mobiThinking guide to mobile advertising networks (2013)

June 2013: This guide profiles 24 of the world’s top mobile ad networks, Admoda, Adultmoda, Advertising.com/AOL, BuzzCity (updated), DMG (new) Greystripe, Hands (updated), Hunt, InMobi, Jumptap, LeadBolt, Madhouse, Madvertise, Millennial Media, Microsoft Mobile Advertising, Mobile Theory, MobPartner, Mojiva, Nokia/NAVTEQ, Sponsormob, Twinpine (new), xAd, YOC Group and YP (AT&T).

GUIDE HOMEBLIND NETWORKSPREMIUM BLIND NETWORKSPREMIUM NETWORKSLOCAL AD NETWORKSAFFILIATE AND CPA NETWORKS



Other guides in this series:
• Guide to mobile agencies
• Guide to mobile industry awards
• Compendium of global mobile stats
• The insiders' guides to world’s top mobile markets


The guide to mobile advertising networks

Welcome to the mobiThinking guide to mobile advertising networks. This is the only place advertisers and publishers can get the real and detailed information required when choosing an ad network to run their mobile campaign or monetize their mobile Web site or app. All data is supplied directly by the networks.

mobiThinking is working on the 2014 version of the guide. We would like to hear your recommendations as mobile advertisers or publishers for mobile ad networks that should be profiled in this version of the guide. Find out more here.

Three facts you need to know about mobile ad networks:

  1. No ad network is dominant. This is still a very fragmented market. There are more than a dozen mobile ad networks in the US alone.
  2. No one really knows which ad networks are the biggest. Any figures you read about market share or revenue are estimates (though IDC has made a good effort with the US market, despite lack of disclosure from most networks). And as we all know, size isn’t everything…
  3. Mobile ad networks are not created alike. Choose a partner (or a number of partners) that suits your requirements, target market, geography and budget.

If you're new to mobile ad networks, perhaps start with this step-by-step primer on picking a mobile ad network. Put the networks head-to-head on questions that matter to most to you: What’s the best mobile ad network for you?

mobiThinking divides networks into three main categories, based on the business model. At one extreme there are blind networks (see definitions below), which mostly work on cost-per-click (CPC) basis; at the other extreme are those networks that focus on premium publishers, which mostly work on cost-per-thousand impressions, and then there are those in between.
The 2012 version of this guide introduces two specialist categories to help advertisers that are searching for local advertising and affiliate or cost-per-action (CPA) advertising.
Clearly there is some overlap between all categories.


The mobile ad networks (click on each network to read profile)

SECTION 1: BLIND NETWORKS

SECTION 2: PREMIUM BLIND NETWORKS

SECTION 3: PREMIUM NETWORKS

SECTION 4: LOCAL AD NETWORKS

SECTION 5: AFFILIATE AND CPA NETWORKS



Definitions

What are blind, premium blind or premium networks? For the uninitiated, the following will also be an introduction to the commonly used jargon and acronyms…

Blind networks are usually the largest in terms of publishers, advertisers and impressions. They serve a high volume of advertising to an extensive base of mostly independent mobile publishers (mobile sites and applications), supplemented by premium publishers’ unfilled inventory.
They offer plenty of options for targeting such as by country and content channels (news, sports etc), but do not (usually) allow advertisers to choose specific Websites.
Performance advertising is the norm, paid for by cost per click (CPC) – this is for marketers who want an active response to their ads such as clicking through a banner to the advertiser’s site, click to download/call etc. The CPC varies with supply and demand, determined through a self-service auction system. The cheapest option is run of network (RON) adverts (i.e. no targeting), which in some countries may start at US $0.01 CPC. Some blind networks also offer brand advertising, on a cost per thousand impressions (CPM) model – i.e. you pay X for every 1,000 devices that visit/download the page – this is for marketers that want exposure, perhaps to create awareness of a new product. Other than specialists, such as MobPartner and Sponsormob, it is still rare to find blind networks offering cost per action (CPA) advertising e.g. pay per download, call or store visit.
Advertisers should expect a wealth of self-service tools to help track and optimize campaigns in real time.
Publishers receive a revenue share, perhaps 55-65 percent of what the advertiser pays.
Read the profiles of: LeadBolt; Madvertise; BuzzCity; Admoda/Adultmoda; Mojiva; InMobi.

Premium blind networks tend to be medium-sized, with a higher proportion of premium publishers (i.e. big-traffic mobile sites of well-known brands, perhaps newspapers, broadcasters or operator portals), some on exclusive relationships. These networks attract a higher proportion of brand advertising, paid for on CPM basis. A lot of advertising will still be blind or semi-blind (i.e. targeted at a channel), but for a premium price you may be able to buy a specific spot on a site of your choice. Costs vary considerably – quotes can be as high as US $20 CPM.
Performance advertising is also available – and in some cases, search advertising (based on key words) – paid for by CPC. Occasionally, networks offer cost per action/acquisition (CPA) – where the advertiser only pays if the customer clicks through and then buys, signs up etc.
Advertisers should expect a mix of self-service and direct sales and support and lots of targeting options.
Read the profiles of: DMG; Hands; Hunt Mobile Ads; Millennial Media; Greystripe; Jumptap; Madhouse.

Premium networks focus on a limited number of prestige publishers – mobile operators and big-name destinations – for which they are akin to an extension of their direct-sales team. In the case of Nokia and AOL, much of the mobile inventory they sell is on Nokia or AOL sites.
The predominant (maybe only) pricing model is CPM, as the majority of campaigns are brand advertising.
Premium networks attract big brand advertisers who are prepared to pay premium prices to secure the prime locations on top-tier mobile destinations. This means CPM will vary wildly from US $5-75.
Advertisers should expect more direct sales and support, than self-service and a wealth of targeting options.
Publishers should expect to receive a majority share of advertising revenue, perhaps 50–70 percent. Deals are usually negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
Read the profiles of: Twinpine; Mobile Theory; YOC Group; Hands; NAVTEQ Media Solutions; Microsoft Mobile Advertising; Advertising.com/AOL

Local mobile ad networks focus on those publishers where users are known to be looking for local information e.g. somewhere to eat, the nearest shoe store, the weather downtown etc. Publishers on these networks include directory services, mapping/navigation and other sites/apps where users enter their location e.g. weather sites. As local advertising is more targeted, adverting will cost more, but will deliver better results than normal mobile ads. xAd claims that local ads perform two to four times better than normal mobile ads.
Publishers should also earn more from local ads, but fill rates will typically be lower, as only the most relevant ads are shown to visitors.
Advertising may be purchased self-service through an online exchange or via a direct sales team. Cost per click (CPC) advertising is most common though, though cost per action (CPA) should also be available e.g. pay per download, call or store visit; and brand advertising paid for by cost per thousand impressions (CPM).
Read the profiles of: xAd; YP (AT&T).

Cost-per-action (CPA)/Affiliate networks allow to advertisers define the type of action they wish to achieve from mobile advertising and specify the price they are willing to pay to the publisher (and ad network) for each customer that fulfills this action. The advertiser only pays when a conversion is achieved. Defined actions could include each customer that… signs-up (subscriptions or registrations); downloads/installs/purchases a mobile application/game; clicks to call; purchases a product; checks directions to store; uses coupon or other sales lead. Advertisers can specify the type of mobile sites/apps, where ads will run (or cannot run), but may not be able to select particular publishers. Advertisers can further target campaigns by geography, operator, handset and demographic.
Publishers select the advertiser campaigns they wish to run on their mobile site/app and decide where and when the ads will run. Publishers are only paid if users click through and perform the defined action.
Read the profiles of: MobPartner; Sponsormob".

This guide is frequently reviewed. Please let us know if you think it can be improved or wish to recommend a mobile ad network not covered here. Comment below or email editor (at) mobiThinking.com.

• Be the first to know when mobiThinking adds new stats, guides, competitions etc… follow mobiThinking on Twitter: @mobithinking or via the RSS feed.


Don’t miss:

• How greedy is your app – does it drain batteries or gobble data?
• Five common compliance and privacy mistakes
• Websites must be mobile-friendly to comply with FTC’s new digital advertising guidelines
• The big compendium of global mobile stats • Latest update: Mobile apps
• The insiders' guides to world’s greatest mobile markets • New country guide: Sweden
• Mobile/smartphone sales 2012: the big picture
• Guide to mobile ad networks • Latest ad network profiles: DMGTwinpine
• Guide to mobile agencies • Latest agency profiles: PontomobiThe Hyperfactory
• Guide to mobile industry awards • Check out the video case studies: GSMA Global Mobile Awards
• Mobile events 2013 • best conferences, great discounts and free tickets •
• Most popular content on mobiThinking in 2012

© mobiThinking. Feel free to reference, quote or paraphrase parts of mobiThinking articles, clearly stating and linking to mobiThinking as the source, but reprinting or republishing the whole or substantial parts of the piece without permission will not be tolerated. Please see mobiThinking’s legal statement.

a_intro_logos_ad_guide_01_0.jpg

Above: logos of mobile ad networks – Adfonic, Admoda, Adultmoda, AOL, BuzzCity, Greystripe, Hands, Hunt, InMobi, Jumptap, LeadBolt, Madhouse, Madvertise, Millennial Media, Microsoft, Mobile Theory, MobPartner, Mojiva, Nokia, Sponsormob, xAd, YOC and YP.

Rating for this article:
0

It'll be interesting to see how these mobile networks will be changing their models as mobile DSPs continue to gain popularity among advertisers.

Excellent guide! Thanks for including us

excellent guide, thanks for sharing!

How come Flurry isn't on this list?

Advertising is definitely very important! Even for a very known product. But, you want it wanted so much, that advertising will only do good for the product. For example, for a mobile app, what we do, marketing is not that easy!

Thanks for the great article. The list is very helpful to us; to find a good source of generating income from our mobile interface. Thanks!

Mobile has been here long and now is the time for all the early movers to start cashing in. I'm sure there will be a lot of advertisers out there that can't wait to move on mobile after seeing their competitors becoming profitable.

Hi guys,

You have left out the company widespace.com. Any particular reason for this? Aren't they big enough?

Best/M

Thanks for making this information available to us.

Great article, actually so far the best article on this topic that I've found. Thank you! I am still trying to understand the difference between network integrators. Which one is better and what is the difference? I am trying to select between Adwhirl, Mobclix, and Nexage. Any suggestions?

Hi. What about AdWords Mobile ? They have a ton of reach and you can instantly compare your mobile campaigns to non-mobile. Thanks

I work at a mobile marketing company and I find this list very helpful. It would be great if you could create a list of networks by what countries that have inventories in? Maybe throw it into an e-book or white paper ?

how to reach people who have connection/relation with mobile ad network company? or more precisely person with meadia buying i.e. banner inventory.

There is still much room for growth in the mobile advertising space, and hopefully a few dominant companies will emerge as the publishers and advertisers need a strong company to lead the way and match their needs.

Thank you , I'am seeing ads network model business , your articles can help me to thinking creative idea

What about AdWords Adaptable ? They accept a ton of ability and you can instantly analyze your adaptable campaigns to non-mobile.

I'm searching to analysis some added networks, so this account is great!

This blog entry is really helpful, good list of mobile ad networks

how about video ads on mobile? after all, videos always have had greater appeals...

mkMob is a powerful, yet simple to use self-serve mobile advertising platform. mkMob has tools that makes it extremely easy to generate and deliver location-based ads throughout the mobile ecosystem. http://www.mkmob.com

With a clear focus on mobile premium sites and applications, coupled with our own technology, Widespace means better performance for advertisers. We work with brand name advertisers as well as providing a self service option for app developers. On all platforms of course. thanks a lot

Hi, thanks for a great guide, made me wonder!

That's a pretty comprehensive list of mobile networks. A lot more than I expected. Thanks for the list.

Really nice list, and you just keep updating it year after year, great work. As MobiDeviceAds said "thank you" mobiThinking :)

When google acquired admob for $750m it looked like the mobile advertising industry had been sewn up. Admob was by far the largest mobile ad.

Good list, Greystripe and Buzz City are also popular in Germany. The others are new to me but I will take a look at them.

Great piece. Of course, it is impossible to mention every single company operating in the booming mobile advertising space, but a company that integrates over 80 ad networks is worth a mention. http://inner-active.com/ has cross platform SDKs and it partners with almost all the players mentioned in this post, so it gives developers a simple way to get the best of all worlds... Anyway, I thought you might find inneractive interesting... Thanks for the great post.

The most detailed and updated guide on mobile advertising networks on the net. You rock, keep on the good work.

One tip with advertising with a new company is to start as low as possible. The first few months can be a lot of changing settings blocking certain ads and/or lowering the amount your willing to pay for advertisements if you started high. This is due to the fact that the companies can not provide a perfect list of ads/advertisers right when you start up and fill out a small amount of information. As you go along and customize your setup you will start to get more relevant ads or advertising spots.

Initially it can be very difficult to get the ad placements you want on a "premium blind network." It takes some time blocking sites you don't want ads on or from or if the content of a website having no relation to the ads. It takes some trial and error but eventually you get a lot of relation between the content on a website and ads. There is no way of picking sites you would like to advertise on or advertising on your site with "premium blind networks."

Thanks for providing all the great info about the mobile advertising networks.

http://www.ivisionmobile.com

I live in the Philippines and the biggest mobile ad network here is eContent Providers. They are the best here!

From what I understand South Korea has been leading the field in this type of research. This seems to be one of the very few things that's going right for them. It's odd how little they're mentioned when it comes to mobile advertising.

Just wanted to say "THANK YOU" for all of this information. We just released a white paper called: Performance Based Mobile Advertising, in which we referenced your data. You can find the report at mobile advertising.
Thanks,
MDA

I just seen you added Greystripe to your network, nice! This is what I usually use to create or modify my apps. This was a great idea from you guys, I guarantee you'll get a lot more feedback now.

Love it. Well done. On the google page about the Admob acquisition they also mention Mojiva, which is the adnetwork we are also using. As someone who uses about 7 different adnetworks to monetize our mobile content, I can only say Mojiva is one of the better ones, but none of these is dominating at all times in all geographies.

Mobile marketing is the most growing marketing strategy these days to promote brands, business, services and organization. Mobile marketing come in focus in recent few years, especially due to fast growing mobile phone uses across the world. Analyst Estimate that in 2008 about 3.4 billions text messages send worldwide and the response rate of these text messages were about 70%, this statistic attract shoppers, business organization to invest in mobile marketing. Today all top brands and organization using mobile marketing campaigns to promote their products.

These are good advices I'll try to apply to my new advertising firm...

Adiquity.com is not listed in this site.

I have used MobGold and perception is great no network problem and no reception problem problem so far.

Very nice comparison, provides great transparency. It would be very interesting to see also Apple's iAd covered in the same way as the other ad networks! Hoping for an update :)

Has anyone ever used ZestADZ? They are HQ'd in LA but its run by an Indian parent company.

Great article, a basic guide to mobile ad networks its a must read for anyone new to mobile ads.

Same old Apple. They always shut down the open method in favor of a proprietary method. The rest of the post is great by the way.

Well, this guidance is pretty helpful to me so I want to thank you!

Your tutorial is very useful. You really save me a lot of time on this.

South Korea is mentioned regularly as one of the leaders in mobile technology, but I don't see it mentioned in any of the company profiles. We have an iPhone app that has a large userbase there, and we would like to find something better than AdMob and AdSense to reach our audience there. Any suggestions?

Admob, Jumptap, google adsense, Third Screen Media are the dominant mobile ad companies over web. But i am still not sure which can made future effect on mobile aid platform like current google adsense on web. Article help me to clear lots of point about mobile aid and i am satisfied with the point given here.

What about MobGold ? They offer the same services like Admob, etc. I'm looking forward to try other networks!

Thanks for the comment and the suggestions.
We understand, with some regret, but little surprise, that Quattro will cease to exist at the end of September.
We are updating the ad guide at the moment, and are taking this into account.
We are adding a few new networks including Mojiva and Greystripe and updating many of the existing networks.
We are reviewing a few more networks for possible inclusion at a later date, including MobGold and also ZestADZ.
Cheers, Guide Editor

I think Quattro is turned into iAds now, there's also, MobGold and also ZestADZ to my knowledge which is similar to AdMob and InMobi

I had nice experience with aditic mobile adverising , they have many mobile ad formats

I heard in late 2009 that mobile networks were having a hell of a time that year, with online networks doing only slightly better. I would expect the markte to rise and fall with the stock market. No really.

I expect to see consolidation in the next 1-5 years. You can already see this with the Apple-Google buyouts.

Another good network is Sponsormob - who I believe are the only CPA network for Mobile on this list. They also have iPhone app tracking in place which is a first.

Very strange that Greystripe is not listed here...we've been using them to monetize our iPhone apps for several months and they have the best eCPM.

Yeah...cracked an interview at one of these companies after devouring your site!! Thanks!

Greystripe is a good one for the list too

On the google page about the Admob acquisition they also mention Mojiva, which is the adnetwork we are also using. As someone who uses about 7 different adnetworks to monetize our mobile content, I can only say Mojiva is one of the better ones, but none of these is dominating at all times in all geographies.

Thanks for all the comments. We are evaluating other mobile ad networks as they are recommended. We will be adding five more networks shortly. Please keep the feedback coming or feel free to email: editor (at) mobiThinking.com.

Nicely put! So few people in the industry(particularly those in agencies and media planners who are just coming into contact with mobile) actually understand how blind ad networks operate... This is simply put - well done.

What about AdWords Mobile ? They have a ton of reach and you can instantly compare your mobile campaigns to non-mobile.

I'm looking to test some other networks, so this list is great!

You guys forgot to mention a new start-up,Webmoblink is the first marketplace to totally automate web and mobile advertising from the same platform. It advanced targeting technology streamlines the process of running ad campaigns.
It has made it simple, quick and effective to run any format, any tupe of ads across all digital media. Please take a look and try it. http://www.webmoblink.com

I really had a great pleasing experience with quattro wireless. I promoted my site through quattro and it worked well

You are missing Toda!cell (www.todacell.com), probably the most interesting Mobile Ad Network of the whole lot! toda!cell is focusing on the Advertiser side, to meet or exceed Conversion goals - while all others focus on the Publishers. Alas, as the guy who pays is the customer - it only makes sense to focus on the adverttisers' needs. As Todacell is NOT a blind network, I suggest that contact them the old way: person to person... and get their story!

Thanks mobiThinking! Helpful for explaining .mobi's to clients!

Just found this site thru my Linkedin connection! Excellent. Hope you can keep up the good work. When the ad economy finally comes back next year (ie: when people start buying stuff again) mobile marketing will have formally found its niche in the scheme of things. Place based activity will have finally gone from static billboards to mobile interaction. PN, MobiZone LLC USA

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

To combat spam, please enter the code in the image.
Syndicate content