Mobile Advertising Rates (2021)

Artyom Dogtiev

Updated: January 17, 2022

Since the dawn of the Internet, digital advertising has been one of the major engines that drove its growth. In the year 2008 digital advertising began its transition from desktop to mobile, which lead to advertising in apps and then ultimately to the rise of the mobile in-app advertising industry. The general trend of the last several years has been that people spend most of their mobile minutes in apps and not in a web browser. Following this trend, mobile advertisers and publishers have been focusing on running ad campaigns inside mobile apps to find new app users and maximize their revenue respectively.

One of the core metrics for digital advertising, and mobile in-app advertising specifically, is an average CPM, which stands for Cost-Per-Mile, which is a techy way of saying Cost-Per-Thousand. On one hand, it tells the advertiser how much a thousand ad impressions in a specific mobile app costs, and on the other – the publisher knows how much revenue he can generate with every 1,000 impressions he serves.

Among all digital ad metrics – CPM, CPC, CPA, the last one is the most valuable to mobile advertisers, it stands for Cost-Per-Action because it measures a cost of a specific action that people take with a digital product. But yet for mobile publishers, CPM has been The metric, because while running campaigns based on this model, they are being paid for how many times ads were shown inside their apps and so they shouldn’t be concern about if people actually take any action as a result of seeing those ads.

Mobile advertising rates vary per industry, ad format, ad delivery channel, geolocation, mobile OS, device type, physical location, time of day, time of year, and more. In this guide, we want to bring up the industry statistics to highlight average mobile ad CPM rates, CPC and eCPM rates for various channels, industries, and locations, as well as mobile advertising spendings. Each advertising platform is unique at what eCPM it’s capable to provide and so we’re going to explore one of the  dominant platforms and for doing so will cover Appodeal eCPM rates.

Key Mobile Advertising Rates data points:

  • 2020 global mobile advertising spending – $276 billion
  • 2020 US mobile advertising spending – $98 billion
  • 2020 Google’s advertising revenue – $147 billion
  • 2020 Facebook’s advertising revenue – $84 billion
  • 2021 average Facebook CPM rates – $14.1
  • 2021 global iOS Rewarded Video eCPM rates range – $1.96 – $14.5
  • 2021 global Android Rewarded Video eCPM rates range – $1.59 – $11.45
  • 2021 global iOS Interstitial eCPM rates range – $2.27 – $9.64
  • 2021 global Android Interstitial eCPM rates range – $3.01 – $10.11
  • 2021 global iOS Banner eCPM rates range – $0.16 – $0.38
  • 2021 global Android Interstitial eCPM rates range – $0.16 – $0.52

Having these app ads revenue data points in hand, let’s dive into what mobile advertising spending looks like and analyze data collected for the last several years.

Let’s begin with setting up the stage and covering mobile advertising spendings worldwide over a period of time.

Average Cost Per Mile (CPM) Rates

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in early March 2020, it drastically shook up the entire digital advertising world, as well as predictions and forecasts for its growth over time. In October of 2020, eMarketer released an update for its March 2020 forecast. According to the March forecast, mobile adverting spending in the US was supposed to reach $105 billion for the entire 2020, but by October 2020 it turned out that it actually was only $96 billion. Because of the pandemic, a lot of companies pulled out their ad budgets and stopped advertising in the spring of 2020 and partly in its summer, and only when the US began to re-open its economy in summer, businesses began to invest back in adverting, mobile advertising included.  The waves of COVID-19 cases worldwide caused multiple lockdowns throughout 2020 and 2021, in 2021 we see a similar picture when the figure predicted early 2020 – $123 billion in actuality will most likely be only $117 billion.

By 2024, according to the original forecast from the March of 2020, the US mobile advertising spending was supposed to hit $174$ but the new projection only speaks about $167 billion but of course, it remains to be seen what the actual number will be.

US Mobile Advertising Spending, 2019-2024

Source: eMarketer

Obviously, mobile advertising is just one branch of the entire advertising business. It’s useful to put it in perspective and compare it with other branches. Looking at the advertising on a select media last year, we see that in 2020 the mobile was roughly speaking twice as big compared with TV, $113 billion against $70 spent on advertising on TV. And it dwarfed the other contenders such as radio with only $15 billion, $13 billion on print, and spending on other branches is even more modest.

US Ad Spending on Select Media, 2020

Source: eMarketer

Since the inception of the modern smartphone era, there has been a gradual but steady growth of how much time people spend with their mobile phones, which lead to finally spending more time on smartphones than on the previous media king – the TV. This shift has been on the radar of online advertisers and it leads to also the gradual transition of online advertising budgets from the desktop to mobile. Looking at the following data compiled by Statista for the 2018-2021 period and two years in the future, we see that in 2018 mobile ad spending was only 48% of the total online ad spending, and this year it finally matched the desktop ad spending. Following the current trajectory, it’s predicted that by 2023 mobile advertising spending will reach 51%.

Global Internet ad spending desktop vs mobile percentage, 2018 – 2022

Source: Statista

Data for how much money are spent on mobile advertising in a particular year reflects on the size of this country’s economy and how healthy it is but the dynamic of year-over-year growth or decline brings up a picture of how fast mobile penetrates different branches of this country’s economy.

 

From 2013 to 2018 mobile ad spendings in the US grew six-fold, from $10 billion to almost $58 billion. During the same period, China has been holding second place in terms of how much businesses spend on mobile ads. Back in 2017, the App Annie’s 2017 Retrospective white paper reported that China became the number one country in terms of mobile app revenue, it’s a matter of time when it surpasses the US in mobile ad spendings as well. China is also the fastest-growing mobile ad spending player among other countries, growing from about a billion dollars spent on mobile ads back in 2013 to almost $41 billion in 2018.

Global Mobile Advertising Spending, 2013-2018, by country, in billions

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
US $10,4 $18.9 $28.5 $40.2 $49.6 $57.6
China $0.9 $7.5 $14 $22.1 $31.3 $40.6
UK $2 $3.7 $5.4 $7.2 $9.1 $11.1
Japan $1.8 $2.8 $3.9 $5 $6.3 $7.6
Germany $0.4 $1.3 $2.1 $3.1 $4.2 $5.2
South Korea $0.6 $1 $1.6 $2.1 $2.5 $3
Canada $0.4 $0.9 $1.4 $2.2 $2.9 $3.7
Australia $0.3 $0.9 $1.4 $2.1 $3 $3.9
France $0.2 $0.5 $0.7 $1 $1.5 $2
Netherlands $0.2 $0.5 $0.7 $1 $1.2 $1.5
Italy $0.2 $0.4 $0.6 $0.8 $1. $1.4
Brazil $0.01 $0.2 $0.5 $1.0 $1.7 $2.7
Norway $0.1 $0.3 $0.5 $0.6 $0.8 $0.1
Sweden $0.1 $0.3 $0.4 $.6 $0.7 $0.9
Russia $0.07 $0.2 $0.4 $0.8 $1.1 $1.4
Denmark $0.1 $0.3 $0.4 $0.5 $0.6 $0.8
Mexico $0.1 $0.2 $0.4 $0.6 $0.9 $1.3
Spain $0.05 $0.1 $0.2 $0.3 $0.5 $0.8
India $0.03 $0.08 $0.2 $0.3 $0.6 $0.9
Finland $0.04 $0.1 $0.15 $0.2 $0.25 $0.3
Indonesia $.01 $0.04 $0.1 $0.3 $0.77 $1.5
Argentina $0.008 $0.02 $0.07 $0.17 $0.3 $0.6

Source: eMarketer

Putting things in perspective always helps to see a broader picture and appreciate dynamics for real. In January 2021, Dentsu Aegis Network digital marketing agency published a report that covers the dynamics of spending on major advertising formats and compares estimates made before the COVID-19 pandemic hit (January, 2020) and after (January, 2021).

So what do we see? The biggest growth, no surprise here, in 2019, as well as in 2020 was Social Media with almost 27% in 2019 and about 14% in 2021. The second spot belongs to Paid Search, which is obviously being dominated by Google Ads and Facebook Ads. On the other hand, Online Video got really hit in 2020, which originally was estimated to grow about 15% but in reality dropped 2%. As to what is projected on 2022, again Social Media should gain about 17%, followed by recovering Online Video.

Growth in digital advertising spending worldwide 2019-2022, by format, % y-o-y

2019 2020 2021 2022
Display 7.9 -3.0 (8.6) 8.1 (9.7) 7.2
Online Video 16.0 -2.0 (14.6) 10.8 (13.5) 11.5
Social Media 26.9 13.9 (19.8) 18.3 (16.4) 16.6
Paid Search 9.8 10.1 (8.4) 11.0 (9.3) 8.7
Classified 4.0 -4.0 (4.1) 3.5 (4.2) 4.1

Sources: Dentsu Aegis Network

For the last 10 years mobile app industry has been under the control of the Apple – Google duopoly, for mobile advertising there is another duopoly of Google and Facebook. In 2016 US digital tech giants and smaller companies generated about $47 billion, 31.5% of which belong to Google and 22.5% to Facebook.

In 2017 Google gained about 1% and Facebook grew faster with over 2%, reaching 32.4% and 24.6% respectively. All other companies on this table had, have, and projected to have less than two digits in the future. According to the forecast, by 2019 US mobile advertising revenue will reach $82 billion, almost double of the 2016 number, with Google having almost 34% of the total and Facebook around 27%.

US Mobile Ad Revenue by company in, 2016-2019

2016 2017 2018 2019
Google 31.5% 32.4% 33.2% 33.8%
Facebook 22.5% 24.6% 26.0% 26.5%
Yahoo 2.6% 2.3% 2.1% 2.0%
Twitter 2.6% 2.0% 1.7% 1.4%
Pandora 1.8% 1.7% 1.6% 1.5%
YP 1.6% 1.4% 1.3% 1.2%
Snapchat 0.6% 1.3% 1.8% 2.7%
Amazon 0.5% 0.6% 1.0% 1.2%
Yelp 0.6% 0.6% 0.6% 0.6%
Microsoft (Linkedin) 0.4% 0.4% 0.4% 0.5%
Total in billions $46.7 $58.38 $70.05 $82.31

Source: eMarketer

Facebook CPM Rates

Now let’s look at the Cost Per Mile rates for Facebook Ads and specifically for the 2020 – 2021 period, when COVID-19 pandemic is the dominating influential factor for the digital economy. The CPM dropped from $11.5 in February to $8.8 in March – this was the first month of the pandemic and it was the time when advertisers were pulling their ad budgets, freeing the space and driving the Cost Per Mile down. Then it shot back to $11 by May when certain businesses who actually saw more demand for their products and services began to invest more in advertising. The biggest jump in this period was in December of 2020, when Facebook CPM went up to almost $17, this was the holiday season, when even this pandemic couldn’t cancel the expected jump in CPM.

As of September, 2021 the average CPM for Facebook Ads across all industries was $14.1 per 1,000 views.

US Facebook Ads CPM Rates, 2020-2021

Source: Revealbot

There are number objectives that advertisers may aim to achieve running their Facebook Ads campaigns, but we can single out the major three – Traffic, App Installs and Video Views. You can see the trajectory for these three on the graph below. Once again all spikes and dips you can see can be explained by how COVID-19 pandemic was influencing the market at any particular month throughout this period. In January 2020 CPM rate for traffic was about $3, by September of this year it climbed to $10.4 and right now in October it’s already following – $7.8.

App Installs went from $8.3 per in install back in January 2020 to the lowest point in April 2020 – just $4.9, hitting maximum this June – $17 per app install, and as of right now in October, it’s $13.3 per install.

Video views cost $3.3 per 1,000 views back in January, 2020, went to the lowest point in January, 2021 – $2.9 and this October it is $4.2 per 1,000 video ad views.

Average US Facebook CPM by campaign objective

Source: Revealbot

Android and iOS eCPM Rates

Let’s switch gears and talk about eCPM rates for major advertising networks. To clarify eCPM term, the difference between CPM and eCPM is that CPM (stands for cost-per-mile or a cost of 1,000 impressions) defines how much ad impressions are valued before an ad campaign takes place. On the other hand,  eCPM is calculated by advertisers after ad campaign is finished and regardless of what buying model was used – CPM, CPC, CPA. Due to some over- or under delivery by the ad network or the publisher, an eCPM price may vary from a CPM rate.

So now the question is – what is the average CPM? To answer this question we’re going to review the aggregated data complied by Appodeal ad mediation platform in 2021.

First up, let’s look at the Rewarded Video iOS eCPM rates for specific countries. The original data set presents 20 countries but we are reviewing here only top 10 for brevity. It comes as no surprise that the United States is still number one and every 1,000 views effectively cost advertisers $14. Followed by Japan where advertisers effectively pay $9.9 for every 1,000 views, eCPM for iOS app in China is $6.1 and Brazil is closing this list with only $3.1.

2021 Rewarded Video iOS eCPM Rates, by country

N 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Country US Japan Australia South Korea UK Canada China Germany France Brazil
eCPM $14.2 $9.9 $9.3 $8.3 $7.3 $7.2 $6.1 $5.7 $4.4 $3.1

Source: Appodeal

Generally speaking, the Android eCPM rates are in the same ball park as its iOS counterpart. Android in-app advertisers should expect paying around $11.5 per 1,000 views in the United States, $10.5 on the Japanese market, about $7.0 in the United Kingdom and only $1.8 on the Spanish app market.

2021 Rewarded Video Android eCPM Rates, by country

N 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Country US Japan Australia South Korea UK Canada Hong Kong Germany France Spain
eCPM $11.5 $10.5 $11.1 $9.9 $6.8 $6.6 $5.7 $4.6 $3.6 $1.8

Source: Appodeal

When it comes to the Interstitial ad format, the one that allows advertisers to place a dynamic mobile ad to cover the entire host app’s interface, the rates are lower because, comparing with the Rewarded Video, this one has a lower CTR and hence it’s less valuable. In the US advertisers are expected to pay afterwards $9.6 per 1,000 views, $4.8 in the United Kingdom, $3.1 in Sweden and just $2.3 in Brazil.

2021 Interstitial iOS eCPM Rates, by country

N 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Country US Japan Australia South Korea UK Canada Hong Kong Sweden France Brazil
eCPM $9.6 $6.7 $6 $4.5 $4.8 $5 $3.9 $3.1 $2.6 $2.3

Source: Appodeal

The Android version of the Interstitial eCPM rates is more expensive. Here, if you run an Interstitial ad for your Android app in the US, you should expect effectively paying $10.1 per each 1,000 views. Across the pond in UK be ready to pay $5.3, $4.2 for an Android in-app advertising in Sweden and $3 if you happens to be promoting an Android app in Belgium.

2021 Interstitial Android eCPM Rates, by country

N 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Country US Australia Japan South Korea UK Germany Sweden Hong Kong France Belgium
eCPM $10.1 $8.6 $6.9 $6.1 $5.3 $5.2 $4.2 $3.9 $3.3 $3.0

Source: Appodeal

And finally let’s take a look at eCPM rates for iOS apps, specifically for the banner format. By now it’s been proven for a number of years that among all mobile ad formats banner is the least effective and yet it is still available and there is still demand for it. So it absolutely makes sense that generally speaking the banner eCPM rates hover below $1. In the United States 1,000 banner views cost $0.4, in China – $0.25 and only $0.16 in Spain.

2021 Banner iOS eCPM Rates, by country

N 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Country US Australia China Germany Japan France Brazil Singapore South Africa Spain
eCPM $0.4 $0.3 $0.25 $0.23 $0.20 $0.18 $0.18 $0.17 $0.17 $0.16

Source: Appodeal

The Android side of the banner eCPM rates looks really similar to its iOS counterpart, the difference in prices is on the scale of just few cents. The United States is on the highest price end of the banner eCPM pricing spectrum with $0.52 and Netherlands it’s only $0.16.

2021 Banner Android eCPM Rates, by country

N 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Country US Australia Germany UK South Korea Brazil Japan Hong Kong France Netherlands
eCPM $0.52 $0.3 $0.25 $0.24 $0.19 $0.19 $0.17 $0.17 $0.16 $0.16

Source: Appodeal

Final Thoughts

Mobile advertising market is mature and has been one of the major sources of digital publishers revenue, as well as instrumental for advertisers to reach their audiences. Mobile ad spendings have been substantially growing over a period of the last five years and will continue to grow as mobile continues to conquer more and more businesses worldwide.
Mobile ad eCPM rates vary by industry, mobile OS, geo location and specific mobile ad network. Between Android and iOS mobile platforms, the latter tends to generate more income for publishers.

Facebook and Google together control the major part of the mobile advertising market and this status quo won’t likely to change anytime soon.

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