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One of the most profound shifts in the ad industry is that mobile apps have become a major inventory for ads to be displayed in, replacing the traditional mobile web. Mobile ad networks were then launched to serve as a handy tool of the ad tech field.
With mobile being responsible for almost half of web traffic, generating 54.4% in the fourth quarter of 2021 alone, developers and advertisers want to take advantage of ad networks to target relevant audiences and scale their ad buys efficiently.
Ad networks are diverse and finding the most suitable and reliable format for mobile apps with specific niches can be a challenge. We have therefore compiled a list of the top ad networks along with a guide that provides a full breakdown of how ad networks work and what business models they offer.
The mobile advertising industry landscape consists of two major parts – supply, which is presented by publishers and a Supply Side Platform (SSP), which aggregates mobile inventory across hundreds of thousands of publishers. Demand, on the other hand, is presented by a Demand Side Platform (DSP), which allows advertisers to place mobile ads on publishers’ desktop or mobile inventory.
A mobile ad network function is to therefore serve as a middle point between these two ends of the value chain, moving inventory across both supply and demand, either directly or via reselling or re-broking of inventory.
In essence, ad networks retrieve available inventories, meaning ad spots, from a publisher and sell them to advertisers and app developers who are looking to monetize or grow their apps. They have access to inventory of several relevant publishers, instead of them having to contact publishers individually.
This way, top ad networks help advertisers boost their buys, providing a comprehensive overview of the diverse and complex digital landscape, while also offering efficient monitoring and tracking support of ad campaign performance.
Publisher dynamics aren’t limited to mobile traffic delivery and providing performance stats either. More often than not, when an advertiser’s budget is high, ad networks get involved in the ad creatives production.
For instance, in the case of video ads, ad networks can substantially improve advertisers’ ad campaign efficiency and increase its revenue significantly.
Most importantly, choosing the right mobile ad network for your campaign will ensure that you receive the right advertising option that brings you revenue by showing relevant ads that are of value to your target users.
For publishers, networks can be an important part of their monetization strategy, as ad networks help publishers sell their inventory. And with in-application advertising emerging as a prime form of mobile advertising in the marketing world, app ad network platforms are equally growing in importance.
One of the most profound shifts in the mobile ad industry is that mobile apps have become the major inventory for ads to be displayed in, replacing traditional mobile web. And the reason behind this transition is simply that most people spend their time browsing through their mobile devices, using apps instead of the web like they used to do.
And as the mobile advertising industry continues to grow, it becomes more apparent that moving all operations into the online programmatic area is the only way to go. This way, you will be able to accommodate far greater advertising volumes, allowing the increasing number of advertisers to manage their ad campaigns efficiently, and mobile publishers to maximize their inventory monetization.
The downside of the programmatic approach, however, is that it produces lower engagement rates and may even expose advertisers to a higher risk of ad fraud. While mobile advertising is more relevant compared to manual ad campaigns, it can even be harmful for brands in cases where their ads are occasionally being placed on websites that contain questionable content.
Nonetheless, the trend of advertising automation continues at a steady pace, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms are praised as the new way to tackle multiple challenges that digital advertising faces. In fact, AI is the technology that many industries embrace to handle big data volumes and help them gain valuable insights, all the while increasing its efficiency.
Before you choose the top ad network for your business, let us dissect the advantages and disadvantages of the concept. This will allow you to make a more informed decision when selecting from our list of the best ad networks in the industry.
Ad Networks – Pros & Cons
Now, before we start profiling the top mobile ad networks, let us take a look at how mobile ad networks typically work and identify the different categories and layers that describe a mobile ad network.
How do ad networks work?
In essence, mobile ad networks are designed to buy and sell inventory from various mobile publishers, segmenting these inventories based on demographics and selling the categorized impressions to advertisers who are looking for similar impressions.
As we mentioned earlier, ad networks conveniently offer a wide range of pricing models that include cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-acquisition (CPA), and cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM).
Moreover, there are several types of business models to run your ad campaigns on as well as a variety of ad formats and targeting strategies. Understanding the depths of ad networks will allow you to identify the top ad network that will work for your unique mobile app.
Mobile advertising business models
All mobile ad networks provide users with several types of business models to run ad campaigns with. There are 5 major types – CPM, CPC, CPI, CPA and CPV.
With CPM (cost-per-mile) type, an advertiser is charged each time her or his ads are shown 1,000 times (so-called ‘a mile’). It’s the best business model for publishers, because it allows to make money every time an ad was displayed. If they have a stable predictable traffic, it allows publishers to forecast their revenue. The down side is that they may loose some extra revenue, if their app or website audience is really interested in a product or service they advertise. For that case CPC model would allow them to make more money.
With CPC (cost-per-click) model an advertiser is charged for each click made on her or his mobile ads. This model works better for advertisers, because it allows them to pay only for instances when an interest to their product or service is explicit (their ads were clicked) and, as mentioned above, in some cases may work for publishers as well. For a publisher this model always presents a certain risk of him serving lots of ad impressions for free.
CPI (cost-per-install) model implies that advertisers are charged only when a click on their ads resulted into an actual mobile app install. It’s a specific case of a more generic CPC business model. Cost-per-install price has become one of the most important metrics for mobile app marketers to measure and keep track of, because essentially it represents a price they pay to acquire customers and hence it should be factor into ROI calculations.
CPA (cost-per-action) type is more advanced version of CPI, when an advertiser is charged for specific action (in-app sale, subscription, form submit, sign up and more) users take inside an app that is advertised on a mobile ad network. This type of a business model presents more opportunities for publishers to monetize their inventory on one hand and more options for advertisers to grow their business on the other.
And finally CPV (cost-per-view) type is applicable to mobile ad networks that provide advertisers with video ad campaigns. With this model, advertisers are charged for each instance their video mobile ad was viewed. With the current pace of a video advertising growth, this model becomes more and more popular.
A full screen ads that cover the interface of their host application. This mobile ad format is most frequently used to display an ad between different app screens and it’s quite often displayed between different levels in a mobile game app.
A classical static or animated image ad, which is placed inside an app’s interface. Such ad may advertise a third party product, other digital or physical goods, as well as an option to expand an app’s functionality.
Either a banner image or video ad that matches the form and function of the app interface it’s displayed in. The core concept of native ads to mimic an app’s interface to be least intrusive compared to other ad formats.
It is an ad unit within a mobile app that provides end users with lots of offers to engage with. The most frequent use case is mobile games, where offerwalls may either advertise third party games or a series of games from the same game developer.
Video ads consist of a short, usually up-to 60 seconds, video clip to advertise products and services. This mobile ad format is most often used within media apps. There are two major types of video ads – in-stream and out-stream. With in-stream type, video ads are displayed full-screen before, after and within video content that is streamed inside an app. With out-stream type video ads are displayed on a web page, displayed inside a mobile app.
Mobile ads reporting
An advertising campaign performance data reporting is one of the key components that is crucial for its success. This information is provided by mobile ad networks to advertisers via an online dashboard. It includes data on such parameters of ads performance as number of impressions, clicks, installs, video ad views, platform, country, ad format and so on.
Mobile ads targeting
There are number of parameters that allow to narrow down a mobile ad campaign reach to a specific audience. These parameters are called targeting options, there are a number of such options but the majors are the following:
It allows to narrow down an ad campaign within a specific country or region. It enables mobile marketers to advertise a product or service that is relevant only within a specific region.
It allows to show ads on specific models of mobile devices only. This type of targeting lets advertisers to display ads on devices with a specific screen size and other hardware requirements, which allows to avoid a mobile ad experience degradation.
With this option, it’s possible to show ads only to mobile users, who are served by a specific mobile carrier. It presents advertisers an opportunity to display ads to mobile users, those mobile carrier provides a better mobile signal reception in a specific area.
it allows to show ads on mobile devices running specific operating system or even particular versions of OS. It gives advertisers a benefit of displaying ads to mobile users on devices that are best to display those ads software wise.
By applying this targeting option, it’s possible to show mobile ads on mobile devices when they are connected to the Internet either via Wifi or 3G/LTE connection.
mobile ad network that collect mobile users data and build their profile allows to narrow down an ad campaign on an audience segment with specific interests only.
This option allows to narrow down an ad campaign to mobile users of a particular gender. Naturally, just like with any kind of advertising such targeting is aimed to market goods specifically to females and males.
How to choose the best ad network?
A successful ad network strategy looks different to individual publishers and advertisers. It will depend on the unique factors of a business’ needs, including the type of inventory, audience location and business size.
But one thing remains the same amongst all publishers looking to partner with a mobile ad network: The best network should serve quality and relevant ads to audiences within your mobile app business. And publishers and advertisers will usually use an ad network together with other digital advertising components, such as DSPs and ad exchanges.
With a sea full of different mobile ad platforms, it can be a challenge to find one that will give your in-app advertising the boost it needs. So when deciding on a top mobile ad network for your app, there are some factors to consider to ensure you pick the best one that offers good rates, a variety of ad formats, high eCPMs as well as efficient audience targeting.
While there are many things you need to consider when partnering with an ad network, there are a few key points to prioritize when making your decision:
Price model, including compensation & payment terms
Ratings of advertiser network
Partner with top ad networks
Mobile ad networks have surely revolutionized the app advertising industry, along with key ad tech players, including the ad exchange, DSPs and SSPs, providing advertisers and publishers the opportunity to effectively target relevant users and increase ROI.
In order to facilitate the process of navigating through the broad advertising landscape, ad networks enable cost-effective ways to buy ad space, surpassing the traditional advertising of manually contacting advertisers and driving automation and their technological advantages with their capabilities.
Take a look at our list of top mobile ad networks for app developers and mobile business owners, and find the right one to work with. To compile this list, we researched the major players in the mobile advertising field, including companies that offer a wide range of ad formats and targeting options, as well as robust statistics and good technical support.
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.
Made for growth, built for app marketers.
At RevX, we help app businesses acquire and re-engage users via programmatic advertising to retain and accelerate revenue. We\'re all about taking your app business to the next growth level!
We help you build sound mobile strategies, combining programmatic UA, app re-engagement, and performance branding to drive the results you need to scale your business: with real users, high retention, and incremental revenue.
A unified audience platform, Affle’s MAAS enables mobile advertisers and app marketers to acquire quality users at scale, across directly integrated publishers, programmatic platforms and relevant app recommendations. Leveraging Affle’s mDMP-based connected device intelligence and Affle’s mFaaS platform, MAAS helps reach out to the most relevant users while maximizing quality. Features like unified transparent reporting, CPCU-focused payouts to managed and self-served offering, MAAS is the one stop shop for all your UA needs.
Tagline: Unified Audience Platform for Mobile User Growth
Services: Mobile-first DSP, Data Management Platform (DMP), fraud detection system, Analysis, Creative Suite
Appska is a performance marketing agency. Our team of professionals has its own programmatic Ad Platform that can provide you 500,000 paid events worldwide monthly.
Hard KPIs are welcome! We have a team of analytics to optimize campaigns
More than 150 traffic sources worldwide (Unity, Snapchat, Xiaomi, Share IT and many others)
Our own anti-fraud solution
CPA model of work.
...Google Business, TrustPilot, Affpaying, Facebook, and TopNetworks to see how CPAlead compares to other mobile ad networks.
Industry leading mobile reward monetization, daily payments and direct relationships with mobile app advertisers is what CPAlead is known for. With more than 1.9 million clients, CPAlead has delivered more than 100 million app installs via CPI and CPE campaigns.
AdsCompass - is a global ad network that offers mutually beneficial cooperation for webmasters, advertisers, media buyers and ad networks.
Having our own Ad Exchange and Self-Serve Platform, we are able to provide all our partners multiple options to collaborate.
Mobupps is are a performance-oriented ad network, with over 10 years of experience in mobile user acquisition. The network leverages an access to private media from over 4,500 direct app publishers, as well as direct integration to all of the major global traffic sources.
Mooko is a leading mobile ad-technology firm equipped with data-driven solutions to elevate our partner’s reach across the ever-competitive digital ecosystem. Backed by over a decade of mobile marketing experience, insights into users acquired and retained are both transparent and scalable for any mobile marketing campaign.
myAppFree is a performance-based advertising platform, founded in 2015 in Italy by Massimo Caroli and Riccardo Fuzzi, that matches advertisers and publishers. One of the unique features it offers in terms of inventory for advertisers is an access to 40 million plus Sony Xperia smartphone users, as well as own App Discovery that features the best mobile apps for users to discover.
Mobile platforms: Android, iOS, Windows Phone
Campaign types: CPA, CPC, CPI
Ad formats supported: Banners, Interstitial, Native, Notifications
SocialPeta Technology, the world’s leading advertisement creative spy and analysis platform, dedicated to offer top ads creative and marketing strategy for both advertisers and publishers. Serving as an Essential Ad and Marketing Intelligence Platform, SocialPeta focuses on:
Ad Intelligence, Marketing Intelligence, APP Intelligence
Ad Cost intelligence, Game Intelligence, Audience Intelligence
Adlane is the ultimate way to monetize your traffic with all most popular formats.
The project is designed specifically as an ultimate way to monetize your traffic using simple integration and popular ad formats: Browser Push notifications, In-page Push, Popunder, Display and Video by CPM / CPC models
We invite everyone to adlane.
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, CPA, CPX, CPM
Ad formats supported: Banners, Native, Video, Interstitial, In-Game
Targeting: carrier, channel, country, device, operator, os, time
Key Markets: Europe, India, Japan, Kenya, South Africa, UK, United States
Huawei has a rich history in the mobile and technology industry and is a leading provider of 5G infrastructure and smart phone devices and tablets. Huawei is committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected intelligent world.
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.
Doble Via Latam was born in 2004, with VAS services and in 2011 thinking about advertisers needs, we started with mobile advertising business. Positioned at an international level we have vast experience in mobile and video advertising business.
SmartHub is a programmatic, white-label, RTB solution designed to facilitate ad tech market entry for companies that plan to set up their own branded marketplaces.
For smaller enterprises, going in-house and building their own ad platforms can be increasingly challenging in terms of financial investment, human resources, tech capacities and time.
DSPs, Media Buyers, Mobile Networks, and Apps - Scale your income by working with the Aragon Premium Mobile Marketing Agency. Our team manages programmatic budgets from dozens of established and rising brands across multiple verticals, but specializing in the FinTech space.
+250,000 developers, from indies to large enterprises, trust in Appodeal to manage their Ad Monetization. A light full-stack ad monetization solution that puts app publishers first – the way it should be.
By just integrating one simple SDK, you will gain access to +70 ad networks & demand sources, competing against each other in a real-time auction for every single ad impression.
Services: User Acquisition, Ad Monetization, Business Intelligence
AdLib is the premium DSP for everyone. Reach your audience on the world’s most popular sites, apps, and streaming platforms. No Contracts. No Minimums.
Most marketers struggle to access premium programmatic advertising platforms because of high barriers to entry and complexities that demand a lot of your time and resources.
VEVE is a performance marketing platform from Affinity Global Inc. that offers unique advertising experiences across OEMs, browsers and telcos. With native, high-performing ad formats – Tiles , Notifications, Universal, unique media placements and customization opportunities, the platform is empowering brands to achieve their advertising KPIs such as sales, app downloads, website visits and user engagement. Additionally, it provides creative and operational support across different languages and locations including the US, UK, EU, IN, ID and CN. VEVE also has its proprietary reporting dashboard to access deep data insights to optimize conversions and user engagement. VEVE also unlocks newer monetization avenues for OEMs and browsers while enhancing users’ online journey.
• Boost new user acquisition – Reach 500+ MN captive audience beyond search and social media network
• Achieve your advertising KPIs – All inventory bought is on performance KPIs such as CPI, CPA, CPC, CPV, etc.
• Highly engaging native ad experiences – Get high conversion rate with non-intrusive, user-friendly ad formats (Tiles, Notifications, Universal) and unique media placement
• 100% Brand safe environment – Custom reporting dashboards for complete transparency, real-time insights, and optimization opportunities
• End-to-end campaign management – Creative and operational support across different geographies (US, UK, EU, IN, ID, CN) and in multiple languages
We’re a multi-format advertising network that operates in 240+ countries. Our aim is to provide both advertisers and publishers with Self-Serve Platform which is made for launching, managing, analyzing your campaigns, monetization process, and, more important, maximizing your revenue.