In the first quarter of 2019, mobile devices generated 48.71 percent of all Internet traffic. You’ll agree that this is not an entirely (if at all) surprising fact, considering that most people nowadays prefer to access the Internet and their favorite content via smartphones rather than tablets or traditional desktops.
After all, why wouldn’t they? Over the years, mobile phones have evolved to the point of functioning like mini-computers (just take a look at specifications some of them offer), allowing us to have all the information we need at the tips of our fingers, no matter where we are. However, as useful as it might be, this advancement brought about another (unwanted) change: people spending more of their time on smartphones.
A Change in Mobile Advertising
According to research from Nielsen, comScore, SmartInsights, and a number of other companies, the average person now spends over four hours a day on their device.
That’s more than a whole day per week staring at your phone.
Of course, this increase in time isn’t the only thing that’s different in our day-to-day lives—the way we spend those four (and more) hours has changed, too.
According to an eMarketer report from 2018, apps account for over 90% of the time we spend on our smartphones. People are opting for apps rather than mobile browsing more often than not, and the number of app downloads—178.1 billion in 2017—only confirms just how much consumers love their apps.
It is estimated that this figure will grow to 258.2 billion in 2022.
With all these numbers in mind, it’s probably safe to ask: what is happening with mobile advertising at the moment?
Given that mobile ad spending is expected to reach $176 billion in 2020, more and more marketers have started pursuing mobile-first strategies to try and target users where they spend most of their time—in this case, within apps.
And that’s where mobile ad networks come into the picture.
To put it simply, a mobile ad network presents a connection between app developers and advertisers that allows you to monetize your app. However, with so many of them out there, finding a reliable one for your in-app purposes can be an overwhelming challenge that not a lot of people are willing to take on.
Because of this, we’ve decided to share with you the top 10 mobile ad networks marketers and publishers alike believe are the best, and that will help you narrow down your choice.
Top Ad Networks You Don’t Want to Miss
The original creator of the D2S (display-to-search) ad format, Media.net is a very popular option among publishers for a number of reasons. It offers high conversion/sale rates, all ads are automatically targeted, and functions based on the CPC pricing model (which helps you earn more than the traditional CPM model).
They specialize in native advertising when it comes to mobile ads, but contextual and display ads are also available to you. Some of the companies using Media.net include Reuters, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Elle, and more, and it’s considered to be one of the best alternatives to Google’s AdSense.
Probably the most popular ad network out there, Google’s AdMob has been around since 2012, and currently, they are the “home” to over 1 million advertisers and 1 million apps. For beginners in advertising, AdMob is the perfect choice because it’s far less intrusive than other ad networks and almost flawless when it comes to its functionality, meaning that you shouldn’t have trouble navigating it.
AdMob supports all the high-performing ad formats, including native, rewarded, video, interstitial, and banner ads, and it lets you run CPM, CPC, and CPI campaigns. You can target users based on a mobile platform, OS, location, interests, connection type, and device, plus you can integrate Google Analytics for Firebase with AdMob to gain better insight into your campaigns.
Along with the first two, Smaato is the name everyone in the world of mobile advertising has at least heard of. This global, in-app advertising platform is associated mostly with real-time bidding and programmatic advertising, and it’s a network that can be used by both advertisers and developers alike.
Smaato supports both iOS and Android, as well as Windows Phone and mobile Internet, and it specializes in banner ads and CPC campaigns. Over 90,000 publishers and advertisers are currently using Smaato, they have over 450 demand partners, and the platform reaches over 1 billion unique mobile users. Publishers have access to a private marketplace, reporting API, and SDK mediation.
InMobi has become popular thanks to developing appographic targeting—a unique targeting technique that increases your chances of connecting users to apps and content they’re interested in the most and, therefore, most likely to consume. How does this work exactly? Instead of targeting users based on demographics or location, InMobi uses previously or currently installed apps on their users’ phones to their advantage.
If you want to run CPC and CPI campaigns, then InMobi is definitely for you, plus it’s good to know that this platform supports banner, native, rich media, video, and interstitial ads. Publishers can use their programmatic monetization platform and gain access to a variety of advertisers from premium brands, programmatic options, and direct deals.
If interstitial ads are what you’re after, then StartApp might be your best bet, but it should be noted that it lets you run video ads and full-page ads, too. A platform for both publishers and advertisers, StartApp supports apps on almost all platforms out there, including iOS, Android, Cordova, Unity, and Marmalade, and offer CPA, CPC, CPM, and CPI campaign models.
StartApp uses first-party data and insights to enhance their targeting methods for advertisers, publishers, and consumers alike. Over 500 thousand apps are a part of this network and the company also works with more than 50 thousand partners, both large and small.
An ad network that specializes in video advertising, AdColony offers options for both advertisers and publishers. It functions based on the CPM model, but what really sets it apart from other similar platforms is the quality of video ads. Namely, it prides itself on HD videos and rich media formats, making it one of the top choices for advertisers.
By targeting audiences based on demographics, AdColony can help you reach more than 1.4 billion mobile users and achieve high fill rates. Some of the Fortune 500 companies are also a part of this network and they rely on it to help them run their campaigns.
Chartboost offers sophisticated targeting and tracking options for advertisers in the gaming industry, as it’s specifically designed for mobile gaming apps. Over 300 thousand games use their SDK, and players can see a variety of ads within Chartboost, including rewarded ads, interactive ads, and more.
Chartboost boasts over 40 billion monthly app sessions and more than 900 million unique monthly users, so it’s definitely worth a shot if you have a gaming app. In addition to this, this network also excels at cross-promotion, which can help you increase downloads and profits for your app.
Simply saying that IronSource works with some of the leading gaming mobile app publishers out there, such as Ubisoft, EA, Gameloft, and Zynga, is probably enough to give you an idea of just how popular this ad network is in the gaming industry. It is THE top choice for advertisers and publishers, as they support the biggest number of platforms out of all networks, including iOS, Android, Amazon, Windows phone, and many more.
IronSource allows you to run interstitial, video, and offer wall ads, and their SDK is integrated into over 500 000 million devices, which is quite impressive, to say the least. They also provide publishers with all the tools necessary to take their monetization to the next level, such as advanced reporting and insights.
Last but definitely not least is a relatively new network called PiggyBox, which allows you to run rewarded video ads and avoid fake traffic while doing so. At the moment, this is the only available option, but the team behind it promises they’re working on adding different formats to the network in the near future.
PiggyBox supports both iOS and Android, but what really makes it special is that it doesn’t use the standard CPC or CPM campaign models. The platform actually uses the cost-per-correct-answer model, i.e. they charge you only when a user answers one of the video-related questions correctly. Not only does this help you distribute your budget better, but it also stops bots from taking over your ads and campaigns.
As you might have noticed, there are numerous options to choose from in the world of ad networks. To pick the right one, you need to start by deciding whether you’ll be using these networks as an advertiser or a publisher, what types of campaigns you’d like to run, which ads you’d like to use, and so on. Maybe you’ll come to a decision based on the countries these networks can cover.
In any case, don’t rush into anything—test out a couple of mobile ad networks, see which one works best, and then make your decision. And don’t forget: all these platforms are highly competitive and switching from one to another is always a seamless experience, due to their SDKs being extremely easy to integrate.