It's no secret that we're living in a mobile world. People use phones everywhere they go. Everything seems to be trending in a mobile direction in 2023.
- Moreover, you can find some facts about mobile marketing statistics below:
- Over 90% of mobile time is spent on apps;
- 50% of people open an app 15 plus times per day;
- The average consumer spends more than 5 hours per day on their smartphones;
- 57% of all US online traffic comes from smartphones;
- Mobile accounts for nearly half of web traffic, generating 59% in the fourth quarter of 2022 alone.
As these figures continue to trend upward, mobile advertising is following suit and growing accordingly.
Advertisers and publishers have recognized that they need to target users with the platforms and devices they use most.
There are two ways to approach this. You can take advantage of these networks to purchase ads and advertise your product, service, app, brand, etc. Or you can sell advertising space on your platforms. Maybe you're interested in a combination of both options.
Today you'll get all the answers and know how ad space on mobile apps can increase your income.
What is a mobile ad network?
The mobile ad network, or app ad network, is an integrated platform that connects advertisers with app developers or publishers seeking to sell mobile ad inventory.
Mobile ad networks function as an intermediary between supply-side platforms (SSPs), which are utilized by publishers, and demand-side platforms (DSPs), which advertisers utilize.
There are a variety of mobile advertising platforms which offer diverse advertising options.
As a publisher, you want a network that generates revenue without tarnishing your reputation with irrelevant or inappropriate advertisements. In addition, you should choose a platform that offers multiple ad formats.
How do mobile ad networks work?
We know what mobile ad networks are, but how precisely do they function? When an app user sees an advertisement, a complex process occurs behind the scenes, which resembles the following:
- Once a publisher with an app joins an ad network, the network will have access to the users' data of the app, available ad space, and so on;
- When a user opens the publisher's app, a piece of ad inventory is generated. This inventory needs an advertisement to be monetized;
- The ad network also has access to mobile ad demand, either directly from advertisers who have joined the network, through SSP and ad exchange integrations, or both;
- The mobile ad network uses the data collected from the publisher and the campaign requirements from advertisers to find the best match for the available ad space;
- Once the mobile ad network has identified the best ad space, the creative is sent to the app, and the user sees an ad.
This whole process takes place within seconds and, ideally, affects the app loading speed minimally. Depending on the specific ad trading technology being used, there may also be some differences in the steps involved.
For instance, if the ad network relies on real-time bidding, multiple advertisers will bid on the available inventory at the same time, and the one with the highest offer will win.
On the other hand, the network might use the now-outdated waterfalling method, which sifts through the offers one by one until it reaches the first one that satisfies the publisher's floor price requirement.
Why are app ad networks important?
The online advertising network is an intermediary for those who have unsold ads and those who publish ads.
A key benefit from both an advertiser and publisher perspective is that both parties save time and money by working with mobile ad networks.
Moreover, ad networks handle the technical and commercial aspects of producing and selling ads. They enable integrations for the supply side and transactions between both parties.
As the mobile advertising industry expands, it becomes clear that transferring all operations to the online programmatic advertising ecosystem is the only right option.
Thus, you can accommodate vastly increased advertising volumes, enabling a boosting number of advertisers to manage their ad campaigns efficiently and mobile publishers to maximize the monetization of their inventory.
Mobile Ad Formats
Consider the kind of adverts the business offers before selecting an ad network. Mobile ads come in all shapes and sizes.
To learn more about selecting the ideal ad type and size for your app or website, pay attention to the options below:
Full-screen advertisements, known as interstitials, cover the host application's interface.
In a smartphone game application, they are typically utilized to display an advertisement between various levels and between separate app panels.
Banner ads are rectangular image, graphic, or text ads that inhabit a spot within an app's UI. These ads are shown to users as they interact with the app. Like many web browser banner ads, mobile banner ads can be refreshed after a certain time.
They typically promoted third-party goods, additional tangible or digital products, or the capability to increase an app's features.
Rich media ads
Rich media ads are interactive ads that include multimedia features, such as video, audio, and animation, as well as traditional elements like text and images. It allows the advertiser to implement the most creative ideas and encourages viewers to interact and engage with the content.
Rewarded video ads
Rewarded video ads allow users to earn a reward for watching a video ad. This ad type is most popular in mobile video gaming because it offers an uninterrupted gaming experience and has excellent engagement rates.
The mobile pre-roll ad formats play before the mobile video ad starts, the mid-roll ad formats pop up in the middle of the video, and the post-roll ad appears right after the video.
Native ads are text or video ads that seamlessly blend into the style and appearance of the app interface in which they are shown. Native ads' main idea is to replicate an app's user experience to be less intrusive than other ad types.
Offerwall ads are generally represented as playable ads within such a smartphone app that allows users a variety of deals to connect with. They can be engaging or static.
Mobile games are the industry in which offerwall ads are most frequently utilized. They are used in apps to promote mobile games from different developers or third parties.
Mobile advertising business models
All mobile ad networks offer users a variety of business models for operating their mobile advertising campaigns.
Before deciding, investigate the various ad campaigns a mobile advertising network provides. The five major categories are CPM, CPC, CPI, CPA, and CPV.
CPM is the best development strategy because it enables publishers to profit every second an ad appears on a website or app. Additionally, publishers can anticipate income if their visitors are consistent and predictable.
Advertisers are charged using the same approach each time an advertisement is displayed 1,000 times, or "a mile".
Under the CPC model, advertisers pay for every click on their mobile ads. By employing this strategy, mobile platforms and ad publishers risk delivering many unpaid ad impressions and losing money.
Under the CPI model, advertisers are only charged when a click on an advertisement results in the installation of a mobile application. The cost-per-install metric is essential for mobile app developers and marketers to track, as it exposes the cost of acquiring new customers.
When an app is promoted on a mobile ad network, an advertiser is charged for specific user actions, which is a more advanced type of Cost-Per-Install (CPI). CPA, which facilitates payment for particular actions such as in-app purchases, subscriptions, and sign-ups, gives publishers more opportunities to monetize their inventory.
The greatest users of this technique are marketers running video ad campaigns. According to this business model, advertisers get charged each time their mobile video ad is viewed.
Mobile ads targeting
There are a number of parameters that enable narrowing down a mobile ad campaign reach to a certain audience. These elements are referred to as targeting options.
Advertisers can narrow down an ad campaign within a specific country or region, enabling them to advertise a product or service within relevant geographic areas.
Advertisers can narrow an ad campaign to mobile users of a particular gender.
Advertisers can narrow an ad campaign to an audience segment with specific interests only.
Advertisers can choose which models of mobile devices will show their ads, thus allowing them to avoid a mobile ad experience degradation.
It provides advertisers the advantage of displaying ads to mobile users on devices that are best to display them from a software perspective.
Advertisers can choose to show ads to mobile users who are served by a particular mobile carrier.
This targeting option enables the display of mobile advertisements on mobile devices connected to the Internet via Wi-fi, 5G, or 4G LTE connection.
How to choose the best mobile ad network?
An effective strategy will depend on business needs, including several factors — the target audience's location, the type of inventory, and the scale of the business.
You should know that the best mobile advertising network must provide your mobile web app's audience with high-quality and right advertisements. Advertisers and publishers typically utilize ad networks alongside other digital advertising components, such as DSPs and ad exchanges.
It can be difficult to determine which of the multiple top mobile ad networks and ad platforms will give your in-app ad the boost it requires. So, choosing a mobile ad network, you should consider the high rates, a wide range of mobile ad formats, high eCPMs, and effective audience targeting.
To sum up, you should consider a few key points below:
- Size of the mobile ad network;
- Targeting options;
- Price model, including compensation & payment terms;
- Ad formats;
- Support provided;
- Ad quality;
- Ratings of advertiser network.
10 Top Mobile Ad Networks
Ad networks are diverse, and finding the most suitable and reliable format of full-screen ads for mobile apps with specific niches can be challenging.
Therefore, we have compiled a list of the top ad networks that provide a full breakdown of how they work and what business models they offer.
The list of the Ad Networks for Mobile Advertising is following:
SmartyAds offers a full package of ad tech tools to help you monetize your apps and websites.
Signing up for Smarty Ads gives you access to premium ad network campaigns, demand-side platforms (DSPs), and ad agencies through OpenRTB protocols using Smarty Ads DSP.
SmartyAds SSP is an all-in-one solution for monetizing your content with access to multiple brands.
Real-time quantum analytics lets you view actionable ad campaign insights. It's also compatible with DMPs, SSPs, Ad Servers, Ad Networks, and Billing systems.
The average CTR is 5.48%, and the price per thousand impressions is about $1.01.
SmartyAds SSP features
Highest fill rates. The platform provides high fill rates through top verticals (arts and entertainment, technology and computing, gaming, business, education, health, and fitness). The fill rate is over 80%.
Reach. Effective RTB selling on a CPM basis.
Ad formats. High-impact mobile web and app monetization formats include video, native, interstitials, rewarded ads, and CTV.
Maximized demand. Using RTB and competitive technologies, publishers can frequently connect to premium advertisers.
SmartyAds DSP works like an advanced mobile ad network for advertisers.
SmartyAds DSP features
Reach. Effective RTB purchasing on a CPM basis.
Ad formats. SmartyAds provides different ad formats, including banner ads, video ads, display ads, native ads, interstitial ads, full-screen ads, rich media ads, CTV, etc.
Targeting options. The platform gives precise targeting for mobile and app advertising, including target audience according to GEO, OS, IP, dayparting, device type, and more.
Brand safety. Protected Media, Forensiq, and manual traffic quality review ensure that ads are never displayed alongside controversial content and that only viewable impressions are created.
With its AdSense advertising platform, Google AdMob is the prime market leader in the online advertising system. Google facilitates its advertisers with various features in its mobile advertising platform.
It allows for the ad-based monetization of apps of all types and sizes, regardless of where you are.
And because it's Google, it also syncs with Google AdSense if you're running web campaigns. This ad network has features for beginner and advanced publishers designed to help maximize your profits.
Lots of ad formats. AdMob has high-quality ad demand for all the most popular ad formats, including native, rewarded video, interstitial, and banner ads. You can choose what ad format you want to feature.
Broad reach. This network has over 100 partner ad networks.
Using AI. You can place ads using automatic AI, adding one line of code to your app, and ads are automatically generated.
Ad mediation. You can link to other mobile ad networks. AdMob has a smooth app integration since its software development kit, usually known as SDK, can be installed quickly and show relevant advertisements to the app users anywhere. It offers a solution that enables app developers to manage and optimize.
Mobile ad mediation is meant to increase revenue while decreasing efforts for mobile ad publishers.
Analytics. You can track your campaign performance by connecting to Google Analytics.
AdMob is among the most popular mobile ad networks offering high CPM and fill rates.
Facebook Audience Network
Facebook Audience Networks enable advertisers to show ads on the Facebook ecosystem via mobile applications.
Facebook ranks as the second-best mobile advertising network for attracting relevant users to apps.
Broad Reach. The Facebook Audience Network enables you to reach beyond Facebook ads, reaching up to 16% more people than on Facebook alone.
Affordability. It is a more affordable ad network, as advertisers can place ads cheaper.
Ad formats. Facebook renders the ad size to fit any placement type ad space you want to use, including native, banner, video, and interstitial ads.
Extensive targeting. An advertiser can easily create a highly personalized campaign by choosing a target audience based on several factors.
Reputation and quality. Facebook Audience Network does not buy third-party traffic or first-party data.
RichAds is a global self-serve ad network that can give you exclusive access to thousands of high-quality publishers worldwide.
They are trusted by thousands of affiliates worldwide as a proven source of high-quality traffic. They are perfect for finding high-converting audience segments in a variety of mobile ad formats.
Ad impression. It has over 5 billion impressions per day for the perfect scaling.
High conversion rates. RichAds includes premium sources with incredibly high conversion rates.
Expert support. There are ready-made whitelists, custom creatives for your offers, and turnkey ad campaigns.
Targeting. It has a target CPA for the best bids and HQ traffic (300% ROI with auto-optimization). Moreover, RichAds provides adult traffic with no restrictions.
Flagship features include optimizer, predictor, multiformat, and performance mode.
AppSamurai is an AI-powered One-Stop-Shop user acquisition platform for advertisers to access premium global placements.
User acquisition. AppSamurai optimization engine will ensure clients spend their budget on users they care about.
OEMs & recommendation engine. The platform provides access to direct app placements on Android devices like Samsung, Oppo & Xiaomi and gives exclusive recommendation engines.
Rewarded engagement. The platform supplies premium rewarded placements & direct offerwalls. It could expand the user base.
Ad formats. AppSamurai includes interstitial, video, native, offerwall, and banner ads.
AI-based real-time optimization. You can increase the efficacy of your campaigns by optimizing them based on your app's historical performance, ad content, and target audience.
1-on-1 client success support. The platform provides 1-on-1 client support throughout and after their app's campaigns for ongoing assistance post-launch, including weekly reports, monthly strategic reviews, and competitor analyses to ensure KPI achievement.
EXADS builds powerful white-label ad-serving platforms customized to the smallest detail for advertisers, publishers, ad networks, and agencies.
It provides all the functionalities necessary to maximize revenues while the teams provide all the support required.
From a fully-fledged ad network infrastructure to publisher ad servers and native, video, mobile, or email ad servers, EXADS covers all the aspects of ad serving, cross-channel and cross-device.
RTB. RTB solutions allow easy integration with the supply or demand partners of the client's choice.
Analytics. EXADS' powerful analytics give the client access to all the data you need to optimize digital advertising and present reports.
Targeting. It provides unrivaled targeting options that help achieve better message reception, engagement, and higher conversion rates.
Ad formats. EXADS includes the following ad formats: display, native, video, pop-up, and rich media ads.
24/7 support. The platform claims to provide around-the-clock customer support.
Unity Ads is a mobile ad network focusing on mobile game monetization.
Unity Ads has its ad exchange with dozens of integrated demand sources. It allows publishers to implement all kinds of mobile ads network and supports all major mobile platforms and operating systems. Detailed reporting and insights are also available.
Support for in-app purchases. It allows developers and publishers to market their apps to the right audience.
Ad formats. The platform includes all available kinds of mobile ad formats.
Reporting and analytics. Unity Ads provides detailed reporting and analytics tools, allowing advertisers to track ad performance and optimize their campaigns for higher ROI.
Payment model. You can run CPC, CPV, CPM, and CPI campaigns with Unity Ads.
HilltopAds is one of the best CPM ad networks for publishers and advertisers from all over the world.
The unique feature of HilltopAds is traffic segmentation by quality and activity of users.
First, HilltopAds algorithms remove all bot/cheated traffic.
Further, the remaining traffic sources are segmented into 3 groups:
- The high-quality segment contains the sources of the highest quality traffic that will convert your ad in the best possible way. If traffic quality decreases, such a source is automatically excluded from your campaign. You don't have to do anything;
- The medium quality segment contains users with average quality and activity scores. This segment is ideal for scaling your campaign after testing high-activity traffic;
- The low activity segment contains users who are least likely to perform the target action but are not bot traffic. Suitable for those who want the maximum number of impressions at the lowest prices.
Benefits for Publishers
- Fast sign-up process and instant activation of your account. You can sell your traffic right after registration;
- No minimum traffic requirements;
- Flexible setup of the advertisement, placement area, and display frequency on your website;
- Direct link traffic is accepted;
- High CPM for high-quality traffic.
Benefits for Advertisers
- Auto Optimization;
- High ROI and low CPM for top GEOs;
- Instant approval.
PropellerAds is a multisource advertising platform providing access to unique traffic sources and AI-based ad-serving/optimization tools for media buyers, agencies, brand owners, and affiliate marketers.
PropellerAds' in-house developments, such as advertisement rotation algorithms, allow you to analyze a large number of users by numerous parameters and find the most suitable audience for each offer.
- CPA Goal bidding — AI algorithm that tests many ad placements and automatically picks the best bid (auction price) for each placement taking into account the desired conversion price set by an advertiser. So partners don't have to filter, blacklist, or whitelist zones (ad placements) manually. Based on PropellerAds' tests, the traffic price is 40% less than with the manual bidding models;
- Interest Targeting for push notifications is the exclusive targeting option of this company.
Based on data of the latest user acquisition activity in the system and big data predictions, this feature allows bringing users together in groups with the highest probability of relevant interest to an offer. The groups include various affiliate marketing verticals.
- Direct click allows testing an offer with the most-engaged audience that the system identified. This traffic type will most likely bring desired conversions based on PropellerAds algorithms and system predictions;
- Multiformat CPA Goal campaign — showing ads to the broadest possible audience with just a couple of extra clicks is possible. Turning on this feature advertiser lets the system automatically copy the campaign parameters to other ad formats — push, in-page push, or onclick, depending on the initial format. Thus, no need to set up extra creatives and copy targeting settings manually.
Amazon Publisher Services
Amazon Publisher Services (APS) allows publishers and app developers to monetize mobile app traffic through an array of mobile ad formats.
The platform comes with unique Amazon ad demand and available integrations with other demand sources. APS uses in-app header bidding technology and comes with an array of analytics tools.
While APS offers great features and tools, joining the platform can be challenging.
Transparent. This network provides zero fees and direct relationships with programmatic advertising buyers.
Unified. A single contract gives the client access to unique demand from Amazon and other advertisers.
Broad Reach. Integrations require no extra development work and come with APS customer support.
Ad formats. The platform includes the following ad formats: display, audio, video ads, banner ads, and pre-roll video ads.
To sum up
Determining which mobile ad network is the best is impossible because each provides distinct and unique benefits. According to the requirements of their business, publishers and advertisers will be required to make a decision.
From a publisher's perspective, you should seek out a mobile ad network that offers you high eCPMs, insight reports, and a variety of advertising styles.
From the advertiser's perspective, you should find the best features, including high ROI and low CPM for top GEOs. Today media buying algorithms on these platforms are based on machine learning, artificial intelligence, and smart targeting data management.
Using this list, you can quickly assess which mobile ad networks suit your needs best.
Irina Kovalenko, CMO of SmartyAds