Top App Install Ad Platforms (2020)

Updated: November 19, 2020

There are several business models that serve as a foundation for mobile app advertising. Each model defines for what specific performance or action an ad company charges advertisers. The most popular models are CPM (cost-per-mile), CPC (cost-per-click), CPI (cost-per-install) and CPA (cost-per-action).

Among these models, CPI and CPA are the most efficient ones for app marketers user acquisition efforts. They allow brands to measure actual ROI (return-of-investment) for a budget they allocate to advertise their apps. With a proper ad campaign data analysis, app installs ads allow app marketers to acquire high quality users and expand their app’s user base.

Since the dawn of both major mobile app ecosystems – iOS and Android –  mobile user acquisition has been a challenge for app developers and brands. App stores alone weren’t sufficient to meet app developers needs in acquiring new app users, primarily because of the app discoverability problem. To meet this demand, co-called, Pay Per Install networks were launched that allowed marketers to buy app installs ads in bulk.

There are dozens of such networks that offer app marketers a technical platform to generate mobile app installs. The efficiency of these networks depends on their reach, ad formats and the number of different targeting options they support. In size such networks range from giants like Facebook, Google, Twitter that offer the best targeting options to smaller players that compete in CPI costs, better customer support or better reach in specific geographies.

Because of the overwhelming success of Facebook Ads that helped the company to generate the bulk of its revenue on mobile, other companies picked up the trend fairly quickly. The first one who followed was Twitter, with Twitter ads back in 2012, Pinterest with Pinterest for Business in 2014 and finally Snapchat joined the app install race the same 2014. The most recent addition to this family was TikTok in 2019 with is advertising platform for video ads.

All these platforms leverage their multi-million user base profile data to target app install ads like other advertising platforms simply weren’t capable.

Now the question is – how much do app marketers pay for a mobile app install on various app install ad platforms, as well as on Facebook?  The following table presents CPI data points for iOS and Android for US app market in July of 2019.

An average app user acquisition cost

Mobile OSUSChina
iOS$1.56$0.97
Android$1.86$0.17

Source: Chartboost

Meanwhile, according to BusinessInsider data, mobile app install advertising revenue jumped from $3.6 billion in 2014 to $4.7 in 2015. Also Business Insider Intelligence data reveals estimates for this and previous years –  in 2018 app install advertising revenue reached $6.7 billion and in 2019 – $7.

Mobile App Install Advertising Revenue (US), in billions

Source: Business Insider

Of course today an app install and user acquisition are no longer the only app marketers concerns. App re-targeting or reengagement campaigns are increasingly common on app advertising platforms. One of reasons for the initial drive to get mobile app installs was to achieve high ranking on app stores with so-called burst campaigns.

The idea of a burst campaign was simple – generate a big number of downloads within a short period of time and signal an app store algorithm that the app needs to be ranked high on a chart. As time went by, both Apple and Google became smarter about their ranking algorithms and so burst campaign became way less effective. It forced app marketers to change their app marketing strategy and ultimately they began to pay more attention to mobile app users engagement to retain them and counteract a mobile churn.

Below you can see the list of major networks and platforms that offer app installs – some of them work on a CPI model and others use a CPC or CPM based trading approach but with the focus on delivering app installs and users.

AdColony

The In-App Marketplace for Brands

10
(1 vote)
(1) REVIEWS
FoundedEmployeesRevenuesSocialTraffic
2008400$192m+25k4m+

Founded in 2011, AdColony was created by mobile developers, for mobile developers and has grown into one of the largest mobile advertising and monetization platforms in the world with a reach of more than 1.5 billion users globally. AdColony is known for its exclusive Instant-Play™ HD video, Aurora™ HD Interactive video, and playable technologies, its global performance advertising expertise, its programmatic marketplace, and its extensive ad SDK footprint in the top apps worldwide.

  • Mobile platforms: Android, IOS
  • Campaign types: CPM
  • Ad formats supported: Rich Media, Video
  • Targeting: Demographic
  • Key markets: US
Learn more about AdColony
FoundedEmployeesRevenuesSocialTraffic
201251-200---
...Zoomd’s platform will be able to design campaigns to suit their digital marketing objectives - be it app installs, user engagement, or any other type of campaign that is technically practicable on Zoomd's....

Zoomd is dedicated to helping advertisers and publishers achieve their key performance indicators (KPIs) through a patented, performance-based advertising platform. The Company’s User Acquisition platform unifies more than 600 media sources under one dashboard including Google, TikTok, Samsung premium inventory and much more.

  • Business Models – Choose your preferred business model CPC/CPI/CPO/CPE/CPA
  • Fraud – Detection as part of the platform, adding you an extra layer of safety
  • Measurement – integrated to all major 3rd party mobile measurement solutions
  • Cost-efficiency – Save countless resources by managing all campaigns under one screen
  • Data Play – Enjoy machine decisions based on more than 500Million data points a day
Learn more about Zoomd

Snapchat Ads

It's your business - on mobile

10
(1 vote)
(1) REVIEWS

Snapchat Ads is the Snap Inc. advertising platform that allows businesses to advertise on the platform with Snap’s unique ad formats and reach Millennials audience that has developed a high level of trust with the platform. Snapchat has 187 million daily active users that open the app 25 times a day on average and spend 30+ minutes with the app. Snap has partnered with multiple companies to better connect advertisers with snapchatters communities.

  • Mobile platforms: iOS, Android
  • Campaign types: CPI, CPC
  • Ad formats supported: Snap Ads, Filters, Lenses
  • Targeting: 300 audiences based on data derived from what content snapchatters watch, buy and post on the platform, demographics, lookalike audiences.
  • Key markets: global, the Basic plan is US only.
Learn more about Snapchat Ads

StartApp

Mobile monetization and marketing

10
(3 votes)
(3) REVIEWS

Startapp is a mobile advertising company. It provides a self-serve platform for advertisers to quickly build and launch ad campaigns, controlling audience, creatives and budget aspects of their campaigns. Among features that sets it aside from other ad networks are uniquely designed animated and interactive ads, data-enhanced targeting, using data derived from over 300,000 mobile apps and native ad units.

  • Mobile platforms: Android, iOS
  • Campaign types: CPA, CPC, CPI, CPM
  • Ad formats supported: App Icon, Full Page Ads, InApp Ads, Interstitial, Video
  • Targeting: App, Carrier, Competitors, Connection Type, Device, Gender, Geo, OS
  • Key Markets: Global
Learn more about StartApp

Twitter Ads

Solutions to help you achieve your business goals

10
(1 vote)
(1) REVIEWS
FoundedEmployeesRevenuesSocialTraffic
20063,9003,000m57m4,000+

Twitter Ads is the Twitter advertising platform that allows app marketers to drive traffic to their apps from both on Twitter and off Twitter channels. In terms of targeting options and reach its rivals are only Facebook and Google. Twitter ads support deep linking technology that allows app marketers to link an ad to a specific part of a mobile app content.

  • Mobile platforms: iOS, Android
  • Campaign types: CPI, CPC, CPM
  • Ad formats supported: auto-generated ads with creatives an app has on the App Store.
  • Targeting: mobile OS, OS version, device (iPhone / iPad), location, gender, age, mobile connection type
  • Key markets: global
Learn more about Twitter Ads

Adcash

Performance Marketing Made Easy

5
(3 votes)
(3) REVIEWS

Adcash Performance DSP+ is a smart online advertising platform for media buyers, affiliates, ad networks, and publishers worldwide. Advanced in-house optimization technology and 11+ years’ experience provide your business with a performance marketing platform that meets your advertising goals. The platform stands out from its competitors by offering a complete package for advertising and monetization alike! Adcash has a worldwide audience, protects the users from ad fraud and thus provides real traffic while optimizing the campaigns to deliver the best possible results. That way advertisers can reach their audience and get a high ROI while publishers can boost their ad revenue.

  • Mobile platforms: Android, iOS
  • Campaign types: CPC, CPM
  • Ad formats supported: In-App, Interstitial
  • Targeting: Geo, Language, keywords
Learn more about Adcash

AppLovin

Turns mobile into the medium of choice for brands

10
(1 vote)
(1) REVIEWS

Applovin is a marketing automation and analytics company, founded by Adam Foroughi and Andrew Karam in San Francisco, US. The core goal of the Approvin mobile ad network operations is delivering high quality users. To acquire such users the platform analyzes all ad campaign results to focus the consequent campaign on app users who will most likely to interact and transact inside an advertiser’s mobile app.

  • Mobile platforms: iOS, Android, Mobile Web
  • Campaign types: CPC, CPA
  • Ad formats supported: Custom
  • Targeting: Custom, Re-targeting
  • Key Markets: United States
Learn more about AppLovin

Mintegral

A mobile advertising platform helps grow your mobile app business in APAC

10
(1 vote)
(1) REVIEWS
FoundedEmployeesRevenuesSocialTraffic
2016201-500-40066,000k

Mintegral is an AI-driven, programmatic and interactive ad platform. It provides mobile user acquisition and monetisation solutions to worldwide brands and mobile developers so they can reach their marketing goals. With a particular focus on the Asia-Pacific region, Mintegral offers full stack products and one-stop mobile marketing and analytics services, from supply-side to demand-side, including Advertiser Self-serve, DSP, SSP, DMP and Creative Lab.

Learn more about Mintegral

InMobi

Mobile ads, analytics & monetization

10
(1 vote)
(1) REVIEWS
For Advertisers InMobi enables advertisers to acquire users and drive app installs.

InMobi is the largest independent mobile ad network with global reach in markets including the UK, Europe, US, South Africa and India. InMobi offers advertisers to reach over 1,5 billion mobile users across more than 32,000 mobile properties to choose from. With InMobile mobile ad network, advertisers can launch brand engagement, user acquisition or remarking ad campaigns. Acquisition of a mobile rich media company Sprout allows InMobi to offer premium mobile ads as well as a huge volume of other inventory. Advertisers include leading brands such as Ford and Levis.

  • Mobile platforms: Android, iOS, Mobile Web
  • Campaign types: CPC, CPI
  • Ad formats supported: Banner, Native, Video, Interstitial, Rich Media
  • Targeting: carrier, channel, country, device, operator, os, time
  • Key Markets: Europe, India, Japan, Kenya, South Africa, UK, United States
Learn more about InMobi

Digital Turbine

Right App. Right Person. Right Time

10
(2 votes)
(2) REVIEWS

Digital Turbine is a mobile app advertising platform for app delivery and discovery. The company is double down on a mobile native format to allow advertisers cut through the noice and reach out their target audience. Digital Turbine bypasses app stores and partners with major global telecom companies to introduce apps to mobile users with sponsored recommendations and native preloads.

  • Mobile platforms: iOS, Android, Mobile Web
  • Campaign types: CPC, CPI
  • Ad formats supported: Banners, Interstitial, Native, Offer Wall
  • Targeting: Geo, OS
  • Key Markets: Asia, Europe, USA
Learn more about Digital Turbine

Facebook Ads

The biggest digital advertising platform

10
(1 vote)
(1) REVIEWS
FoundedEmployeesRevenuesSocialTraffic
200736,00055,800m17m27,000+

Facebook Ads is the biggest digital advertising platform with a major focus on mobile ads. It features the best ad format, targeting and reporting capabilities in the industry. The platform allows mobile app advertisers to run ad campaigns on their choice on Facebook itself, its Messenger app, Instagram, Audience Network (to show ads across the web) and its app for businesses Workplace.

  • Mobile platforms: iOS, Android, Web
  • Campaign types: CPI, CPM
  • Ad formats supported: banners, carousel banners, video, slideshow
  • Targeting: age, gender, location, device, mobile OS, OS version, interests, mobile user language.
  • Key markets: global
Learn more about Facebook Ads

Liftoff

Drive campaigns for post-install events

10
(1 vote)
(1) REVIEWS

Liftoff is Cost-Per-Action optimized mobile user acquisition platform for app marketers. It provides CPI campaigns optimization via tracking post-install events for apps. It also provides retargeting features to bring mobile users back to a specific app and lookalike features to connect mobile apps with users similar to people who already use these apps.

  • Mobile platforms: iOS, Android, Mobile Web
  • Campaign types: CPI, CPA
  • Ad formats supported: Custom
  • Targeting: lookalike, retargeting,
  • Key Markets: Global
Learn more about Liftoff

App Samurai

Self-Service Mobile Advertising Tool for Startups

10
(2 votes)
(2) REVIEWS

Mobile ad planning, execution and analysis are complicated for startups because they cannot reach all available app marketing tools. App Samurai makes it easy for them without requiring in-depth mobile advertising knowledge!

Thanks to App Samurai, you can easily create, manage, and measure acquisition campaigns, boost campaigns, and video campaigns to acquire qualified users.

Learn more about App Samurai


Reddit Ads is an advertising platform from Reddit. It allows advertisers to reach specific audiences on the platform, either as self-service or via managed service. With Reddit Ads brands can tap into one of the biggest online communities that has extremely diverse set of interests.

  • Mobile platforms: iOS, Android
  • Campaign types: CPA
  • Ad formats supported: Social
  • Targeting: Custom
  • Key markets: UK, USA
Learn more about Reddit Ads

Pinterest Ads

Visual discovery, collection, and storage tool

10
(3 votes)
(3) REVIEWS

Promoted App Pins is a mobile app advertising platform from Pinterest. It allows app marketers to generate installs via pins.Pins associated with iOS or Android apps have an app icon and install button attached to them for mobile users to tap on and download an app. Among Pinterest mobile measuring partners are Adjust, AppsFlyer, Kochava, TUNE and Apsalar.

  • Mobile platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
  • Campaign types: CPA
  • Ad formats supported: App Icon
  • Targeting: Custom
  • Key markets: Global
Learn more about Pinterest Ads

ironSource is the leading in-app video advertising platform. It is one of the biggest and oldest mobile advertising platforms launched in 2010. Focusing on mobile games, it makes free-to-play and free-to-use possible for over 1.5B people around the world. Over 80,000 app developers use its technologies to grow their businesses, among these such leading companies like Kongregate, Zeptolab, Big Fish Games, Zynga and Playrix.

  • Mobile platforms: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Cocos, Amazon, AdobeAir
  • Campaign types: CPC, CPE, CPA, CPV
  • Ad formats supported: App Wall, Interstitial, Offer Wall, Video
  • Targeting: Custom
  • Key Markets: United States, Israel
Learn more about ironSource

Appnext

The Leading Mobile Discovery & Re-engagement Platform​

10
(2 votes)
(2) REVIEWS


Appnext is one of the largest independent app discovery platforms, offering the only recommendation engine on the market, which encompasses both in-app and on-device discovery. Appnext discovery platform powers 4B daily app recommendations via over 20 interactions along users’ daily mobile journey.

Through its direct partnerships with top OEMs, operators and app developers, Appnext creates a discovery experience in over 10,000 mobile touchpoints. Powered by proprietary AI technology, Appnext ‘Timeline’ predicts the type of apps users are likely to utilize next and recommends which ones to install. Appnext’s recommendations are helping app marketers reach more engaged users and get their apps discovered, used and re-used.

As of June 2020, Appnext is part of the Affle group. Affle (India) Limited trades on the Indian stock exchanges (BSE: 542752 & NSE: AFFLE).

  • Mobile platforms: Android
  • Campaign types: CPI, CPC
  • Ad formats supported: Premium on-device Placements, Interstitial, Native Ads, Rewarded videos,
  • Targeting: City, Device Model, Time of day, OS, Placements
  • Key Markets: Global
Learn more about Appnext

ChartBoost

For developers, by developers

10
(1 vote)
(1) REVIEWS

Chartboost is an in-app monetization and programmatic advertising company, founded in 2011 by Sean Fannan and Maria Alegre in San Francisco, US. Chartboost mobile ad network provides advertisers with a platform for a cross-promotion with native ads, sophisticated targeting and tracking. Also the company provides mobile game owners with developer-t0-developer mobile ad marketplace to exchange ads inside their apps directly.

  • Mobile platforms: iOS, Android
  • Campaign types: CPC, CPI
  • Ad formats supported: Content Lock, Interstitial, OfferWall, Video
  • Targeting: Custom
  • Key Markets: global, United States
Learn more about ChartBoost

Taptica

Engage valuable users on mobile

10
(1 vote)
(1) REVIEWS

Taptica is a mobile user acquisition platform, offering ML algorithms powered advertising solutions to brands and app developers. With a big network of approved publishers, Taptica is capable to reach more than 200 million mobile users worldwide. On the advertising side of things, the platform focuses on generating relevant and loyal audiences for apps and games and also offers a high volume of media, including RTB exchanges.

  • Mobile platforms: Android, IOS
  • Campaign types: CPA, CPC
  • Ad formats supported: Banners, Interstitial, Text, Video
  • Targeting: Custom
  • Key Markets: Latin America, USA
Learn more about Taptica

Google App Campaigns

Universal App campaigns that streamline the process for you

10
(1 vote)
(1) REVIEWS

With App Campaigns, Google provides app marketers with a single platform to promote iOS and Android apps via Google Search, YouTube, Google Play and more. The platform’s dashboard offers quick and easy-to-use interface to create an ad or set of ads, choose daily budget and define goals for the platform’s ML algorithm to define the rest to optimize an ad campaign performance.

  • Mobile platforms: iOS, Android
  • Campaign types: CPA
  • Ad formats supported: In-app
  • Targeting: Geo, demographics, interests, OS, time
  • Key markets: Global
Learn more about Google App Campaigns

 

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