Best Mobile App Monetization Platforms and Ad Networks

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May 27, 2022

Ever wondered how free apps make money? Also sometimes known as Freemium apps.

There are a variety of ways these apps are supported, including advertising, in-app purchases, sponsorship, and affiliate marketing.

The mobile app market has grown so tremendously that it has replaced the traditional mobile web. Statistics show that mobile applications have become a major inventory for ads to be displayed in. In 2020 alone, the US was the world’s leading mobile advertising market with a staggering $120.4 billion in spending.

This number is projected to rise to over $145.26 billion by 2024. Must have convinced you to give a thought to monetizing your mobile app, right?

Before we walk you through the best mobile app monetization platforms and ad networks for you to choose from, let’s have an overview of what app monetization platforms and ad networks are and how they work.

What is Mobile App monetization?

Mobile app monetization is the means by which developers and publishers generate sustainable revenue through an app’s user base. Simply said, it’s how mobile apps make money.

Apps being free at the point of purchase has become so common that app monetization has become crucial. This has prompted several developers to change their business models in order to collect more revenue after downloads.

What is a Monetization Platform?

Monetization platforms help publishers maximize their ad revenue by selling ad space to multiple buyers at once. These platforms usually charge a commission from publishers’ total ad revenue as a service fee.

What is a Mobile Ad Network?

The mobile app advertising industry comprises of two major segments: Supply (presented by the publisher) and Supply Side Platform (SSP – which enables web publishers to manage their mobile inventory, fill it with ads, and generate revenue). On the other hand, the Demand Side Platform (DSP) presents demand that enables advertisers to place mobile ads on publishers’ mobile inventory.

A mobile ad network retrieves available ad spots from the inventories of publishers and sells them to developers or advertisers who intend to monetize their mobile apps. Ad networks don’t have to reach out to the publishers individually as they have direct access to multiple publishers’ inventories.

As a result, high-performing ad networks not only enable advertisers to boost their purchases but also help them monitor and track their ad campaign performance.

When choosing an ad network for your campaign, keep in mind that the correct ad network will ensure the right advertising possibilities, which will display relevant ads to your targeted users, resulting in more revenue.

Now that we’ve developed a basic understanding of what ad networks are, let’s find out why publishers deem them a crucial part of their app monetization strategies.

Why are App Ad Networks Important?

For publishers, ad networks hold prime importance in their app monetization strategies as they rely on these networks to sell their inventories. As in-app advertising emerges as a prime form of mobile advertising in the marketing industry, app ad networks are also booming.

Moreover, mobile apps have replaced the traditional mobile web as a major inventory for ads to be displayed on. This huge shift in the mobile ad industry is simply driven by the fact that people spend most of their time inside mobile apps rather than on the web. According to the BBC, US adults spend an average of 4.8 hours of their total screen time on mobile apps.

How do Ad Networks Work?

Essentially, mobile ad networks are designed to buy and sell advertising space from various mobile publishers, categorizing this space based on the demographics of the audience that uses it, and then selling the categorized space to advertisers who want to reach a similar audience.

There is a wide array of pricing models on these ad networks, like cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-acquisition (CPA), and cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) to choose from.

Besides, you can choose from various types of targeting strategies, ad formats, and business models to run your ad campaigns. In order to understand what business model will work best for you, let’s take a look at each of them separately.

Mobile Ad Business Models

There are numerous models to run ad campaigns with, but the major five types are as follows:

Cost-per-mile (CPM)

An advertiser has to pay up every time their ads are displayed 1000 times (hence called a ‘mile’). This business model is highly preferred by publishers as it generates revenue every time an ad is displayed. Publishers can also predict their revenue if they have stable, predictable traffic on the app.

Already making up your mind to run your campaign with CPM? You might want to know that you might be at a loss if your app audience is really into the product or service you’re advertising. The CPC model would work best in this case.

Cost-per-click (CPC)

Advertisers have to pay up every time someone clicks on their mobile ads. Advertisers opt for this model because it allows them to pay only when someone is interested in their products or services (and clicks on the ad).

Cost-per-install (CPI)

Advertisers have to pay only when a click on their ad results in an app installation. We can say that it is a more specific case of the cost-per-click model and represents the price mobile app marketers pay to acquire customers.

Cost-per-action (CPA)

CPA model implies that advertisers are charged for users’ specific actions (like subscriptions, in-app sales, form submissions, sign-ups, and so forth) ) taken inside an application that is advertised on the ad network.This business model benefits publishers by providing them with more opportunities to monetize their inventories, while advertisers have more options to grow their business.

Cost-per-view (CPV)

A cost-per-view (CPV) model is an increasingly popular option for mobile ad networks that provide advertisers with video ad campaigns. This model charges advertisers every time someone views their video mobile ad. CPV may become one of the most popular mobile advertising models, as the popularity of video ad campaigns continues to grow.

By now you should have a good understanding of app monetization and the different business models you can deploy to do so. Let’s look into some of the top-performing mobile app monetization platforms and ad networks now.

Mobile App Monetization Platforms and Ad Networks

Mobile app developers and businesses can utilize monetization services to generate more revenue in a simple and effective way, i.e., from high-quality ads.

There are ample options for monetization platforms out there to choose from. If you’re confused about which platform would suit your business needs, here’s a quick rundown of the top-performing ones below:

Admob by Google

Admob, a subsidiary of Google, is one of the largest and most popular global ad networks. It monetizes your application with in-app ads and provides actionable insights. Supporting multiple currencies, Admob allows you to earn money from anywhere in the world.

This platform is so intuitive and easy to use. All you have to do is allocate some ad space in your application. Advertisers then place bids for your ad slot. And here’s the most interesting part: the system opts for the most profitable bid for you that your users will also find appealing. Here’s what makes this platform stand out:

  • Security is provided by a thorough ad verification system.
  • Integration with Google Analytics to track users’ interactions with ads.
  • Custom-set broadcast duration and number of impressions.
  • Network mediation to deal with multiple ad networks simultaneously.

MoPub by Twitter

Another top-rated ad network, MoPub is a mobile app monetization platform that organizes ads with an auction payment system. This platform serves four types of ads; Interstitials, Natives, Banners, and Rewarded.

MoPub has also launched a new targeting solution called Inventory Packages – sets of ad inventory with common characteristics that enable brands to segment inventory and reach their target audience.

With MoPub, you can create customized ad units within mobile apps and configure ad campaigns after launching them.

Unity Ads

One of the most recognized ad monetization solutions for gaming apps, Unity Ads, allows you to buy some very unique types of ads, like playable creatives. Playable ads are interactive ads with gameplay elements. These interactive ads show you a video and a mini version of the game in their feed with a CTA (call-to-action) that encourages the user to install the app.

Unity also lets you display AR ads, playable ads, banners, videos, and so forth.

And the best part is, if the Unity engine is used to create a game, no additional SDK (software development kit) integration is required. Plus, it supports a vast range of formats too.


AppLovin is an all-in-one app monetization platform to grow mobile apps that connects with over 1.5 billion devices globally each month. It deploys machine learning and predictive algorithms to match users to your app perfectly while providing detailed analytics.

This technology is unique as it includes real-time app statistics and nine monitors for tracking installation sources. It enables you to track global audience coverage and eCPM (effective cost per mile).

AppLovin supports various types of ads, such as video ads, skippable and non-skippable videos, rewarded videos, and playable ads.


Tapjoy, one of the earliest app monetization tools, enables you to monetize your app through rewarded downloads. Users get rewarded for downloading the app or watching ads.

Tapjoy has broad functionality and settings and is used to monetize mobile apps. Here’s why developers opt for Tapjoy:

  • Video Interstitial: a flexible option for publishers who have audiences across the world. These are full-screen video ads that are deployed to monetize an app without interfering with the user experience.
  • Offerwall: an in-app advertising unit that acts like a mini-store in an app, listing multiple offers that users can complete and get in-app rewards.
  • Rewarded Videos: gives users in-app rewards for the time they spend watching a video ad. For instance, while playing the game, Lily’s Garden, users get extra game coins after watching a fifteen-minute video ad.
  • Playables: a new take on in-app advertising that has swapped standard ads for interactive minigames.


Fyber is a next-generation mobile game monetization platform. It allows all advertisers to participate in a real-time auction without having to use the RTB (real-time bidding) technology.

Fyber’s FairBid solution allows ad networks whose SDKs don’t support real-time bidding to participate in ‘mock bidding’, thereby allowing them to compete, simulating real-time mode by using historical data to predict prices.

Furthermore, a specialized team of professionals works with partners to integrate SDKs into their apps. It also features an Autopilot technology that allows you to optimize ad revenue sources automatically.

If you are looking to monetize your app, finding the right app monetization platform is crucial. The right platform will not bore users with monotonous ads and will help you increase revenue by acquiring new users. But make sure to choose one before you publish, not after!

We do realize this must be a lot of information to take in. Confused about which platform to go for? Keep the following in mind while choosing one!

  • Targeting capabilities.
  • Ad formats.
  • Ad quality.
  • Support provided by the platform.
  • Ratings of the ad network.
  • Price model and payment terms and conditions.

CitrusBits is a leading custom software development company that specializes in creating innovative solutions tailored to meet unique business needs. With a team of expert developers and designers, they deliver high-quality mobile app development services, empowering businesses to engage their audience and drive digital transformation. CitrusBits’ commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction makes them a trusted partner for companies seeking cutting-edge software solutions.

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