Mobile Display Ads — The Foundation of In-App Advertising & Monetization
With mobile display ads, publishers can drive incremental revenue while enhancing the user experience of each app.
App publishers have no shortage of monetization options from which to choose, but few offer the versatility of mobile display ads. Whether you prefer subtle banners or more prominent placements like MRECs or interstitials, display advertising is highly diverse by its very nature — and easier than ever to implement in your apps.
At Vungle, we help publishers and advertisers identify the best opportunities in mobile advertising, and mobile display ads are one of the best places to start. In this post, we’ll explore how display ads can satisfy your advertising or monetization goals while recommending strategies to maximize their impact.
What are mobile display ads?
The term "mobile display ads" refers to an advertising category broadly encompassing visual ads that deploy while an app or mobile web page is in use. It derives from desktop web display advertising, where display ads served as an alternative to search-based advertising. Today, mobile display ads are a core brand marketing strategy, used alongside formats like native and rewarded advertising.
The Google Display Network is the largest display and mobile ad network, with the potential to reach 90% of internet users across over 2 million sites and apps. That said, mobile display ads can also run outside of the Display Network via SDK networks (like Vungle!) and via demand-side platforms.
Many formats fall within the definition of mobile display ads. Each advertisement will leverage some combination of text, static images, rich media, video, and even audio to convince users to engage with its content. Banner ads, MRECs, and interactive animations can all be considered mobile display ads, provided they do not override user control of the mobile interface.
How much do mobile display ads make?
The amount of revenue generated by mobile display advertising can vary widely by format. Banner ads, MRECs, and other display ads have distinct performance benchmarks due to how they attract user attention, which means they are best measured independently.
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Why use mobile display ads?
Mobile display ads are among the most common in-app advertising formats, creating many opportunities for publishers and advertisers alike.
Mobile display ads are valuable and highly versatile ad placements. They are compatible with multiple standard formats and experience no shortage of demand, thanks to consistent spending from brand advertisers worldwide. Unlike video ads which often require support for more sophisticated infrastructure like VAST or VPAID, the ease of production that comes with mobile display ads typically encourages high volume spending from advertisers.
By deploying mobile display ads through a high-quality SDK network, publishers can drive reliable revenue while preserving — or in the case of some formats, enhancing — the user experience. Finally, display ads can be used to monetize apps from any category including mobile games, social media platforms, dating apps, and more.
For advertisers looking to promote their brand, mobile display ads include the most cost-effective formats. Whether you are interested in banners or MREC, mobile display ads are compatible with almost any supply source and typically come in at a lower CPM than video, playables, or native ads.
These formats are also highly scalable when it comes to campaigns that target awareness as their KPI, given their standardized creative specs and affordability.
What are the most common mobile display ad sizes?
Since mobile display ads cover multiple formats, the category also has numerous standard sizes. Most publishers accept assets at the sizes listed below, but advertisers have flexibility within those parameters. Some leverage rich media, video, and audio capabilities to enhance the experience.
Check out Vungle’s format guides for more details.
This size is recommended for smartphone banner ad placements, but publishers can opt for a smaller size — minimum 300x50 — to emphasize subtlety. Mobile banners are typically placed at the top or bottom of an app interface.
The medium rectangle ad, or MREC, is a versatile display unit that broadly suits many placements. Some apps treat MRECs as interstitials that appear when a user completes an action or navigates to another app screen. Many content streaming and feed-based apps use them to break up content without disrupting the overall user experience.
MRECs strike an excellent middle ground between banners and full-screen interstitial ads with their high visibility and rich media capabilities.
Rich media end cards
In addition to the more common and standardized formats listed, some ad networks (like us!) offer more engaging experiences that take advantage of multiple files and assets to create a variety of rich media end cards that can be deployed as standalone interstitial ads or be paired with videos.
Examples include 360 degree videos, interactive images, playables, one-page looping videos, and more.
Display ads can supersede a device’s entire screen to ensure complete user attention. As with other placements, full-screen interstitials can use static images, rich media, video, and audio elements.
While a well-optimized interstitial can engage the most attention, they are also more disruptive to the user experience. Publishers can limit these placements to low impact transitions to keep disruptions to a minimum.
Best practices for mobile display ads
Display ads may thrive in SDK networks and the mobile programmatic ecosystem, but they still require careful optimization. Here are the best practices that will help publishers and advertisers succeed:
Mobile display ads are versatile, but they are not one-size-fits-all. Always optimize your placements in locations that emphasize the benefits of preferred formats. Banners should be placed on the top or bottom of the app display, while MRECs can be deployed interstitially or in a content feed. Publishers can also opt to enable video containers on a placement to show it is suitable for mobile video ads. While you cannot choose whether an ad will be static, animated, interactive, or a video, the right placements go a long way towards maintaining a consistent app experience.
Publishers must always prioritize the user experience when arranging ad placements. If you flood your interface with too many ads — say a static banner and an animated MREC — you risk losing time and attention while negatively impacting monetization optimizations. Conduct A/B tests to determine which placements will be the most effective for your audience in specific circumstances.
Make good use of available space
Each display format requires an optimal amount of copy and imagery to get user attention. For example, banner ads work best with brief CTAs, while MRECs can fit more copy into the design space. Video ads can include additional details that display once the user interacts with them.
Budget ad spend by format
While MRECs are ideal for conversion campaigns, banners are well-suited to volume-based awareness campaigns. Full-screen interstitials, meanwhile, are ideally suited for increasing CTR, but all formats have different costs. Keep the benchmarks for each format in mind to achieve your goals, but remember that larger and more engaging ad formats like videos typically require more ad spend.
Use display ads for remarketing campaigns
Display ads are particularly effective at personalizing the app experience by showcasing relevant content. By remarketing content to lapsed or previously-engaged users, advertisers are more likely to maximize interest, clicks, conversions, and retention all at once.
Test and optimize ad creative
Run multivariate tests on mobile display ads of any format to optimize and improve your campaign. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new creative directions or incorporate formal testing processes into your growth initiatives to get the most accurate and effective results.
Mobile display ad examples
Drive incremental revenue with mobile display ads
Taking the first step into mobile display ad monetization can seem overwhelming, but Vungle is here to help. We can ensure you get the highest return on your investment with in-app advertising solutions that emphasize quality creative and consistent fill rates. Vungle will even partner with you to find the best ad placements that complement your app’s user experience.
Get in touch with us to find out more!