Branimir is a co-founder at AdTapsy, a mobile ad revenue accelerator aiming to help publishers and developers to monetize their apps.


Mobile in-app advertising is the most common monetization strategy among app developers and app publishers. It is by far the easiest and the fastest app monetization strategy that just about every mobile app developer employs, particularly developers with focus on app games. According to App Annie Survey from Feb 2014, more than 40% of app publishers used paid advertising within their apps:

Although deploying mobile ads is easy and fast, choosing the right ad network(s) can be confusing if you are not familiar with current ad formats in mobile advertising. Understanding the pros and cons of each ad format will help you to decide on the format that may perform best for your monetization goals. This article will introduce you to the major mobile ad formats.

There are 6 most common mobile ad formats: Interstitials, Native ads, Banner, Video, Rich media and List / panel ad formats.

Interstitials — The word interstitial means “between spaces”. Тhe name itself says that ad is used as a transitional screen between two portions of an app. It is popular mostly among games apps, often performing pretty good results (if used appropriately without overindulgence).

Interstitial ads are supported by most ad networks, but for some of them you will need their explicit approval (Admob e.g.)

Sample of interstitial ad

Pros:

  • Full Screen
  • High CTR
  • Fast and easy to deploy

Cons:

  • Can be highly irritating if used improperly

Native ads — This ad format works more like content and is becoming very popular among publishers and social networks. New ad networks that offer this format appear constantly, often naming this format with different terms. Just few days ago world’s largest independent mobile ad network InMobi released the platform offering native ads as well. Other companies that support native ads are: Google, Facebook, Twitter…

Native ad formats match form, function and feel of the app, therefore it is not interrupting user experience. That‘s why it is preferred both by publishers and advertisers.

Sample of native ads in Twitter app

Pros:

  • better user experience

Cons:

  • Higher cost of maintenance

Banner — This is one of the most dominant form of advertising on the internet. While it still works well in WWW, results are not impressive for mobile apps. It provides lowest CTR and eCPM according to data recently collected by AppFlood( CTR stood around 0.23% ). Banner can still perform well for advertisers aiming to improve advertisers’ brand awareness and visibility, but they certainly don’t generate best revenues for publishers.

Sample of admob banner ads

Pros:

  • customizable refresh rate

Cons:

  • low CTR and eCPM
  • app redesign may require

Video — Video ads are great source of revenue for app developers. Videos last between 15 and 30 seconds depending on the ad network. Deployment of this ad format is easy and it is not different than deployment of interstitial ads. Most popular ad networks supporting video ads are Vungle and Adcolony.

Advertiser are shifting their budgets to where their audiences are — from TV to online video, including video watched on mobile devices. Great news both for advertisers and publishers is that users love watching video ads on their mobile devices. The average CTR for mobile campaigns (13.64%) almost three times bigger than the desktop campaigns (5.45%);

Sample video ad from Millenia Media

Pros:

  • Аttracts attention
  • Users like watching video
  • High CTR

Cons:

  • Non-skippable video can be irritating

Rich media — this ad format is most distinguished with multitude of engaging mobile ad creative attributes including interactivity, video, functions like calling a number, sending a SMS message, embedding audio etc. Thanks to its interactivity mobile rich media ads have higher engagement rate with app users. As a result it generates higher conversion rates for advertisers, respectively higher revenue for app publishers.

Users generally accept well this type of format, due to human need and desire to be involved. If told in a clear, intriguing manner what are the required next steps in order to achieve a certain goal (score points, complete survey, win game etc.) users are more likely to engage and complete the whole process (e.g. download game from appstore)

Pros:

  • Engaging
  • High CTR

Cons:

  • Can be highly intrusive

List / panel ad formats — Just like their names are saying those ad formats are displaying ads in a list or panel, while popular term for list ads are “Offer Walls”. Both formats allow app users to scroll ads. Since there are usually plenty of apps displayed chances for users to pick and download something are pretty high. Giving the app user multiple options for downloadable apps or clickable ads perform well: App Lists — 7.14% CTR and Panels — 12.6% CTR (according to appflood):

Pros:

  • High CTR
  • Plenty of apps in one ad
  • Non-intrusive ads

Cons:

  • Low impressions

What ad formats to use for app monetization?

Actually, no one can tell. It depends a lot on the app itself. As seen above each ad format has its own pros and cons. Some ad formats work best with game apps, other with social apps, but there is no secret sauce. Fact that Flappy Bird’s creator Dong Nguyen generated about $50,000 per day only from mobile banner ads doesn't mean that it was the best monetization model for Flappy Bird (neither for other mobile apps out there). Every single app is unique and the only way to make sure you have picked the right ad format, respectively the right ad network, is to:

  • Test different ad formats;
  • Make sure displayed ad formats does not affect user experience of your app;
  • Use more than one ad format and one ad network.

We at AdTapsy believe that app monetization with all those formats and more than 100 of ad networks is a little bit confusing for developers. It is difficult to keep up with all new trends in mobile advertising. We want to help app developers to focus on application development and do not waste time researching and testing latest innovative formats.

That is why we are building solution aiming to help app developers and app publishers easily maximize their mobile ad revenue. With our SDK app developers and publishers can integrate very easily more than one ad format and more than one ad network and prioritize them for the best results.


Thanks for reading this! If you got value out of this article, I would really appreciate you hit the recommend button below. If you have any questions or comments please reach out on Twitter @ivbran or @adtapsy!

Appreneuring Stories

Articles about app monetization, app marketing, UX, app develeopment etc.

    Branimir

    Written by

    Branimir

    Co-Founder at @AdTapsy.

    Appreneuring Stories

    Articles about app monetization, app marketing, UX, app develeopment etc.

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