, SDKs are used to get detailed data about customers and help them have a positive experience while using the application. Marketers aim to understand the behavior of users better and thus need to get more information from the analytics, which in its turn requires more programming instructions. Mobile SDK is a perfect solution in this case, particularly those SDK that are created especially for mobile marketing. 

SDK and mobile advertising

Mobile application advertising is a method of monetization that implies getting money for ads shown within the app. The advertisements are served by means of a mobile ad network that is the link between developers and advertisers. The process is simple  – the application sends an ad request to the network, then a special algorithm determines which ad to deliver to the app in order for it to be relevant and highly paid. It all happens in real-time. 

Developers may choose among various mobile ad elements that make users get more involved and allow them to use an app to the best advantage. This means the app will bring more revenue and get more positive feedback which turns into higher rankings. Mobile ad SDK is an excellent way of integrating ad monetization into an app easily and efficiently. With the help of specific SDKs marketers track the activity of the customers, particularly they get access to the following data.

Analytics

Some SDKs track page views and bounce rate as well as help understand why users perform these or that actions.

Downloads

SDK is a great way to track the actual result of the advertising campaign – the number of downloads within different channels and in-app purchases made by the customers

Communication

There are SDKs responsible for push messages, emails, SMS, and in-app messaging. Such automation helps you save effort and allows your clients’ using quality features.

Feedback

It is necessary to measure the level of users’ engagement and satisfaction. Feedback SDKs help to improve the app using surveys and ratings.

Localization

Due to the specific location SDKs, it is possible to send notices and offers according to users’ location.

Another example of efficient SDK use relates to the CTV/OTT environment. As the popularity of connected TV is increasing and the number of its users is growing significantly, making advertising within CTV apps as effective as possible is the number one task for all marketers. If we talk about CTV advertising, SDK is a beneficial solution for both advertisers and users. It allows tracking and delivering the information about users’ activity, particularly ads views, clicks, and specific users’ info, as well as informs about the app installation. Developers choose which particular SDK will fit the needs of their users based on the performance and feedback. They also get full control over ad display and can run ads defining the best timing, frequency, and placement within the application.

Takeaways

Are SDKs absolutely flawless? Of course, not. However, they tend to be more stable, reliable, and secure than something you develop from scratch. Why? Because they undergo multiple testing and are lightweight, so you don’t have to worry about performance issues. With software development kits, app development becomes easier and monetization is more effective, which makes ready-made SDK an ideal solution for marketers. 

Time and money are especially valuable when it comes to advertising. If you want to enter the market faster and be sure that the application you promote works seamlessly, there is no better way than to use premade SDK. Moreover, there are lots of devkits that assist in receiving analytical data. Tracking users’ activity becomes as incredibly simple, and you create even more possibilities to enhance your advertising campaign by displaying relevant high-quality ads to your customers. The time to learn how to use an advertising SDK to the best advantage is now, so don’t delay to boost your revenues and improve the quality of your products and services!