The Ultimate Guide to the Top Mobile Ad Networks in 2020

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Natalie Stepanova
The Ultimate Guide to the Top Mobile Ad Networks in 2020

Table of Content:

  1. Why Market Analysis Is so Important?
  2. Social Networks
  3. Which Ad Network to Use for a Mobile App?

In-app advertising has proven to be one of the most high-performance UA strategies, thanks to the ease and speed at which it can be implemented, as well as it’s generally high conversion rate. However, these selling points come with a little issue – for an ad to convert, it needs to be targeted right: else you may end up wasting advertising budget. Today’s market is saturated with Ad Networks and media buyers promising you relevant traffic at a low price, so it may be a key problem - to choose the right mediator between you and your audience that will be constantly increasing high-quality traffic volume.

Check here how to choose the best mobile monetization strategy.

For mobile Ad Networks, the most common are AdMob, Applovin, IronSource, Unityads, Adcolony, and social networks such as Facebook and Instagram. Each network has advantages and disadvantages based on the advertising inventory, targeting channels, supported ad formats, business model and so on. Below is a guide for selecting the Ad Network that will fit your needs and let you achieve your UA campaign optimization.

Why Market Analysis Is so Important?

Young UA managers should start with a little clue: no matter how inexperienced you are, there are years of experimentation behind you. Having a look at the state of things on the market will give you an idea of the direction you should go. The article is based on the data provided by Apptica - result-driven Mobile Ad Analytics tool that covers advertisers in 35 countries and collects data from 25 large Ad Networks.

AdMob

AdMob data slice picture
Source: apptica.com

Admob is the first and major mobile ad network, created by Google in 2006. AdMob clients enjoy a wide range of tools enabling publishers to generate high revenue from in-app advertising. AdMob offers custom ad formats for each app category. In 2019, the main audience of the network is non-gaming applications (more than 70% of advertisers). As for the ad format, the network goes with banners and videos equally well and also accepts playable ads. Among mobile ad networks, AdMob has the widest inventory and covers over 40% of all advertisers.

For Android, the average RPM is within 15 cents to USD 1.50 while for iOS, it is between 20 cents to USD 2.

AppLovin

AppLovin data slice
Source: apptica.com

Another large network on the market, founded in 2012. Applovin is a mobile marketing company that features Monetization and provides developers with brand safety solutions. They also own a well-known games publishing studio “Lion Studios.” Applovin is a better choice for gaming applications: in 2019, games made 80.5% of advertisement clients. Despite a smaller inventory share, Applovin is not far behind AdMob in terms of ad volume. In App Store, Applovin even outpaced AdMob in ad distribution. Applovin features a large number of interactive ads, unlike most of the networks.

ironSource

ironSource data slice
Source: apptica.com

ironSource is one of the oldest networks, created in 2009. The company focuses on video ads in mobile games. ironSource supports publishers in data-driven user acquisition and ad mediation.

Pricing: Average CPI for 2019 is $2.37 (iOS devices)

Unityads

Unityads data slice
Source: apptica.com

Unityads is a platform created for Unity, iOS, and Android developers. Although Unityads seems itself as a platform for game developers, this year, the number of non-game publishers using the platform has increased to almost a half. As for the ad format, the platform focuses on rewarded video, which is recognized as the most engaging format. Unityads has the second inventory share after AdMob - more than 9%.

Chartboost

Chartboost data slice
Source: apptica.com

Chartboost was founded in 2011 as a monetization and programmatic advertising platform. Mobile games make a significant part of advertisers, but non-gaming apps contribute as well. The platform is optimized for every ad format from banner to interactive video and playable ads.

Pricing: Average CPI in the US is $1.78 Action subcategory is $1.42 per install, Puzzle - $2.63, Casino - $5.10

AdColony

AdColony data slice
Source: apptica.com

A mobile ad network that is known for a wide range of video advertising and unparalleled 3rd party verified viewability rates. It has a smaller inventory share but is highly competitive in terms of advertising volumes.

Pricing: The CPI depends on the category and ranges from $1.2 for hypercasual to $5 for mid-core games in the US. 

Social Networks

In recent years, advertising on social networks has been tremendous: Facebook alone makes up to 35% of in-app ad distribution and, compared to other ad networks, social networks have only one platform with a broad audience. In 2019, Facebook and Instagram outperform AdMob by the number of advertisers and creatives (we’ve seen more than 1,5 Million ad creatives on Facebook this year). Facebook remains a monetization platform easily accessible to anyone and attracts advertisers with unique targeting options.

The key to optimal monetization on social networks lies in choosing the best targeting option to acquire high-quality traffic. There are many different factors to think about when selecting a social network to advertise in. Check the demographic statistics to choose the best fit for your app.

Use of different online platforms by demographic groups
Source: Pew research center

The newest monetization platform on the market is TikTok. Created in 2018, the application had a huge success and spread globally in no time and soon launched its own ad network TikTok Ads. The audience of the app is proclaimed to be over 800 Million MAU globally. The platform offers 5 types of advertising. Since TikTok is a social network where influencers have a huge impact, and virus trends come and go, we advise you to carefully study the application content and advertising: for example, this is how the photo&video application OopsCam is advertised on TikTok.

Which Ad Network to Use for a Mobile App?

Well, it depends on the application. As seen above, each network has its unique features. Some ad networks perform excellently with social apps and others with game apps.

Each application is unique, so if you want to know that you've picked the best ad network, you need to make certain tests. Examine the same ads in the different ad networks and find the best ad network for your application.


FAQ

How do mobile ad networks work?

A mobile ad network operates as a connects publishers, advertisers, and marketers. Essentially between either companies or individuals who need to advertise their product or services, companies that monetize their commodities (websites or apps) by placing ads from the former.
In fact, among companies or individuals who want to advertise their product or services, companies that monetize their products (web or apps) by placing ads.

Which mobile ad network is best

Top mobile ad networks:

- Facebook Ads(ios and android ad network)

- Google Ads(ios and android ad network)

- Apple Search Ads(ios ad network)

Mobile ad networks ranking

Best mobile ad networks for ios:

1. Facebook Ads

2. Google Ads

3. ASA(Apple Search Ads)

4. Appodeal

5. AppLovin

6. ironSource

7. Twitter Ads

8. Unity Ads

9. Chartboost

10. AdColony

Best mobile ad platforms for Android:

1. Facebook Ads

2. Google Ads

3. Unity Ads

4. ironSource

5. AppLovin

6. Vungle

7. AppLike

8. Appodeal

9. Chartboost

10. AdColony

Here is a list of top mobile advertising networks for each platform.

Best ad networks for apps

1. AdMob: Admob is the first and one of the biggest major mobile advertising network

2. AppLovin: Applovin is a mobile marketing company that features Monetization and provides developers with brand safety solutions.

3. ironSource: The company focuses on video ads in mobile games. ironSource supports publishers in data-driven user acquisition and ad mediation.

4. UnityAds: Unityads is a platform created for Unity, iOS, and Android developers. Main focus on rewarded video.

5. Charboost: The platform is optimized for every ad format from banner to interactive video and playable ads.

6. AdColony: A mobile ad network that is known for a wide range of video advertising and unparalleled 3rd party verified viewability rates.

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