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).
AppFloodUPDATE: 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.
AirpushUpdate: 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.
AppBrainUpdate: 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!