How Advertisers Expand Their Reach and Effectiveness
Mobile ad networks connect app advertisers to publishers, that is, websites or apps that host ads. Mobile ad networks aggregate ad space supply from publishers and match it with advertiser demand.
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., only from traffic aggregated by the ad networks they work with) or indirect, from affiliate networks who can be two, three, four, or more 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 reach for the advertiser. The downside can be lower quality traffic and the fact that the advertiser has no control of where their 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 (e.g., video, social, native) 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) and 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. They are essentially a preview for an app, leaving less room for surprise and delivering users with higher retention rates. What you see is most likely what you get.