Which mobile advertising network should I use?

When it comes to monetising apps on the Android platform, mobile ads is one of the better options (IAP is probably the other alternative which is doing real good now).

A little while back, someone asked me what networks I use. Now, this is a list of networks I use. Not in all my apps though. And my ad network usage changes from time to time. So the following are just my choices, you MUST try out what works for you, as mileage really differs from developer to developer, and from app to app.

Preffered mobile advertising networks

The following are my preffered networks, and those that I would be implementing in my apps going forward (performance pending of course).


UPDATE: I've dropped AppFlood till the issue here is sorted out.

AppFlood is really an awesome network. 100% of revenue goes to developers. The best payout system (net-anything, seriously!). Innovative ad formats, and a huge selection of ads make up only some of their good points. Their transparency on ads is awesome, and I've been told that the features are being improved (did you notice they are gradually moving away from the points system, it shows dollars balance now on the dashboard!).

While they do have push ads, I'd recommend you give this one a try for in-app ads. Many developers have reported great returns, and it has outperformed AppBrain for basically all the developers that I have communicated with.


A number of developers (myself included) have reported dropping banner ad revenues from AppLovin. While the banners eCPM has indeed dropped from about a year ago, it still outperforms other CPC banner networks. Their full screen ads are still rock solid for most developers (haven't gotten complains from any developers yet on this).

AppLovin's ads are very well thought out. They have improved much on their fullscreen ads presentation, and these type of updates to ads look and feel is necessary to ensure their units perform. I do wish they would come out with a wall / panel type ad format like what AppFlood has. They used to communicate much with me and my feedback was looked into, but been a while that they been "ignoring" me, and that I hope, won't bring about to their downfall. Don't forget your fellow developers!

So, if you are looking at the other option to rotate your in-app ads with, try rotating between AppFlood and AppLovin.


Update: Google's latest policy has made Startapp not quite a favourable (safe?) option

StartApp is an icon and bookmark ad network. Now, this is a more "controversial" ad network amongst my preffered one. But really, they actually have a really good implementation of their ads. I like how it is a totally opt-in network. Airpush, for example, auto opts-in the user, and users have to manually opt-out. StartApp does not make any changes to the device, unless the user says "Yes". And their opt-in screen is very simple and clear. No long winding sentences that confuse users.

StartApp is a great monetisation option for developers. The returns are pretty impressive. The downside is that many people will complain of "Virus" as anti virus networks mark them as so. I believe this is an unfair label. Maybe a note on your app's description about the ad network might help, but I doubt it.

By the way, good job that Ariel, the big guy from StartApp, is directly communicating with fellow developers, and almost always fixes issues immediately!

Optional mobile advertising networks

These networks are existing in emy apps, and, while they work fine overall, I am looking at replacing them with the above 3 only in my future apps.


Update: Google's latest policy update: No push makes this network worthless, drop it

Airpush is really a good network to make money from for developers. Airpush is an push, icon and in-app ad network. While it is a great monetisation network, beware that, like StartApp, they too get labelled a virus by the anti virus networks. I do wish there was better control on the type of ads that are being sent out. Some of the ads are really spam stuff. (In contrast, AppFlood's push ads only sends out ads of apps to be installed from Google Play. Nice!) Also, Airpush really needs to do something about their dashboard / reporting tools. It gives reporting issues almost every week.

If you're daring enough though, Airpush, in conclusion, is a great monetisation alternative.


The reason I mention Admob here is simple because I do have them in a number of my apps. This is a CPC network, where accidental clicks are a nice to have thing :)  But because of the ease of which revenue can be generated by accidental clicks, the revenue per click is low.

I would recommend having a CPC network, be it Admob, Mobfox, MillenialMedia or anything else if you want to keep your app really clean (people's mindset is generally fine with these networks). Or if you have a section of your app where random clicks is a way of using the app. Also works fine for apps which have a long usage window.


Update: Google's new policy - This full screen doesn't have close button, beware.

This used to be the best wall option, but there been very bad drops in revenues from AppBrain in recent months. Good thing other options are now available, like AppFlood.

AppBrain's analytic tools though are really useful, and they have these other stuff like competitor analysis and such, which can help in the magic of App Store Optimisation (or ASO).

And that's it

While there are other networks too, most of them are just not worth my effort writing up on anymore. Whatever you choose, do experiment. And keep updating your ad networks. What works today, might not work tomorrow. What works for me, might not work for you. And vice versa.

Do share your experiences with other networks!



  1. Replies
    1. Sigh... this Leadbolt fanboy has finally given up on them. It kept getting worse by the day. So bad, that pathetic admob is outperforming push ads from Leadbolt.

      I do wonder if anyone is still having good performance from Leadbolt.

    2. I do, that's why I wrote the comment. Leadbolt still outperforms admob for me, steadily, more than year now. I actully see my numbers grow.

    3. That's the problem really, comparing Leadbolt against Admob is not an apple vs apple comparison. One is a push network (plus in-app and icon and walls, etc.), another is in-app banners.

      As a benchmark... In July last year I made over $300 from referral revenues, this month, it stands at $4 from over 200 referrals. These numbers do indeed speak for themselves.

      As I always say, some ad networks work great for some people, maybe this works for you. Maybe Leadbolt works for many others too, and if it does, I'm happy for you.

      It just doesn't work for me... too bad...

    4. Hello Bill,

      I come back to share some stats with you and other readers of your blog. I implemented the appflood ads, only full screen banners. First month of it, I made about 125$ with only 10% of userbase updated to the latest version with the ads. For comparison, last month I used leadbolt full screen ads, with five time more users, and made 25$.

      Appflood, it works indeed! Thanks for sharing with us!
      For me, the best combination is Leadbolt push ads with appflood banners!

    5. Good to know :D

      Thanks for sharing the performance.. would be interesting to see if these networks can keep up beyond first month.

  2. It's been awhile! We never forgot about our developers, you just don't message us anymore :). I'm always around, and that's true for any of your loyal readers as well. Feel free to shoot me a message or e-mail sometime.

    email: rafael@applovin.com
    skype: jabbering99

    - Rafael Vivas

  3. Replies
    1. Have heard quite good opinions on chartboost too. Haven't tried them yet though.

      Thanks for sharing !

  4. Hi there Bill, nice post :)

    Well for me AppFlood unfortunately didn´t work, maybe because my type of Apps being personalization type. Also Appbrain has improved for me, let´s see if it´s not temporary.

    Interesting you mention In App Purchase, i am considering not using it and using a separate paid app for my future projects.

    Why? Because how do i disable ads like airpush if the user makes an in app purchase to upgrade to pro version?

    Isn´t better to have a separate paid app clean from all those ad company sdk´s?


    1. Hey Steve... how are you doing?

      I haven't used IAP yet, because my location isn't supported by Google (some say it is a curse, others say it isn't).

      This is just an opinion though, never have been on the IAP side myself, that the best way to make use of IAP is to sell "consumable" goods in there. Removing ads might not be the best option for IAP, as you loose the chance on a recurring profit opportunity.

      I agree with your points above, on separate apps. IAP might be more suitable in games environment. Take a look at the top grossing section of google play, majority are games.

  5. Hi Bill,
    I am new to android development and have quite few ideas I want to implement but I need to know how can I earn money from it. What different types of ads I can place in my andriod app.
    Morever I am not familiar with terms like CFC, CFA network and things like eCPM, so it would be really helpful if you brief me on these things.

    1. Hi,

      You will really need to try out yourself which ad networks you are comfortable with. Also the type of app or game, and what type of users you are targetting.

      Some ad networks are aggressive, and you will get much negative feedback. Others are ok, but give low return.

      If you're just starting off, I suggest going for non-aggressive ads to start, as the negative response on aggressive ads can sometimes make one feel down.

      As for the terms, I think it is best you google them out. But don't worry too much about them, because over time, you will learn what they are, and the understanding gets easier that way.

      Good luck!

  6. Replies
    1. Just didn't perform well enough for me. Plus the tonnes of missed opportunities with the first push and icon going out a little too late.

    2. I have been using Appbucks since March 2013.With the impressions standing at 20k/day, I'm getting an average of around $350+/month.CPM is decreasing from
      $1.7 to $0.65 lately.

    3. My average eCPM for push ads from Airpush, 30 days average is $1.28. It's an option we have I guess.

      But, to be fair, I do read of other developers getting far worse eCPM from Airpush lately too. It might just be the wrong season.

  7. Guys, I'm wondering, does any of you implement appflood list panel ads with airpush smartwall ? does it affect airpush weekly payment ?

    1. Hi Aswin,

      This should not affect weekly payments. I believe only push and icon ads stacking affects weeklies.

  8. Hi Bill and all readers
    I made MoPub simple wrapper. I really wanted to make it and share now with community of Basic4Android. Here:

    It is MoPub ad Server. One SDK and you can manipulate all ad networks. Applovin also can be implemented but with custom events. It is not mediator like admob where they have their ads in mind on the first place. It is Ad Server. It seems to work. But it is my forst library with no experience in JAVA so if somebody is interesting - please test. I just tested with Leadbolt (HTML Ads) , MobFox , Tapit , Adsense and House Ads.

    Best regards

    1. Good stuff John, thanks a bunch... something many B4A devs been looking forward to.

  9. Hi guys and Bill,

    This will be abit out of topic, but do you know how to integrate Airpush with Unity3D, is there any article or tutorial about this ?


    1. Haven't come across this yet. Sorry... can't help. I think someone released a leadbolt library a while back on the Unity3D forum.

  10. Hi Bill
    Look at Avocarrot.com
    Seems interesting. Real rewards ads.
    It is startup from Great Britain.
    I spoke with them in skype. Seems great.


    1. Looks interesting too.. but I doubt they will have good inventory to be worth implementing.

    2. Hi John and Bill,

      Thanks for your kind words! We have actually a great inventory with high eCPM in the US and UK markets and we have a dedicated team expanding our inventory reach in other countries as well.

      Happy to chat more and looking forward to get your feedback!:) Just drop me a line and I'll quickly get back to you - mak at avocarrot.com

      Avocarrot co-founder

  11. Hi Bill
    For now I am using offer walls by AppBrain and Leadbolt , rotate them through MoPub. Wanted to try AppFlood wall but need to make Custom Event so I wanted to ask you if you used it - is it worth to try it ?

    Best regards

    1. Hi John,

      I prefer their panel ad type... did not quite use their wall, so cant give a fair feedback on that.

      Maybe other developers have used them?

  12. Hi, are you using some payed advertisement to promote your games?

    Tnx. :)

    1. Hi Bojan,

      No paid advertising. I did try one game back in April with Airpush, but I guess with a $50 budget, you're not gonna see anything at all :D

      But after the April thing, no paid advertising at all. I don't believe that we can make it with paid advertising with the not too deep pockets we small time indies have.

  13. Would anyone know if its allowed to have ads on a mobile app (android or ios) without actually using any of the ad networks available? what if i am releasing an app and i have my own (custom developed) ad management system?

    1. Should be fine as long as the ads themselves are compliant with google's policy.

    2. thank you bill. short and sweet! :)

  14. Can you upload StartApp Library to your dropbox folder??
    Thank you for your hekp, i will register an account from your link starapp for you

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  16. Hi bill.Thanks for your post. Can you tell me that does appflood work if my app is not in google play. I have some problems to publish app in google play for limitation of Google wallet's term and conditions to my country (India).. so if i use appflood , will appflood give me money or not.

  17. I tried a lot of advertising network (Admob, Mobclix, Airpush, ...) and the one I prefer is StartApp (http://startapp.com/rfb5b8f). It's easy to integrate, bring a lot of money and the payments are fast.

  18. Hi Bill, thanks for this great article. I hope you won't mind if I do a little bit of self-promotion. We launched www.adbuddiz.com a year ago and the network is growing very fast. We only focus on Google Play app and game promotion. We built our full screen ad solution so that it is very clean and not intrusive at all for the users. Moreover, we developed a very strong technology to adapt the ads flow based on the audience of each of our publishers' apps. This way, we manage to get very high CPMs for our publishers without compromising with the user experience on our publishers' apps. Indeed, we believe that it's possible to provide high paying ads on android apps while being very clean and respectful of the users ;-) I hope you'll give it a try.

    email : jonathan@adbuddiz.com

  19. Hi Bill and friends,
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  29. Nice post :)
    Can you suggest me which ad format will be the best for apps. Because I don't think Interstitials ads or any ads format with ads of games on it will work with photography app (for example). Whats your opinion on this. Whats your suggestion :)

    1. Hi Sandeep,

      I haven't really released much non-game apps, and so can't give any real life performance on this. But you're right, game based ads will perform poorly on non-game type ads.

      I'll go with a CPC type network with a big variety of ads like Admob or inmobi or millenialmedia for this. They tend to have non-apps type ads, so might fit with your user types.

      Again, no experience in this to give a better answer :D

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