Best Performing Mobile Ad Formats for Monetization

In-app advertising has evolved and gained popularity as one of the best strategies for mobile app monetization. Publishers today, look for optimal app monetization solutions. This motivates us to help you get insights into the best performing mobile ad formats used for game and app monetization.

Smartphone users spend 4.2 hours per day using different apps. This opens up a great opportunity for mobile advertisers to advertise in-app. Besides, in-app advertising has evolved and opened a window for app publishers to earn conveniently. By using different ad formats for app monetization publishers can make better revenue without compromising on user experience.

The mobile ad format’s performance depends on multiple factors such as design, size and placement. This article will help you understand the ins and outs of mobile ad formats, their usage and placement for mobile app monetization

Banner Ads

Banner Ad is the first-ever ad type that made it to the world of mobile advertising. This ad type is dated back to 1994 when it first appeared on the web, however, it has evolved with time. 

Banner Ads first started their journey as a rectangular ad format placed either on the bottom or top of the app interface. But with time, it has changed for the better by adapting to the demand and device sizes. Following Banner Ad sizes are now available…

  • Standard (320 x 50)
  • Large (320 x 90)
  • Medium (300 x 250)
  • Smart (320 x 50) and (320 x 90)

For Tablets and bigger devices, the sizes vary as…

  • 728 x 90
  • 768 x 1024
  • 300 x 600

Banner Ad is the most common ad format used for app monetization due to its sleek and simple design. This ad type is known for yielding higher CPMs and is the publisher’s favourite due to its non-intrusive nature. The most popular among the sizes are the standard (320 x 50) mobile banner ad as it does not impact user experience. However, advertisers need to maintain a healthy balance between creativity and distraction while designing an ad.


  • Good for all screen sizes
  • Costs lower than other ad formats
  • Convenient to deploy
  • Does not negatively impact user experience


  • Limited space to promote
  • Accidental clicks


The placement of banner ads depends on the size. The standard and large ad formats can fit anywhere on the top or bottom of an app interface. A publisher can allow the placement keeping in mind how it may affect the app’s interface. In contrast, medium size banner ads are slightly intrusive as they fit the centre of the screen. Therefore, it is important to manage placement on intervals where the ad does not impact user experience. A medium banner ad can be placed after scoreboard screens, on mode change, loading pages, or app exit screens.

Interstitial Ads

Interstitial ads are full-screen display ads that completely cover the mobile app’s interface while blocking the content. 

These ads are known for gaining better engagement and information retention. Today, interstitial ads are available in many formats and sizes that fit multiple devices. The interstitial ad types are:

  • Static Interstitials

Static Interstitials are display ads with just one display imagery content and an active CTA that cover the screen.  

  • Video Interstitials

Video interstitials also known as videostitial ads are video-based short ads that fully cover the app’s layout. As soon as the video ends, users see an active CTA.

  • Image Hotspots

The image hotspot works as an image slider enabling users to easily compare the unique selling points of the entity being promoted.

The most commonly used interstitial ad dimensions include:

  • 320 x 480
  • 300 x 400
  • 300 x 250

Advertisers by choosing interstitial ads get a chance to utilise more space and get creative. Similarly, they get a wonderful chance to engage their audience. However, since interstitials block the app’s content a publisher must not place it in between a task or process.

According to revenue analysis, the average eCPM generated by interstitial ads ranges from $4-$6 which can also increase to $10 -$20. Interstitial ads work best when placed on instances where app usage flow naturally breaks. These full-screen ads have the ability to engage the audience and bring in quality conversions.


  • Larger layouts
  • More exposure and retention
  • Better impressions
  • Better conversions
  • Attractive and engaging


  • Requires a creative approach
  • Can be highly intrusive if not placed right
  • Might lead to Google penalties if intrusive


The interstitial ads must be placed very wisely keeping in mind how this works. These cannot be placed just anywhere within the app flow as it will highly affect the user experience. Thus, interstitial ads must be placed on instances where app workflow naturally breaks.

Interstitial ads break the monotony of the mobile game or app, therefore, they can either make your revenue grow or break the user base simultaneously.

Icon Ads

Icon ads are the smallest ad formats currently being widely used for mobile game monetization. This ad format as the name suggests only consists of an icon rightly placed. However, this does not mean that icon ad is only designed for game monetization. Mobile app publishers today are also actively choosing icon ads for non-intrusive monetization. Advertisers display their game or app icons as advertisements in the publisher’s game or app without compromising on user experience. 

Icon ads do not block any content due to their distinct size but rather give publishers the liberty to place them anywhere. The icon ad’s size might seem small, but it effectively attracts quality conversions without being much pain to the user experience. Studies show that icon ads on average can result in a 1.8% – 2.5% click-through rate.  


  • No special design required
  • Fits anywhere within the user interface
  • Non-intrusive nature does not block or overlap content
  • Better click-through rate
  • Inexpensive


  • Can at times be camouflaged in the app layout


Icon ads can be placed just anywhere within an app’s interface due to their diminutive size and non-intrusive nature. These ads can be placed alongside the score banners as well as alongside level boards. The best thing about using icon ads is their smaller size that enables a publisher to use multiple of these.  

Rewarded Video Ads

Rewarded video ads have been like lifesavers for app users especially in the case of mobile games. 

This ad format adds value to the gameplay by providing free in-app rewards at just the price of one video view. Users just need to watch an in-app video to be able to gain a reward, save a life or avail an alternate rewarding opportunity. These ads allow users to skip the option of performing in-app purchases and rather choose the option to view a video.

Extensive studies have revealed that 71% of players consider watching a rewarded video instead of making an in-app purchase. Moreover, 52% of developers and publishers suggest that rewarded videos are fairly popular among users. However, the power of these ads is not limited to mobile games only.


  • Makes the users feel valued
  • Higher eCPM
  • Higher engagement
  • Improves user experience
  • Breaks the monotony


  • Low-quality conversions


Since rewarded video ads are usually longer between 10 to 30 seconds, a publisher must place them wisely. These must be placed where users can manage to give almost 30 seconds of their time without feeling unnecessary about it.

Playable Ads

Playable ads share similar properties as rewarded video ads, but these do not provide any reward in return. 

Playable ads are chunks of ads that enable users to perform certain actions. The most common among these are chunks of games that are served as ads. Users get to play these chunks of games, perform actions and later see a CTA for downloading them. Besides gameplay, other playable ads include tutorials and simple call-to-action.

Playable ads unlike rewarded video ads are skippable therefore these keep the user experience much more positive. Besides this, publishers can look into insights to understand which placement works best in this case as it requires prolonged activity.


  • Better conversions
  • Better interactivity
  • Higher user lifetime time value


  • Consumes time
  • Can complicate user experience for many


Playable ads require a user’s time and attention. Thus, it is essential to place them on instances where an app user can happily give time. Such instances include load screens or intervals where the users have to slightly wait. By placing playable ads on such intervals, you can help users pass time productively and get better results plus revenue.

Native Ads

Native ads are gaining popularity with every passing day. This ad type gets all the attention despite matching the natural interface of the mobile or app. Advertisers and publishers both have deemed this ad format to be among one of the best due to its non-intrusive nature.

Native ads are ads designed keeping in mind the mobile game or app’s interface. These ads match the colour scheme and theme of the app being run into. This particular characteristic makes native ads stand out among the rest. A user comfortably uses the mobile app without finding such ads as an interruption. Adding to this, native ads are majorly being used to execute hybrid monetization strategies in terms of carrying out in-app purchases and advertising together.


  • Non-intrusive ad format
  • Better engagement
  • Improves user experience


  • Demands creativity
  • Still evolving


Native ad sizes are adaptive as they are meant to perfectly fit an app’s interface. Native ads come in various sizes and designs; therefore, no fixed rule holds them back. A publisher must place these ads where users find them as new content in the app’s workflow. Only by doing so will it serve the purpose of native ads.  

Offer Walls

Offer walls as the name suggests appears as a wall covering the mobile app’s content and displays multiple offers at once. 

In other words, offer walls display a mix of rewards and in-app purchase offers. This type of ad makes a user feel valued and at the same time is highly intrusive.

Offer walls demand engagement, hence, must be wisely placed by a publisher. Afterall, no publisher will want to lose users for the sake of monetization.


  • Users feel valued
  • Better conversions
  • Better eCPM


  • Highly intrusive
  • Number of offers might confuse the user


Offer walls cannot just be placed anywhere. A publisher must systematically align offer walls with the mobile gameplay or app workflow. The offers must only appear on the user’s screen when they are a potential need. Keeping this in mind, offer walls must be placed after a user has lost a game or is in need of an upgrade.

Audio Ads

Last but not the least, Audio ads are the next big thing happening to mobile ad formats. 

This ad format has everything that elevates user experience and brings in better conversions. The audio mobile ads block the app’s content for a minimum time while the audio ad plays in the back explaining everything. The retention rate of audio ads is great, and users find them a lot more engaging than traditional ad formats.


  • Non-intrusive
  • Better conversions
  • Higher eCPM
  • Higher retention
  • Higher engagement


  • Volume settings might hinder the promotion


Audio ads work great for audio-based apps especially music streaming mobile applications. A publisher must only place an audio ad where the app’s audio naturally breaks. This means placing audio ads between two songs won’t compromise user experience. Similarly placing them on game load screens can also help a publisher monetize easily.

Which Ad Format is the Best for Monetization?  

The answer is straight and simple. Not every ad format fits every mobile game or app. Yes, you have read it right, if banner ads work perfectly for app A it is not necessary that they work for app B as well. All these ad formats mentioned above have been designed to make mobile game and app monetization fun without compromising the user experience.

A publisher just needs to place them wisely considering the mobile game/app that he or she has developed. By placing ads at proper intervals and load screens a publisher can make monetization effective. Similarly, a publisher can make the most out of rewarded videos, offer walls and playable ads by placing them where an offer makes sense. The goal is to strategize the ad placement with the gameplay or app workflow.        

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