Top 10 ad networks to acquire Android users – gaming category

You've made a mobile game, it's ready to be published? Now what? This article lists top channels to acquire Android users in the gaming category. Launched by Google in 2007, Andro [...]

January 23, 2019

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You’ve made a mobile game, it’s ready to be published? Now what? This article lists top channels to acquire Android users in the gaming category. Launched by Google in 2007, Android is the most popular, open-source operating system in the world. After the release, sales of smartphones running on the Android have grown steadily over the years. Android leads the smartphone market with 88% of share of sold smartphones in the 2nd quartal of 2018, even though in 2017. iOS dominated the gaming category. For advertisers of mobile games that meant that they could expect higher return on iOS in comparison to Android. To be more precise, 1,2x higher return. (Singular ROI Index) If we would compare that to non-gaming advertisers, they would have similar ROI on both platforms.

mobile OS, global market share, smartphone

This time we’re going to focus on the top 10 networks to acquire Android users, but focusing only on the gaming category. To support our efforts, we’re going to use data sourced by Singular composed in Singular ROI (Return on Investment) Index.

Singular’s ROI index is basing on 315M installs distributed over 1.7K+ apps which brought in $1B+ in revenue. Data was collected from 1.2K+ mobile media partners. This study focused solely on the mobile marketing industry – the industry which is predicted to grow more than double in the following 5 years.

Android – gaming category

top android channels to acquire user gaming category

On the top of the list is Google Ads, Google’s mobile advertising network. It’s not surprising since Android is Google product. Every second, there are 2.3 million searches performed on Google, and the majority of search results pages include Google ads. In a year, there are 2 trillion Google searches. 1.17 billion people use Google. Google’s market share for U.S. search is 75% in comparison of 10.89% in China. Display network reaches approximately 90% of global internet users. In the US 89% smartphone users are reached with the mobile display which is approximately 126 million users. 64% of users are reached everyday – and great option to acquire iOS users.

Formats of ads: Native, Video, Interstitial

Targeting: Country, Region, Carrier, Connection type, Mobile platform, OS version, Device, Audience (user profile data)

Market: Global

Placement: Youtube, Display Network, 3rd-Party Apps i Google Play

Facebook comes at second place when looking for best perfomance in acquiring users in the gaming category. This platform has 1.15 billion monthly active users. Since acquiring Instagram 7 years ago, Facebook introduced advertising on that network too. Today, when placing a campaign, it’s possible to have your ad shown on Instagram, reaching more audience, even if you don’t have an account on that network. Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users.

Formats of ads: Banner, Interstitial, Native, Rewarded video, In-stream video

Targeting: Age, Gender, Location, Device, Mobile OS, OS version, Interests, Mobile user language

Market: Global

Placement: Feeds, Instant Articles, In-stream video, Right column and Marketplace, also Stories and Messenger

World’s leading real-time engine – it is used to create half of the world’s games. Unity Ads were launched in 2014 to help game developers with the monetization of their games with video ads. Unity is one of the most trusted companies in gaming with staying power backed by a network of over 1 billion gamers across the globe. It is a network with the highest ARPU (average revenue per user) of any global rewarded video ad network. Most favorable and engaging advertising format is rewarding video. Nearly 70% of users have a positive attitude towards mobile app reward, following with 52% for Social click-to-play and 51% for Skippable pre-roll. Unity also offers mediation of your ads to maximize your monetization, offering methods like traditional waterfalls or unified auction method.

Formats of ads: Non-rewarded, Rewarded, Banner

Targeting: Device, Connection, Operating system, Country, Behavioral and more

Market: Global

Placement: Unity Ad Network, 3rd-party apps

Vungle offers different ad formats within their mobile-app network. Roughly half of their business is games. Zain Jaffer, CEO of Vungle, describes Vungle as performance-based marketing channel. With videos – main format of ads – they’re helping a lot of mobile publishers to generate more traffic and acquire new users. In March of 2018 they announced the global availability of their Self-Serve Platform which automatically converts uploaded video content into a variety of advertising creatives. Platform comes with support for multiple languages like Simplified Chinese or Korean. Vungle works with more than 25,000 app developers across iOS, Android and Windows. They increase brand awareness, market share and direct response by delivering over 2 billion video ads impressions a month to more than 235 million unique consumers around the world.

Formats of ads: Video ads opt-in or auto-play, Skippable or non-skippable and Rewarded or non-rewarded

Targeting: Vungle combines Nielsen DAR demographic data with their first-party and performance data to filter list by age, cohorts, gender, platform…

Market: Global

Placement: 3rd-Party Apps (Corona Labs, Cocos, Unity, Adobe Air)

Mobile marketing channel focused on advertising and building a revenue base. Their focus is on connecting the developers of all sizes to their ideal customer so they can get discovered. This channel analyzes all ad campaign results to focus the campaign on the users who are most likely to interact with the app. According to Applovin, they process over 30 billion advertisement requests a day and use real-time feedback to make effective marketing decisions across 1 billion mobile consumers worldwide – delivering results for publishers like Disney, Uber, Groupon, CBS, Hotels.com, Yelp, Zynga, and King.com and others.

Formats of ads: Video, Playable, Native, Interstitial, Banner

Targeting: Demographics, Device Model and more

Market: Global

Placement: 3rd-Party Apps

Focused on video mobile advertising, AdColony reaches an audience of 1.4 billion engaged mobile users. It is one of the largest mobile ad networks globally. With the 2nd largest SDK penetration of the Top 1000 apps on iOS and Android, AdColony’s focus is on high impact full-screen experiences that engage users, drive results for advertisers, and monetize publishers. Displays on phones improved in the last few years and AdColony recognized that with focusing on the mobile video format – in feed, vertical or edge-to-edge landscape, reaching over 1,5 billion monthly active users. In 2017 they partnered with NinthDecimal to provide better campaign planning, targeting and measurements based on consumer attention and buying behaviours.

Formats of ads: Banners, In-app, Incentivized, Interstitial, Rewarded video, Rich media, video

Targeting: Platform, Device, Connection Type, Geography, Demographics, Content

Market: Global

Placement: 3rd-Party Apps

IronSource, one of the 18 unicorn companies in Israel specialized for ads in the gaming industry. When it comes to gaming, this is the biggest mediation platform. IronSource helps app developers to reach more audience – they claim to be the largest in-app video network and a data-driven user acquisition platform. With one of largest mobile video SDK in the industry, with over 80K integrations, they have large amount of in-game supply in which to run AR ads directly to today’s most engaged gamers. In 2017, they were the first company that launched AR ads for games.

Formats of ads: Interstitials, Offerwall, Rewarded Video and Native

Targeting: Country, Device Type and more

Market: Global

Placement: ironSource Mobile ad network, 3-rd party apps, additional online advertising companies

YouAppi is first comprehensive 360 platform for premium mobile brands, designed to increase acquisition and retention of high-value customers. This platform combines machine learning and artificial intelligence so it could maximally personalize user journey from app install to everyday use. YouAppi claims to deliver insight into user experience with insight into mobile content of over 2B users. They work with 470 premium brands and achieve 100 billion monthly impressions in 200 countries.

Formats of ads: banner, static interstitial, native, full screen video, rewarded video, in-stream video, interstitial video, outstream video

Targeting: ad behavior, demographics, predictive algorithm, cohort technology…

Market: Global

Placement: 3-rd party apps

Tapjoy is mobile advertising channel founded in 2007, with 500M+ data points, 50+ proprietary, first part data segments and 1B+ App installs. It has 600 million global monthly active users (125 million only in the United States). With an average completion rate of 85%, 5% average click-through rate and with average 10 seconds spent on watching the ad it is one of very attractive advertising channels for mobile gaming. In exchange for premium content, customers can choose advertisements or offers that are appealing to them.

Formats of ads: Offerwall Plus, Direct Play/Rewarded Video, Interstitial, Other ad-unit Types

Targeting: demographics, ad behavioral, device type and more

Market: Global

Placement: 3-rd party apps

Fyber is monetization platform for mobile publishers. It combines proprietary technologies and expertise in mediation, RTB, video and audience segmentation. This includes providing the world’s first and only mechanism to achieve a true state of header bidding for the mobile app environment. Their advertising is a combination of mediation platform, real time bidding and video ads. With more than 10 TB of data processed daily, they have 1.2B app unique monthly users for mobile apps, while working in more than 180 countries.

Formats of ads: Rewarded Video, Offer Wall, Banners, Interstitials, Video

Targeting: demographics, ad behavior and more

Market: Global

Placement: 3-rd party apps

Mentioned categories

Formats of Ads

Banner Ads

Banner ads are smaller ads that appear at the top or bottom of the screen. They perform the least well of all formats and they are not that often used anymore.

Native

Native ads are popular in both mobile apps and on the mobile web. These ads are favoured for their integration into content, allowing for uninterrupted user experience. They are integrated with the rest of the content (for example, news feed or in between levels of a game).

Interstitial

Interstitial ads are ads that completely fill the entire mobile screen, and can be found in various areas of an application, including, but not limited to at launch, after main menu screens, and after a user completes a level. Each platform will offer different ad sizes.

Rewarded video

Rewarded video is a specific type of video ad that is shown in exchange for a reward, such as unlocking a life to continue playing or for in-game currency. They are also called incentivized ads.

Playable ad

Playable ads are interactive ads that users engage with by playing a part of a game or by using an app before downloading. These ads are effective at increasing conversion rates, user retention and revenue.

Direct Play

Direct play is ad unit that takes over the whole screen and plays a video that starts automatically without the user pressing a “play” button.

Offerwall

Offerwall ads give users choice to select their preferred ad experience in return for in-app currency. More customizable ad experience.


Targeting

With more and more data being generated and analyzed, platforms are offering more options for specific targeting of your audience. Some simpler options are age or region, but today marketers are targeting the audience based on their gaming history, what device they use etc. Some regions, like EU, have certain obstacles with data manipulation. GDPR was introduced earlier this year and it brought changes how and for what for can user data be used. Targeting is an important factor helping you to acquire iOS users.


Market

Most of the platforms are globally oriented, but there are still a few big regions that are more attractive because of the larger user base and more lucrative offers.


Placement

There are different ways in which ads are placed in-app or game. On Facebook and Google ads are most often integrated in the rest of the content (native ads), and in games we’re seeing more and more playable, video or rewarded ads.

Conclusion:

This article listed to 10 networks to acquire Android users in gaming category. Google Ads holds the first place, which is not surprising since Android was launched by Google. In comparison, top place on the iOS platform holds Facebook, with Google Ads on the third place in gaming category. Top networks on these two platforms are similarly ranked, not surprising since the majority of advertising platforms works on both Android and iOS. Exception for iOS are Apple Search Ads which are only focused on the iOS App Store. The only difference is in the ranking of particular network, and on this list we have YouAppi and Fyber. With more data sourced every day, targeting options are more sophisticated. Ads are becoming more complex with new formats like rewarded video or interactive ads in which you play a small portion of a game.

One of the important factors to think about is geography, more about choosing the right GEO for your next campaign you can read in our blog post.

List of top 10 networks to acquire iOS users find here: https://www.blog.udonis.co/top-10-networks-ios

List of top 10 networks to acquire Android users find here: https://www.blog.udonis.co/top-10-networks-android

Slavica Grgić

I'm Slavica, Social Marketing Manager at Udonis. If I'm not writing new blog posts, I'm making sure that everything is picture perfect.

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