As an app publisher, you will find that there are several ways to monetize your new app. Using advertisements is one of the easiest to implement and most popular methods, particularly for beginners. If you are considering using ads to monetize your app, you’ve probably realized there are many different formats to choose from, each with their own set of pros and cons. In this post I will cover each of the main ad formats used for app monetization and speak briefly about each one. This is designed to get you thinking about where these different mobile ad formats might fit within your app and which one is best for you.


App Monetization With Interstitial Ads

Mobile App Monetization - Interstitial Ad Example

An interstitial ad is best described as a ‘pop-up’ ad that takes up all or or most of the screen. Interstitials ads generally attract a much higher eCPM (effective cost per 1000 impressions) than banner ads. However interstitial ads can be intrusive and it’s easy to drive users away from an app with them if they aren’t used carefully.

Ideally you want to minimize the impact on the user experience caused by Interstitials. Setting up an interstitial that pops up randomly while a user is in the middle of a game is generally a bad idea. Having an interstitial appear when a user finishes a level, for example, doesn’t interrupt game play and doesn’t harm the user experience.


App Monetization With Banner Ads

Mobile App Monetization With Banner Ads Example


I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of banner ads before, both on web pages and mobile apps. For mobile, this format uses an ad in the form of a small banner that is usually displayed at either the top of bottom of the screen. Banners are generally quite unobtrusive, particularly when compared to other ad formats such as interstitials. However they also generate lower eCPM’s, meaning you have to show more of them to earn the same amount of revenue.

Banners are useful if you are conscious of the impact of ads on users and don’t mind lower eCPM’s if it means a better user experience. Just remember to design your UI in a manner that allows them to be displayed on screen without getting in the way.


App Monetization With Video Ads

Video ads are quickly gaining in popularity because of the high eCPM’s they provide. As a result, publishers are finding some really creative ways to implement them.

A video ad usually takes up the whole screen and runs for 15-30 seconds. After a user watches the video, a static image remains on screen (similar to an interstitial). The user can either click on the ad or press the close button and return to the app.

Videos can be automatically triggered like an interstitial ad. For example, a video might play when a user completes a level. Another strategy that is becoming increasingly common, and one that I have had success with, is the use of rewarded videos. What this means is the user can choose to watch a video ad, and in turn they receive a reward for doing so. The reward is often in-game currency or unlocking a feature like a new level or character. It’s a win-win scenario where the user gets a reward that adds to their experience within the app, and the developer gets paid for the ad impression.


App Monetization With Native Ads

A native ad is one that fits almost seamlessly into the app. They are customized to ensure that they are unique and fit in with your unique app. The idea is to make the ad feel like it’s part of the app rather than something that has just been tacked on.

Native ads often use custom colors, borders, fonts etc. to help them fit seamlessly into a particular app. It is also important for them to display content that is relevant to the app they are displayed in. For example, a fitness app would display ads for running shoes instead of KFC.

Native Ads may be a bit of an outlier on this list because they aren’t actually an ad format in themselves. Most ad formats can be made native, ie. made to look like part of the app. You can have native banner ads, native interstitials, native video ads etc.


App Monetization With App Lists / Walls

Mobile App Monetization with an App Wall Example

An app wall displays a list of apps available to download. Publishers are usually paid on a Cost Per Install (CPI) basis, meaning they are paid each time a user downloads and opens an app on an app wall.

App walls are usually full screen ads. Because they show a number of apps at once, the chance of a user being interested in one is higher. This is why they often attract a higher Click Through Rate (CTR) than other formats.

This ad format is also good for cross promotion. This is when a developer advertises one of more of their own apps in the list. It can help drive traffic between apps in a developers app portfolio.


Monetizing With Rich Media Ads

These are ads that offer a higher level of user engagement than a standard banner or interstitial. Often they allow a user to perform an action like ‘swipe to kick the football’ or ‘swat the fly’. They are often animated and respond to the user interaction, further enhancing the experience.

Rich media ads help to boost user engagement and interaction. This leads to higher Click Through Rates (CTR), which translates to higher revenue for app publishers.

If you are already using interstitials, rich media ads may be worth a try. They are both relatively intrusive ad formats but if used correctly they don’t have to be. Replacing an interstitial with a rich media ad may be a good way to increase revenue without changing your existing ad placements.


Which of these have you tried and what was your experience? Let me know in the comments!