What is Mobile Ad Mediation & How to Advertise in the Mobile World

As more and more advertisers are increasing their budgets for mobile advertisement (which is fast becoming the largest advertising medium for many large companies), many mobile ad networks are showing up in the marketplace, and are changing the way they operate to better meet the needs of both the companies buying mobile ad space (advertisers), and those that are providing these spaces within their mobile apps and websites (publishers).

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In the earlier years of mobile advertising, smart developers would connect their app to multiple ad networks, to create competition for their spaces. Apps could be made to mediate between these different sources in real-time to ensure a near-perfect fill-rate (finding ads to display every time the app requests it) and the highest possible payout for each ad. However, in the past, this would often involve installing a separate SDK for each advertising network (and a few extra lines of code within the app itself) and creating custom algorithms for ad mediation.

All these additions can greatly impact loading times for your mobile app or website. As mentioned in our previous post, one of the big factors one must consider when choosing to display advertising within a mobile app is how it will effect the user’s experience. An extra second of lag can easily be the difference between a good experience, and a user deleting your app (it was free anyhow). Despite obtaining the highest payout, a loss of users means fewer overall ad impressions, and a lower total ad revenue as a result.

Luckily, most of the major ad networks now help to connect you to other networks and provide mediation within their SDK, giving publishers the advantages of real-time bids while mitigating the effects to mobile app and website performance. The mediation aspect can also (usually) be managed through a centralized dashboard provided by the network, allowing you to pick and choose how ad networks will be prioritized when your app calls for an ad.

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This is an important function to consider, as many ad mediation networks now have to compete with 3rd parties to display their own network’s ads, and may not always be prioritizing the choices that will provide you with the highest payout, or your users with the best experience. This has often been a complaint of publishers using Google’s AdMob network, although most of the major networks operate in this fashion as well, giving some preference to their own network, as these are the ads that provide the network and its advertisers with the highest rewards.

However, there are a few networks out there that simply mediate between AdMob and other major providers for you, and do not have an ad network of their own to consider, but these companies often take a higher percentage of ad revenue to offset this. In any case, a major consideration when choosing an ad network should be the ability to customize your ad waterfall, and the transparency of the network’s algorithms and practices (in addition to considering payouts, the different ad formats available, and the size and easy integration of their SDK).

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Digital Fractal Technologies is an Edmonton, Alberta based software-development company that focuses on data-driven mobile applications. We develop both cross-platform apps as well as native mobile applications. For a free app consultation, please contact us.