I frequently see people posting in forums or even emailing me asking why their iAd earnings have tanked completely come the new year. A common response by people is that companies exhaust their advertising budgets in December (hence ads earn higher revenues) and then come January they take it slow and ramp up throughout the year, finishing with a frenzy in December and the holiday season. This sounds very reasonable. During specific holidays or seasonal events, your banner and popup ads will earn more money. When January rolls around, your ad revenue drops because advertisers aren’t paying for ads. It’s quite simply a supply and demand issue.
Don’t worry, you are most likely not at fault for the low earnings. In fact, you should look at this as a potential opportunity to run banner and popup ads for your own apps and websites. Bidding a measly 0.01 USD per click you can easily get hundreds or thousands of clicks depending on the time of year. I know because I bid 0.01 cents for an iAd banner ad and ran it for the first two weeks this year. With a 25 USD daily budget and 0.01 USD per click bid, I easily maxed out and got 2500 clicks per day! For an even bigger bang for your buck, you can have the ad link to an affiliate URL such as Amazon or your own app.
Keep in mind that iAd and AdMob banner ads have absolutely horrific conversion ratios, most likely because accidental clicks are still counted. Advertising networks may claim that they don’t count accidental clicks, and they might not to a degree, but nothing explains the horrible conversion ratio of a banner ad in my mind. This can be sort of mitigated by monetizing the click, regardless of whether the app is installed.
If you have your own iOS apps, I would highly recommend signing up for Apple’s affiliate program here: Apple Affiliate Sign Up. Whenever you link to or share your app, be sure to put your affiliate code at the end of the url. If someone clicks your ad that links to your affiliate url, you get commission from their purchases for a period of time, assuming they weren’t already attached to someone else’s affiliate id already.
As far as I know, Google doesn’t have a comparable affiliate program for Android.