Mobile Advertising 101
The Mobile Advertising Networks section presents a database of several hundred mobile ad companies that collectively form the mobile advertising landscape. We do our best to make this database comprehensive and useful for company owners who look for an effective and reliable mobile advertising partner to advertise their product or service. We also want to provide media buyers with the best choice of advertising networks to buy ad inventory from.
To begin let’s start with the basics – what is a mobile advertising? According to Wikipedia Mobile Advertising is:
a form of advertising via mobile (wireless) phones or other mobile devices. It is a subset of mobile marketing.
So it’s a natural progression of advertising with a new medium to distribute it. We have more than 150 mobile advertising companies registered in our directory, no doubts, since mobile apps took off back in 2008, this industry has certainly become mature. You can read about the latest mobile advertising trends here.
Types of Mobile Advertising Platforms
There are several types of mobile advertising companies, let’s define the major types.
- A Mobile Ad Network – is a company that serves as intermediary between app developers, that need to advertise their apps or online merchants in general and publishers, individuals or companies that want to place ads inside their apps or websites to make a profit.
- A Mobile Ad Server – is a web server that stores mobile ads and provides technological solution to manage and display these ads on various mobile apps and websites. They can also be known as ‘SSPs’ or “supply side platforms”
- A Mobile DSP (stands for a mobile demand side platform) – is a system for mobile advertisers to buy mobile inventory from a multiple ad exchanges, ad networks and mobile publishers. The mobile DSP key feature is a single interface for a real-time bidding to display online ads across multiple ad-exchanges.
Mobile Advertising Formats
There is a range of different types of mobile advertising defined by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (aka IAB), such as the following:
- Banner ad – a still or animated image, of the number of sizes defined by IAB, placed on a website or inside a mobile app
- Interstitial – a full-screen graphical ad that covers an entire website or mobile app interface. It requires a website visitor or a mobile app user active action to either click-through or closing to continue interaction with a mobile app or website.
- Offer-wall – a screen in an app that offers mobile users rewards or different incentives in exchange for specific actions, like downloading an app, registering in app and more.
- Video ad – a short, 15-30 second length video clip that advertises a specific mobile app or a website.
- Native ad – a form of paid media where the ad experience mimics the natural form and function of a mobile app or website interface.
All mobile advertising formats are developed to advertise products, services and mobile apps in particular. There are a number of business models that different mobile advertising networks utilize to serve both advertisers and publishers. Here we present the most widely accepted ones.
Mobile Advertising Business Model
- CPC (cost per click) – it implies charging an advertiser for every click on a mobile ad inside an app or on a website. Our database contains the following ad networks that support this model.
- CPM (cost per mile) – this model implies charging an advertiser for each 1,000 impressions of her / his mobile advertising
- Cost Per Install / Pay Per Install / CPI – with this model an advertiser is charged once an app he advertises was downloaded
- CPA (cost per action) – this business model is based on charging advertiser once a specific action was taken inside a mobile app or on a website.
Any mobile advertising campaign requires targeting to reach out specific audience that will be relevant to the product or service that is advertised. Compared to desktop, mobile devices provide a wide range of targeting options and the following ones are the most commonly used.
Mobile Advertising Targeting
- Device – this kind of targeting allows to narrow a mobile ad audience to people that have a specific smartphone or tablet model.
- OS – it allows to deliver to users with mobile devices that run specific Operating System, e.g. iOS, Android, Windows Phone.
- Geos – a kind of targeting that allows to deliver a mobile ad message within specific geolocation, in most cases, within a particular country, city or ZIP code.
- Day Part – to take into account mobile users tendency to spend time with their mobile devices during specific time of a day, this type of targeting allows to deliver ads within a specific time frame.
- Behavioral – the most sophisticated type of targeting that mobile advertising platforms run by Facebook, Twitter and Google are capable to provide, based on an extensive user profile they accumulate over time.
- Demographic – this type of targeting is based on a mobile ad audience age and gender.
- Operator – with this kind of targeting mobile ad campaigns can be narrowed down to mobile users that are served by specific mobile operator, e.g. At&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Vodafone and so on.
There are three major ways of launching and managing advertising campaigns: self-service, managed service and programmatic. All 3 have its pros and cons and many ad networks supports all of them to address a broad range of customers needs.
Mobile Advertising Trading Models
- Self-Service / Self-Managed – this model implies providing an online dashboard for digital advertisers to run ad campaigns on their own.
- Managed Service – this kind of model is based on providing qualified managers by advertising company to run mobile ad campaigns on behalf of an advertiser.
- Programmatic – an algorithmic sale and purchase of digital advertising on mobile and desktop.
One of the most important aspects of running an ad campaign is tracking. By definition an optimization, as a crucial part of a mobile advertising strategy, wouldn’t be possible without having a robust ad campaign tracking in place. There are several ad tracking companies that command this core-stone feature of the advertising market, such as:
Mobile Advertising Tracking
- Integration with third party tracking – this is the most common type of tracking support, when an ad network provides advertisers with multiple ad tracking SDKs support
- Pixel – is based on using a simple programming code that contains an 1×1 pixel size image that is placed on a website where an ad needs to be tracked.
We hope this mobile advertising 101 guide gives you a comprehensive overview of the mobile ad industry most important components and provides a substantial educational value.