Top 15 Mobile Ad Networks for an Easy App Monetisation

Mobile advertising has a supply and demand side. The supply side is made up of publishers, demand comes from the advertisers, and mobile ad networks bring both sides together. A Mobile Ad Network essentially serves as the middleman in the supply-demand chain and moving inventory (i.e. ad space and ads) either directly or through reselling.

Since companies can be an advertiser and publisher at the same time, mobile ad networks can help businesses publish ads and generate profit. As a different income stream for businesses, this can become a win-win situation if your ad space revenues can pay for the traffic generated from your ad placements. For app developers, mobile ad networks can help in growing and monetising their apps.

Of course, unlike the traditional ad network servicing digital platforms, mobile ad networks specifically push ads to mobile users through in-app advertising. Some mobile ad networks also provide additional services for users. Aside from the analytics, big advertisers enlist the ad network’s help in producing the ads.

If you’re still not caught up, we are now living in a “mobile first” world because people spend most of their time on their phones and mobile devices. So, if you want to reach consumers, you need to get their attention while they’re using their favourite apps. This is also why more and more apps are popping up because it does not only promote their products and services, apps can also generate income for businesses from ad space.

What are Mobile Ad Networks?

Mobile ad networks are platforms for buying and selling inventory for publishers and advertisers. App developers or publishers use different mobile ad networks offers to sell ad space, while marketers or advertisers  use the platform to buy ad space. Here is an overview of ad network benefits for publishers and advertisers:

Publishers

Publishers can benefit from mobile ad networks because they can sell ad spaces that have been sold. Instead of actively selling to or negotiating with clients, the platform is doing the work for you.

Advertisers

The largest mobile ad networks for advertisers can help centralise their campaigns with analytics within a single platform for easier report generation. Second, advertisers can save time since the platform already processes the insertions for different publishers. Finally, reach and frequency can be adjusted accordingly and applied to the entire campaign.

How to Use Mobile Ad Networks?

In general, an ad network works as follows:

  • The platform aggregates different publishers to generate enough inventory for advertisers to bid on.
  • The advertiser uses the platform directly to set up their advertising campaigns on the panel. You can also use a third party if you want to consolidate campaigns from multiple ad networks.
  • When creating the campaign, the advertiser will also set the parameters such as the budget, frequency caps, targeting, etc.
  • Once the ad is published, the advertiser can rotate different banners on the app using the panel without contacting the specific publishers.

For quality control, the ideal mobile ad network will allow publishers filter out the ads that will be shown in their app. For instance, a kid-friendly app should filter out adult content and the like, or you may opt to block competitor ads. Usually, you will be able to choose categories which you do not want to show on your site. Other ad networks may let you filter out ads based on keywords or URL. Of course, the more keywords you filter out, the less advertisements will appear on your space.

Pro Tip: Contact the ad network to learn about the specifics of filtering so you avoid disastrous results.

Here are other important terms to remember:

NFR (No Fill Rate)

The ad network determines suitable ads for your space based on their calculations and the parameters you set. In some cases, there will be no advertisements available, either because they ran out of budget for ads or there are no suitable ads for your parameters. This is NFR and when this happens, the space may show up blank on your app or a house adverts will take its place.

House adverts

House adverts are usually free on most mobile advertising networks . It is an advertisement of your own products and services which can be used as fillers when there are no suitable ads for your app at given times.

Mediating networks

If you don’t want to be stuck with a single advertising network, you can choose to avail the service of an advertising mediator. Mediating networks essentially engage with multiple networks to bid for your advertising locations.

Pros:  Depending on the NFR, you can choose one network over all others to ensure your spaces are filled at its maximum. You also have the control over what ad networks to include, although you still need to sign a contract per advertising network.

Cons: One downside to using a mediating network is that a percentage of your earnings will go to them as commission. In addition, the mediator may cause duplicate ads appearing in your spaces which could annoy your users.

Ad Targeting in Mobile Ad Networks

To make sure your ads reach the right audience, here are several targeting options available for you:

  • Geotargeting narrows down where your ad appears based on a specific country or region.
  • Device targeting shows ads based on specific mobile devices. This can be based on consumer research or perhaps you simply want to control the size and appearance of your ad for maximum effect.
  • Carrier targeting has to do with the user’s provider. Some areas may have better signal for a particular provider, for example. Or perhaps your consumer research show that your target market prefers a certain carrier over the other. This can narrow down your targeting.
  • OS, such as Android or iOS, can also be targeted based on your preference.
  • Connection lets you target users based on how they are connected to the Internet— via ethernet, Wi-Fi, 5G or LTE connection.
  • Interests will target users based on what they like. This targeting is generally available for mobile ad networks that collect user date, so they’re able to build a profile of users and target them accordingly.
  • Gender

Getting Paid in Mobile Ad Network

So how exactly do you earn from a mobile ad network? There are 5 major business models or mobile ad networks payment schemes: CPM, CPC, CPI, CPA and CPV.

  • CPM (cost-per-mile) or Cost per Thousand (CPT), is the advertising cost for every thousand views or clicks. CPM based mobile ad networks are the best business models for high-traffic apps because you will be paid each time the ad appears in your space.
  • Pay Per Click (PPC), or Cost per Click (CPC), refers to the advertising fee each time the ad is clicked. Advertisers prefer this because there is a conscious action on the part of the user (i.e. a click) and they only pay for every instance of the action.
  • CPI (cost-per-install) charges for every app install. This is the one most direct impact to your ROI.
  • Cost per Action (CPA) is the fee each time a specific action is completed (e.g. app installs, product purchases, add-to-carts)
  • Cost per View (CPV)is the fee for each instance a video campaign gets played. Since more and more advertisers use video to promote their products and services, this business has become more and more popular these days.

The Best Mobile Ad Networks 2020

Before discussing the list of mobile ad networks in 2020, start by asking yourself whether you want to be an advertiser, a publisher, or both. You can narrow down your options based on your decision.

AdMob

AdMob, owned and operated by Google, serves over 200 billion global ad requests every month. They have over 1 million advertisers as well as a million apps on the ad network. Users can cross-sell other apps using house ads free of charge, make deals directly with advertisers, and conduct automatic updates using Google Play services. Targeting includes connection type, mobile platform, country, region, carrier, OS version, audience (user profile data), and device.

Supported OS: iOS, Android, Unity, Cocos

Types of Campaign:  CPM, CPC, CPI

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads is top-tier among ad networks. Facebook Ads uses a “mobile first” model for publishing ads. Compared to others on this list, Facebook Ads has the best ad format, reporting, and targeting capabilities because of wealth of user information they collect. Targeting includes location, device, age, gender, interests, mobile OS, OS version, and mobile user language. This platform can run ad campaigns on Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Audience Network (for web-based ads), Workplace (their business app).

Supported OS: iOS, Android, Web

Types of Campaign:  CPI, CPM

InMobi

If you want to veer away from Facebook and Google’s duopoly, InMobi is one of your top choices. This independent mobile ad network has a large operation with a global reach. They have mobile ad networks UK, US, Europe, India, and South Africa. InMobi ad campaigns can reach over 1.5 billion mobile users. Big brands like Ford and Levi’s use InMobi for their mobile ad campaigns. Targeting includes channel, carrier, country, operator, device, time, and OS.

Supported OS: Android, iOS, Mobile Web

Types of Campaign:  CPC, CPI

AdColony

AdColony is one of the biggest mobile ad networks that operates globally, reaching billions of people. Its key market is the US and supports rich media and video. Among its features are mobile video integration strategies, HD technology, and innovative monetisation technology,

Supported OS: Android, IOS

Types of Campaign:  CPM

Collectcent

This is one of the biggest mobile ad networks in India, but they have a global presence with teams in China, Indonesia, Singapore, India, Canada, and Israel. Their AI and big data technology make them a leader in programmatic driven mobile user acquisition.

Supported OS: Android, IOS

Types of Campaign:  Cost Per Install (CPI), Cost Per Lead (CPL), Cost Per Acquisition (CPA), Cost Per Sale (CPS)

Headway

Headway’s data-driven digital solutions powered by Machine Learning help provide optimised and targeted ad campaigns to users. You also have experienced growth experts at your disposal, so the personal  touch is not lost in all the innovations.

Supported OS: Android, IOS

Types of Campaign:  CPA, CPI

myAppFree

Founded in 2015, myAppFree is a performance-based advertising platform for advertisers and publishers. It’s unique selling point compared to other platforms is its access to more than 40 plus Sony Xperia users. They also own App Discovery which lets users discover top-rated mobile apps. Ad targeting options include Geo, Audience, OS, Interests, and Platform.

Supported OS: Android, iOS, Windows Phone

Types of Campaign:  CPA, CPC, CPI

ConsoliAds

ConsoliAds gives advertisers access to over 12,000 wide-ranging and high-performing apps. These apps can deliver over 350 million ad impressions and up to up to 10% in impression-to-install conversion. In addition, they can deliver CPI around $.0.40. You can target ads based on Demographic, Country, Device, OS, Geo, and Time.

Supported OS: Android, IOS, Mobile Web

Types of Campaign:  CPC, CPI, CPM

Adsperfection

Adsperfection helps both advertisers and publishers with in-app monetisation and user acquisition. Advertisers can acquire engaged and paying users for apps and services and purchase media at scale while preventing fraud with their advanced solutions. Meanwhile, publishers get to profit from their high impact monetisation solutions, boost their eCPM with flexible ad formats, and deal directly with popular apps worldwide.

Supported OS: iOS, Android

Types of Campaign:  CPA, CPC, CPI, CPL, CPM, CPS

Startapp

Use this platform to quickly set up and launch ad campaigns, control your audience, design creatives, and set the budget. Unlike other ad networks, Startapp has uniquely distinct designs for animated and interactive ads. They also have  data-enhanced targeting based on the user data they have collected from over 300,000 native ad units and apps. Targeting includes Carrier, App, Competitors, Device, Connection Type, Geo, Gender, and OS.

Supported OS: Android, iOS

Types of Campaign:  CPA, CPC, CPI, CPM

Outbrain

Outbrain is the global frontrunner when it comes to discovery and native advertising. Native advertising is a type of ad that match the look and feel of the medium it appears in. This is a globally trusted platform used by many emerging and established brands to manage and monetise their publishing operations. Outbrain has presence in 55 countries with offices in 18 cities worldwide and headquartered in New York City. Targeting includes Platform, Location, Interests, OS, and Demographic.

Supported OS: Android, iOS

Types of Campaign:  CPC

Zucks

This Japan-based mobile ad network dominates the mobile market in Asia. Their large number of campaigns can help boost app downloads in addition to CPI,CPA, and CPC. On average, their ads can reach over 10,000 users each on iOS and Android. Their comprehensive targeting system includes Carrier, Channel, Content, Audience, Behavioural, Country, Custom, Language, Demographic, Device, OS, and Platform. They can also deliver both incentivised and non-incentivised ads.

Supported OS: Android, iOS, HTML5

Types of Campaign:  CPA, CPC, CPI, CPM, CPV

App Samurai

App Samurai is ideal for start-ups because you don’t need access to a bunch of app marketing tools to launch an ad campaign. In fact, you don’t need a deep knowledge about mobile advertising to use this platform, although it would certainly add to your advantage.

Supported OS: Android, iOS, HTML5

Types of Campaign:  CPA, CPC, CPI, CPM, CPV

The highest paying mobile ad networks are currently AdMob, Facebook Ads, and InMobi. Their size, reach, and data analytics are unmatched. The huge number of Facebook and Google users, for example, means they can leverage their big data capabilities for precise targeting and better ad campaigns overall.

Those reasons also make AdMob and Facebook Ads as the best paying mobile ad networks for small publishers precisely because you won’t have to spend for other digital marketing tools to get the insights, reach, and conversion that bigger companies can get from their huge arsenal of digital marketing strategies.

Recently, however, TikTok is gaining marketer’s interest because of the app’s high engagement and growing users. This China-based platform is increasingly seen as an alternative to Google and Facebook, especially when it comes to reaching the younger demographic.

Reddit is also another interesting network to explore for advertisers and publishers looking to reach niche markets. After all, if you are a gaming business, ad networks for mobile games or mobile video ad networks will be a better choice than huge yet generic ad networks for mobile apps. Since Reddit is divided in specific communities with typically high engagement from its users, ads that appear here will have more traction and conversion rate.

With the right strategy and the rights tools, your publishing profits on a suitable mobile ad network can pay off your mobile advertising budget or perhaps even exceed it. As with anything, the biggest and largest are not always the best tool for promotion. Sometimes, you need a smaller, more precise implement to create a deeper impression.

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