The Best Mobile Ad Networks 2013

mobile ad networks

Since our last overview of the best mobile ad networks a year ago we’ve seen quite a few shake-ups in the mobile ad market, with new monetisation and user acquisition models starting to gain serious traction. Perhaps the biggest difference between now and then, is the rise of app cross promotion networks and app exchanges, with platforms like Appflood, Chartboost and TapJoy, starting to make some headway in terms of breaking down the cost of user acquisition. This area has also seen the popularity of cost per install continuing to grow, with traditional networks like LeadBolt and Admob getting on-board. We’ve also seen the rise of Demand Side Platforms and ad mediation networks, with solutions such as Lean Market again making a real effort to appeal to the developer on a budget.

But despite these advances, it still feels like the mobile ad market is not quite where it should be. The problem of tracking and determining the life time value of users still casts a shadow, while ad networks are beginning be squeezed by competition from social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, which are desperate to prove to investors their mobile platforms can effectively monetise.

But anyway, let’s put that to one side, because today we’re brining you mobyaffiliates’ top mobile ad networks in 2013. Obviously, there is no one ad network to rule them all. Mobile advertising is all about finding the right type of promotion and network to suit your monetisation and your advertising strategy. So as per usual we’ve split the below networks into categories, picking out the best candidates for those looking for cross promotion, cost per click and all the rest. Disagree with our list? Got some recommendations of your own? Why not let us know in the comments section below.

The mobyaffliates guide to the best mobile ad networks in 2013

 

High eCPMs: LeadBolt

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LeadBolt has been pushing the envelope when it comes to innovative mobile ad units over the last year and deserves real praise for delivering consistently high eCPMs to developers. Over the last 12 months the ad network has introduced push notifications, audio ads, video ads, app icons and much more – just take a look at their full range here. The main benefit of all this is that advertisers have choice and can experiment, figuring out which ad units work best for their campaign. Ad networks must increasingly turn to new formats to increase ROI and LeadBolt is leading the way in this space.

LeadBolt shows off its mobile ad overlays

App Cross Promotion: AppFlood

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Papaya’s AppFlood exchange platform has been a massive help to developers looking to promote their apps on a shoe-string budget. Unlike some of the other exchange platforms out there, AppFlood’s has branched outside of the mobile gaming niche and has pioneered an innovative way to measure the value of installs. This ensures you always get a fair exchange in terms of user value (for instance, a user from India is less likely to spend much money on your app, therefore is worth less than a user from Europe). Best of all, AppFlood’s exchange is totally free and it doesn’t impose caps like other platforms.

AppFlood’s Fernando Pizarro explains cross promo marketing

Native Mobile Advertising: NativeX

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NativeX is a mobile monetization and marketing platform that supports app and game developers in building a sustainable business.  It offers a range of mobile monetization and marketing services and has pioneered mobile-native ad units that integrate with apps and games to become part of the user experience.  These native ad units outperform standard mobile advertising by 150%, which can deliver double or triple the revenue of standard ads such as banners or interstitials.

NativeX explains more about it’s unique mobile ad technologies

 

Self service mobile advertising: mMedia

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mMedia is the self service platform from Millennial Media, which along with Admob is considered the biggest mobile ad network on the market. Launched back in February 2012, mMedia lets smaller businesses, and developers on a budget, get access to Millennial’s massive ad network, giving them the ability to create and run their own CPC and CPM campaigns. mMedia does an excellent job of addressing the problem many small developers have in terms of funding user acquisition and convincing small businesses to get on-board with mobile advertising. You have to be prepared to put in a bit more legwork than usual, but the results are realistic eCPMs, high fill rates and high ROI.

Millennial demonstrates its self-service mMedia platform

 

Pay Per Install campaigns: Appia

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Appia focuses purely on CPI performance driven mobile campaigns and has built a solid reputation on delivering high quality users and helping developers drive higher App Store rankings. Appia also claims to partner with over 60% of the top 100 grossing apps on Android. Cost per install is still an emerging ad revenue model, with only 7% of developers using it according to Developer Economics. However given its low risk, and the huge number of devs looking to advertise on a budget, many believe CPI will become standard over the coming years, much like CPC did in the desktop space.

High fill rates: MobPartner

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MobPartner has continued to prove itself as one of the best mobile affiliate networks for consistently high fill rates. The network has a presence in over 200 countries and covers all revenue model bases, including CPS, CPL and CPI. As we’ve explored in previous articles on mobyaffiliates, ad decay is a real problem for developers and advertisers. Both suffer due declining click through rates, because everyone has already seen the ads, and advertisers have to bid higher to get their ads displayed. MobPartner is therefore well worth checking out if you’re seeing the same ads again and again. Also worth checking out our guide to increasing your fill rate.

Mobpartner’s Vianney Settini explains mobile performance marketing

Mobile games marketing: AppLift

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AppLift launched back in August 2012. The Berlin-based company has proven itself to be one of the best solutions on the market for mobile game developers looking for an effective cost per install platform and for efficient ways of monetizing their traffic.  Benefiting from the bustling Berlin start-up scene, AppLift has generated results for some big game dev clients including Wooga and TinyCo, and in just six months managed deliver over 1 million users for its largest partner. AppLift has also started a great little blog focusing purely on mobile game marketing, so if you’re a game developer go check it out.

AppLift’s Kaya Tanner gives some social gaming tips

APAC: Avazu Mobile

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Avazu Mobile is a global performance based mobile ad network connecting mobile ad buyers with inventory from across the world.  They have particular strength in the APAC region and are one of the pioneers of opening up RTB and programmatic buying in markets such as China.  Their real time bidding platform offers high quality targeting capabilities and delivers enhanced return-on-investment for mobile media buyers and all types of mobile ad campaigns.  Avazu works with leading mobile app and content providers including Bigpoint, Meetic, FriendScout 24 as well as leading network operators.

Global mobile affiliate marketing: Impact-Mobi

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Impact-Mobi is a performance based mobile affiliate network that puts real emphasis on its global reach, offering traffic in around 220 national markets. This lets advertisers get users from any territory they’re interested in from a single platform. The network features support for rich media ads, mobile lead generation, and CPA, CPL and CPI revenue models. It also guarantees 100 fill rates for publishers and multi-currency support for global campaigns.

Interstitial ads: Revmob

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While some networks like LeadBolt focus on delivering lots of different ad units, RevMob has decided to focus its efforts on perfecting its full screen interstitial ads (along with banners to complement the full screen efforts). Interstitial ads have proven particularly popular with game developers, who can strategically place them before a game loads, in between levels or at other natural breaks in gameplay. RevMob’s interstitials are mainly CPI-based, prompting users to download an affiliate’s app. The platform has also won plaudits for its robust and easy to use analytics tool.

RevMob demonstrates how to integrate its SDK

Mobile performance ads: Matomy Media Group

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Matomy offers a mobile publisher network that focuses on performance and aims to deliver a very high quality of mobile traffic to help partners achieve their CPA goals. We don’t need to remind developers the importance of gaining high quality users for their apps, especially if you’re working with a freemium, micro-transaction, revenue model. Matomy also offers mobile advertisers great optimisation tools and targeting solutions – so go check them out.

An intro to Matomy Media Group

Games cross promotion: Chartboost

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Chartboost has fast created a reputation for being the most effective platform for cross promoting mobile games. Built by game developers, the platform provide free direct cross promotion, letting dev find partners to swap ads and installs for their games. Unlike platforms like AppFlood, Chartboosts steps right out of the way, letting you set the terms of the exchange between yourselves. Chartboost also offers a CPI network focused entirely on mobile game promotion. With $19 million recently secured, Chartboost future is looking pretty bright.

Chartboost walks us through its platform

Ad servers: Smaato

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Millennial's mobile ad for Activision's Call of Duty.

Millennial ad for Call of Duty.

Ad servers are a great option if you want to get your hands dirty and sell your inventory directly. Smaato has long been a great option in this space, offering ad network mediation and optimisation, and the ability to run in-house ads and direct sell. Smaato continues to be one of the most popular choices on on the market, used by around 70,000 developers and across 230 countries. The company also runs it real time bidding exchange, which aggregates around 90 ad networks and 50 demand side platforms to help developers maximise their ad revenues – giving you all that access with just one platform.

Smaato shows off postitial ads

Best for brands: Millennial Media
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Millennial offers a whole range of mobile ad solutions to advertisers and has become one of the largests ad networks in the word. The platform helps some of the biggest brands get up and running with effective mobile campaigns, from video and rich media ads, to basic banner ads, as well as the ability to create house ads. According to Millennial, 85 of Ad Age’s top 100 brands has used the network. It’s not hard to see why, Millennial has a very strong reach, particularly in the US market, and offers a raft of advertiser reporting analytics and targeting options.

A demo of Millennial’s Call of Duty rich media ad

Incentivised networks: TapJoy

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Since Apple decided to crack down on the practice of incentivised downloads, the amount of networks continuing the practice has declined. But TapJoy is still going strong and has diversified down a number of different avenues. While incentivised networks have taken some flak, they can be a great way to quickly gain users and if you’re going to take advantage of this system, then TapJoy is your best bet. This is especially true if you’re a mobile game developer, as TapJoy has become experts in how to best deploy the freemium model to games, and is able to provide a huge amount of advice and consulting to budding developers.

TapJoy explains its ‘value exchange’

Regional network: Jampp

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Jampp is one of the best cost per install mobile ad networks out there, but it just so happens to focus entirely on the Latin American market. If you’re a developer looking to acquire users away from US and European-centric platforms, Latin America is very much worth considering. There’s loads of growth potential, with smartphone penetration hovering around 30%, and a population with similar tastes to US and European users, meaning you don’t have to bother with too much localisation. Latin America is also very big on Android and the cost of user acquisition is still relatively lower than in other markets.

Jampp’s Deigo Miller introduces his company

Real Time Bidding platform: Adsmobi

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Real time bidding is a powerful way for advertisers to buy ad impressions online and for publishers to sell their inventory. Here you can bid for mobile inventory in real time, giving advertisers a whole range of neat targeting data, and algorithms, they can leverage. Adsmobi has emerged as one of the leading RTB platforms on the market, boasting quality inventory that’s helped a whole load of major brands launch effective mobile campaigns, including Lexus, McDonalds and Nestle.

Adsmobi goes over the benefits of its demand side platform

Cost per click network: Mobbnet

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If you’re an advertiser looking to take advantage of some seriously low CPCs, then Mobbnet is well-worth considering. The ad network offers CPCs as low as $0.08 and CPI from $1, with inventory spanning the US, Canada, Australia and Europe. Mobbnet has also built up a solid reputation for selling high quality traffic, and matching ad units with traffic sources that are properly targeted. Although CPI, CPA etc may be stealing the limelight at the moment, there’s still a great deal of value to be found in CPC mobile advertising if you partner with the right network.