Everyone working on monetizing mobile video games knows that it comes with all sorts of challenges. Whether you’re trying to monetize your games with micro-transactions, also known as in-app purchases (IAPs), or via in-game advertising (IGA), you will likely have many questions and challenges to overcome if you are not experienced in it.
We already spoke about the benefits of mobile ad mediation in our previous article. However, one of the challenges many mobile game developers face is choosing the best mobile ad mediation for their game. There are a wide variety of mediation platforms, but in our experience, only a handful of ad mediation platforms are worth considering.
Remember that every game and team behind it is different, so you might have different criteria when choosing the mobile ad mediation platform. We put together a list of criteria that we consider important when deciding on your ad mediation platform.
When evaluating different ad mediation platforms, there are a few key factors that you should consider. Everything from performance to customer support and versatility may determine whether a particular platform is the best choice for your game.
Ultimately, the best mobile ad mediation platform for your game will depend on your specific needs and goals as a developer. But by comparing your options carefully, you can find an ad mediation platform that can help maximize your earnings from advertising while also meeting all your other requirements. Here are some criteria you should analyze when choosing a platform.
One crucial factor to consider when selecting a game ad mediation platform is the network size. A more extensive network means that there are more potential advertisers that you can work with. And more potential advertisers mean more potential revenue for your game.
Since there is no public data on the market share of each mediation platform, we can only assume that the larger platforms, such as LevelPlay by ironSource and MAX by Applovin, own most of the market. By our estimates, these two platforms may hold at least two-thirds of the market, followed by FairBid and AdMob.
Another critical factor to consider is the performance of each mediation platform. After all, you want to ensure that your selected platform can deliver high ad ARPDAU and a good user experience with varying eCPMs. However, we cannot provide conclusive results due to the lack of A/B testing in terms of simultaneously using two mediation platforms, LevelPlay or MAX.
Another essential factor to consider when choosing a game ad mediation platform is the number of available bidders. The more bidders you have available, the more potential revenue you can earn from advertising. Take a look at the image below for more details.
As you can see, all four platforms offer the same number of bidders. Practically all mediation platforms support Audience Network by Meta, Tapjoy, and AdColony, while Apploving is only available through AdMob, and Fyber offers only its own solutions.
Customer support is generally positive for MAX, ironSource, and Fairbid. If there are any technical issues or user complaints, customer service is usually always available to help through email, Skype, or Slack. However, they aren't always able to resolve the issue.
IronSource, in particular, has a highly useful ticket system that allows developers of all sizes to submit tickets and promptly answer their questions. On the other hand, AdMob is less inclined towards small developers, favoring big publishers and assigning them account managers - even though their technical teams are mostly unavailable even then.
In terms of innovation, ironSource and MAX are raising the bar, with innovations such as waterfall building per ATT availability, simplified exchange-first A/B testing, , supporting less popular ad formats, and more.
Compared to MAX and ironSource, AdMob is behind - for example, they only recently started beta testing User Activity Report, metrics such as DAU, ARPDAU, engagement rate, and features such as features A/B testing. On the other hand, FairBid has mostly introduced features based on their effectiveness in other mediation solutions.
If you are looking for a one-stop shop beyond ad mediation, look no further than Google's ecosystem, which features Firebase and its AdMob platform. Similarly, UnityAds embraces many features like remote configuration after it acquired DeltaDNA.
IronSource recently unveiled a new feature, AppAnalytics, which offers insights into retention, IAP revenue, LTV, and many other metrics. Firebase still has many features to add to reach those levels, but they seem to take the right steps to get there.
Mediation platforms and ad networks all claim that their platforms are super easy to integrate, and it might only be a matter of hours before you get the ads up and running. However, that's rarely the case in practice.
In addition to integrating the mediation SDK, you will need to integrate adapters for the ad networks you will use. An unexpected issue here and there, and the entire thing quickly becomes a major undertaking. As a result, the more important question here is what kind of support will the mediation provider be able to offer once this happens.
Look into alternative platforms if you're not willing to work with a mediation solution that favors its traffic. Consider ones like Aequs and AdMost. The table below shows how much mediation platforms favor their traffic. It showcases the impressions and the share of revenue each host network takes.
Regarding "forcing the host" to give other networks a fair share, Admob is the most challenging platform. The type of ad used (interstitials, rewarded videos, or banners) doesn't change the fact all that much.
Regarding data privacy and security, all the mediation platforms on our list use secure methods to transfer data. However, there is an issue of conflicting interests that some developers have brought up recently.
Supersonic Games and Lion Studios, owned by IronSource and AppLovin, are two companies that publish hyper-casual games. AppLovin also owns at least 16 studios, spanning various genres. Both companies claim that their mediation service and development companies are kept separate and that your data won't be misused. However, if you choose not to trust them, look outside ironSource or Max for ad mediation.
Apart from the aforementioned Unity mediation, another platform worth mentioning is Aequs. The platform offers more independence with no traffic and no links to any gaming companies. It also features granular controls and unique features such as integrated ad networks with shared view types. Overall, the platform is an exciting prospect for developers looking for a higher level of control.
As a developer, you have a lot of options when it comes to ad mediation platforms. In this article, we’ve looked at some of the most popular platforms. We compared their features, level of control, and ease of use to determine the best mobile ad mediation platform.
We’ve also looked at other factors to consider when choosing a platform. These include data privacy and security.
Still unsure which platform to choose? GameBiz Consulting is the perfect partner to help you set up ad mediation. We have a team of experts with years of experience increasing Ad revenue for games.
You can always trust us to perform transparently and without interfering with your accounts. We aim to help you reach new heights and succeed in the gaming industry.
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