Digital advertising – Use cases and best practices

We are happy to announce our new Qt Digital Advertising Solution.

This blog post is the first in a series that aims to show Qt users how they can generate additional revenue from their software thanks to digital advertising. We’ll dive into different topics:

We will cross-link the blog post for your convenience when they come online, so don’t forget to check back. Without further ado, let’s dive into our first topic:

Consistent monetization on Mobile and Desktop applications

In the Mobile and Desktop application ecosystem, most applications downloaded from popular app stores are free of charge, as you can see in the figure below.

paid vs free apps

Distribution of free and paid apps in the Apple App Store and Google Play as of December 2021 – source:

“Why is there such a huge gap in numbers between paid and free apps?” you might ask. You can find the most important reasons in the mobile app market landscape. There are tens of thousands of apps in stores. For a user to pay for an app upfront (or at all) they will look for known quantities – an established developer they trust in or consistently positive reviews from friends, independent journalists, or thousands of other users. Having the option to try an app for free, lowers the barrier to downloading an app drastically.

The fact that there are a lot more small than big fish in the play/app store sea contributes the most to these statistics. In practice, there are many more explanations, but first off, I should mention there are two main types of “free”, monetized apps.

The first type is the freemium app. Downloading the app is free, but you pay for additional features, premium content, subscription fees, or even the entire app after a trial period has run its course.

The second type, the one we are focusing on in this blog series, monetizes itself by selling advertising space inside the app instead of charging for in-app content. There are scenarios, in which the majority of developers find themselves, that favor digital advertising.

  • First-time app publishers with low app-store visibility will find it challenging to compete with better-established brands. Charging money up-front is a big ask.
  • Ads will be more profitable than a paid app if the appeal of the app and its audience are broader. Think Angry Birds vs. a beer brewing assistant app.
  • Ads will perform better with more frequently used apps

So now that we know why digital advertising works so well for mobile and desktop apps, let us have a look at how to apply these concepts in another context.


Digital Advertising in IoT devices – what is it good for?

Digital advertising has become commonplace on websites and mobile applications. These platforms allow media owners to iterate and deploy software code for their digital ads quickly and in a scalable manner. But what about IoT devices? More and more of today’s devices are constantly connected to the internet and managed via OTA (over-the-air) updates. Enabling developers to monetize embedded devices with screens the same way websites and mobile apps do will disrupt the IoT industry.

Here are some choice examples of IoT devices with the potential to maximize digital advertising revenue:



Kiosk manufacturers leverage contextual digital advertising to monetize their devices and enhance their overall user experience. Examples that make great use of digital advertising are interactive and connected kiosks like self-service devices in retail stores, movie theaters, restaurants, airports, shopping malls, and other places.

We are currently working with strategic partners in the hospitality industry who are looking to supplement their revenue with digital advertising. What makes this use case particularly attractive for manufacturers is that they can promote their brand and merchandise or those of their strategic partners and, at the same time create an additional revenue stream with digital advertising. The latter offsets overhead investments and costs and increases profit margins.

Smart Vending

Modern vending machine manufacturers focus on creating more engaging and interactive digital experiences. The driver of advertising in smart vending machines is the potential to upsell complementary products through special offers.

Manufacturers are looking for solutions that enable local businesses or global marketers to advertise the products inside the dispenser. This is a win-win situation, as it increases the revenue for the advertiser in the form of increased sales and for the machine manufacturer in the shape of advertising returns.

To keep the return on investment high, there is one important factor to consider: Maintenance costs. Integrating digital advertising natively on touchscreen-based user interfaces varying in size between 10 and 50 inches requires a lot of work if done for every form factor individually and across different territories.

In this case, a software solution with built-in autoscaling is highly recommended.

Fitness Equipment


The fitness equipment industry is another prime example where digital advertising creates win-win situations for both manufacturers and their business customers. Manufacturers can leverage digital advertising in their equipment consoles to increase razor-thin product margins and subsidize product investments. For fitness facility owners, advertising-enabled fitness equipment helps sell their product. Where better to promote athletic and active-clothing brands, supplements, healthy food, sporting equipment, and more than on the screen of cardio consoles, digital display stands, or equipment companion apps?

Beverage / Coffee machines


Coffee machines installed in specific, well-known locations provide a lot of visibility, making them attractive for advertising. For instance, A major coffee machine manufacturer who is using Qt to build the GUIs of their machines and Qt Digital Advertising as their ad solution reported some excellent results:

  • Thanks to the large audience and high-traffic areas where their coffee machines are located, they could ensure excellent returns on investment for media buyers who want to advertise on their machines.
  • Compared to their previous solution, the cross-platform capabilities and plug-and-play components in Qt Digital Advertising saved them approximately 67 percent in development time for setting up 20 of their prototypes.

Laundry machines

Manufacturers of commercial laundry machines develop their machine control panels with Qt to deliver a modern user experience that differentiates them from their competition. Manufacturers are looking for technology solutions to enable laundromat owners to deploy their local advertisements and promote nearby businesses. Qt Digital Advertising lets them run programmatic advertising on an embedded platform (i.e., a laundry machine with a digital GUI). The Qt Digital Advertising technology is an additional value proposition for laundry venue owners and a way for manufacturers to monetize from all their machines across the globe.


Today, many elevators contain digital screens displaying messages and digital ads. Depending on the business agreement, the revenue generated goes either to the real estate owner or the elevator manufacturer. One of the innovations that Qt Digital Advertising will bring to the industry is developing all the different elevator UI elements, i.e., the controls, the messaging for the passengers, and the digital advertising, and merging them into one digital touchscreen display. Consolidating the digital user experience into one screen yields tremendous hardware, installation, and maintenance cost savings while maximizing digital advertising revenue.

Smart mobility


The mobility industry is shifting towards leveraging software to increase car sales and empower charging stations, busses, etc. Today, everything related to electric-powered mobility has multimedia screens for drivers, passengers, and other users. There are two main challenges in this industry. The first is creating a consistent user experience across different platforms. For example, the embedded In-Vehicle-Infotainment (IVI) should look and feel like the smartphone companion app. The second challenge is cost-efficiently maintaining different monetization solutions across the different use cases. Combining Qt and the Qt Digital Advertising Solution enables monetization with a single code base which can drastically lower development cost and time to market compared to user interfaces developed using different development methodologies.

Are you eager to know what will happen next in this blog post series? In the next episode, we’re going deeper into programmatic advertising, how it works, the terminology, the actors, and more.

Do you want to try out Qt Digital Advertising? You can use the tools regardless of the type of Qt license you have. Please visit our Digital Advertising Platform page to start your evaluation journey. 

Blog Topics: