Signing up with a mobile ad network is a great way for publishers and app developers to make passive income from their website or app by selling ad space to mobile marketers and advertisers.
This article covers the top mobile ad networks for publishers and discusses some important factors to consider before deciding on a mobile advertising platform. There are a variety of mobile ad networks for those looking to run a mobile ad campaign, however it is essential that they choose a mobile marketing platform or ad network specialized to their niche. Let’s dive in.
Top 16 Mobile Ad Networks (2023):
9. Perform (CB)
14. Mooko Media
16. Smarty Ads
What Is a Mobile Ad Network?
A mobile advertising network, or app ad network, is an integrated platform that connects advertisers with app developers or publishers looking to sell mobile ad inventory.
There are different types of mobile ad platforms offering various advertising options. As a publisher, you want a network that brings you income without damaging your reputation by showing inappropriate or unrelated advertisements. You also want to choose one that offers a variety of ad formats.
Also Read: Ad Mediation Vs.RTB: Which is Better?
Why Advertise on Mobile Apps?
In-app advertising enjoys a much higher click-through rate (CTR) than that of mobile web ads. Moreover, global app install ad spend grew by almost 25% year on year in 2022 and is projected to expand by another 15.5% in 2023.
Mobile apps offer a much more engaging and dynamic environment than that of the mobile web, making the in-app environment an effective medium for advertisers to capture consumers' attention and encourage them to view and interact with their ads.
Many apps also feature interactive ads such as playable ads and rewarded video ads. Advertisers can choose to display their video ad campaigns at certain key points during the in-app experience, ensuring a smooth transition for current users of the app.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation allows mobile ad publishers to connect multiple ad networks with one single software development kit (SDK). These platforms are the best way to bring in app revenue without a lot of effort.
Rather than having to search through advertisers to find the ones with the best effective cost per mille (eCPM) metrics, the software does the work for you.
If you plan to sign up for multiple ad platforms for app monetization, you may want to start with one that offers mediation so that you can keep all your ad campaigns organized and in sync.
Mobile Advertising Business Models
All mobile ad networks provide users with several types of business models to run ad campaigns with. Before deciding on a network, take time to review the kinds of ad campaigns they offer. There are five major types—CPM, CPC, CPI, CPA, and CPV.
1. CPM (cost-per-mile)
CPM is the best publisher building model, as publishers can make money each time an ad displays in an app or on site. Moreover, if they have stable predictable traffic, publishers can forecast their revenue. This method charges advertisers each time an ad shows 1,000 times (so-called ‘a mile').
2. CPC (cost-per-click)
With the CPC model, advertisers are charged for each ad click on their mobile ads. Publishers using this method run the risk of serving lots of free ad impressions and consequently missing out on revenue.
3. CPI (cost-per-install)
With the CPI model, advertisers are only charged when a click on an ad results in an actual mobile app download. Cost-per-install price shows marketers the price they pay to acquire new customers, and is thus considered one of the most important metrics for mobile app marketers to keep track of.
4. CPA (cost-per-action)
CPA is a more advanced form of a CPI, when an advertiser is charged for a specific action users take inside an app that is advertised on a mobile ad network. CPA allows payment for specific actions such as in-app purchases, subscriptions, sign ups, etc., offering publishers more opportunities to monetize their inventory.
5. CPV (cost-per-view)
This method is best for advertisers with video ad campaigns. With this model, advertisers are charged for each instance their video mobile ad is viewed.
Factors to Consider When Deciding on a Mobile Ad Network
With all the different mobile ad platforms out there, it can be challenging to figure out which is the right choice for your app or site. You want to pick one that offers fair rates, the ability to target specific audiences, quality graphics in multiple formats, and high eCPMs.
Mobile Ad Formats
Some traditional types of advertising can be done in-app. Before choosing an ad network, take time to see what kinds of advertisements the company offers. Check out our guide to mobile ad sizes to get a better idea of how to choose the best ad format and size for your app or website. Options include:
1. Interstitial Ads
Interstitial ads are full-screen ads that cover the interface of their host application. They are most frequently used to display an ad between different app screens, and are commonly displayed between different levels in a mobile game app.
2. Banner Ads
Banner ads are static or animated image ads placed inside an app's interface. They usually used to advertise a third party product, other digital or physical goods, or the option to expand an app's functionality.
3. Native Ads
Native ads are textual or video ads that match the form and function of the app interface they are displayed in.
4. OfferWall Ads
OfferWall ads can be either interactive or static and are usually displayed within a mobile app that provides end users with lots of offers to engage with. The most frequent use of OfferWall ads is mobile games, where they are used to advertise third-party games or a series of games from the same developer.
5. Rich Media Ads
Rich media ads include advanced features such as video, audio, or other elements that encourage viewers to interact and engage with the content. Rich media ads usually consist of short (usually up to 60 seconds) video clips that advertise products and services.
There are two major types of video ads most often used within media apps —in-steam and out-stream. In-stream video ads displayed full-screen before, after, and within video content that is streamed inside an app, whereas out-stream video ads are displayed on a web page inside a mobile app. Of all the mobile ad formats available, video ads have the highest engagement rates.
Mobile App Network Reporting
Data reporting on an advertising campaign's performance is one of the key components that is crucial for its success. Top-tier mobile ad networks will have detailed reporting that you can access in one easy-to-view dashboard.
You want to see reports about your sales performance, including the number of impressions, clicks, installs, video ad views, platform, country, ad format, and so forth – so you know everything is going according to your sales plan.
Having insights lets you see how your advertisements are performing and then decide if there needs to be a change. Maybe you're doing better with one advertising type than another, so you'll know to switch advertising types.
Mobile Ads Targeting
Marketers use a number of parameters to narrow down their ad campaigns in order to reach a specific audience. These parameters are called targeting options, and include the following:
- Geo: Marketers can narrow down an ad campaign within a specific country or region, enabling them to advertise a product or service within relevant geographic areas.
- Device: Marketers can choose which models of mobile devices will show their ads, thus allowing them to avoid a mobile ad experience degradation.
- Carrier: Marketers can choose to only show ads to mobile users who are served by a specific mobile carrier.
- OS: Marketers can choose to only show ads on mobile devices running on a specific operating system or even particular versions of OS.
- Connection: This targeting option enables marketers to only show mobile ads on mobile devices when they are connected to the Internet via a WiFi, 5G, or 4G LTE connection.
- Interests. Marketers can narrow down an ad campaign to an audience segment with specific interests only.
- Gender: Marketers can narrow down an ad campaign to mobile users of a particular gender.
16 Best Ad Networks for Mobile Advertising Campaigns
Now that you know what to look for in ad platforms, let's look at some of the leading mobile ad networks for mobile advertising. We'll also look at each company's features and tell you what types of ad formats they use.
Publift is a programmatic ad platform that has been helping publishers maximize ad revenue since 2015. Composed of a team of engineers, data scientists, and performance analysts, Publift's edge lies in crafting ad strategies that are tailor-made for a publisher's needs.
This requires two things—acquiring a deep understanding of the publisher's content, and offering ad solutions that are optimized for this content. Providing this level of personalization and optimization is where Publift stands out from the competition.
Publift works by aggregating some of the major mobile ad networks such as Smaato, InMobi, AdMob, etc., and offering publishers ad solutions based on their needs.
It supports multiple ad formats including:
- Sticky footer ads
Despite having the capacity to work with so many ad formats, Publift believes that more ads do not always translate into more revenue for publishers. Instead, they deploy their advanced multivariate testing platform to constantly A/B test every single ad placement on a publisher's website to determine the placement that will yield the best results.
This, coupled with the consultation they provide publishers on code architecture, website performance, and core web vitals (CWVs) means publishers are getting more than just an ad network—they're getting to work with a complete website revenue optimization partner.
It is for this reason that Publift is trusted by over 350+ publishers in 60+ countries operating in a variety of niches and domains.
Publishers can also calculate their potential ad revenue uplifts after working with Publift using Publift's Ad Revenue Calculator.
Facebook and sister company Instagram are two of the most popular mobile platforms. These massive social media platforms garner millions of users, making them some of the best platforms to advertise your mobile apps.
Both sites offer advertising campaigns for any budget. Furthermore, you can narrow down the target audience using demographics like:
- Relationship status
- Likes and interests
Facebook and Instagram use ad types including: image, video, video poll, carousel (up to ten images), slideshow (short video ads), collection (mobile only to feature five products), instant experience (full-screen ads that load quickly), lead (signups), dynamic (promoting targeted products), and advertisements featured in Stories and Messenger.
Setting up a mobile ad campaign is straightforward, with a few simple steps. You'll have to define your objectives, set up your demographics, select ad format and placement, choose a budget and schedule and then create your ad.
As you can see, Facebook and Instagram give you plenty of options for mobile app advertising and app monetization.
AdMob lets you advertise using formats like text, images, video, or interactive media. And the great thing is you can choose what ad format you want to feature. All ads are custom to present ads related to your app, so you make more money.
You can place ads using automatic artificial intelligence, which means you add one line of code to your app, and ads are automatically generated. Or you can do manual, which means you pick and place ads where you want them.
AdMob offers multiple ad formats, including:
- Banner ads
- Video ads
- Interstitial ads
- Reward ads
- Native ads
AdMob offers ad mediation if you want to link to other mobile ads networks. And you can track your campaign performance by connecting to Google Analytics.
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.
However, AdMob does have limitations on ad placements, including not having more than one visible at a time during scrolling.
Take advantage of real-time bidding (RTB) with the Smaato Publisher Platform (SPX) that creates super auctions. This lets you find the advertisers that will pay the most to advertise on your mobile app.
During these real time bidding super auctions, you see where the highest demands for impressions are so you can get maximum profits on an impression-by-impression foundation, resulting in higher-paying eCPMs.
Smaato allows video, interstitial, banner, interactive, and rewarded ads.
SPX (Smaato Publisher Platform) can automatically optimize demand sources using Dynamic Demand. And you have the option to mediate other SDK-enabled ad networks.
If you want to secure advertising in your mobile games, you can't do better than Unity. This platform is specifically for monetizing mobile games using video ads.
Unity ads is compatible with iOS or Android platforms, and all game engines, including Adobe Air, Marmalade, and Corona. You can even set up in-app purchases, which allow your customers to buy things without leaving the app.
They offer CPM or CPI campaigns. And they support ad formats of interstitial, video, or banner. You can even set Unity ads up to work with plugins from SkyRocket, MoPub, or other mediation companies.
You can set your target demographics by connection, country, or operating system to always reach the right viewers. With over 35 million players in 128 countries, you're sure to reach your target audience.
The easy to view dashboard provides near-instantaneous reporting so you can keep up with how well your ad campaigns are performing by the hour or day for the most effective app monetization.
InMobi is one of the largest independent mobile ad networks that allows you to reach customers worldwide. This company can handle mobile and web ad campaigns, so you've got all the tools you need to monetize your apps.
InMobi is compatible with Android, iOS, and mobile web and offers ad campaigns in CPC and CPI. Available ad formats include banner, native, video, rich media, and interstitial.
Set your target audience by features such as carrier, time, os, operator, country, channel, or device, so you always advertise to the closest possible matches.
If you want to advertise to users outside your country of origin, InMobi has markets in the US and the UK, South Africa, Japan, Europe, India, and Kenya.
It also offers a mediation platform if you want to work with multiple ad networks, although you may be limited to which other networks you can use.
MobFox is an ad network for publishers, app developers, and advertisers that allows you to monetize your apps.
Download the MobFox SDK to work with all advertising formats. The SDK works with all significant SDK-enabled networks and plugins, including Unity, Cordova, AdobeAir, and GameMaker.
You can set filters for targeting such as geography (narrowed by country, region, city or zip), carrier, channel (IT, business, travel, Entertainment etc.), and demographics (age, gender, lifestyle, relationship, native language and education).
Choose to target pre-grouped behavioral audiences or create custom audiences. The SDK allows for all major formats, including native, interstitial and banner, rich media, and video.
Also keep up with how well your campaigns are doing using detailed reports through Moat. GeoEdge provides ad verification to keep your app and users safe.
8. Apple Search Ads
Operating with the Apple App Store, Apple Search Ads allows app developers to target iOS app users. Acting in a similar way to Google Ads, Apple Search Ads are sponsored ads that appear at the top of the search results page in the Apple App Store on iPhones and iPhones and is a great choice for publishers looking to increase app users for their mobile gaming apps.
9. Perform (CB)
Perform (CB) is one of the top mobile ad networks for user acquisition for apps on iOS and Android devices. Powered by its patented platform, PerformLEAP®, Perform (CB) is targeted at mobile publishers and mobile game developers looking to increase their mobile user acquisition.
With real-time tracking, publishers are able to track their traffic, adjust budgets, and launch new offers from anywhere in the world. Perform (CB) works with a range of mobile inventory and ad formats.
Of the top 15 mobile apps with over 1 billion downloads, 46% of them work exclusively with Moburst, making it one of the top mobile ad networks in the world.
Moburst uses cutting edge technology to drive user acquisition and app store optimization (ASO) for some of the globe's most recognisable brands, including Samsung, Google, Uber, Reddit and YouTube.
Along with ASO for iOS and Android platforms, it also provides creative services, developing a range of in-app ads, including video and native ads for gaming apps and beyond.
11. Yahoo Developer Network
As part of the Yahoo Developer Network, Yahoo App Publishing offers a flexible ad-serving platform that prides itself on being simple to set up and use for publishers developing mobile and gaming apps for both the iOS and Android platforms. A lightweight SDK quickly integrates with both frameworks, with Flurry analytics providing reporting and management tools. Publishers can create basic ads including rewarded ads, video ads and native ads.
Working with more than 12,000 brands and over 8,000 technology partners, Appsflyer works with mobile marketers to grow their businesses through the use of comprehensive measurement and analytics solutions.
Providing a range of in-app ads for iOS and Android users, Appsflyer works with some of the largest brands in the world, including HBO, Nike, KFC, Visa and Ebay.
Focusing on user acquisition, Zoomd assists advertisers and publishers achieve their key performance indicators through their patented, SaaS-based advertising platform. Leveraging a single platform that unifies more than 600 advertising partners, including TikTok, Facebook, Twitter and Google Ads, developers can save money and maximize their ad revenue.
14. Mooko Media
Mooko is a leading provider of mobile ad technology in the digital ecosphere. Offering diverse and scalable ad supply across premium websites and apps, Mooko partners with a wide range of mobile advertising networks for maximum monetization for mobile marketers.
Advanced features include automated management tools, multi-layered fraud protection and programmatic media buying.
Tapjoy is one of the most innovative mobile ad networks for gaming apps and beyond. Tapjoy offers app users virtual currency for watching video ads which mobile users can then use to unlock in-app content.
Offering interstitial ads, playable ads, content lock and offerwall ads, Tapjoy allows advertisers to monetize Android and iOS users who don't wish to use real currency in gaming apps. Tapjoy offers real time reporting and CPC, CPI and CPM pricing models.
16. Smarty Ads
SmartyAds offers a full package of ad tech tools to help you monetize your apps and sites. Signing up for Smarty Ads gives you access to premium ad network campaigns, DSPs, and ad agencies through OpenRTB protocols using Smarty Ads DSP.
The White Label Solution gives you customizable advertising solutions so you can have full control of your ads. SmartyAds SSP is an all-in-one solution for monetizing your content with access to multiple brands.
It offers CPI or CPM formatting campaigns with banner, in-app, interstitial, native, video, and rich media ad formats.
Key Takeaways for Top Mobile Ad Networks
There is no way to say which mobile ad network is the best because they all offer different features. Publishers will have to make a choice based on their company's needs.
Look for a mobile ad network that provides you high eCPMs, insight reports, and multiple advertising formats. To maximize the monetization of your apps, consider signing up to be a publisher and an advertiser. You can sell ad space in your apps to generate income. But you can also purchase ad space from other publishers to market your app, thus improving user acquisition.
Publift helps digital publishers get the most out of the ads on their websites. Publift has helped its clients realize an average 55% uplift in ad revenue since 2015, through the use of cutting-edge programmatic advertising technology paired with impartial and ethical guidance.