Mobile Advertising


Mobile Advertising: A Comprehensive Guide to Strategies, Platforms, and Benefits

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Team Storyly
May 29, 2024
0 min read

What is Mobile Advertising?

Mobile advertising is a form of digital advertising that targets users via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. This type of advertising aims to reach consumers wherever they are, capitalizing on the immediacy and personal nature of mobile usage. 

Mobile advertising can appear in various formats, including display ads, video ads, native ads, and in-app promotions, among others. These ads can be served through a variety of platforms and networks, including social media channels, mobile websites, and mobile applications.

How Does Mobile Advertising Work?

There are a lot of parties involved in the context of mobile advertising such as advertisers, publishers, ad networks, and of course, consumers. Through the technologies like ad servers, real-time bidding platforms, and tracking solutions, whole processes is streamlined. 

Below is a simplified explanation of how mobile advertising works:

Key Players:

  • Advertisers: Businesses or individuals who want to promote their products or services.
  • Publishers: Mobile app developers or mobile website owners who provide ad space.
  • Ad Networks: Platforms that connect advertisers with publishers.
  • Users: The consumers who interact with the mobile ads.


1. Planning and Strategy

  • Objective Setting: Goals like brand awareness, lead generation, or sales are identified via advertisers.
  • Target Audience: Advertisers also define the demographic characteristics of the audience they want to target.

2. Ad Creation

  • Based on their campaign objectives, advertisers create several types of ads (e.g., display, video, native).

3. Ad Placement

  • Direct Buy: Advertisers can directly buy the ad space from publishers
  • Ad Networks: Advertisers can also use ad networks that bring together multiple publishers. That makes it easier to distribute ads across a plenty of different platforms.
  • Programmatic Buying: Advertisers, can also use software to automatically optimize the buying, placement, and media library selection with programmatic buying.

4. Bidding and Auction

  • Real-Time Bidding (RTB): With this model, real-time auction takes place whenever a user opens an app or a web page. The highest bidder gets to display their ad.

5. Ad Serving

  • The selected ad is served to the user's mobile device as soon as the bidding is completed.

6. User Interaction

  • Users may view, click, or ignore the ad altogether.

7. Tracking and Analytics

  • The effectiveness of the campaign can be tracked with the metrics like Click-Through Rate (CTR) and Conversion Rate,
  • Tracking pixels and SDKs (Software Development Kits) are often used for analytics purposes.

8. Optimization

  • To improve results, advertisers analyze the performance data and adjust the ad content, placement, or targeting criteria as necessary.

9. Reporting

  • To evaluate ROIs and KPIs, A comprehensive report is generated.

Additional Mechanisms:

Cookies and Device IDs

  • For tracking user behavior and for retargeting, cookies on web and Device IDs on mobile apps are extensively used

Frequency Capping

  • In order to avoid ad fatigue, the number of times a particular ad is shown to a single user has a limit. 

Ad Personalization

  • Machine learning algorithms analyze user data to serve more relevant ads.

As a result of this process, mobile advertising maximizes engagement and achieves the desired results for businesses.

Types of Mobile Advertising

 Mobile advertising comes in various forms, each with its own set of advantages and use-cases. Here are some of the most common types of mobile ads:

1. Display Ads

Banner Ads: These small rectangle ads appear on mobile websites or apps at the top or bottom.

Interstitial Ads: These are full-screen ads that cover the entire screen of a mobile app or website, often appearing during transitions like loading a new page or completing a game level.

2. Video Ads

Pre-roll: These video ads play before the main content starts.

Mid-roll: These ads appear in the middle of the video content.

Post-roll: These play after the main content has concluded.

3. Native Ads

In-Feed: This type of ads generally appear within the natural flow of content, for example, in a feed format as on social media.

Content Recommendation: These appear at the end of articles and suggest other related articles or products.

Sponsored Content: Aarticles or videos that appear beside other content but are labeled as "sponsored."

4. In-App Ads

Rewarded Video: Type of ads that give in-app rewards for watching them.

Playable Ads: Interactive ads where users can use a mini-version the app, or play the game.

5. Social Media Ads

Carousel Ads: Ads with multiple images or videos.

Story Ads: Full-screen vertical videos or images appearing between stories

Promoted Posts: Regular posts with paid promotion to reach more people.

6. SMS/MMS Advertising

SMS Ads: Text messages sent with a promotional content.

MMS Ads: Promotional multimedia messages that may include video, audio, and images.

7. Search Ads

Ads apperaing in search engine results, usually at the top or bottom of the page, marked as "Ad" or "Sponsored."

8. Location-Based or Geotargeted Ads

Ads that are served according to users’ location, often through GPS tracking.

9. Rich Media Ads

A type of interactive ads allowing users to try multimedia experiences like games, interactive videos, or clickable elements.

10. Audio Ads

Short audio clips playing during streaming sessions on mobile devices.

The best practices, benefits, and drawbacks of each type of mobile ad are unique. The type of advertising chosen by advertisers depends on their marketing goals, target audience, and budget.

What are the Benefits (Advantages) of Mobile Advertising?

Mobile advertising offers several benefits that make it an appealing channel for marketers and advertisers. Here are some of the key advantages:

1. Wide Reach

Globally, mobile advertising allows brands to reach a wide audience.

2. Targeting Capabilities

Advanced targeting options allow advertisers to reach specific demographics, geographies, and even individual behaviors, making campaigns more effective.

3. Cost-Effectiveness

Mobile ads often offer a better ROI compared to traditional advertising channels. Plus, the ability to set budgets and bid for ad space allows for greater cost control.

4. Immediate Engagement

Mobile ads can prompt quick actions from users, such as clicks, calls, or app downloads, thanks to the "always-on" nature of mobile devices.

5. Personalization

Mobile devices provide a wealth of data that can be used to personalize ads, increasing their effectiveness.

6. Versatility

From simple text ads to rich media, mobile advertising supports a wide range of formats, offering creative flexibility.

7. Local Targeting

Geo-targeting capabilities make it possible to serve ads based on a user's location, which is particularly useful for local businesses.

8. Real-Time Analytics

Mobile advertising platforms provide advertisers with performance data that can be used to adjust campaigns quickly.

9. Integrated Experience

Users can seamlessly integrate mobile ads with other marketing channels like social media, email, and websites.

10. Future-Proof

As Brands can stay relevant and competitive by investing in mobile advertising.

11. Enhanced User Experience

Formats like native ads and rewarded video ads offer a less intrusive advertising experience, thus improving user engagement.

12. Social Sharing

Ads on mobile, especially those on social media, can be easily shared, increasing their reach and impact.

By using these benefits, businesses can improve their ROI and build stronger relationships with their customers by creating more efficient and targeted advertising campaigns.

Challenges in Mobile Advertising

Although there are several benefits of mobile advertising, there are also some set of challenges to be considered. Here are some of them:

1. Ad Blockers

People tend to use ad blockers, and that may result in fewer ads being shown to fewer people.

2. User Experience Concerns

Sometimes poorly designed ads hinders the user experience of the whole mobile experience.

3. Screen Size Limitations

With the smaller sizes, amount of information available is very limited with the ads.

4. Privacy Issues

Using personal data on some ads raises the problem of privacy concerns. 

5. Fragmented Ecosystem

There are a ton of different devices and operating systems, so experience is not unified among different devices.

6. Viewability and Fraud

Ad fraud is an important challenge faced by advertisers, as not all ad creatives are served to actual humans but to bots.

7. Attribution and Tracking

The attribution of downloads and conversions is difficult.

8. Ad Fatigue

Constanly seeing the same ad creates an ad fatigue, which will end up with poor performance campaigns.

9. Rising Costs

With the more advertisers, competition for screen time is fierce and costs are rising.

10. Technical Issues

Sometimes broken links, long wait times etc can cause poor ad performance

11. Short Attention Spans

Mobile users often engage in "snackable" moments, which can make it difficult to capture and hold their attention.

12. Measurement and ROI

Due to a lack of standardized metrics and tools, measuring mobile advertising ROI can be challenging.

By Advertisers can better prepare for the complexities of mobile advertising by understanding and addressing these challenges.

Key Mobile Advertising Strategies

Businesses can tailor mobile advertising strategies depending on their goals, target audiences, and industries. Most mobile advertising efforts, however, can benefit from some key strategies:

  1. Define Clear Objectives
  2. Know Your Audience
  3. Choose the Right Ad Formats
  4. Optimize for Mobile Experience
  5. Leverage Targeting Options
  6. Incorporate Rich Media
  7. Test and Optimize
  8. Use Retargeting
  9. Monitor and Adjust in Real-Time
  10. Localize Your Campaigns
  11. Measure ROI
  12. Cross-Channel Integration
  13. Follow Privacy Guidelines
  14. Use Seasonal and Event-Driven Campaigns

Define Clear Objectives

Decide your campaign objective before it starts, with clear goals such as brand awarenes, lead generation, app downloads, or sales conversion, you will be self guided.

Know Your Audience

Research your target audience, their needs, and how they interact with mobile devices.

Choose the Right Ad Formats

Based on your campaign objectives and target audience, choose the most appropriate mobile ads (e.g., banner, video, native).

Optimize for Mobile Experience

Mobile-friendly ads and landing pages ensure a seamless and engaging user experience.

Leverage Targeting Options

To serve your ads to the most relevant audience segments, use geo-targeting, demographic targeting, and behavioral targeting.

Incorporate Rich Media

Engage your audience with rich media such as interactive videos or gamified elements.

Test and Optimize

Optimize ad creatives, calls-to-action, and targeting options based on performance metrics by running A/B tests.

Use Retargeting

Utilize retargeting strategies to re-engage users who have previously interacted with your brand but did not convert.

Monitor and Adjust in Real-Time

Make adjustments to your campaign based on real-time analytics to ensure optimal performance.

Localize Your Campaigns

If Enhanced relevance and effectiveness can be achieved by localizing your ad content to cater to different languages and cultural nuances, do that.

Measure ROI

To measure your campaign's ROI, track conversion rates, cost-per-acquisition (CPA), return on ad spend (ROAS), and other relevant metrics.

Cross-Channel Integration

For a cohesive marketing strategy, integrate mobile advertising with other marketing channels such as social media, email, and search engine optimization.

Follow Privacy Guidelines

Comply with privacy regulations like GDPR or CCPA, as applicable, regarding data collection practices.

Use Seasonal and Event-Driven Campaigns

Try to use run time-sensitive campaigns based on holidays, seasons, or special events.

Mobile Advertising Platforms

The purpose of mobile advertising platforms is to facilitate the exchange of mobile advertising inventory between advertisers and publishers who are looking to run campaigns on mobile devices. These platforms offer a range of features like targeting options, analytics, and different ad formats to make mobile advertising easier and more effective. 

Here are some popular mobile advertising platforms:

  1. Google Ads
  2. Facebook Ads
  3. Instagram Ads
  4. Twitter Ads
  5. Snapchat Ads
  6. TikTok Ads
  7. Pinterest Ads
  8. LinkedIn Ads
  9. AdMob by Google
  10. Apple Search Ads
  11. Unity Ads
  12. Chartboost
  13. MoPub (by Twitter)
  15. InMobi

Google Ads

One of the most popular advertisement platforms. They offer different ad types including search, display, and video ads.

Facebook Ads

Facebook ads allows advertisers to use Facebook’s extensive user base for exact targeting and different native creative types like Stories.

Instagram Ads

As they are owned by Facebook, they are using almost same user base but user base mostly consist of young people.

X (Twitter) Ads

Although Twitter’s road for ads is somewhat bumpy, there a lot of ways to promote content with different creative types.

Snapchat Ads

With its young user base, Snapchat offers story ads and vertical video ads.

TikTok Ads

The most famous short vertical video platform with a younger user base

Pinterest Ads

Brands in fashion, food, and home decor can use Pinterest for its promoted pins capabilities.

LinkedIn Ads

Offers Sponsored Content, InMail, and Display Ads, making it ideal for B2B marketing.

AdMob by Google

This is specifically designed for in-app advertising, offering banner, interstitial, and rewarded video formats.

Apple Search Ads

Targets users who are actively searching for apps by placing ads in the Apple App Store.

Unity Ads

Providing mobile game advertising services, including rewarded video and interstitials.


The platform offers a variety of formats and high customization levels for mobile games.

MoPub (by Twitter)

A mobile publisher monetization platform with multiple ad formats and real-time bidding.

Allows contextual ads to be displayed based on what users are currently engaging with.


Has a global reach while focusing on user experience and mobile-first platforms.

These platforms are each suited to different types of campaigns and objectives, due to their different features, targeting options, and pricing models.


Team Storyly

Group of experts from Storyly's team who writes about their proficiency.