A Comprehensive Guide to Mobile Ad Networks

A Comprehensive Guide to Mobile Ad Networks

Mobile Ad Networks have played a vital role in making mobile app monetization convenient and accessible for mobile game publishers.

Besides other methods of monetizing a mobile game or app, in-app advertising stays on top. The global mobile app revenue is expected to generate more than 935 billion US Dollars via paid downloads and in-app advertising. Keeping in mind this expected growth, it is vital to understand the role of Ad Networks in mobile app monetization.

This guide will help you understand what mobile ad networks are, their role in monetization, performance tracking, business models and more.

What is a Mobile Ad Network?

A Mobile Ad Network acts as a bridge between publishers and advertisers who want to sell or purchase an available ad inventory. Mobile Ad Networks conveniently help publishers to sell their ad inventories to interested advertisers who want to market their apps. Whereas on the other side, Mobile Ad Networks facilitate advertisers in finding the perfect available slot to serve their ads.

Also known as Advertising Networks, the Mobile Ad Networks play an important role in bringing out quality results from mobile game monetization.

How do Ad Networks Work?

The function of Ad Networks can be divided into four major stages.

Beginning with Integration, at this stage, a game developer or publisher integrates the Ad Network’s SDK- software development kit. The goal is to integrate and initialize it.

The next stage is Data Capturing, the Ad Network captures device identifiers to better identify what audience exists at the publisher’s end.

Now, the identified information is saved to the Ad Server which is later used by the Ad Network to serve ads matching the ad request requirements.

At last, the Ad Networks Serve Ads by matching the user and buyer intent. The Ad Network will identify where and how to serve ads for maximizing campaign results and revenue.

What is the Role of Ad Network in Mobile App Monetization?

A Mobile Ad Network manages multiple advertisers to serve the right ad at the right time once an ad call is made. The Mobile Ad Network only gets active when an ad request is generated from the publisher’s side.
An ad request carries important information such as the device type, ad format and ad slot format available, and other placement details. This request is then matched with the available inventory by the Ad Network. Once a matching ad is fetched it is served into the available ad slot in the publisher’s mobile game or app in real-time.

This is how an Ad Network facilitates in-app advertising for the successful monetization of mobile games and apps. But how to activate advertisement serving in mobile games and apps?

The answer is SDK – software development kit! To get an Ad Network running and sorting your mobile monetization game, a game publisher needs to integrate an SDK. By doing so, publishers get to easily allot ad placements and decide ad formats.

This means that game publishers will have to integrate an SDK for every Ad Network that he or she plans to partner with. However, this can be simplified by partnering up with an Ad Mediation Platform instead.

What is the Difference between Ad Network and Ad Mediation Platform?

Ad Mediation Platforms further simplify the process of in-app advertising for mobile game monetization. Ad Mediation Platforms connect a publisher’s game or app with multiple Ad Networks at once with just the integration of one SDK. This enables multiple Ad Networks to bid for the available ad slot in the publisher’s game or app and then serve an ad. With an Ad Mediation Platform, publishers get a chance to improve and enjoy a higher fill rate and eCPM.

On the other hand, Ad Networks only connect a mobile game or application to available advertiser’s inventories. Furthermore, each Ad Network will require a game publisher to integrate its SDK. Multiple integrations often lead to making a mobile game or application heavy which leads to lagging.

Since you are here to know more about Ad Networks let’s now understand the business models commonly offered by Ad Networks.

What are the Ad Formats offered by Ad Networks?

An Ad Network must be able to serve the right ad formats in the right size depending upon the ad request. The ad served must be displayed properly according to the device’s dimensions and placement. All this essential information regarding the available ad slot is available in the ad request generated from the publisher’s end.

To be able to answer maximum ad requests/calls an Ad Network must offer different ad formats in different sizes. The commonly used Ad Formats consist of:

Banner Ads

Banner Ads was the first ever ad format that travelled from web to mobile. This ad format paved the path to in-app advertising for advertisers and publishers. Today, banner ads exist in various dimensions and are used at different instances in an app. The most popular banner ad sizes are Standard (320 x 50), Large (320 x 90), Medium (300 x 250) and Smart (320 x 50) (320 x 90).

Banner ads are usually used on the bottom line or forehead of the mobile game or app’s interface. Besides these placements, the medium and smart ones are placed in the centre covering the interface.

Interstitial Ads

Interstitials are full screen ads that display content while covering the mobile game and app’s interface completely. Since the interface is blocked, this type of ad format is perceived as intrusive. The interstitial ads are either clickable or have an active CTA added that displays once the ad is fully loaded within a couple of seconds.

Icon Ads

Icon ads are the smallest in size and are non-intrusive in nature. Icon ads due to their minimal size can be displayed anywhere within an app’s interface. Another perk of using icon ads is that a publisher can place multiple of these due to its smaller size. These ads usually display icons of other relevant games that a user might be interested in installing.

Rewarded Video Ads

The rewarded video ads are ads that route to a video while providing users with a reward. A user gains in-game rewards after one views a video that he or she was routed to. These rewarded video ads are commonly used to attract users who want to continue the gameplay.

Playable Ads

Playable ads are relatively new to the world of in-app advertising, however are becoming popular day by day. These ads when served display a payable chunk of the mobile game after which users can decide whether to download it or not. These ads are great for breaking the monotony and gaining quality downloads.

Native Ads

It is being said that native ads are the future of in-app advertising. Native ads seamlessly match the mobile game or app’s interface without being intrusive. These ads match the mobile game and app’s interface in terms of theme and color to match the style.

Offer walls

Offer walls are ads that display multiple offers for users to avail themselves. These offer walls usually consist of multiple in-app purchase offers with multiple active CTAs. Offer walls are a great way to make the users feel valued and engage them.

Other than the ad formats, important factors related to Ad Networks comprise the Business Models that they offer.

What are the common Business Models Offered by Ad Networks?

Ad Networks offer multiple business models on the basis of which they are charged. These models are often denoted as performance thresholds. This means that as soon as a certain action is performed within the publisher’s app, the advertiser becomes liable to pay. These models include:

CPM – Cost per Mile

Cost per mile is the cost that an advertiser pays per thousand impressions. As soon as an ad generates thousand successful impressions the advertiser becomes liable to pay a fixed decided amount.

CPC – Cost per Click

Cost per click is the cost that an advertiser pays per click generated. This means that as soon as the advertiser’s ad is clicked, he becomes liable to pay a fixed amount to the publisher showing the ad.

CPI – Cost per Install

Cost per install is the cost that an advertiser pays when an app is installed after an ad is clicked. When this model is active, an advertiser is charged for every installation sourced from a specific ad.

CPA – Cost per Action

Cost per action is the cost that an advertiser pays when a specific action takes place. This action can be set up as a click, install or page route. Thus, whenever a declared action is performed, an advertiser becomes liable to pay.

CPV – Cost per View

Cost per view is the cost that an advertiser pays when a video sourced from an ad is viewed. Therefore whenever a specific video gains views directed from an ad, the advertiser becomes liable to pay.

All these business models are often labelled as key performance indicators that help analyze the ad campaigns performance and outcomes. But how can one analyze and evaluate an Ad Network’s performance? Here is what matters…

What are the KPIs Used to Monitor Ad Network Performance?

Multiple first and secondary metrics help us understand and analyse the Ad Network performance. These key performance indicators together are equally essential for advertisers and publishers to monitor performance. These are the KPIs that matter:


Impressions also known as ad views is the number of times an ad is viewed within a specific campaign. Impressions are only generated when ads are successfully served into the available ad slots in real time. An Ad Network must be able to generate a good sum of impressions in order to add to multiple other priority KPIs.

Impressions significantly add value to an ad campaign’s success as well as to the publisher’s revenue.

Effective Cost per Mile – eCPM

The effective cost per mile – eCPM is used to calculate the revenue earned by a publisher. eCPM is an indicator derived from CPM – Cost per Mile. It is calculated considering the number of thousand impressions generated within an app. The formula to calculate eCPM is:

eCPM = (Total ad revenue / total impressions) x 1000

eCPM is dependent on ad impressions, therefore, an Ad Network must successfully serve ads without missing an available slot.

Fill Rate

Fill rate is another important key performance indicator that helps publishers and advertisers analyze an Ad Network’s performance. Fill rate is the percentage of successfully answered ad requests. This means that Ad Networks that miss out on serving ads successfully have a lower fill rate that affects performance. The formula to calculate fill rate is:

Fill Rate is calculated as Total Ads Served / Total Ad Requests * 100

The ideal fill rate that Ad Networks need to maintain must be over 90% to ensure the best performance.

Click Through Rate – CTR

Click through rate – CTR is the key indicator used by advertisers to analyze an Ad Network’s performance based on conversions. CTR is the number of clicks that an individual ad received while being part of a campaign. An advertiser and publisher will always want an Ad Network to efficiently serve ads that lead to a higher CTR. The reason being more conversions leading to campaign success and more impressions/ clicks leading to more revenue.

Besides knowing the KPIs to analyze Ad Network’s performance you must know the important things to consider before choosing an Ad Network. Following are the important things that you must consider before choosing an Ad Network for monetization.

What to Consider Before Choosing an Ad Network?

When it comes to choosing the right Ad Network research is the key to success. Multiple metrics and features together make an ideal Ad Network that does not disappoint. These include:

Available Ad Formats

An Ad Network must support and offer multiple ad formats to be able to serve ads successfully. The list of ad formats actively used in 2021 are:

It is essential for an Ad Network to be able to serve different ad formats that elevate in-app revenue after effective monetization.

Analytics Reporting and Support

An Ad Network must make optimization easy for both advertisers and publishers. For this, a good Ad Network must provide a comprehensive dashboard consisting of in-depth analytics. The reporting must be managed in real time so that an advertiser or publisher can make relevant changes from their end.

Similarly, the Ad Network must provide support around the clock so that no advertiser or publisher faces an issue.

Maximum Fill Rates

Fill rate is an important performance indicator and it must be considered beforehand while choosing an Ad Network. A good Ad Network must be able to provide and maintain a fill rate of over 90% in order to accelerate revenue and campaign success.

Fill rate denotes how efficiently an Ad Network acts up and serves ads when an ad call is made. Therefore, analyzing this beforehand is always important and beneficial for both advertisers and publishers.

Ad Relevance

An Ad Network can have all the power to serve ads that are based on user’s interests. This is where ad relevance plays an important role. The Ad Network you choose as a publisher must serve ads that are of user interest. Similarly, as an advertiser, the Ad Network must allow you to target your desired audience using various demographics and metrics.

These days, Appographics is a great feature that you must consider while choosing an Ad Network. Appographics allow advertisers to narrow down their audience and create quality segments for better advertising.

Fast Track and Innovation

The mobile gaming and monetization world is evolving and so are the platforms that facilitate them. We see multiple ad formats and trends rolling out that demand an upgraded version of these tools and platforms. Thus, it is important to choose an Ad Network that stays up in the race by updating its features and modules.

Word of Mouth

Another great part of your research before choosing an Ad Network can be getting in touch with experienced publishers. Game developers or publishers already using Ad Networks can guide you better based on their experiences. By doing so, you can rely on word of mouth alongside learning from other publisher’s mistakes and experiences.


Mobile Ad Networks are important for making in-app advertising a hassle-free job. Whether you are a game publisher or advertiser, you will need to understand Ad Networks in depth. This will enable you to critically analyze the working and optimize performance.

A good mobile ad network like ConsoliAds can conveniently facilitate in-app advertising for you. As an advertiser, ConsoliAds provides you with the best features and updates to enjoy. Here is what you get to enjoy:

  • Leading Ad Formats
  • Appographics Targeting
  • Bid Optimization
  • Comprehensive Dashboards
  • Premium In-App Inventory with 15000+ Apps