How to choose the perfect ad format for your mobile app

perfect ad format for your mobile app

In-app advertising has proven to be the most popular app monetization strategy, thanks to the ease and speed at which they can be implemented, as well as their generally high CTR and conversion.

These selling points come with a little problem – for an ad to convert, it needs to slot in seamlessly and blend with the app content; else it may end up irritating your audience. Here, you will learn how to select the perfect ad format for your mobile app monetization.

Before going into this, you must acknowledge that you could do everything right, but the App Store can revoke your app or your users experience difficulties using it. So, ensure that your mobile app is fully ready before beginning monetization.

For mobile ad formats, the most common are rich media, interstitials, video, mobile banner ads, list/panel ads, and rich media. Each format has advantages and disadvantages based on the app they are promoting. Below is a guide for selecting the best ad format.

  1.   Rich media

This is one of the most advanced mobile ad formats that incorporate several creatives, such as video, interactivity, messaging, and audio. Humans love to interact and be a part of something, and so the interactivity of rich media ads promotes engagement on app users.

This activity, in turn, results in higher conversion rates for advertisers and more revenue for publishers’ app monetization. Advertisers here sell the app users a specific goal (score points, win a game, etc.) and instruct them, in no unclear terms, what next steps to take to achieve this goal.


          Rich media ads are engaging if implemented properly.

          They have high CTR.


          Most ads in this mobile ad format are intrusive.

  1.   Banner Ads

Mobile banner ads are the most dominant forms of advertising for websites and blogs, but they do not perform as well on mobile with the lowest CTR (0.23%) of all the mobile ad formats discussed here. Most mobile banner ads are either too small and ugly or too big, covering portions of the screen, and ruining the overall user experience. With that said, banners are not entirely bad for app monetization. Dong Nguyen, the creator of Flappy Bird reportedly generated about $50,000 daily from banner ads.

Some advertisers make mobile banner ads work, but mostly for improving brand awareness and visibility. They also perform better than native ads for post-install engagement on Android apps. For cross-device advertising, the standard is 300 x 250 banners, as they appear and perform well on mobile and desktop. If you are considering banner advertising, go for animated banners and not static ones because static banners can never please your audience, no matter the size. Instead of mobile banner ads, interstitial ads are way better for most apps.


          The refresh rate is customizable.


          Low CTR

          Low eCPM

          May need app redesign

  1.  Interstitials

Interstitial means “between spaces,” and interstitial ads, as the name implies, refer to the full-screen ads that show up when transitioning between two screens of an app. These types of ads show excellent performance results when used in games, unlike mobile banner ads. Advantages of interstitial ads include the fact that their deployment is easy and most mobile ad networks support it.

Read more Mobile Apps vs. Web App- Differences, pros, and cons

These ad formats are compelling and can be used to share videos and other content. However, it is essential to use interstitial advertising at points in your app where there are natural pauses, so it doesn’t interfere with the users’ work or playing experience.


          Full-screen ads capture users’ attention quickly.

          It’s relatively easy and fast to deploy.

          High CTR.


          Poorly implemented interstitial ads can irritate app users.

  1. Video

Video ads are growing in popularity in recent years, and for good reasons too. The most effective ad videos are short and straight-to-the-point. The deployment of video ads is similar to that of interstitial ads, and most ad mobile ad networks as well as end-users love videos, especially videos related to whatever application they are on.

These ads are suited for mobile apps and even perform better with CTR around three times better on mobile (13.64%) than desktop (5.45%). They are suitable for all kinds of mobile apps, so video ads should be at the top of your list. Videos rank high because they are engaging and have significantly high CTR.


          Videos steal the users’ attention for the duration.

          High CTR.

          Users love watching videos.


          Non-skippable videos can irritate app users.

          Needs tons of creativity to get it right.

  1.  Native Ads

Native ads are the least intrusive advertising format for mobile apps. In a native advertising example, what happens here is that the ads are strategically placed within the content to blend in as a part of the regular application content or experience. These native ads are relatively recent, but many mobile ad networks now offer them. You can find native advertising examples on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Quora, etc. All the biggest apps make use of this ad format. They wouldn’t all adopt native ads if they did not see impressive results.


          The best user experience of all formats.

          Most native advertising examples are hardly distinguishable from app content.

          High CTR.


          High maintenance and implementation costs.

  1. List/Panel Ads

Popularly called “Offer Walls,” these types of ads fit in a list of products in one list or panel. The multiple options of ads in offer walls increase the likeliness of the user clicking the ad and is therefore excellent for app monetization. As you might have guessed, offer walls perform well on mobile apps, with CTR for App lists at 7.14% and Panels at 12.6%.


          High CTR

          Ads are non-intrusive.

          Many apps in one ad.


          Low impressions

Final thoughts…

There’s no hard rule for the app monetization and mobile ad formats to use on your mobile app because it depends on the app and where and when you insert the ad.

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Each format has its advantages and drawbacks. Some work better with social apps and others with games. To select the right format for your app advertising, test different mobile ad formats, making sure that they do not ruin the user experience of your app.

After the tests, compare the results of the formats and work with the best. Keep testing. Also, for the test, you can make use of multiple ad formats and mobile ad networks.

Written by Danish JG

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