Mobile ad networks connect app advertisers to publishers (aka websites or apps that host ads) aggregating ad space supply from them and matching it with advertiser demand.
How advertisers expand their reach and effectiveness
Ad networks are critical players in an ever-growing mobile ad industry, helping advertisers optimize reach, campaign placement, engagement, and installs. Advertisers use on average seven ad networks. The greater the spend, the more media sources are used. It’s all about available resources, i.e. budget and team size.
Advertisers must be smart about which ad networks they choose to work with. All ad networks make lofty promises, but it’s important to understand which ones deliver reliability and results. Since 2015, the AppsFlyer Performance Index has become the industry standard for ranking the best media sources in mobile advertising.
Advertisers should also be aware of whether the traffic they’re getting is direct (i.e. coming solely from traffic aggregated by their ad networks) or indirect, from affiliate networks that can be several degrees removed from the advertiser. In these cases, the advertiser is usually unaware their ad has been bought and sold by affiliates. The upside is the possibility of much greater ad reach, while the downside can be lower quality traffic, and no control of where ads are placed.
Direct ad networks connect publishers with advertisers directly, circumventing affiliates and other middlemen. Direct relationships with ad networks allow for more exclusive and beneficial conditions for both publishers and advertisers. Publishers enjoy fixed income for an agreed period of time, while advertisers lower their risk of fraudulent clicks or bot traffic.
As a whole, mobile ad networks offer advertisers a variety of ad types (video, social, native, etc.) that can target different segments, and serve an advertiser’s specific strategies and goals.
Some ad networks primarily focus on video advertising (e.g. AdColony, Vungle, Unity Ads), while some offer video ads as just one of several offerings (e.g. Facebook, Google, AppLovin). Video ads are an inherently engaging ad format with a higher conversion rate than banner or interstitial ads.