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Targeted Advertising when Designing Mobile Apps for Children.

So your developing a phone app for children and you want you make money from it. The thought of using Targeted advertising as a money stream has come up and your considering it. Lets examine the pro’s and con’s of targeted advertising in children’s apps:


  • I can make money


  • Targeted advertising requires the gathering of sensitive information about the users so that the ad’s can be served effectively.
  • The last thing a parent wants to hear when driving is “Mummy I can’t get back into my game!”
  • Do we really know who is behind the ad’s or even what ads are going to be served.
  • Reduced screen real estate.

Ok so you want to make money. Naturally this is the only reason for even wanting to include this in any app. The thing is how much money are you really going to make and is that enough to cover the con’s of including it.

Charge for your app if you want to make money. Ok it might reduce your market a bit but at least you know you will be making money. However at least you know you will be keeping your audience happy this way. If you do a good job they will buy from you again down the track.

The use of target advertising by its very nature requires the gathering of sensitive information about the audience. In the case of children’s apps this is information about the child using the app.

Most developers don’t even realise there is legislation covering disclosure of any information gathered about a child while they are using your app. This is so the parent can make an informed decision about installing your app for their child. Do you know what information your provider gathers? Probably not and if you don’t legally you are required to find out and include it in the description of your app on iTunes or android store.

Then there is the habit every child has. If it can clicked on at some stage they will click on it. This then takes them out of the game. The biggest pet hate of all parents who download apps for their children is anything that lets the child get out of the app. Once out of the app the parent knows they will be pestered to get them back into the app.

And that’s if the child hasn’t gone somewhere the parent does not approve of! You might think something is appropriate for your child and so might the ad providers but that doesn’t mean little Johnny’s mum does. There is no way we can know in advance every ad that your provider is going to server to the child. So is it really worth the risk. We could seriously upset our clients even further.

Then there is the consideration of screen real estate. Mobile devices by their very nature have a small screen size as it is. Children like large colourful images. Can we really spare that space for an ad that is likely to irritate their parents and drive our customers away. One that probably isn’t going to make us that much money anyway.

If you are looking to make money off your children’s app, you probably shouldn’t even be considering the use of targeted advertising. Charge for your product if you must make money.

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