Now that most of us are officially mobile-first internet users, how is the mobile advertising industry responding? A report by comScore reveals that 65% of digital media time is spent on mobile, largely driven by smartphone app usage (consumers spend 85% of their time on smartphones in apps, according to Forrester Research). It’s no surprise then that mobile advertising spend has soared. The latest figures from IAB UK show that in 2015, mobile ad spend grew by 60% (from the previous year) to reach a whopping £2.6 billion.
Mobile advertising can include anything from video ads and mobile website display to in-app ads. The very nature of mobile (as a personal device) calls for a personalised approach with precisely targeted advertising campaigns for the best return on investment. And, a number of mobile advertising trends have emerged to support that.
According to a recent IAB UK study, 66% of marketers believe location-based advertising is the most exciting mobile opportunity for 2016. Advertisers can now personalise their messages to people, in real time, based on their current location. This is why in-app advertising works so well.
For advertisers looking to re-engage current users of their app, the development of deep-linking means ads can bring users straight to the relevant content within an app. Meanwhile, marketers are also finding efficiency in mobile programmatic buying and mobile marketing automation services offering advanced targeting features.
Featured Mobile Advertising Platforms
In a rapidly evolving mobile market, devising a mobile advertising strategy can be a complex task. So where do you start? We’ve created a list of mobile advertising platforms and services that can help drive your mobile monetization and user acquisition efforts. To make it simple, we’ve divided the list into seven key categories. And, remember to check out our directory for more mobile advertising platforms and services.
Key mobile advertising categories:
- Demand side platforms (DSPs)
- Ad servers and supply side platforms (SSPs)
- App install platforms
- Mobile affiliate networks
- Mobile advertising analytics and tracking
- Mobile marketing automation
- App store advertising
Demand Side Platforms (DSPs)
Mobile demand side platforms (DSPs) help streamline your ad buying process by giving you access to a range of publishers through a single platform. Not only that, DSPs can place bids in real-time based on your goals, and sophisticated targeting features mean you can reach your ideal audience and improve your ROI.
Millennial Media – a self-service mobile ad marketplace company acquired by AOL and it’s become part of the ONE by AOL product suite. It provides solutions for advertisers to reach 190 million unique users in the US and 580 million worldwide, as well as to monetize more than 65,000 mobile apps.
Appnext – This monetization and app distribution platform offers a self-serve DSP, operating on a cost-per-install (CPI) basis. Includes advanced reporting tools.
Avazu Mobile DSP – Their self-serve DSP uses real-time bidding and reporting to maximise revenues for advertisers. Connected to over 35 ad exchanges, it provides global reach for app marketing campaigns.
StrikeAd by Sizmek – Dedicated to mobile, StrikeAd offers a fully managed or self-serve solution for running ad campaigns. Advanced targeting features and access to private marketplaces are added benefits.
AppLift – Provides a programmatic media buying platform with access to over 35 ad exchanges globally. Big on data integration, their DataLift platform uses first, second and third-party data to optimize campaigns.
Mobusi – Their network includes over 20,000 publishing partners in Europe and South America. You can run campaigns on a CPI basis and tailor campaigns by country, platform and market.
Mobrain by Headway – a mobile marketing platform developed by Headway Digital. The platform features global reach, premium inventory consists of native, video and in-app display formats, on-fly optimization to meet specific KPIs.
Smaato – Plug into Smaato’s real-time bidding ad exchange and you can access inventory from over 90,000 publishers worldwide.
Liftoff – Specialists in mobile app marketing. Liftoff optimizes your campaigns by finding the best performing user profiles and inventory sources for your app. Uses a CPA model.
Trademob – An international platform for mobile app advertising. Uses real-time bidding tech and is connected to hundreds of SSPs, ad networks, RTB exchanges and media partners.
PocketMath – The world’s largest self-serve mobile advertising platform for programmatic buying. Offers advanced targeting features and has a growing presence in China and Japan.
PocketMath overview video
Merchenta – Its Mobile DSP provides a rich mobile inventory across dozens of RTB exchanges and SSPs. Includes advanced tracking features and deep linking support.
Jampp – Its DSP connects to over 150 ad networks, RTB exchanges and publishers; and uses big data to optimize your campaigns in real-time. Works on a CPI basis.
Splicky – A self-serve mobile DSP using real-time bidding technology. Along with advanced targeting options, real-time analytics give you clear insights on campaign performance. You can buy on a CPM or CPC basis.
MobFox DSP by Matomy – Allows you to buy media from MobFox SSP (with no bid fees) and access over 40,000 publishers. Includes real-time micro bidding tools that let you set separate bids on each creative.
Fiksu – Developed a mobile-focused DSP with real-time bidding technology. Fiksu’s targeting toolset links to over 250 user personas and allows you to target by mobile device ID.
Tamome – A boutique mobile DSP with real-time bidding capabilities. Allows precise targeting, advanced tracking and analytics, and A/B testing for your CPA campaigns.
Bidsopt – A self-serve mobile DSP for programmatic buying. Offers advanced targeting tools for your campaigns and technical support is available 24/7.
AdGoji – The in-app advertising specialists. AdGoji’s DSP gives you access to inventory from thousands of apps in over 100 countries. You can optimize your campaigns for clicks (CTR), installs (CPI), acquisitions (CPA), and retargeting.
Adelphic – A mobile and cross-device DSP. Their self-serve platform includes advanced campaign management tools and Adelphic’s technology can anonymously identify users behind the devices for better targeting.
The Mobile Majority – An all-in-one platform for every stage of the ad buying process including media, audience, creative and measurement. The company claims that AdCast can process data five times faster than the average mobile DSP.
NetADge – A self-service DSP with integrated mobile audience data. Uses real-time bidding to optimize campaigns and includes video, rich media and native ad formats.
Go2mobi – Provides a programmatic mobile DSP with access to mobile inventory on over 200,000 apps and mobile sites. 100% transparency on where your ads are placed.
Go2mobi – the mobile audience targeting platform
Mobile Ad Servers and SSPs
Mobile ad servers and supply side platforms (SSPs) allow multiple ad networks to compete for publisher inventory leading to better fill rates and maximum revenue for each impression. Real-time bidding technology also reduces the inefficiencies of working with multiple partners directly by automating the process through auction-based selling.
AdMob by Google – An ad network for mobile apps. AdMob Mediation allows you to manage over 40 networks from one platform and you can cross-promote apps for free with AdMob house ads.
MoPub – The world’s largest ad server for mobile developers. MoPub Marketplace allows bidders to compete for your inventory in real-time. Also offers good campaign management and targeting features.
Epom – A real-time bidding platform that provides access to over 20 mobile DSP partners. They provide 24/7 support as part of the package.
Propeller Ads – Launches and automatically optimizes your campaigns to get the highest revenue for your inventory. Global reach.
Smaato – Free mobile ad server that connects you to over 450 demand partners around the world. Its Dynamic Demand technology gives you more control by allowing every demand source to compete for each ad request.
Appodeal – Takes a publisher-centric approach. Its supply side platform (SSP) for mobile apps allows ad networks to compete for your inventory in real-time. It’s free for publishers and they offer immediate payouts.
Opera Mediaworks – Ad serving platform AdMarvel connects you to over 175 demand partners globally. You can also present ads in exchange for user rewards (e.g. to unlock premium content within your app) using Rewarded Ad Mediation.
OpenX Mobile – Their SSP allows networks and real-time buyers to bid on impressions simultaneously, boosting competition for every impression.
Supersonic Ads – A leading SSP for mobile in-app video advertising. Uses a ‘weighted’ system that pits the performance of one network against another. In 2015, Supersonic joined forces with IronSource.
Fyber – Their SSP provides a unified auction across their Ad Server, Exchange and Mediation. Fyber Open Mediation allows publishers to work directly with quality ad network partners.
MobFox – The ad mediation platform connects you to over 31 mobile ad networks and MobFox’s real-time bidding exchange competes with your ad networks to secure the best price for ad impressions. Free for publishers.
Aerserv –Positioned as a mobile-first video mediation platform. Its publisher platform gives you access to over 35 ad networks in its mediation platform and global demand in the aerMarket ad exchange. Free for publishers.
Mobvista – Using Mobvista’s platform you can customise ad formats, monetise traffic from multiple ad networks (including Facebook and AdMob) and run house ads to promote you own app.
Inneractive – Its ad mediation platform includes an open exchange and a private marketplace where you can invite buyers and set preferences to drive revenue. Focus on video and native ad units.
Upsight – An ad mediation platform that includes over a dozen premium networks and multiple exchanges. It automatically secures you the highest paying ad in every country, every day.
AdTapsy – A mediation platform that uses a layered approach to increase fill rate by sending ad requests to multiple premium ad networks. It also optimises mediation for each country and each app.
TapSense – Tap into multiple demand partners and set up your own private RTB exchange using TapSense’s ad mediation platform. They also offer a native ad marketplace.
App Install Platforms
Mobile app advertising uses several bidding models. The most popular models are CPM (Cost-Per-Mile, CPC (Cost-Per-Click), CPI (Cost-Per-Install), and CPA (Cost-Per-Action). CPI and CPA are performance-based as you only pay when a user installs your app or takes a specific action inside your app. Here’s a roundup of networks and platforms delivering app installs.
AppLovin – Use data-driven insights to identify quality users, and view and measure results in real-time. AppLovin’s support team is available 24/7.
Vungle – Use technology to optimise for high-value users. Offer global reach with plenty of targeting options. Named as a “leader in in-app video advertising”.
AdColony – Drive engagement using HD mobile video ads, advanced targeting and a powerful audience management platform.
Google Universal App Campaigns – For Android app installs. The ad composing tool generates ads using your app store page assets and then matches your ads to the most relevant inventory.
Facebook App Install Ads – Gives you access to its extensive user profile database, drawn from its billions of users. Sophisticated targeting features allow you to deliver ads to users based on interests and online behaviour patterns.
Leadbolt – Choose from their self-serve platform or fully managed user acquisition service. Includes a network of over 65,000 premium apps across 165 countries. Also offer a Direct Deals marketplace.
UnityAds – One of the game industry’s largest video-only network. They use rewarded video ads to deliver more engaged customers.
Yeahmobi – Their platform helps you reach audiences in over 200 countries and acquire users on a CPI, CPA or CPM basis. They offer Native Ads for better integration to drive higher quality users.
ChartBoost – A mobile games-only ad platform. Offers advanced targeting and install tracking features, and a direct marketplace for developer-to-developer app install deals.
Adcash – Reach your target audience on desktop or mobile using this self-serve ad platform. Its global networks span 249 countries and regions.
Mobobeat – A mobile performance network delivering CPI based campaigns with global scale. Its support team is available 24/7.
Yahoo Gemini – You can target the right audience using Yahoo data, based on app engagement demographics and behaviour, then track app installs and app activity using Flurry.
MobAir – A performance-based mobile app marketing platform offering native ad formats. Pay-Per-Install only.
Twitter Ads – Features advanced targeting and re-targeting tools to generate valuable installs. Easy setup and no minimum spend.
Heyzap – Allows you to optimise campaigns using post-install data and A/B test creative. Heyzap was acquired by Fyber (RNTS Media), in 2016, and is working towards building a combined platform with Fyber.
Mobusi – Connected to more than 20,000 publishing partners in Europe and South America.
Clickky – A full-service app marketing platform that offers non-incentivised installs, or CPE campaigns. So, you only pay for the users who perform certain actions within your app.
Minimob – the performance-based CPI-bidding platform that allows advertisers and agencies to monitor results in real time and compare acquisition results against pre-defined KPIs.
Digital Turbine – a mobile app advertising company that provides products and solutions for OEMs, mobile operators, mobile app developers, as well as mobile publishers. Their end-to-end solutions for mobile operators & OEMs, and advertisers & developers, enable platform monetization and create a more engaging, superior user experience.
Clickky – mobile app marketing platform
Cheetah Ad Platform – Combines top rated Cheetah mobile apps with a network of over 1000 publishers, giving advertisers access to a global audience of over 440 million monthly users.
Glispa – Access a network of over 9,000 publishers, around the world, to acquire quality users. Offer a range of pricing models including CPI, CPE and CPA with no setup fees.
Mobvista – Reaches users in over 240 countries and regions and boosts exposure through partnerships with Facebook, Twitter and Google. Acquired mobile user acquisition company NativeX, in 2016.
Appsuch – An app installs and reviews provider for iOS and Android apps. Offers 24/7 support.
Tabatoo by Somoto – Analyses traffic quality, user profiles, and lifetime user value scores (LTV) to optimise your user acquisition campaigns.
Adperio – Provide a combination of internal inventory and access to the world’s top publishers. Offers advanced brand protections and transparency.
Waypedia – Good for developers who want fast results to boost installs and app ranking. Prices start at $0.10 per install.
Blackfox – An international mobile user acquisition network. You can target users by state or device and access Blackfox support 24/7.
Taptica – A DSP and DMP in one package, Taptica delivers mobile app installs on a CPC or CPM basis. They’re also a Facebook Marketing Partner.
Motive Interactive – Gamer focused ad network. Uses a risk-free pricing model (CPA and CPI) to meet your goals.
Avazu Mobile – A self-serve mobile advertising platform with advanced targeting capabilities, real-time tracking and reporting. Easy to setup.
ironSource – Offers multiple ad formats, customised campaigns and real-time reporting for user acquisition.
Propeller Ads – An ad network connecting you to users in over 195 countries. Highlights include multi-level targeting and a flexible bidding model (CPA, CPI, CPL, and CPM).
InMobi –Use the Miip discovery platform to promote your app through discovery zones embedded across 40,000 apps. Advanced targeting helps you find users based on their app interests.
Tapjoy – A user acquisition platform offering three main bidding models: Pay-Per-Install, Video-To-Install and Pay-Per-Engagement. You can also target your ads using Tapjoy’s Audience Segments.
Tapjoy – marketing automation and monetisation platform
Mobile Affiliate Networks
A mobile affiliate network serves as an intermediary between mobile advertisers and mobile publishers. Affiliate networks work on either a cost-per-action (CPA) model or revenue sharing model (in which affiliates earn a percentage of the revenue generated for advertisers). Mobile affiliate networks provide an important revenue stream for app publishers and marketers, striving to create a profitable app business.
App Store Affiliate Programme – For app developers and mobile site owners. Earn commission for every sale generated by links to Apple’s store and content.
Amazon Mobile Associates API – Affiliates can earn up to 10% advertising fees on purchases initiated through their app or mobile site.
Aragon Advertising – Affiliates promote on a CPA basis. Argon advertising has over 5,000 direct mobile offers in more than 50 countries.
ClickDealer – Focuses on direct relationships with advertisers to secure better conditions for publishers. Also run a loyalty program providing rewards for ClickDealer partners.
Matomy – Its affiliate network supports CPA and CPI offers and supplies over 6,000 offers for mobile and web. Matomy also run a referral program and provide a free tracking and analysis tool.
Mobidea – A mobile programmatic affiliate network. They pay a flat 80% revenue share to all affiliates and Smartlink technology will auto-optimise your traffic.
Kimia – a closed premium online mobile performance network. It partners only with top-performing advertisers and affiliates, which allow it to deliver high eCPM performance for mobile traffic and entertainment services.
CPAlead – a performance-based advertising platform that is focused on delivering best ROI for app App Owners and Mobile Affiliates. The platform is built on CPA lead PPC advertising model.
AdCombo – a CPA affiliate network that building long-term relationships with advertisers, it features a brand new model of leads – Cash on Delivery, that implies paying commissions once a purchase is completed via phone.
Airpush – a push notification ad network that helps to earn higher eCPM on Android OS mobile inventory. The platform allows developers and advertisers to monetize inactive mobile users.
How to use Mobidea platform
GOWIDE – Works on a CPA basis and delivers offers from over 500,000 advertisers around the world. You’ll also benefit from a dedicated account manager.
VIP Response – They deliver own, direct and exclusive offers from advertisers worldwide. A range of commission types are available including CPA, CPI, CPC, CPL and CPM.
Performance Revenues – Boasts a 99% fill rate, reliable tracking and reporting tools, and dedicated account managers.
Tapgerine – Offers publishers a 90% revenue share and 24/7 support from a dedicated account manager.
Addiliate – Over 750 campaigns available in over 200 countries. It’s easy to setup and a dedicated account manager is on hand to offer advice. Part of Clicktron Media.
Clickadu – Specialises in pop-under (click-under) inventory. Offers a free premium service with dedicated account managers and 24/7 support team.
Cheetah Media Link – Offers over 1,500 campaigns in over 200 countries. Provides a dedicated account manager with country-specific expertise.
Mobile Advertising Analytics and Tracking
Advertising analytics help marketers understand the effectiveness of their campaigns and better target their ads in the future. Ad analytics and tracking platforms identify how campaigns are performing against each traffic source and different types of creative. Some services combine analytics with buying platforms and DSPs, while others provide a suite of analytics tools or specialise in one sector such as games.
Upsight – Allows you to create and measure marketing campaigns across multiple apps at the same time. You can also identify and monitor your KPIs and create customised data views. Recently acquired Fuse Powered, a mobile monetization platform.
Tune – Brings attribution, app store and in-app marketing analytics together in one platform. Provides campaign insights from paid and organic channels. Free demo available.
AppAnnie – Its advertising analytics tool automatically collects data from all major ad platforms, daily. Setup is simple and you can use the filters to quickly view relevant data.
Appsflyer – Lets you measure all your campaigns in a single real-time dashboard. It also offers smart deep linking technology. Unbiased and transparent.
Adjust – Tracks marketing performance and attributes your users to the sources they came from, in real time. An official Facebook and Twitter marketing partner.
Apsalar – A comprehensive mobile app attribution platform. Apsalar is an official Facebook, Twitter, Google and Apple measurement partner. Includes innovative app tracking features such as uninstall attribution.
Voluum – a performance marketing tracking and analytics SaaS tool. Built using real Performance Marketing insights, it provides tailored campaign management for both web and mobile campaigns.
Kochava – Provides real-time attribution and analytics data. Integration with over 2,000 networks and publishers. Uses a performance-based pricing model.
Mobile Marketing Automation
Mobile marketing automation platforms gather mobile-specific data, often in real time, to target the right audience with your message. Marketing automation makes communicating with your customers across mobile channels (e.g. in-app messaging, push notification, and SMS) more efficient.
Upsight – Its proprietary technology optimises your ad revenue in every country, every day. Video ads are a major component in Upsight’s ad mediation. Custom packages are available.
Appboy – A platform that provides advanced audience segmentation and multi-channel messaging for personalised marketing campaigns. Works with brands including Tinder, Urban Outfitters and Dominos.
Urban Airship – Access audience and user insight tools and automated push notifications and in-app messaging for mobile engagement. Enjoy a Starter package for free or upgrade to a paid plan for more features.
Swrve – A mobile marketing platform that can build real-time campaigns based on any trigger event. Includes push notifications, in-app campaigns, analytics, and A/B testing. Trusted by Virgin, Sony, Microsoft and more.
App Store Advertising
Get the word out about your app by distributing to multiple app stores, boosting your ASO efforts, and delving into the marketplace using app store analytics tools. These are some of the best app store advertising services on the market.
CodeNGo – Distribute your app to over 20 of the most popular app stores around the world. You can manage all your updates from a single account and CodeNGo provides multi-language support. Try it out for free with their basic plan.
AppScatter – A platform that lets you to distribute your app across multiple app stores, collect sales and download data and check out rankings and reviews. AppScatter is in the beta testing stage and available for free.
Sensor Tower – Its suite of tools offer app performance monitoring, competition analysis and mobile advertising insights. They recently added a new Ad Intelligence tool that lets you analyse top advertising and ad-displaying apps across major ad networks.
Mopapp – Lets you track and analyse your app sales from all major app stores and mobile ad networks. Easy integration. Choose either a Developer or Enterprise package.
MetricsCat – Get competitor insights, market data, keyword suggestions and more to boost your app’s performance in the app stores. After a 14-day free trial there are three different monthly packages available.
PreApps – An app discovery platform that helps developers test and market their app before launch, with feedback from the PreApps community. They also provide an ASO service with actionable insights in a report.
What is PreApps?
The future of mobile advertising
Where the audience goes the advertiser must follow. In-app advertising is increasingly important for developers and marketers because users are spending the majority of their time on smartphones in apps. But whatever new trends arise the future looks bright, with mobile advertising delivering better customer engagement and return on investment. We hope you find this list a useful resource for helping your business grow sales and revenues through mobile advertising. You’ll also find plenty more mobile ad platforms and services in our mobile advertising directory.