Android: Monetize your free apps with AdWhirl/AdMob

You have a great idea for an app which helps people, for example remembering the parking location of a car, and you want to give it for free. However you can still get some money for the app with our selling it. i.e., how to monetize your free apps in Android platform.

Today there are so many third party ad vendors in the market who can help you to get the ads to your app. You might be very familiar with some of them like Admob. How ever if you want to stream ads from multiple vendor, how can you do this. This is where AdWhirl comes into picture. 

What is AdWhirl?

Adwhirl is a open source tool which enables you to serve ads through your mobile applications from various supported publishers & 3rd party vendors including Admob, mmdev etc. 

AdWhirl was acquired by AdMob in 2009.

What is the advantage of AdWhirl?

you can allocate various ad-networks a percentages to serve ads in your mobile application using AdWhirl to take advantage of the backfill and time to stream ads.

For more information on AdWhirl her is the FAQ.

Integrating AdWhirl into Android App

Step1. Register in Adwhirl

Registering in AdWhirl is easy. Create an account  with few required details. 

Start adding your applications to you account.

After adding your application, start allocating of various ad network percentages to the app. Here all you need to do is enter the app key from Admob, mmdev[Millennial Media] or ZestADZ by clicking “Not Configured” link. 

Step2. Registering in MMDev[or any other vendor].

You can signup with mmdev by using the register link. Once registration is complete add your application. By default the Dashboard tab is shown. Click on “Manage Apps”, add the application name, select the platform and save the App. The APID is a auto generated number. 

Note that you need to fill up other required information like the primary area of this app and a secondary  area, what kind of ads you want to receive etc. 

Take this APID and configure it in AdWhirl as described earlier.

We had completed 50% of the work. Now the development work starts.

Step3. Integrate adds in to your applications.

Download the AdWhirl SDK and MMDev SDK. Add them as references in your project library.


Define a layout in you application layout xml file:

Define the required AndroidManifest.xml file entries

1. add the application key from AdWhirl here.




2. Define the AdWhirl & Millennial Media activities in your application.

Create the ad layout:

I created the below method to re-use in my free apps I published on the market.

layout – ad layout
activity – current activity that you are calling this add from.
adwhirlID – App Key for this app in AdWhirl.

Initiate the call to AdWhirl:

In onCreate method add these 2 lines

Step4. Run your application. This is the easiest of all.


Here is what I learned from using these ad services

1. Don’t expect to be rich in over-night. You need lot of patience. 
2. Consider placing not too many ads in the apps.
3. Consider placing ads in such a way that they wont interfere with application functionality.
4. Choose the right ads for the right audience.

Happy monetizing your free apps on Android market! Good Luck!