Ad Monetization 9 min read  - June 17, 2021

15 Questions when Choosing a Mobile Ad Network (for Indie Devs)

With all the advances and shifts in the Ad Industry, how to choose the mobile ad network right for you?

If you’re not using an Ad Mediation platform, choosing the right Mobile Ad Network is crucial for the economic success of your mobile business. 

As a Mobile Indie Developer, you don’t just want to generate revenue. You need a reliable partner that delivers you high-quality ads, easy to use, and doesn’t bring you headaches.

Market share, overall traffic, inventory, and price are essential KPIs (Key Points of Interest) to consider. Still, with all the advances and shifts in the ad-tech industry, how to choose the mobile ad network right for you?

Mobile Indie Developers need to be careful and methodical when choosing their mobile ad networks. If you don’t select the one that aligns with your goals and preferences, you’ll miss out on that potential revenue!

Ready to narrow down your options? 

Check our list of +70 Ad Networks & DSPs. You can fully integrate any of them into your Appodeal Growth Platform. 

Ask yourself these 15 questions when choosing your next mobile ad network.

SUMMARY:

  1. Transparent & Trustworthy?
  2. Ad Formats?
  3. Platforms, Markets & Countries?
  4. Analytics and Reporting?
  5. eCPM?
  6. Fill-Rate?
  7. Payment Options?
  8. SDK Integration?
  9. Ease of Use?
  10. Ad-Blocking Issues?
  11. Special Deals & Perks?
  12. Reputation?
  13. Tech & Customer Support?
  14. Complying with Platform Guidelines?
  15. Ad Mediation Support?

1. Is this Ad Network Transparent & Trustworthy?

First and foremost, a network should be upfront about how they work. 

Metrics are also paramount, but you really can’t even begin to consider those elements until you’ve confirmed the network is transparent and trustworthy.

Look for ad networks that are open about their setup, goals, and history. 

It’s always valuable to seek a second opinion, but it may not be worth your time if you can’t determine what the network stands for from the get-go.

1. Is this Ad Network Transparent & Trustworthy?

2. Which Ad Formats does this Ad Network support?

There are many ways to show mobile ads to users – from in a browser like Safari to within a mobile app itself. 

As a mobile indie developer, you want to know what specific ad formats your future mobile ad network uses. Look for their performance on rewarded video ads, interstitials, banners, and native advertisements. Only then will you be able to choose the suitable ads for each format.

Find out all the ad formats supported for every ad network from our +70 Ad Demand Sources list.

3. In which Markets & Countries are they strong?

All the different platforms (iOS, Android), mobile devices, markets, and countries, make the task of choosing a mobile ad network a bit more complex. 

Investigate the mobile ad network’s experience with each platform and market. Understand which user segments, on which markets respond best to which ad.

Markets & Countries mobile ad networks

All of this should be displayed on their analytics and reporting. And this leads us to the following question…

4. How do they handle Analytics and Reporting?

It probably comes as no surprise in this age of big data, but mobile analytics and reporting are crucial to your success. 

Not all mobile ad networks have a simple-to-use interface. Sometimes, accessing key performance indicators like eCPMs is not something done quickly. 

If you’re using an Ad Mediation Platform such as Appodeal, you will gather all the Analytics and Reporting from all your Mobile Ad Networks in one single dashboard. 

You’ll also want to know the types of metrics available, what ad formats they deliver, and if you can integrate them with ease.

When you know how the data will look and are sure it’s user-friendly for you and gives you the insights you need, you’ll be on your way to understanding how your ads are performing.

5. Will I get a competitive eCPM from that Ad Network?

One of your biggest priorities is to increase your ad revenue. The eCPM is a fundamental metric to determine how much income is coming in from various ad campaigns. 

As you research potential mobile ad networks to integrate into your app or game, check out how each particular network’s average eCPM compares to the rest of the industry.

This consideration goes back to transparency: eCPM rates should be easily accessible and comparable by country.

competitive eCPM from that Ad Network

Along with the eCPM, you can also check metrics such as:

  • Ad ARPDAU (Average Revenue per Daily Active User).
  • Retention Rates – check if your user retention drops when using certain ad networks.
  • Fill-rate – If you set a $25 price floor you will get a high eCPM, but the fill-rate will be extremely low, and will limit the total ad revenue you generate.

Checking the eCPM of a Mobile Ad Network without any other revenue metrics can be misleading. And this leads us to our next point.

6. Does this Ad Network have a decent Fill-Rate?

Pair the eCPM with the fill rate for a fuller analysis. 

Sure, you can expect some complications from time to time, but this rate needs to be as close to 100 percent possible to avoid missing out on revenue. 

When working with an Ad Mediation Platform, you can waterfall your multiple ad networks to ensure the highest fill-rate, and never miss a single opportunity to generate ad revenue.

The fill-rate is related to the previous question, “In which markets & countries they have a stronger presence?”. 

If your core market is in a specific region, you want a mobile ad network with enough campaigns for specific devices, locations, and platforms.

Be sure to determine how consistent the fill rate and eCPM have been over time for your mobile ad network.

7. Which Payment Options do the Mobile Ad Network offer?

Here’s the bottom line—look for consistent payments, a schedule that fits your circumstances, and an attractive payment method.

Consider the payment schedule, payment method, and any potential threshold you’ll need to meet before being paid.

You’ll likely find a lot of net 15, net 30, and net 60 payment schedules (meaning you wait up to 15, 30, or 60 days for payout). However, immediate payouts are available and a good option for indie developers who want consistent cash flow.

Payment Options do the Mobile Ad Network offer

The most common methods of payment are PayPal, ACH, wire transfers, and checks. Always confirm your network has the payment method you prefer before opting in.

Integrate your Mobile Ad Networks to an ad mediation platform, and you won’t need to bother about multiple payment methods. Appodeal allows you to be paid in advance, whenever and however you want, including cryptocurrencies.

8. How complex is it to integrate the Mobile Ad Network SDK?

If you’re working with Appodeal, this is not a question you should be too worried about.

You can integrate the top-performing Mobile Ad Networks with Appodeal Automated Mediation in less than an hour, and get help from our support team. This way, you won’t even need to bother integrating their SDK.

But suppose you decide not to integrate an ad network to your Appodeal Growth Platform. Or maybe the specific mobile ad network you’ve chosen to work with is not compatible with Appodeal.

Then, have in mind that a bloated, overly complicated SDK will weaken your app’s performance fast—and thus undermine your revenue stream.

As you explore mobile ad networks, look for an SDK that is:

  • Streamlined
  • Well-tested
  • Quick to integrate
  • Capable of connecting across multiple platforms
  • Designed to enhance the app’s performance

You don’t want to spend a lot of time coding and getting comfortable with a new dev kit.

SDK integrating Mobile Ad Network

9. How easy is this Mobile Ad Network to use?

It requires time and effort to climb the learning curve of using any new dashboard or platform. It’s up to you to decide how much time you want to invest into getting started and tinkering with the network.

This question is easily solved by integrating your Mobile Ad Network into an Ad Mediation Platform, such as Appodeal. Why would you need to learn new interfaces and dashboards when you can have it all in one place, right?

But again, let’s imagine that you want to access the services provided by all your chosen mobile ad networks.

At the very least, look for an easy-to-use dashboard with analytics, including breakdowns and reports. The actual network itself should feature a streamlined user flow and have readily available support staff.

10. Does this Ad Network get easily Ad-Blocked?

Of course, ad-blocking software is nothing new, especially for desktop users. 

Ad-blocking software will block some of your ad inventory. 

Ad-Network-get-easily-Ad-Blocked-2
Usage of Ad Blockers Worldwide in Mobile Devices – Source: Statista

If possible, ask your mobile ad network for information on the number of blocked impressions. Maybe they have provided reports on how do they avoid ad blockers and ad fraud.

Plus, seeing how a particular mobile ad network deals with such an issue can tell you a lot about their approach to other problems.

11. Can I get a Special Deal or extra Perks?

Admittedly, everyone loves a good perk. You don’t need to be Supercell to get a great deal. Indie Developers can negotiate their terms with mobile ad networks too.

Your relationship with the mobile ad network is always subject to negotiation.

Many mobile networks provide high-performing clients with special features or privileges. For example, some ad networks allow publishers and mobile indie developers to send special messages to users who meet various criteria or follow specific behaviors.

Know about the special deals and perks that the Ad Network may provide you before signing on the dotted line. 

Insist on some upfront to get a better deal from the start. 

Special Deal or extra Perks from Ad Networks

12. How are their Relationships with Big Publishers and Developers?

You can only judge a mobile ad network on what they’ve already delivered. 

Have a look at the network’s existing partners or its “premium” publishers. If you recognize the names and see trusted brands, known media outlets, and successful tech companies, you’re in the right place.

Smaller networks can display only a handful, whereas larger, more established mobile ad networks might have hundreds or thousands of top-tier clients. 

It is crucial to query any available information regarding these partners and check for levels of involvement and success.

13. What do other Indie Developers say about that Ad Network?

Once you’ve checked the success cases of your ad network, and you’ve found if they have solid roots in the mobile ad industry, it’s time to check how they will really treat you.

You may want to get in touch with other Indie developers that made deals with them, and ask how was their experience with the Mobile Ad Network. 

Look for reviews and talk to other mobile indie developers to find their experience with a specific ad network. The best information comes from first-hand conversations.

Does that specific ad network live up to its claims? Is it easy to get started? Did they face bugs or issues? Were they easily solved? Did they had a support team? How accessible and knowledgeable is the support staff? 

The information obtained from these hands-on experiences is invaluable.

What do other Indie Developers say about that Ad Network

14. Is the Ad Network complying with Google & Apple policies?

This is one of these questions that, in a perfect world, we wouldn’t even have to answer. 

It’s not uncommon for Indie Developers to get blocked from Google Play or the Apple App Store because one of the Ad Network or DSP (Demand Service Providers) is not complying with their guidelines.

Ad Networks never break these policies on purpose. Most of the time, it’s that the mobile industry evolves, Google & Apple policies change and ad networks don’t alert their clients to update their SDK setups or Ad Waterfall configurations.

At Appodeal, we constantly remind and push our clients to update the SDK to the latest version. When the mobile ad industry shifts to new grounds, our support team sends innumerable messages, weeks and months in advance, just to keep your apps and games safe.

Sometimes, even in these circumstances, we still face some clueless Indie Developers that neglect their apps & games, and put them at unnecessary risk. 🤷

Ensure that your chosen mobile ad network will not leave you hanging when the next market shift happens. Because it will happen.

15. Can you integrate that Mobile Ad Network into your Mediation Platform?

At the end of the day, you want to keep things simple.

Ask yourself: Are you the kind of Indie Developer who enjoys…

  • Visiting a dozen different dashboards from each Mobile Ad Network? 
  • Extracting and merging all their ad revenue data in MsExcel files? 
  • Compiling, matching, and find missing opportunities within that data? 
  • Tweaking ad formats and waterfalls one by one? 
  • Creating user segments a bazillion times on each ad network? 
  • Integrating lots of Ad Network SDKs (which, most of the time, won’t be compatible with each other)?

If you are one of those rare unicorns, congrats then!

But when you became a Mobile Indie Developer, you probably imagined yourself designing new game mechanics or programming new features instead of working with MsExcel files. Don’t you?

Ad Network and Mediation Platform

And this is why you will want to integrate your chosen Ad Networks into the Appodeal Growth Platform. To avoid all the hassle of dealing with cumbersome stuff, automate everything with intelligent algorithms that will save you lots of time and money.

And then, you can reinvest your profits on developing your game, promoting it to new countries, making it grow… or you can even take some holidays, go to a paradisiac beach and enjoy life (because you deserve that too!).

While you do, we will keep pushing the best ads from your chosen mobile ad networks, skyrocketing your mobile apps & games, and growing your bank account.

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Marc Llobet
Product Marketing & Growth @ Appodeal

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