8 Minute Read

Key Points

  • App mediation solutions were initially built to help app developers easily monetize their apps with ads. A few mediation partners have come to be known as the “top providers.”
  • Over time, it has become clear that mediation solutions as a category have a few key problems, and don’t come close to the level of transparency and technological advancement that is available for web monetization.
  • Playwire’s RAMP for App solution helps app developers overcome those problems and provide a more comprehensive solution than mediation alone.

App Monetization Guide

The Complete Guide to App Monetization for Publishers

Defining App Ad Mediation Partners

Let’s start with defining an app ad mediation partner, and cover why app developers might be evaluating different mediation solutions.

What is an App Mediation Partner?

App mediation partners are companies that have built solutions to monetize mobile apps with ads. They are integrated into an app by the developer using a pre-built SDK.

App ad mediation partners provide centralized access to multiple ad networks in a single software development kit (SDK) integration. They then work to increase your cost per mille (CPM) rates by algorithmically selecting the best ad network to fill each programmatic call for bids.

What are the Problems with App Mediation?

When app mediation solutions first entered the market, they were great. They solved a problem that app developers otherwise had little way to solve on their own.

However, over time it became very clear that app mediation solutions didn’t quite measure up to the technology used for website monetization. In particular, traditional app mediation comes with a few drawbacks:

  • Every SDK requires its own integration: In order to incorporate more sources of demand, it means integrating (and painstakingly maintaining) many different SDKs.
  • Waterfall auction means losing chances at higher bids: Because of the type of auction process used in mediation solutions, app publishers regularly miss out on the opportunities for higher bids.

Lack of revenue transparency: The app industry also hasn’t quite matched up with the level of transparency available on the web side. Traditional mediation solutions give app publishers no knowledge of how much an impression is being sold for, meaning they have no idea what “cut” of that impression is being held by the mediation partner.

A Better Solution

So, Playwire decided to change that. We’ve taken our 15 years of experience monetizing websites and translated the best parts of that into our RAMP for App solution. It incorporates demand from all the top mediation networks, and works to unify the auction with in-app header bidding.

Rather than integrating a single app mediation partner, you can integrate all of the following in a single SDK:

  • Google Open Bidding
  • Amazon Transparent Ad Marketplace (TAM)
  • Prebid
  • 9+ Mediation Partners
  • Google Premium Demand

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Not only do you get access to more sources of demand in a single SDK, Playwire’s approach to in-app header bidding means you don’t miss out opportunities for higher bids, as is common in the traditional waterfall approach built into most mediation integrations.

Mobile Ad Mediation

Top App Mediation Partners

We are, however, often still asked who the best app mediation partners are. So, to that end, we thought we would share some information on which mediation partners we’ve chosen to include in our comprehensive solution. We’ve done the research, and compiled information from many objective, disparate sources so you can continue to research on your own.

The app mediation partners we integrate are incorporated into our stack and compete head-to-head against header bidding partners, generating the closest experience to a unified auction available in the app space.

The Top 10 Mobile Ad Mediation Partners in 2022 are:

  1. AdMob
  2. AppLovin
  3. ironSource
  4. Fyber
  5. AdColony
  6. Vungle
  7. Chartboost
  8. Smaato
  9. Inmobi
  10. PubMatic

Ad mediation is one big piece of the revenue puzzle for your mobile app. If you’re ready to be done with the puzzle and take your revenue to the next level, you’re ready to work with Playwire. Contact our team today.

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App Monetization Resource Center

App Monetization Resource Center

 

1. AdMob

Google AdMob

AdMob is Google’s answer to app mediation. And like most Google products, it does a really good job. The platform integrates with more than 30 of the top ad networks, and more than 97% of AdAge’s top 100 advertisers purchase inventory through AdMob. In addition to access to huge demand, AdMob comes with some incredibly handy features like automatic audience segmentation.

Publisher Benefits:

Most publishers will need to use AdMob to some extent to bring in Google demand, but the tool actually comes with some nice features. AdMob is going big on automation, and its automated tasks stand to save publishers a fair amount of time. Another nice feature is the tool’s dedicated setup guidance for particular types of apps, such as mobile games.

AdMob Reviews: 

AdMob reviews are generally positive, with users commenting on easy integration and management most often. Negatives tended to focus on poor support and a relatively high payout threshold. AdMob had a 7.7 out of 10 on TrustRadius and a 4.2 out of 5 on G2.

2. AppLovin

AppLovin

AppLovin is a well-known name in the app development space, and its app mediation solution lives up to the hype. The platform connects app publishers with a large web of ad networks and demand-side platforms (DSPs), and it uses predictive algorithms and machine learning to get better at boosting your CPMs over time.

Publisher Benefits:

AppLovin is one of the biggest names in the app mediation space, which means it has broad access to not only publishers but buyers. That translates to broad demand for your inventory. Meanwhile, the platform has invested heavily in AI and machine learning to produce some time-saving automations and shortcuts perfect for busy publishers.

AppLovin Reviews: 

AppLovin had an 8.2 on TrustRadius and a 4.5 on G2. A straightforward interface, engaging ad formats and broad demand were some of the top benefits that reviewers mentioned. As for negatives, some reviewers complained about inadequate anti-fraud controls.

3. ironSource

ironsource logo

Called LevelPlay, ironSource’s app mediation tool is one of the best in the business in 2022. In addition to connecting publishers with incredibly broad global demand, LevelPlay also runs an “auto optimization algorithm” that takes real-time data into account as it selects networks for your auctions.

Publisher Benefits:

ironSource calls its reporting tools the “most comprehensive reporting available,” and that is a statement many publishers using this app mediation partner would likely support. The tool is also well-known for having relationships with the top bidders, but it also comes with built-in optimization tools you can use to keep your revenue climbing.

ironSource Reviews: 

With 5 stars on G2 and a 7.8 on TrustRadius, ironSource is one of the better-reviewed app mediation partners out there. Naysayers said the tool sometimes would not deliver at targets they set, and positive reviewers tended to like the immediate support and ease of setup.

4. Fyber

Fyber-Logo-Trsa-1

Fyber’s app mediation tool is all about fairness. The company claims to give no preference to particular demand partners and instead offers a unified auction among more than 180 DSPs. The platform allows publishers to conduct manual waterfall optimization or run pure programmatic auctions.

Publisher Benefits:

Fyber FairBid has been around in the app space for more than a decade. In ad tech, that implies staying power, which is the kind of stability publishers need when they’re trying to keep their app’s revenue going up over time. This tool allows users to choose between a waterfall or unified auction and has access to an enormous number of demand sources.

Fyber FairBid Reviews: 

As of publication time, Fyber had almost no online reviews. Anecdotally, however, Fyber FairBid is a well-known app mediation partner that offers broad access to demand. The tool did have a handful of reviews on G2, where it averaged at 4 stars.

5. AdColony

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AdColony boasts a relatively long history in the app mediation space, although the roots of the company stretch further back into app development. This mediation solves one problem that is common in the app mediation space: longevity. Founded in 2008, AdColony has a long view of the industry and has had proper time to prove itself to countless app publishers. 

Publisher Benefits:

This tool connects publishers with a relatively broad suite of ad units, ranging from simple banner ads to playable ads for mobile games. AdColony also has relationships with all of the major demand partners, including Google, Amazon, ironSource and more.

Reviews:

Considering how long AdColony has been around, there are shockingly few reviews of it online. On G2, the tool had two reviews — both 4 out of 5 stars. On the positive side, these reviews mentioned use acquisition features and wide availability of demand. But on the negative side, they mentioned the inability to exclude features you don’t use from the dashboard and a need for more flexible reporting.

6. Vungle

Vungle

Vungle is a performance-based video ad mediation platform for apps. Founded in 2011, this tool has been dominating a key segment of the mobile app market for years, and being at the top has given Vungle the chance to develop innovative ad formats and partnerships with major brands.

Publisher Benefits:

Vungle boasts all of the usual suspects with top app mediation partners — access to broad demand, reporting and more — but it also brings to the table an in-house creative team dedicated to making the ads that run inside your app on brand and beautiful. 

Reviews:

Vungle had just a handful of reviews on G2, which averaged out at 4.5 stars. Happy Vungle users mentioned the price points and easy integration, while the unhappy users mentioned slow response times.

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7. Chartboost

chartboost-logo

Chartboost is heavy on tech and makes that clear in its branding. With ad monetization partnerships across a global array of brands, both big and small, Chartboost offers app publishers a strong boost in demand to add to their demand stack.

Publisher Benefits:

Chartboost is one of the only app mediation partners that can support monetization on Amazon’s app store. The tool also provides in-house teams to help advertisers lead their campaigns, drawing more focused and higher-value demand into app publishers’ scopes.

Reviews:

Relatively few reviews of Chartboost were available online at the time of publication, but of those that were, most were not very positive. On G2, Chartboost had only 2.1 stars. While some reviewers praised the intuitive user dashboard, most were upset about perceived drawbacks like low earnings, poor customer service and limited reporting capabilities.

8. Smaato

smaato

Smaato is one of those multi-tool ad tech companies that includes an ad server on top of its comprehensive app mediation services. This company has been around since 2005 — a lifetime in the world of ad tech — making it one of the best-known and most trusted names in the space.

Publisher Benefits:

Smaato requires no subscription and allows publishers to mediate with other partners inside its ecosystem, making it one of the more open mediation partners available today. It also offers what it calls a “modular” SDK that enables faster integrations and updates that come with fewer headaches.

Reviews:

With 4.4 out of 5 stars on G2 but few reviews elsewhere online, Smaato is one of the leading app mediation partners for publishers in 2022. Positive reviews called out the high quality of the platform’s inventory, strong programmatic functionality and transparency. The negative reviews called out issues like a buggy dashboard and problematic reporting capabilities. 

9. InMobi

inmobi_owler_20180822_223152_original

InMobi calls itself the “world’s most comprehensive monetization platforms for publishers,” and while we can’t plainly verify that claim, we can say this is one of the leading app mediation partners in 2022. Specializing in contextual mobile advertising, the Indian company has branched out since its 2007 founding into all corners of the app mediation space.

Publisher Benefits:

This tool brings access to broad global demand, with an exchange that features more than 200 demand-side platforms (DSPs) and more than 5,000 programmatic buyers. Combine that demand with a lightweight and functional SDK and strong ad units like innovative native ads, and you have a strong contender for your demand stack.

Reviews:

While the reputation of InMobi is largely positive, its limited online reviews were somewhat mixed. The tool had 3.4 stars on G2 at the time of publication. Cons mentioned by reviewers included low eCPMs, account banning without explanation and lacking anti-fraud controls. Pros covered items like focused demand in specific geographic locations, strong reporting functions and broad demand.

10. PubMatic

PubMatic_Logo-1

PubMatic is a widely known name in all corners of ad tech, and that includes app mediation. The tool’s OpenWrap SDK has received wide praise for its utility and easy integration. PubMatic is one of the only app mediation partners on this list that is publicly traded, and while that is no guarantee of quality, being beholden to investors can certainly spur innovation in some companies.

Publisher Benefits:

PubMatic’s OpenWrap SDK is lightweight but packs a punch of powerful tools. It supports video and allows for A/B testing. Built-in reporting tools are some of the best in the industry and remain completely customizable.

Reviews:

This tool had mixed and limited reviews on only one platform: G2. There, PubMatic came away with 3.2 out of 5 stars on average. The better reviews focused on positive aspects like PubMatic’s easy navigation, high CPMs, high fill rates and real-time analytics. On the negative side, reviews pointed out issues like subpar customer service and lacking integrations with some of the major DSPs.

Get Comprehensive App Revenue Management with Playwire

You could choose to work directly with a single app mediation partner, but you’d be leaving revenue on the table. Why not incorporate 9+ different mediation sources with in-app header bidding and maximize your ad revenue potential?

That’s where we come in. The Playwire team is here to handle every part of your mobile app revenue to take it to the absolute maximum. That includes picking the best app mediation partners, header bidding, campaigns and much, much more.

To learn more about how Playwire can get your app’s revenue where it needs to be, reach out to us. Simply contact us online today.

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