On Ad Library Updates in Android Apps

Authors -

Israel, J. Mojica Ruiz; Meiyappan, Nagappan; Bram, Adams; Thorsten, Berger; Steffen, Dienst and Ahmed, E. Hassan

Venue -

IEEE Software, 14 May 2014

Related Tags -

Abstract -

With more than 90% of mobile apps today being free-to-download, advertisement within apps is one of the key business models to generate revenue. Advertisements are served through the embedding of specialized code, i.e., ad libraries. Unlike other types of libraries, developers cannot ignore new versions of the embedded ad libraries or new ad libraries without risking a loss in revenue. However, updating ad libraries also has expenses, which can become a major problem as ad library updates are becoming more prevalent in mobile apps. Hence in this paper, we first discuss the various expenses involved in updating ad libraries, then empirically explore the prevalence of ad library updates within Android apps. An analysis of 13,983 versions of 5,937 Android apps collected over 12 months shows that almost half (48.98%) of the studied versions had an ad library update (i.e., ad library was added, removed, or updated). Interestingly, in 13.75% of app updates (new version in the Google Play store) with at least one case of ad library update, we found no changes to the apps own API, which suggests substantial additional effort for developers to maintain ad libraries. We also explore the rationales for why such updates are carried out.

Preprint -


BibTex -

 author = {Israel, J. Mojica Ruiz and Meiyappan, Nagappan and Bram, Adams and Thorsten, Berger and Steffen, Dienst and Ahmed, E. Hassan},
 keyword = {Mobile Apps, ESE in Ultra Large Repositories},
 title = {On Ad Library Updates in Android Apps},
 type = {journal},
 venue = {IEEE Software, 14 May 2014}