Everything You Need To Know About App Open Ads
Learn more about app open ads eCPM, how to properly integrate it into your game monetization strategy and more in our latest article.
Božo Janković

App open ads are a relatively new ad format, and developers still find them somewhat confusing. Even though Applovin announced that their MAX mediation platform now supports app open ads, which have been around since September, the feature is still invite-only.

This is a perfect opportunity to discuss this innovative ad format and how developers can use it to their advantage.

In this article, we aim to provide a comprehensive overview of app open ads, including:

  • What are app open ads?

  • App open ad example.

  • What are their most important characteristics?

  • How do app open ads perform?

  • What ad networks are app open ads available on?

  • Does Google's Better Ads Experience policy affect app open ads?

  • Can multiple ad networks display app open ads through mediation?

  • Can you show app open ads from multiple ad networks with ad mediation?

  • Can your game monetization strategy benefit from app open ads?

What are App Open Ads?

App open ads are designed so ads publishers can monetize their app load screens. Whenever your app is brought to the foreground, you can display app open ads to users, who can close them anytime. The app open ad will automatically display a small branding area to indicate they are still using your app.

This is a relatively new ad format first introduced in the west as the Admob app open ads. They have been around for approximately two years. In addition to images, rich media, and video ads, app open ads offer a variety of advertising assets for revenue generation.

App Open Ad Example

When the user opens the app, the load screen displays for a couple of seconds before the app's content appears. During that time, the user sees the app open ad. Once they close the ad, they are taken to the app's main screen. You can see an example of an app open ad below.


In a nutshell, the user experience with app open ads entails the following:

  • The user opens an app on their phone.

  • The loading/splash screen is shown for a split second across the entire screen when the app open ad appears.

  • The app open ad takes up the lower 80% of the screen, and starts playing (if it contains a video element).

  • Users can skip the ad at any time and go straight to the app's actual content at any point.

  • App open ads work the same with cold starts (starting an app that hadn't been running in the background) and hot starts (starting an app that had been running in the background).

What Are The Most Important Characteristics Of App Open Ads?

A few important traits set app open ads apart from other ads:

  • App open ads are not a full-screen ad format. Instead, they take up around 80% of the screen.

  • They can be either image or video ads.

  • They can be skipped at any point throughout the ad.

  • They are always shown alongside the app loading screen.

  • Their eCPM may reach around 70% of interstitial ads' eCPM (although our previous results have been significantly lower).

  • As far as retention was concerned, they had no significant negative impact on the tests we conducted.

  • Currently, app open ads are mainly used in non-gaming apps.

  • They are significantly more popular in Eastern markets than in Western ones.

What is the Average App Open Ad eCPM?

According to their online session, AdMob app open ads can reach up to 70% of interstitial ad eCPMs. However, when we tested the format (in a non-gaming app, at scale), the eCPMs were significantly lower.

In conclusion, app open ads generated results that ranged from 13% to 39% of interstitial ads' eCPMs.


Which Ad Networks Are App Open Ads Available On?

As we already mentioned, app open ads are a relatively new form of advertising. This type of ad has only been available on a limited number of platforms, with Admob by Google and Pangle being the only two providers at the moment.

Does Google's Better Ads Experience Policy Affect App Open Ads?

A few months ago, Google dropped a major announcement that it will no longer tolerate disrupting ad experiences, referring primarily to interstitial ads.

This update, in effect since September 30, tackled major implementation issues such as showing interstitial ads during the level or at the start of the app.

You can read more about what the non-compliant ad placements are according to the new policies here.

But how does this affect app open ads? Are they compliant with the new Google Better Ads Experience policies?

Since app open ads are not full-screen ads, they are not affected by disruptive ad policies. In fact, during their seminar on the changes, Google representatives explicitly listed app open ads as a compliant form of advertising, and one preferable to interstitial ads shown at the start of the app.

Can Multiple Ad Networks Display App Open Ads Through Mediation?

None of the main mediation providers on the market currently support this ad format. However, developers may be able to develop their own setup to handle AdMob and Pangle.

Applovin recently announced that their mediation platform MAX now offers app open ads and that all networks can be used for competitive mediation setups. However, this is only partially correct (according to the above definitions).

MAX currently supports:

  • Full-screen ads.

  • Ad formats that are skippable after five seconds, similar to interstitial ads.

  • Ads that appear after the loading/splash screen but before any app content appears.

Basically, MAX offers an interstitial ad that appears in the app start placement instead of an actual app open ad.

However, we can increase competitiveness and achieve higher eCPM levels by facilitating multiple networks.

Renaming these interstitial ads and using them instead of app open ads has several disadvantages:

  • Essentially, these are two different ad formats, which causes confusion among developers.

  • Some of the "seamless" experience that app open ads are supposed to provide is lost (showing an ad during the splash screen since the app would need to be loaded anyways).

  • On the operational level, it is unclear whether interstitial ads displayed at the start of the app should be separated from other possible placements (after a level, etc.) Ad Monetization Managers are certainly faced with additional work since they must mediate and optimize performance on separate waterfalls.

  • This implementation is clearly not in line with Google Play's Better Ad Experience policy. To quote their guidelines: “As long as it complies with Google Play’s Ads policy, you can show a static interstitial ad after your app has loaded. If your app does not have a splash screen, wait for your app home screen to load before showing ads.” The instructions clearly state that static ads are allowed, but video ads are not mentioned.

Can Your Game Monetization Strategy Benefit From App Open Ads?

Similar to interstitial ads, app open ads are more suitable for casual games, although app open ads provide a less intrusive experience than interstitial ads. Therefore, app open ads may be a great addition to your game monetization strategy based on your game type.

Make sure you carefully consider your segmentation setup (show app open ads only to non-paying users who have spent more than X days in your game) to maximize ad revenue without hurting retention (and, therefore, LTV).

It is worth considering app open ads as eCPMs are declining, and stores and regulators enforce more privacy restrictions.

If you need help implementing this relatively new ad format, GameBiz Consulting can help you get started. With decades of experience in the mobile game industry, we offer tailored app and game monetization strategies to help you maximize your games’ earning potential.

Get the latest insights on ad monetization and the state of the gaming industry.
You're on the list!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Join our newsletter, get your free Offerwall Currency Sale Calendar, and updates from our blog.
Your download should start in a couple of seconds. If nothing happens, contact us directly at jovanr@gamebizconsulting.com :)
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Suggested readings for you
What Mobile Ad Formats Are There?
Get to know all the different ad formats in mobile games and find the best monetization practices to use for each.
Learn more
How To Plan Your Game Monetization Strategy?
Ads are a great option for monetizing a game, but depending on the genre, you will want to use different game monetization strategies.
Learn more