Top Mobile Ad Servers 2017

Artyom Dogtiev

Updated: December 7, 2017

In the very competitive mobile app space, for many app developers advertising has become a supplemental or even major way to generate app revenue. Ad networks have grown to be the standard means of generating app revenue via placing ads in apps.

The evolution of mobile advertising lead to development of mobile SSP, which stands for Supply-Side Platform. It helps publishers to sell their mobile app or web ad inventory. The key component of a today’s mobile SSP is ad mediation – a technology that makes multiple ad networks compete for publishers inventory, leading to better fill rates and maximum revenue from each impression. Not to mention the technical benefits of accessing ad networks with one Software Development Kit (SDK), instead of managing hundreds of SDK integrations directly.

For many years the digital industry has served the needs of advertisers on the buying side but now things have changed dramatically. With the development of real-time bidding (RTB) (allowing publishers to fill their inventory without a global sales force) and programmatic ad mediation (real-time auction based selling), the mobile advertising industry finally became capable of answering publishers’ needs as well.

Mobile ad servers with real-time bidding functionality open up publisher inventories to a buying market designed to maximize the value of each impression. They reduce the inefficiencies of working with multiple partners directly, by automating access to demand sources. In a plain English, mobile ad servers help advertisers serve ads and publishers publish ads, track and count the ads. As well as choose the ads to be rendered and displayed that which make the publisher or advertiser most money, and monitor the progress of different advertising campaigns.

Mobile ad server principle scheme

Source: Smaato

Speaking of money, the following graph shows the trajectory of the mobile advertising revenue growth from 2013 till this year and the 2018 projection, based on the data collected by BusinessInsider. The obvious general trend is that mobile ad revenue has been growing really fast and the biggest contributor to its growth is search. In 2013 the total ad revenue was only $7 billion, by 2017 it jumped to $33 billion and next year mobile ad industry ad revenue is projected to reach the new hight – $42 billion.

Mobile Advertising revenue in US, in billions USD

Source: BusinessInsider

Now let’s take a quick look at mobile advertising revenues of big players in  the mobile ad server space, companies like Admob (owned by Google), Facebook, MoPub (owned by Twitter),  Yahoo and contrast them to other players. According to eMarketer data, Google leads the top 10 of the companies that generate revenue in the mobile advertising business, with 31.5% in 3016, almost a percent up this year – 32.4% and projected to continue to go up with roughly the same speed – about one percent a year for the next two years. Facebook holds the second position with 22.5% in 2016 and 24.6% this year, which results in more than 2% year-over-year growth. Other companies on the chart are significantly lower with each having less than 3% of the total $46.7 billion in 2016 and $58.4 in 2017. The remaining 35.3% are presented by other companies not mentioned on the chart. By 2019 the total projected ad revenue should reach $82.3 billion, almost a double compared with $46.7 in 2016.

Net US Mobile Ad Revenue Share, by Company, 2016-2019

Source: Marketingland

Next up is the question – how much do app developers, as publishers, can make via mobile ad servers? Let’s take a look at the data pilled up by MonetizePros web traffic monetization blog. The following table brings up the average RPM, stands for revenue-per-mile, or average eCPM as or May 2016. In this data set we see the highest mobile eCPM for iOS Interstitials that bolsters the fact that has been known for a while that, while Android brings up the scale and reach on the table, iOS platform brings up revenue.

Average Mobile eCPM in 2016

Ad type & platform iOS banners iOS Interstitials Android Banner Android Interstitials
Mobile eCPM range, in USD $0.20 – $2.00 $3.00 – $5.00 $0.15 – $1.50 $2.00 – $4.00

Source: Monetizepros

Getting back to mobile ad servers. So what about RTB platforms, that essentially all ad servers are, ad targeting capabilities? On average, 60% of the impressions on an app come from 5 or more countries, according to Smaato. This global scale calls for better tools. Mobile ad servers provide greater control over how, when and to whom publisher ad inventory is sold. So, with the right tools, publishers can compare networks in real-time based on the geo-segments they wish to target. In addition, ads filled by the most relevant provider, in the most attractive formats (native ads, video ads), lead to higher engagement – a win for all parties.

Many ad servers offer their own ad network as well as allowing publishers to plug into their favorite ad networks for free. Naturally ad server owners tend to set favorable conditions for their own network to increase revenue. However, such ad networks aren’t necessary the best option for publishers. This situation begged for a resolution and over time a number of unbiased ad mediation platforms have emerged, without their own advertising demand, to take the lead in optimising publisher ad revenue.

There is much to consider when choosing a mobile ad server from a particular company. Among such considerations is answering the following questions. Do I have to use their SDK? Do they offer real time bidding and a private marketplace? What are the costs? What ad unit formats do they support? How much control do I have when it comes to targeting and optimization? To find the right fit for you, check out our list of the top mobile ad servers for 2016, including a summary of their best features.

Note: the companies on the list we’ve complied below are not in any priority order

Here’s our list of Mobile Ad Servers:


MoPub

MoPub is one of the world’s largest ad servers for mobile developers. Founded in 2010, by former Google and AdMob engineers Nafis Jamal, Bryan Atwood and Jim Payne; MoPub was acquired by Twitter in 2013.

MoPub Marketplace  is the leading mobile in-app RTB exchange, the platform programmatically connects buyers to publishers around the globe. Marketers, agencies, and ATDs can access this supply through the 180+ demand-side platforms (DSPs) that work with MoPub.

  • Key features: reach – 1,5 billion apps, 49,000+ mobile apps, provides access the Twitter users audience
  • Ad formats: video, native, native video, opt-in video, rich media, display
  • Platforms support: iOS, Android

About MoPub

Facebook Audience Network


Facebook Audience Network is the extension of the Facebook Ads platform on mobile apps and web, launched in 2014, to reach audiences outside of the Facebook app and its website.

The Facebook ad server allows advertisers to reach people that are registered on Facebook off the platform without compromising on targeting precision and achieve one or more of the following objectives – brand awareness, traffic, conversion, app install, product catalog sales, video views, and reach.

  • Key features: powered by Facebook, high targeting precision, 40% of top 500 mobile apps are integrated with the system
  • Ad formats: banner, intersticial, native
  • Platforms support: iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, Unity, tvOS

Facebook Audience Network – How to: Getting Started

AdMob by Google

admob
AdMob by Google is mobile app monetization and in-app advertising platform. Founded in 2006, in Mountain View USA and acquired by Google in 2009.

The platform’s ad server supports ads displaying on multiple mobile OS – Android, iOS, Unity and Cocos and being used by over 1 million advertisers, it serves 200 billion ad requests per month. Allows media buyers to bid in real time via the DoubleClick Ad Exchange.

  • Key features: powered by Google, adopted by the greatest number of app publishers, provides rewarded video ads and native ads, provides auto-updates for Android apps with no SDK changes.
  • Ad formats: display, text interstitials, rich media, video
  • Platforms support: iOS, Android, WP7

Custom audience targeting, with Admob’s Audience Builder

Yahoo App Publishing


Yahoo App Publishing is the powered by Yahoo advertising platform for mobile app publishers to monetize their apps with ads from Yahoo, Flurry and BrightRoll advertisers.

By plugging Flurry SDK, publishers can add banner, full-screen or native ads to their apps and get both the power of Flurry’s ad server to display ads in their apps and get access to Flurry Analytics. The other tools that is available on the Yahoo App Publishing ad server is Yahoo Gemini – the unified marketplace to bring mobile search and native ads together. Gemini API allows advertisers to manage complex Gemini accounts and campaigns more efficiently.

And finally the last tool available on the platform is BrightRoll DSP API. It’s a new service that provides BrightRoll and partner developers with RESTful access to BrightRoll DSP advertising and reporting features.

  • Key features: Flurry, Yahoo Gemini, Brightroll tools, powered by Yahoo
  • Ad formats: native, video, banner, full-screen
  • Platforms support: iOS, Android

Yahoo Gemini Native Ads

Mobvista

Mobvista

Mobvista is a global mobile content distribution platform specialising in mobile advertising and game publishing. Founded in 2013, China-based Mobvista has helped many mobile games achieve significant success in Southeast Asia.

In March 2016, Mobvista acquired NativeX, who specialise in innovative native ad technology for mobile games and apps. NativeX’s robust native advertising platform includes Lightning Play video, offer walls, interstitials and other rich media ad formats.

Using the Mobvista’s M System, publishers can customise their ad formats, monetise their traffic from multiple ad networks (including Facebook and AdMob), and run house ads to promote their own app.

  • Key Features: House ads, feature-rich SDK, NativeX’s native ad technology.
  • Ad formats: full-screen, vertical or in-feed video and native ads (reward and non-reward)
  • Platforms support: iOS, Android, Windows Mobile

How to monetize your Android apps, by Mobvista

MobFox

MobFox is a leading data-driven mobile supply side platform and exchange. MobFox enables app developers to manage their media smarter, and generate more revenue with high CPMs and fill rates from diversified and global demand sources. MobFox is connected to 175+ DSPs and is used by over 40,000 iOS and Android apps.

The platform offers comprehensive support for multiple advertising formats including banner, interstitial, video and native. Founded in 2010, the company has offices in London, San-Francisco and Vienna. In 2014, Matomy Media Group acquired MobFox.

  • Key Features: Data-enriched ad requests, auto-optimization, smart mediation
  • Ad formats: Banners, Interstitial, Native, Video
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, and Mobile Web.

The MobFox Autopilot

Epom Ad Server

Epom

Epom Ad Server is an all-in-one white label ad serving and management solution for advertisers, publishers and ad networks. Founded in 2010, Epom operates worldwide with its headquarters based in Kiev, Ukraine.

Epom Ad Server’s real-time bidding platform provides publishers with a simply way to launch and manage advertising campaigns across mobile web and in-app platforms, and provides access to over 20 mobile specific DSP partners. The company’s UniMobile technology, for non-mobile optimised web pages, tracks visitor device models and displays ads customised to the device size.

  • Key Features: Real-time bidding, engaging ad formats including rich media and interstitials.
  • Ad formats: Banners, Interstitial, Rich Media
  • Platforms: iOS and Android.

Epom Mobile Ad Server Overview

Propeller Ads

propellerads

Propeller Ads is a Cyprus-based internet media company, founded in 2011. It offers a range of monetization solutions for websites, mobile, software, games, social, and 404 pages.

Propeller Ad’s mediation solution combines campaigns from thousands of ad networks and direct advertisers to reach a global mobile audience and optimise revenue for publisher inventory. The platform’s automatic optimisation takes charge of campaign selection and performance tweaks to ensure the highest revenue. Supported ad formats include banner, onclick ads, direct links, dialog ads, mobile interstitial and video.

  • Key Features: Automatic optimisation, video ads
  • Formats: Banners, Custom, Interstitial, Notifications, PopUnder, Video
  • Platforms: iOS, Android and Mobile Web.

Propeller Ads Mobile Interstitial Ads.

Appodeal

Appodeal

Appodeal is a programmatic ad mediation solution for mobile apps. Founded in early 2015, by Pavel Golubev and Natalie Portier, Appodeal takes a publisher-centric approach with its supply-side platform for mobile apps.

The Appodeal’s ad server allows advertisers to run cross-promotional campaigns for their own apps and manage direct deals with advertisers. It provides an opportunity to set up campaigns across direct and mediated ad networks to find the highest bids. The ad server supports iOS, Google Play and Amazon platforms.

  • Key features: direct campaigns, cross promotion, sophisticated customization, raw data reports, price floors, backfill.
  • Ad formats: Rewarded video, rich interstitial, video, MREC, banner, and native.
  • Platforms support: iOS, Android, Unity and Corona.

Cross Promo Tutorial Video

Smaato

Smaato Logo

Smaato is a global real-time bidding ad server for mobile publishers and app developers. Founded in 2005, with headquarters in San Francisco, Smaato offers a supply-side platform for managing ad inventory, and the world’s largest independent mobile ad exchange for dealing with multiple ad networks.

Smaato connects publishers and app developers to over 450 demand partners, offering publishers global reach. Meanwhile, its Dynamic Demand technology allows for an auction to be held within the ad server while still accessing direct, indirect and programmatic channels to drive more revenue.

  • Key Features: free for publishers and app developers
  • Ad formats: native ads, VAST video, expandable and interactive banners, standard ad units
  • Platforms support: iOS, Android

Smaato: Why Integrate The Smaato SDK?

OpenX

OpenX-Mobile

OpenX programmatic advertising platform that offers ad server for publishers. It was founded in 2007 by Damon Reeve and Scott Switzer.

It empowers them with the tool to sell, manage and deliver their inventory across multiple formats and screen sizes. The system has intuitive UI and provides publishers with advanced pacing controls and in-house marketplace quality team to ensure safety. They can rely on a dedicated 24/7/365 support team, and an OpenX Community of over 1,500+ users.

  • Key features: integration with OpenX Ad Exchange, highly customizable, a header bidding line item support
  • Ad formats: banner, native, interstitial, rich media and video
  • Platforms support:

OpenX Bidder

AdColony

AdColony is a mobile advertising platform, acquired by Opera in 2016, that provides AdMarvel mobile ad server. The company was founded in 2011 by Jonathan Zweig and Octavio Herrera.

AdMarvel also provides ad mediation capabilities for premium publishers, whom can offer their inventory via open and private marketplaces. Advertisers can leverage the platform’s machine-learning algorithms powered by real-time data, our Core™ engine that automatically optimizes campaigns for maximum return on ad spend and publishers can ensure their app monetization efficiency.

  • Key Features: Core™ engine technology
  • Ad formats: Instant-Play™ HD mobile video
  • Platforms support:

AdColony mobile advertising platform

Mobvista

Mobvista

Mobvista is a global mobile content distribution platform specialising in mobile advertising and game publishing. Founded in 2013, China-based Mobvista has helped many mobile games achieve significant success in Southeast Asia.

In March 2016, Mobvista acquired NativeX, who specialise in innovative native ad technology for mobile games and apps. NativeX’s robust native advertising platform includes Lightning Play video, offer walls, interstitials and other rich media ad formats.

Using the Mobvista’s M System, publishers can customise their ad formats, monetise their traffic from multiple ad networks (including Facebook and AdMob), and run house ads to promote their own app.

  • Key Features: House ads, feature-rich SDK, NativeX’s native ad technology.
  • Ad formats: full-screen, vertical or in-feed video and native ads (reward and non-reward)
  • Platforms support: iOS, Android, Windows Mobile

How to monetize your Android apps, by Mobvista

MobFox

MobFox is a leading data-driven mobile supply side platform and exchange. MobFox enables app developers to manage their media smarter, and generate more revenue with high CPMs and fill rates from diversified and global demand sources. MobFox is connected to 175+ DSPs and is used by over 40,000 iOS and Android apps.

The platform offers comprehensive support for multiple advertising formats including banner, interstitial, video and native. Founded in 2010, the company has offices in London, San-Francisco and Vienna. In 2014, Matomy Media Group acquired MobFox.

  • Key Features: Free for publishers, native ads, dynamic allocation.
  • Ad formats: Banners, Interstitial, Native, Video
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, and Mobile Web.

What’s it like to work at Mobfox?

Fyber

Fyber

Fyber is a leading mobile advertising technology company with headquarters in Berlin. In 2015, attracted by Falk Realtime’s SSP and ad serving technology, Fyber acquired the ad tech company. In 2016 the company launched Fyber Open Mediation, a program enabling app developers and publishers to work directly with a wide variety of quality ad network partners.

With its focus on the world of freemium apps, Fyber’s ad mediation service provides single integration for direct deals with major ad networks and customised delivery of ads to user segments. Supported ad formats include rewarded video ads, offer wall, and interstitial ads.

  • Key Features: Open mediation, audience segmentation.
  • Ad formats: Banners, Interstitial, Native
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, Unity and Adobe Air.

Fyber introduce the top trends driving the mobile ecosystem

AerServ

Aerserv

AerServ is a free SSP and monetization platform for mobile publishers, founded in California in 2012. The company’s ad mediation platform allows you to plug into over 35 different ad networks via API, SDK or tags to take full control of your advertising partners, as well as benefit from real-time reporting.

Positioning itself as a mobile-first video mediation platform, Aerserv lets you fine tune your ad source using GEO, operating system or device targeting; and enjoy multiple ad format support with AerWall technology.

  • Key Features: Mobile video mediation, rewarded video, multiple ad units
  • Ad formats: Banner, Interstitial, non-rewarded video, Rewarded Video
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, Unity and Adobe Air

How to Set up Ad Sources for Mediation with AerServ

Inneractive

Inneractive

Inneractive is a leading independent mobile ad exchange, focussed on powering native and video ads. Founded in 2007, with offices in Tel Aviv, San Francisco, New York, London, and Beijing, Inneractive boasts global coverage across 200 countries. In 2016 InnerActive was acquired by Fyber.

Innerative’s ad mediation platform INNEX includes an open exchange, giving you programmatic access to over 150 mobile-specific demand sources, and a private marketplace where you can invite buyers, set preferences and drive revenue from premium ad units such as programmatic video and native.

  • Key Features: Open exchange, private marketplace, programmatic.
  • Ad formats: banner, medium rectangle, intersticial, rewarded, square, landscape, native, mrec, vertical.
  • Platforms: iOS and Android.

This is Inneractive

ironSource

ironSource builds monetization, engagement, analytics and discovery tools for app developers, device manufacturers, mobile carriers and advertisers. The company was founded in Tel-Aviv, Israel in 2010 by Nethanel Shadmi, Omer Kaplan, Itay Milrad, Tamir Carmi, Roi Milrad, Tomer Bar Zeev, Tomer Bar Zeev, Gil Shoham, Arnon Harish and Eyal Milrad.

The company ad server hosts a suite of solutions for app developers and advertisers  for app monetization, user acquisition, brand awareness, engagement and ad mediation. Via the ironSource Aura solution, ironSource partners with OEMs and carriers to help them enhance their relationships with customers.

  • Key Features: interactive ad units by Playworks Studio, leading video SSP
  • Formats: rewarded video, native display, offerwall, interstitial
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, Unity and Adobe Air.

Introducing ironSource Aura for OEM & Carriers

Tapsense

tapsense

Tapsense is the leading mobile programmatic ad platform. Founded in 2011 in San Francisco, US by Ash Kumar and Amit Manjhi.

It helps top brands to connect with over 1 billion mobile app users audience. Using Machine Learning and AI algorithms, the company’s ad server provides advertisers with tools for mobile user acquisition and retargeting.

  • Key Features: Programmatic, native ads, flexible audience segments, dynamic creatives, adaptive promotions
  • Formats: Rich Media, Video.
  • Platforms: iOS, Android and Unity.

Tapsense Native Ads Demo

Tapdaq

Tapdaq is a platform for developers for ad mediation and cross promotion. Founded in UK in 2013 by Nick Reffitt, Dom Bracher andTed Nash.

The Tapdaq ad server provides a sophisticated ad mediation solution driven by Machine Learning algorithms, based on collecting data on each ad impression, as well as revenue for each ad network, plugged into the system. All this data allows the system to increase app publishers revenue.

  • Key Features: ML based ad mediation, rapid ad serving, automated eCPM values.
  • Ad formats: static and video interstitials, rewarded video and banners
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, Unity

About Tapdaq

Applovin

Applovin is a marketing automation company, founded in 2012 in US by Adam Foroughi, Andrew Karam and John Krystynak.

Applovin’s ad server provides publishers with app monetization platform to fill their inventory with ads from top brands. The efficiency of the system is based on studying advertisers marketing goals, building a model to predict app users preferences in apps to acquire high quality users on one and and drive revenue for publishers on the other.

  • Key Features: works with developers and advertisers worldwide, all major platforms and formats support
  • Ad formats: custom
  • Platforms support: iOS, Android, Windows Mobile.

AppLovin – The Fastest Growing Mobile Advertising Company

Sizmek

Sizmek is the world’s largest independent ad server company founded in 1999.

Its AI-powered platform helps advertisers to gain insights within their data across the 5 key dimensions of predictive marketing—campaigns, consumers, context, creative, and cost. Sizmek provides resources at a global scale and allow advertisers to combine dynamic creative, coupled with predictive AI – to deliver impressions that deliver high ROI. Artificial Intelligence algorithms are also applied by Sizmek to help advertisers to plan, buy, execute, and measure campaigns with laser-precision.

  • Key Features: omnichannel marketing solution – mobile, display, rich media, video and social, AI
  • Ad formats: HTML5 Scroll Reveal, 360 Image Reveal, and Out-Stream Pushdown
  • Platforms support: iOS, Android

Sizmek MDX-NXT Closed Caption

Clickky

Clickky is a full-stack platform for mobile advertisers and publishers. The company was founded in 2010. Clickky operates globally and now runs offices in 5 countries: the USA, China, India, Russia and Ukraine. Clickky offers both performance and programmatic solutions, among which are its own supply-side platform (SSP) and RTB Marketplace.

The company’s real-time bidding marketplace connects publishers to the world’s leading DSP platforms in a simple and convenient way. For the demand side, Clickky offers global reach and premium direct mobile inventory, both in-app and in-web. The Platform supports all iAB-compatible inventory, as well as video, compatible with all newest devices.

  • Key Features: the Platform’s own SSP and RTB-marketplace.
  • Tagline: A full-stack platform for mobile advertisers and publishers.
  • Platforms: iOS, Android and Mobile Web.

Clickky’s self-serve platform for advertisers

Final Thoughts

In the last few years the mobile advertising industry has called for publishers and advertisers to embrace automation. Programmatic spend is up and rich media and native ad formats are in demand. Mobile ad servers now have an incentive to innovate – to move with the market and meet publisher needs. We hope this guide helps you make an informed choice to drive more revenue for your business.

If you think there is an ad server that should be included above, get listed now.