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    Top 7 Ad Monetization Platforms for Your Android Mobile App

    The goal of the owner of any application is to earn money using the created program. There are a variety of monetization models, but the easiest way to make an app extremely profitable is obviously to take advantage of mobile advertising.

    Statistics claim that the mobile ad market is constantly growing. According to forecasts, by 2021 its volume should triple. It would be nice to grab your slice of such a cake, right?

    We’re ready to share with you our experience on how to monetize the app via in-app ads. Also, we’re going to describe all the pros and cons of 7 popular Ad monetization platforms for Android applications.

    Get ready to read a detailed article about the best Ad monetization strategy and find out the most up-to-date information that we've already tested in practice.

    Mobile app monetization models

    Our article is devoted to mobile advertising, but first, we'd like to tell you what monetization options you have. We want you to be completely savvy about the matter. In addition, sometimes it's helpful to use a combination of monetization models - this is the most optimal way to get the maximum profit.

    1. paid apps. Of course, the method is extremely simple but the task of convincing a user to buy the unknown program would be uneasy.

    2. subscription and freemium. These are similar app monetization models, the essence of which is providing free basic functionality with the offer to buy an advanced feature package.

    3. in-app purchases. The owner of the program can sell users virtual goods, paid app features, etc.

    4. sponsorship. Users receive bonuses after performing some simple tasks (from the sponsor of the mobile service), and the app owners get a percentage of profit. In the case of fitness apps, such a task might be the necessity to perform a certain number of steps per day (or something of the sort).

    5. data monetization models. In this case, the user allows the application owner to take advantage of their personal data in exchange for the opportunity to use the program without payment. Usually, the data monetization platform sells such information to other interested companies (which consider the user a potential consumer).

    And of course, the main item of the list is the possibility to monetize apps via advertising. And we’d like to discuss this matter separately.

     Want to learn more about choosing the monetization model? Read our article!

    Advertising as a monetization model

    To understand our further description of mobile monetization platforms, you need to get a rough idea of the main types of advertising. Therefore, we'll give you a fill-in before proceeding to the next point.

    Banner

    app monetization platform

    Banners are the most common type of software monetization models when it comes to mobile advertising. They come in different formats and sizes, and the most productive ones are expandable banners (those that need to be taped or pulled around a corner). On the one hand, they aren't annoying (because they're always minimized), on the other hand, they ensure a high conversion (because they can only be viewed by interested users).

    In general, banners have fairly low CTR (click through rate) and CPM (cost per mille) with a high fill rate (the ratio of ad impressions to requests). Moreover, according to the VentureBeat study, in games, banners are the most irritating type of advertising (even paid apps are preferable in this case). However, in the utilities, users are more loyal to banner advertising.

    Native

    mobile monetization platform

    Native Ads belong to powerful monetization tools. Such mobile advertising fits well into the application design and looks like part of the app interface or content. Native advertising conversions are higher because users sometimes don't realize that what they see is actually ads. This is confirmed by numerous studies including the Contently experiment. Even the note “Sponsorship Content” or “Advertising” doesn't change the situation (of course, provided that Native Ads design is no different from the design of other publications).

    Native Ads are of two types: News Feed (In-Feed) and Content Stream.

    choose mobile monetization platform

    The first is disguised as a news feed (as the name implies), and the second is a video or an analog of a post in social networks and photo galleries. In essence, this is a kind of content monetization platforms: on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, such commercial publications are very common, and they're perceived by users as one of the posts.

    Video

    monetize apps via advertising

    According to global world trends, one of the most effective formats of ad monetization models for apps is video. As statistics claims, 64% of users perceive video advertising better and are more likely to buy the promoted product.

    The advantages of video advertising in social networks include, for example, their ability to automatically playback: the user scrolls through his news feed, and the video immediately starts playing. Even if a person sees only the first 2 seconds of the video, this may be enough to memorize the brand.

    App monetization platforms offer various video formats of ads, such as:

    • Full-screen video (the name speaks for itself);

    • In-stream, a short promotional video that plays before the main video;

    • Out-stream, a special format of video advertising, which allows you to increase brand awareness through wider audience coverage. Having noticed your ad while reading news on his smartphone, the user can easily start playing the video, scroll the page or tap the video and go to your website;

    • Rewarded, a form of video advertising that encourages users to watch it if they want to get a special reward. Usually, it is shown during an online game: after watching a video, players are given equipment for heroes, additional bonuses or lives, virtual currency, etc.

    Playable

    advertising as a monetization model

    Playable ads are a relatively new way to monetize apps via advertising. In fact, they are just video games, short (lasting no more than a minute!) and fascinating. The user is prompted to play the demo version of the game, and then he is welcome to perform the target action: say, install the application.

    Such mobile game monetization models are generally very popular with users. They provide a pleasant advertising experience, while not only showing how the advertised application looks, but also fully involving and intriguing users.

    Variety of monetization

    Interstitial is one of the types of advertising which overlaps the entire app screen. And although not all users approve of this approach, it provides advertisers with more space to promote their products. It can be implemented in the form of a banner or video played during a few seconds. To close it, a person needs to tap the button.

    This is not the best option among a variety of monetization methods, but sometimes it's useful anyway.

    Rich Media (MRAID 2.0)

    As the name implies, rich media include many various elements: video, audio, text, etc, and can take the form of pop-up windows, lightboxes, video stories. Such an approach arouses the user's interest and motivates him to interact with the ad more actively.

    monetize the app via in-app ads

    Studies have shown that in terms of conversion, rich media are much superior to regular ads. This is an essential argument for adding them to your monetization strategy.

    Dynamic Product Ads

    powerful monetization tools

    Dynamic Product Ads are among the incredibly efficient ad monetization models. Just imagine: a certain user visited your e-commerce project and viewed several products, but he didn't buy anything. It is logical to assume that this very person is your potential customer. And if he subsequently will see ads of similar goods in his news feed (in various social networks), then the probability of making a purchase would be quite high (so is the conversion rate).

    Best app monetization platforms for Android apps

    And now it's time to share your professional opinion about 7 top mobile app ad networks. In fact, many of them work on both platforms, but we're going to tell you about our experience regarding Android applications. You'll learn all the pros and cons of these popular monetization platforms first hand.

    Appodeal

    Appodeal is focused on application developers, and not on advertisers. Its goal is to save the developer (or app owner) from the need to solve problems related to mobile traffic monetization and provide him with a service to do all this routine job. And he'll be able to devote his time to coding (or managing business) instead of working as a salesman.

    Appodeal features

    Now let's talk about our experience with Appodeal. So, what are you getting by choosing the monetization model in question (this is about the Android platform, as you remember)?

    • Types of advertising:

      • Video rewardable. Though, it’s not skippable which is a pity;

      • Banner: top, bottom, view;

      • Native: a banner with a choice of templates to show;

      • Playable: it would be a good option, but, as we’ve seen in practice, it works intermittently;

      • Interstitials.

    • Filters. The app monetization platform offers to filter and sort ads by the following criteria:

      • age

      • sex

      • segmentation (including by the number of in-app purchases)

    • GDPR support: availible

    • Types of banners and the possibility to create your own. There 2 options:

      • A separate View banner that can be placed on the application screen during the layout process;

      • Use of ready-made banner templates (with SDK request)

    • Distinctive features of the platform:

      • Admob integration

      • The possibility of logging and enabling test mode

      • Placements allowing you to track an advertisement and manage it depending on its location

      • Android, IOS (Swift, Objective-C), Corona, Unity,  Amazone

    • Payment system: terms of monetization include the following options:

      • payment on demand;

      • payment once 30 days from $ 100

    • Analytics capabilities: Appodeal has a very convenient and flexible analytics system with a large set of controlled parameters in the Dashboard.

    • SDK and documentation:

    • Opened/Found Issues: loading examples in the test application works irregularly, with interruptions

    Leadbolt

    Leadbolt is one of the emerging Australian companies. Founded in 2010, it is today the world leader in advertising, attraction of users, and mobile traffic monetization. The app ad network works with different advertising formats and has won a lot of loyal users. Leadbolt has customers from 165 countries and 10 billion impressions per month.

    Leadbolt features:

    • Types of advertising:

      • Video fullscreen

      • Native (banners or custom options)

      • Playable

      • Interstitials

    • Filters:

      • Native ads can be loaded as a list from the server;

      • Video ads are available in two types: "in-app" and "reward"

      • In addition, there is filtering by age and gender.

    • GDPR support: available

    • Types of banners and the possibility to create your own:

      • Banners (100dp and 300dp high);

      • The ability to create your own banner layout, different from templates, based on the data of an advertisement received through the SDK. However, unfortunately, there is no complete documentation on the structure of this object.

    • Distinctive features of the platform:

      • The presence of the referral system

      • In addition to Android, SDK is also offered for:

        1. Cocos2d-X

        2. Phonegap / Cordova

        3. Titanium

        4. Unity

        5. Corona Enterprise

        6. Xamarin

        7. B4A

      • Integration with:

        1. Heyzap (Fyber)

        2. AdobeFlash

        3. MoPub

        4. AdMob

      • Features we didn't approve of (while testing the programmatic monetization platform):

        1. The callback listener for loading and displaying ads to allow managing these processes is implemented as a singleton, globally for the entire application.

        2. Video ads (such as "rewarded") cannot be closed before the timer expires.

        3. Video advertising can be closed, either in a built-in way or by tapping "back". Both ways in the listener are shown as normal ad closure.

        4. SDK is obfuscated.

    • Payment system:

      • On request (payment within 60 days)

      • Speed on demand (payment next Monday, tax 20%)

    • Analytics capabilities. There is a personal account with a dashboard for viewing analytics with simple types of filtering, as well as analytics of the referral system.

    • SDK and documentation. Leadbolt offers both SDK and documentation, but the latter, unfortunately, cannot boast of detail (which is its undoubted disadvantage).

    • Opened/Found Issues:

      • Native ads can't be loaded from the server if video advertising is being cached at the moment. Therefore, in such cases, it's impossible to start native advertising without completely closing the program.

      • Instead of video ads, a black screen can sometimes be displayed. The service doesn't respond to touch and tapping the "back" button, but ANR doesn't appear either. And again, the only thing which helps is closing the application.

      • In addition, when testing the mobile monetization platform, we noticed that sometimes, under unexplained circumstances, the standard View with a height of 300dp can only display video (without other UI elements) and doesn't respond to touch.

      • Another problem is the bugs associated with advertising caching, which is why all native advertising has to be stored in-memory.

    PubMatic

    PubMatic is a programmatic monetization platform which aims to unite users, application owners, and advertisers by providing them with a convenient advertising tool. PubMatic is owned by a company with offices in a great many countries around the world, which only proves its huge success and effectiveness.

    PubMatic features:

    • Types of advertising:

      • Banner

      • Interstitial

      • Rich Media (MRAID 2.0)

      • Native

    • Filters:

      • Location (manual or automatic)

      • Device definition

      • User targeting options

    • The possibility to regulate the ad cost. PubMatic uses convenient and original bidding technology (Header Bidding with DoubleClick for Publishers). It allows you to improve the terms of monetization and get the best price you can possibly find.

    • GDPR support: availible

    • Types of banners and the possibility to create your own:

      • A separate View banner: when requesting, you need to select its dimensions from the list; you cannot use your parameters.

      • Multisize Ad Request which allows transferring an array of sizes in the request

    • Targeting. The system supports 2 targeting types: user data and app information.

    • Analytics capabilities. PubMatic offers very detailed analytics, with customizable reports on the parameters you specified, a notification system, and other important nuances necessary to obtain complete information about the campaign.

    • SDK and documentation: available  

    • Opened/Found Issues. In the process of testing and working with the platform, we faced the application crash on Galaxy S7 Edge and waited more than 2 weeks to get a response from the support team.

    Facebook Audience Network

    Now we're talking about one of the top mobile app ad networks, it's a kind of monetization platform for your website and business application (and note, all applications can take advantage of such an opportunity, not just Facebook apps).

    Advertisers get an excellent chance to advertise products or services not only among Facebook users but also among those who prefer other mobile programs. And app owners benefit from getting some of the Facebook ad revenue. So this is a classic win-win situation.

    Facebook Audience Network shows a very good result because the renowned social network has detailed information about its users and therefore can provide a tool for accurate ads targeting (remember, we discussed data monetization models?).

    Facebook Audience Network features:

    • Types of advertising:

      • Native advertising

      • Native scroll

      • Ad cut-ins

      • Banners

      • Ad cut-ins in video

      • Bonus Video Ads

    • GDPR support: available

    • Targeting. As we've already mentioned, Facebook provides ideal conditions to target ads in the best possible way. Moreover, user data obtained by this social network can be combined with third-party data and information the advertisers themselves have.

    • Distinctive features of the platform:

      • Large selection of types of advertising and the possibility of its free configuration on the server.

      • Hardware acceleration for video ads. Otherwise, a black screen may appear instead of the video.

    • Payment system. Payments are made monthly (minimum USD 100)

    • SDK and documentation: available

    InMobi

    InMobi is a global app monetization platform which specializes in providing the best ROI in mobile marketing and advertising. It helps brands, marketers, and application owners attract users at different stages of their interaction with the program.

    The company that owns InMobi was founded in 2007. Its headquarters is located in Singapore, and service users are evenly distributed across the world: Asia 38%, Europe 24%, North America 19% and Latin America 10%.

    According to the company, the average user contacts InMobi six times a day, and 6 billion ad impressions are being served per day. These are primarily applications from the categories "Entertainment", "Games" and "Lifestyle".

    InMobi features:

    • Types of advertising:

      • Video:

        1. Full-screen;

        2. In-stream;

        3. In-feed;

        4. Rewarded;

        5. Out-stream;

        6. Splash;

      • Native:

        1. In-feed;

        2. In-article;

        3. In-stream;

        4. Splash;

      • Playable;

      • Interactive Rich Media Ads;

      • Dynamic Carousel Ads;

      • High-Impact Interstitial Ads.

      • Banner

    • Filters:

      • On the server side, you can create separate types of advertising (placements). For each individual ad, you’re allowed to set the following content display filters:

        1. Domain (to block competition);

        2. Category and subcategory (like Food & Drink, Personal Finance) - about 20 categories with subcategories;

        3. Landing page URL;

        4. App(via store URL) (to block competition).

      • On the client side, you can set the following filters:

        1. age group

        2. location by coordinates, city, zip code

        3. gender difference

        4. education

        5. hobby

    • GDPR support: availible (On the client, you can enable/disable GDPR support).

    • Types of banners and the possibility to create your own:

      • Banners: the app monetization model offers to choose what you need from several predefined size options (you're not allowed to use your own sizes).

      • Native advertising allows you to set the aspect ratio of advertising on the server side and to display ads in any size (in the application).

    • Distinctive features of the platform:

      • Large selection of types of advertising and the possibility of its configuration on the server

      • The SDK allows preloading ads for future display.

      • SDK out of the box can:

        1. automatically update banner ads

        2. show native advertising of any custom size, given the selected aspect ratio

      • It is possible to complain about the advertisement and its advertiser.

      • SDK automatically collects geolocation data

      • Sending data to the server can be controlled from the server

      • Integration with:

        1. Heyzap (Fyber)

        2. Appodeal

        3. AdMob

        4. ironSource

        5. MoPub

      • In addition to Android, SDK is also offered for:

        1. 1. Cocos2d-X

        2. 2. Unity

      • Features we didn't like (they should be considered in order to choose a mobile monetization platform correctly):

        1. You're allowed to use only predefined sizes of banners (you cannot set your own proportions)

        2. SDK is obfuscated.

        3. To download images, the Picasso library is being used, and it must be specified properly.

    • Payment system. Payments are made monthly within 60 days from the end of the current month. It is possible to withdraw funds to:

      • 1. PayPal (minimum 50 USD)

      • 2. Bank account (minimum 300 USD, minimum 50 USD if it’s about India)

    • Analytics capabilities. You can set up convenient analytics not only for the application itself but also for each individual advertising placement.

    • SDK and documentation. InMobi provides a quality SDK accompanied by detailed, clear documentation. In addition, there are examples on the GitHub resource.

    • Opened/Found Issues. In the process of testing, we've been faced the problem of a nonworking banner XML integration (the issue is now being solved by the support service).

    AdForm

    In 2002, the Danish IT company Adform developed a full-fledged, comprehensive mobile monetization platform specialized in digital advertising. Today, the company has offices in 15 countries.

    The Adform success is largely due to the ability of its owners to draw the right conclusions and derive insights from their campaigns. They analyze user behavior and try to understand what will make people click on advertisements in the future. In other words, they carefully think over the ad monetization strategy.

    AdForm features:

    • Types of advertising:

      • Inline (like banner or video) - in fact, it’s an analog of native advertising

      • Full screen;

      • Interpage advertisement for ViewPager (an element that serves to manage multiple screens of the application).

    • GDPR support: available

    • Types of banners and the possibility to create your own: interactive inline types of ads without customization support.

    • Distinctive features of the platform:

      • The possibility to add keyword phrases and search words to individual ads

      • Controlling the collection of geolocation from the application

      • Managing HTTP / HTTPS data transfer protocol

      • SDK isn't obfuscated

      • AdMob integration

      • Adform provides SDK for both Android and Unity

      • Features of the content monetization platform which we didn't like:

        1. There is no way to save downloaded ads for later display.

        2. Also, there is no customization option.

        3. Full-screen advertising can be closed, either in an integrated way or by tapping "back". Both ways in the listener are shown as normal ad closure.

        4. AdInline isn’t compatible with DataBinding. When using DataBindingUtil.setContectView, the application crashes.

        5. For all types of advertising, you must manually call the life cycle methods (such as onResume, onPause, onDestroy).

        6. To implement full-screen advertising, you need to call onSaveInstanceState and onRestoreInstanceState.

    • SDK and documentation. Adform offers good SDK and detailed documentation.

    MoPub

    MoPub is a tool to help mobile sites that have chosen the advertising as a monetization model to manage their ads as efficiently as possible. Initially, the company worked as a mediation service and was engaged in the collection, initial processing, and transmission of information on the availability of advertisements and their prices. With the introduction of the RTB protocol, the ads display algorithm has become unified. And now MoPub handles several billion advertisements daily.

    Among the resources which monetize apps via advertising using MoPub are such famous brands as WordPress, Tunein, Halfbrick, Сom2us, and many others.

    MoPub features:

    • Types of advertising:

      • Banner

      • Native

      • Native Video

      • Rewarded Video

      • Interstitial

    • Filters. The dashboard can be filtered by the following variables:

      • Status: Running, Paused or Complete campaigns

      • App: individual or multiple applications

      • Ad Unit: individual or multiple ad units

      • Ad Source Type: Networks, Promotional, Guaranteed, Non-Guaranteed, Marketplace, Marketplace Line Item, Backfill.

      • Ad Format: full screen (320×480, 728×1024), banners (320×50, 728×90), medium rectangles (300×250), custom parameters

      • Platform: Android, iOS

    • GDPR support: available

    • Types of banners and the possibility to create your own. The big advantage of the platform is customization support.

    • Targeting.

      • Supported Types, or  Targeting by:

        1. Country

        2. Region

        3. City

        4. Zip Code

        5. Device

        6. Carrier

      • There is also Advanced Targeting which allows you to target users with (or without) specific applications.

    • Distinctive features of the platform:

      • Benefits of the monetization platform:

        1. Mopub has its own DSP which competes successfully with other app ad networks.

        2. It is possible to launch direct campaigns and target them by applications, places or cities;

        3. MoPub SDK can mediate in most ad networks through ready-made adapters, server integration, and user events.

        4. You can set a lower price threshold by country (forming segments). There are also 12 levels of prioritization, which allows you to more effectively optimize both direct campaigns and MoPub Marketplace itself.

        5. Integration with:

          1. Facebook Audience Network

          2. AdColony

          3. Yahoo! Flurry

          4. AppLovin

          5. Chartboost

          6. Vungle

          7. ironSource

          8. One by AOL

          9. Tapjoy

          10. Google (AdMob)

          11. Unity Ads

      • Key cons we’ve noticed:

        1. Slow work of the support team;

        2. Low speed of loading your own pages and calculating reporting.

    • Payment system. MoPub makes monthly payments, 60 days from the invoice date when your cumulative balance exceeds $ 100.

    • Analytics capabilities: MoPub provides a Dashboard with various types of settings and filters.

    • SDK and documentation. There is quite good documentation on SDK implementation. In addition, the platform has its own Education Center, more focused on marketers.

    Of course, there are much more ad monetization options, but we've described the most top ones. And we hope this information would come in handy if you decide to monetize the app via in-app ads.

    Perhaps you have any questions left? Contact us, we're ready to advise you in detail! And we’d be very happy to help you monetize your app and choose mobile a monetization platform you really need.

    Looking forward to our collaboration!

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