Scruff CEO Eric Silverberg appeared at the Tech Open Air conference in Berlin earlier this month, presenting on why he took all of the app’s advertising in-house. A video of the session has been uploaded to the Tech Open Air YouTube channel.
He explained that first of all, the gay dating platform kept getting suspended by the Google Admob advertising network, resulting in all banner ads being removed from the Android version.
They then encountered several issues with other third-party providers, such as attack ads that would transport users to another mobile web page as soon as they opened the app.
The CEO made the decision to refocus on a premium subscription model to generate revenue, becoming less reliant on ad networks.
A major turning point for Scruff then came in 2018 with the introduction of GDPR.
Silverberg said in his presentation: “This prompts our business to take a hard look at all of our third-party suppliers and vendors, all of the companies with whom we are working and sharing data.
“It quickly became clear that if we were to continue to integrate with these third-party ad networks, we would have to provide a very onerous disclosure during the initial setup of our app, that would ask our members if they consented to having their data shared in exchange for targeted advertising.”
The team decided to ditch the advertisers because they weren’t seeing any evidence of relevant material on the app. Promotions for games and food delivery services were being run rather than LGBTQ-based products.
Scruff now runs curated ads for small LGBTQ businesses that normally get blocked on Google and Facebook. Silverberg refuses to promote supplements and health products that come with ‘dubious’ claims.
Since the in-house switch, Scruff has seen its total ad revenue grow by 50%.
Watch the full video here.