Guide to mobile advertising: Types of ads and main platforms

With 73% of internet users expected to access the web solely through smartphones by 2025, mobile advertising is a top priority for marketers. Check out this guide for an overview of key players and types of ads.

Date published
July 26, 2019 Categories

By 2025, GSMA has estimated that more than 5 billion people will have mobile devices, and over half of these connections would be smartphones. With the growth in adoption of smartphones, consumers are also increasingly getting glued to their mobile devices more than ever, this has led to mobile marketing becoming a mainstay of the online advertising sector. Thereby, also taking up an increasing portion of organizational marketing spend, too. Research reports have also shown that marketing organizations have also started spending 22% of their budget on mobile marketing.

Recent research has also shown that mobile advertising spends by mature organizations are slated to increase 21.9% to reach $165.7bn in 2019, making it the second-largest ad channel worldwide across 96 markets, as per WARC’s Adspend Forecast. This shows a significant increase from even ten years ago when mobile marketing was only starting to gain steam as a high-ROI achieving advertisement method.

Why mobile advertising?

With nearly three quarters (72.6%) of internet users accessing the web solely through their smartphone by 2025, mobile advertising has become one of the most effective ways to target and reach customers on the go. IAB Mobile Advertising Revenue & Usage Report 2018 also stated:

Thereby, highlighting the need for marketers to focus on incorporating mobile advertising as a significant part of their marketing strategies. 

Our guide will help all marketers to understand all aspects of mobile advertising and also select the most effective and relevant advertising type, platform and tools for their campaign.

What is mobile advertising?

Forming a part of digital advertising, mobile advertising is often defined as an advertisement that has been optimized for mobiles and is primarily targeted towards advertising across mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and wearable technology. Although mobile advertising is not a new advertising sector, companies are increasingly focusing on this sector as more and more consumers are increasingly glued to their devices. Marketers may utilize mobile advertising in conjunction with other digital advertising channels such as display, search, social, or video to diversify their advertising strategy.

So, let’s see what are the different types of mobile advertisements that a company can use to boost engagement with their audiences. 

What are the different types of mobile advertising?

Banner ads

One of the oldest and most popular forms of mobile advertisement, banner ads primarily used an unobtrusive “banner” at the top or bottom of the screen which features relevant text and graphics. These ads rely heavily on brand recognition, with little space to provide detailed information. It is a simple and safe way for a brand to get their name and product viewed by as many people as possible.

Source: Gotchamobi

Native ads

Native ads are often referred to advertisements that uses paid media or ads that seamlessly integrate with the app or the media format in which they appear. It mimics the original app format for optimal user experience and looks like a part of the editorial flow of the page. These ads often appear in social media feeds, or as recommended content on a web page. The key to native advertising is that it is non-disruptive – it exposes the reader to advertising content without sticking out like a sore thumb.

Source Shutterstock

Video ads

With consumers increasingly looking for fast and quick content to consume, video advertising is rapidly becoming an area of focus for marketers, particularly given that up to 80% of global internet consumption will be through video content this year. Video ads are simple in their concept yet complex in their execution. They are videos that play either while a user opens or interacts with a mobile application. They require a substantial budget but offer a high level of user engagement.

Source: Shutterstock

Interstitial ads

Interstitial ads are described as full-screen interactive ads that cover the interface of an app. These ads often appear at natural transition points like pausing a game or after an app is closed. The ads offer marketers a chance to partake in high-level engagement with an advertisement’s product, often featuring compelling and creative call-to-actions. Interstitial ads are increasingly becoming a popular ad format with the marketers, due to its high impression rate that helps to increase downloads and revenue.

Source: Google Admob

Now that we know what type of ads a marketer can use, let’s go ahead and see where on which platforms marketers can use these advertisements.

Mobile advertising platforms

Mobile advertising platforms encompass ad servers, ad networks, programmatic ad buying, or any digital advertising solution that supports advertising campaigns that span video, browsers and mobile display, or in-app ads across mobile platforms (e.g. tablets, smartphones, etc.)

Google Ads and AdMob

Google ads are currently the most popular advertising platforms for mobile, as well as web and the platform’s popularity lies in the fact that it enables ads to appear when the user searches for a related product (or service), making them more relevant and more likely to be noticed. Marketers can also set goals such as website visits, customer calls and increased footfall on the platform. The platform supports various ad formats, including banners, in-app, and video ads and marketers leverage these ads to target smartphones and tablets, using device targeting for display ads. Marketers can also target mobile devices specifically by opting for text, image, video, and True View ads.

Source: Google Admob


Admob is another mobile advertising platform from Google that enables marketers to generate revenue from their app. The platform helps marketers to integrate high-performing ad formats such as native ads, banner ads, video and interstitial ads within their apps. It features reporting and analytics that provide marketers with insights into how their customers engage with their app, thereby, enabling them to take an effective decision on improving customer experience and mobile revenue.  

Facebook Mobile Ads

Other than Google, another platform that marketers should first think of is Facebook, as 96% of active user accounts worldwide accessed the social network via mobile devices in 2019. This provides marketers with better overall returns as the site’s through rates are 12x higher on mobile compared to desktops. One of the reasons for this could be that smaller screen sizes tend to have fewer distractions than desktops.


Unity Ads is another mobile advertising platform that is specifically meant for game development. The platform helps game developers to monetize their entire player base and also fuel their player acquisition strategy by advertising the game across a community. Easy to set-up and integrate, the platform supports diverse ad formats including rewarded video (that offer coins/coupons for watching ads) and AR to enhance the player experience and boost CPM results. It leverages rewarded videos to drive user engagement and in turn, boost revenue.

Source: Unity


Performance mobile marketing platform Vungle primarily helps marketers to convert their app into an engaging and captivating video ad that will engage and keep the users fixated on to the app for a longer period of time. The platform also has partnerships with brands such as Zynga, Pandora and Microsoft.

Source: Vungle


AdColony is a mobile video advertising platform and monetization platform that provides full-screen interactive video ads in HD and rich media across its network of iOS and Android apps. The platform’s USP is that it eliminates the pain points in mobile video advertising, which is long load times and grainy, choppy video. The platform’s reach, targeting and optimization tools and services provide marketers with effective methods to engage mobile audiences at scale, while its developer tools provide marketers with ways to maximize monetization while gaining insight needed to continuously optimize content and advertising offerings.

Source: Adcolony


AppLovin can often be called as a growth engine for game developers as it enables the developers to connect with global users each month. Through the platform’s tools and services, marketers can easily integrate various advertisement formats into their games and use the platform’s tools and analytics to acquire new users. Marketers can also access Applovin’s extensive user database and algorithms to build campaigns to target users who are more likely to download and deliver more effective ROI.

Source: Applovin

With so many app monetizations and app advertising platforms out there, mobile advertising can sometimes become daunting. However, the list of advertising platforms mentioned above should make the selection process easier. Each of them offers a unique take on app monetization to increase revenue for developers.

Tools for mobile advertising

Now, we’ll go through the top three mobile advertising tools that will help marketers to adapt their marketing strategies for mobile advertisement environment and boost their campaigns. 


Focused on mobile measurement and fraud prevention, Adjust aims at providing analytics, measurement and fraud prevention solutions for mobile app marketers. These tools and services help marketers to understand the ROI of their different campaigns. Marketers can use various features of the platform, like mobile attribution and customer behaviour segmentation, in a bid to understand and measure customer behaviour at every step of their funnel.

Source: Adjust


Tune is another mobile analytics and performance marketing platform that helps marketers to track the whole journey of the customers by unifying touchpoints across every channel. Being a single integrated solution for measurement and engagement across the entire customer journey, the platform provides 30% more data to optimize campaigns and maximize ROI. 

Source: Tune


SaaS-based mobile analytics and attribution platform, AppsFlyer provides insights in rich in-app events, omnichannel measurement, cost & ROI reporting, offering support for different internal business intelligence systems. It enables marketers to pinpoint their targeting, optimize their ad spend and boost their ROI through their platform. Being an attribution platform, it also provides deeper app insights for specialized goals like retargeting attribution, tv attribution, and deep linking.

Source: Appsflyer


Over the past few years, marketers have realized that mobile advertising is a huge, untapped source of revenue for companies as consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices for the smallest of things. In order to stay ahead of the curb and capture revenue, companies can look at this guide to identify the most effective mobile advertising for themselves, no matter what their budget is.

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