Mobile Ads Best Practices for Publishers

Brock Munro
May 16, 2024
June 14, 2024
Mobile Ads Best Practices for Publishers

Mobile advertising has come a long way from the days of simple text messages to rich media ads for smartphones today.

In 2024, mobile ads dominate the media marketing landscape, accounting for more than 51% of the total ad spend in the United States.

With over 97% of Americans having access to a mobile phone in 2024, advertisers are expected to pour another $200 billion into the sector this year, making it the top segment in digital advertising.

Lucrative as the mobile ad segment may be, it is also important for publishers to follow mobile ads best practices in order to strike a balance between maximizing revenue and ensuring great user experience.

Join us as we discuss five mobile ads best practices for publishers to optimize ad revenue while delivering a great user experience.

Table of contents:

5 Effective Mobile Ads Best Practices for Publishers in 2024

Recent Trends in Mobile Advertising

Final Thoughts

5 Effective Mobile Ads Best Practices for Publishers in 2024

The digital publishing landscape is facing major disruptions in 2024. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) presents new opportunities and challenges to the traditional method of online search. At the same time, privacy regulations are making it harder for publishers and marketers to collect user data for targeted searches. 

Given this shift, here are five mobile ads best practices publishers can use to boost ad revenues while continuing to grow their audience in 2024.

1. Choose the Right Ad Formats and Placements

Which ad formats publishers choose to display, and where these ads appear on a page or an app has a huge impact on engagement rates. For instance, banner ads have among the highest engagement rates as these ads are typically placed at the top of a page, resulting in maximum visibility. 

Mobile banner ads come in various sizes such as 320x80 and 300x250, and depending on the size, they may be placed at various places on a page or within an app.

To help publishers and app developers choose the right ad format, we created this handy guide to mobile banner ad sizes that helps them figure out the sizes best suited to their content and platform.

While deciding on the ad format and placement, it is important to remember that intrusive ads that break the flow of user engagement can significantly affect the overall user experience.

On the other hand, visually striking and interactive ads that strategically leverage any pauses or breaks in content consumption have a better chance of increasing audience engagement. 

2. Leverage First-Party Data for Better Targeting

Since 2020 major companies like Apple and Google have undertaken a host of measures to improve user privacy. These include sunsetting third-party cookies on browsers, introducing initiatives such the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework and Google’s Privacy Sandbox to replace them.

Both in-app advertising and website advertising have been equally affected by these new privacy initiatives.

This means publishers have to now increasingly rely on first-party data to ensure better ad targeting. Some ways of doing this are:

  • User Registrations: Publishers can use a login feature on their websites and apps to collect first-party data using registration forms (or by enabling social media logins). However, it is important to implement this feature in a non-prohibitive way so that users are not discouraged from visiting the site or app altogether. Typically, this feature works best when users can expect better value from the website or app once they are logged in.
  • Newsletter Subscriptions: Newsletters are a great tool to connect with your readers, advertise products and services, and of course, to collect first party data. 

While doing so, it is important to make sure that the newsletter offers genuine value to the reader over and above what they can get from the website or app, otherwise they may not have enough incentive to sign up. 

  • Interactive Content: For blogs and other social media accounts, publishers can also consider using interactive challenges such as trivia and puzzles to collect information about users. This tactic is geared more towards identifying specific user interests than collecting hard user data such as emails. 
  • Gamification: Gamification works especially well on mobile apps and games, where publishers can provide various incentives to users who consent to sharing their device identifiers. 

Once they have sufficient first-party data, publishers can use a solution such as Liveramp to draw insights on user behavior, and consequently, show more targeted ads.

3. Create Personalized ATT Opt-in Prompts

ATT opt-in prompts are pop-ups that iOS apps use in order to get a user’s consent to track their interests, and eventually show more targeted in-app ads.

ATT opt-in rates stood at around 25% for apps as of April 2022.

To further improve opt-in rates, publishers can consider replacing boilerplate prompts with personalized pop-up messages that tell first-time users the advantage of sharing their device ID for tracking purposes.

They can also use compelling images and incentives to increase the chances of getting user approval.

The road ahead is less clear for Android app publishers. Unlike Apple, Google does not have an equivalent of the ATT. Instead, it has the Privacy Sandbox, an evolving set of proposals and APIs that will eventually replace cross-app tracking via Google Advertising IDs (GAIDs). 

Some of the APIs relevant for mobile app publishers include the following: 

  • Topics API for targeting
  • Attribution API for conversion measurement
  • Protected Audiences API for remarketing and custom audience use cases

The Privacy Sandbox is still in the beta stage and requires active enrollment of participating publishers and app developers. Further, you will have to get familiar with the APIs and identify the ones that fit your unique use cases. Currently at Publift, we are conducting experiments to test the effectiveness of Google’s Privacy Sandbox solutions.

If you have a Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP) for analytics and attribution, start working with them now to prepare for the transition to a more privacy-focused mobile ads ecosystem on Android. 

4. Use Appropriate Metrics for Performance Tracking

Measuring and tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and other relevant metrics is important to figure out if your mobile app monetization strategies are delivering the desired results. Some popular KPIs used by publishers include:

  • Total Traffic: This is the total traffic received by a website, or in the case of mobile apps, the number of users who installed a mobile app. It is further important to filter the traffic based on various traffic sources such as organic searches, social media, emails etc.
  • Click Through Rate (CTR): Click through rate is the ratio of number of clicks on an ad relative to the number of impressions it received. CTR helps publishers monitor which ads and which ad formats are performing best. 
  • Revenue Per Customer: This is the ratio of the total advertising revenue to the total number of website visitors, or the total number of app downloads. It is sometimes also called average revenue per user (ARPU).

5. Partner With the Right Adtech Platform

Having the right mobile advertising partner to help them in their monetization journey is perhaps the most important part of a publisher's revenue strategy. 

We’ve seen how fast things can change in the digital publishing and advertising space with the ongoing uncertainty around the death of third-party cookies, and the scramble to come up with their replacement.

The right partner not only helps publishers navigate this turbulent space safely, but also offers solutions tailored to their needs. 

To this end, we’ve created this list of the 16 best mobile ad networks to help publishers zero in on the right platform.

Recent Trends in Mobile Advertising

Apart from the increased focus on user privacy, the realm of mobile advertising is also being transformed by several key trends such as:

1. Faster Bandwidths and Higher-Quality Video Ads

Between 2020 and 2023, the global average internet download speed almost doubled from 24.8 Mbps to 46.8 Mbps. With the expansion of 5G network coverage across the US, mobile internet speeds are expected to increase further. 

Meanwhile countries such as Japan are already making advances in implementing 6G mobile internet, which is expected to be between 20 to 500 times faster than 5G.

This has major implications for advertisers as they can now seamlessly send high-quality video and interactive content ads without affecting user experience. 

2. Rewarded Video Ads

Rewarded video ads reward users with in-app items such as an in-app currency, or a gaming life, in return for interacting with the ad. Rewarded ads have very high engagement rates, and consequently, higher eCPMs as advertisers are willing to pay more for such ads. 

For instance, eCPM for rewarded ads displayed in Android apps in the US can reach figures of up to $18.40. On the other hand, conventional formats such as banner ads usually have eCPMs of around $0.65.

3. AI and Programmatic Ads

AI is already being used extensively in programmatic advertising. For instance, Google uses AI for customer targeting, analyzing customer behavior, and bid-setting. Going forward, this usage is only set to increase.

Here are some of the applications where the use of AI is expected to intensify further:

  • Improved location targeting and regional language search query translations.
  • Help publishers and advertisers create content including copy, design, and video within seconds, and at scale.
  • Help ad exchanges make better real-time bidding decisions.
  • Monitoring campaign performance metrics and suggesting solutions for optimizing performance.

4. Mobile Over Desktop

Back in 2019, mobile phones overtook television in terms of the amount of time spent by the average American on the platform. Today, mobile phones have also overtaken desktop PCs as the device of choice for browsing content online. 

On average, around 60% of the total web traffic in the world is mobile traffic. For Africa and Asia, the share of mobile traffic is even higher, at 73% and 69% respectively. For North America, this figure stands at 45% presently. However, the writing on the wall is clear, North America is also likely to follow the rest of the world in terms of mobile usage.

For publishers and advertisers, this sets out a clear path to follow in terms of content creation and advertising strategies for the near future. 

Final Thoughts

We are in the middle of a major disruption in the digital publishing industry. The loss of access to third-party data presents a major challenge for advertisers and publishers in their quest to deliver more accurate ad targeting. 

However, this trend is here to stay as there is a strong demand in the market for improved ethical standards, privacy, and transparency. 

Publift helps digital publishers navigate the complex landscape of mobile advertising through its expertise and experience in helping publishers across the world realize their revenue goals.

We have helped our clients realize an average 55% uplift in ad revenue since 2015 through the use of cutting-edge programmatic advertising technology paired with unmatched customer service.

Contact us today to learn more about how Publift can help boost your ad revenue and grow your business.

Grow with us

Grow your business with a sustainable, long term partnership. If you're making more than $2,000 in monthly ad revenue, contact us today to boost your revenue with our all-in-one solution.
Laptop screen with web page open

Success Stories