What Is An Ad Networks? User Acquisition Inside Mobile Ad Networks

Pietro Castellani
February 7, 2024
What Is An Ad Networks? User Acquisition Inside Mobile Ad Networks

In today's interconnected world, where mobile devices serve as our constant companions, digital advertising has undergone a profound transformation. At the forefront of this evolution are mobile ad networks, the backbone of mobile marketing strategies. Half of the world’s total amount of advertising spend is digital ads alone: it’s clear indeed that advertisements in 2024 are an unavoidable part of our life. In the gigantic world of marketing, Mobile Ad Networks operate between publishers and advertisers, facilitating the advertising process.

  1. What is an Ad Network?
  2.  Differences between DSP and Ad Networks
  3.  Benefits of choosing an Ad Network
  4. Targeting audience by Ad Networks
  5. Pricing model for Mobile Ad Networks
  6. Conclusion

What is an Ad Network?

An ad network is indeed a digital platform that connects advertisers with publishers to facilitate the buying and selling of advertising space. Acting as intermediaries, ad networks aggregate ad inventory from various publishers, including websites, mobile apps and other digital platforms, and make it available all around to advertisers.

Advertisers can then bid on or purchase this inventory to display their ads to their targeted audience. Ad networks often offer a range of targeting options, such as demographics, interests, behavior and many others, allowing advertisers to reach their specific audience with precision. Additionally, ad networks provide tools for tracking and optimizing ad performance, enabling advertisers to maximize the effectiveness of their campaigns.

Ad networks were one of the first pieces of advertising technology that appeared in the ‘90s with the DotCom boom. They were created with the same aim they have today, helping advertisers buy available ads space from publishers. While you would expect the term “ad network” to include all kinds of media, it is used exclusively to refer to online advertising and Mobile Ad Network.

Overall, Mobile Ad Networks play a crucial role in the digital advertising ecosystem by connecting advertisers with publishers and facilitating the efficient distribution of ads across a wide range of digital channels. 

Differences between DSP and Ad Networks

While both Demand-Side Platforms (DSP) and Ad Networks operate within the digital advertising landscape, they serve distinct purposes and each one offers its unique features.

DSPs are essentially platforms provided with tools used in the process of promotion so that advertisers can optimize their app campaigns across multiple ad exchanges. They provide advertisers with real time results of their advertisement campaigns, enabling them to target their specific audiences and optimize their ads spend. Demand Side Platform takes complete care and responsibility of the advertising process. DSPs leverage sophisticated algorithms and data-driven insights to deliver highly targeted ads to the most relevant users, maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of advertising efforts. 

On the other hand, Ad Networks act as intermediaries between advertisers and publishers, aggregating ad inventory from various sources and offering it to advertisers through a single platform. Ad Networks typically provide advertisers with access to a diverse range of ad placements across multiple websites and apps, simplifying the process of buying and selling ads space.

While DSPs focus on providing advertisers with tools for campaign management and optimization, Ad Networks prioritize the aggregation and distribution of ad inventory, often offering additional targeting and optimization capabilities to enhance campaign performance. While both DSPs and Ad Networks play vital roles in the digital advertising ecosystem, DSPs help to solve advertisers' needs for campaign management and optimization, while Ad Networks specialize in aggregating and distributing ad inventory across a wide range of publishers. 

Benefits of choosing an Ad Network

Choosing a Mobile Ad Network offers plenty of benefits to advertisers seeking to maximize the impact of their marketing efforts. One of the primary advantages is the unparalleled access to a vast pool of ad inventory across numerous websites and apps. Ad Networks serve as centralized platforms that aggregate ads space from a pack of publishers, eliminating the need for advertisers to engage in direct negotiations with individual publishers: this significantly decreases the ads’ buying process, saving advertisers valuable time and resources.

Additionally, Ad Networks often provide sophisticated targeting and optimization tools, enabling advertisers to reach their target audiences with precision and efficiency. These platforms leverage data analytics and machine learning algorithms to deliver highly targeted ads to the most relevant users, maximizing the ROI of advertising campaigns.

Furthermore, Ad Networks offer flexibility and scalability, allowing advertisers to adjust their campaigns in real-time, based on performance metrics and market trends. Whether advertisers are looking to drive app installs, generate leads, or increase brand awareness, Ad Networks provide the tools and resources necessary to achieve their marketing objectives.

Ad Networks also offer transparent reporting and analytics dashboards, allowing advertisers to track the performance of their campaigns and make data-driven decisions. Everything connected with the aim to effectively use budget and maximize revenue.

Targeting audience by Ad Networks

Effective audience targeting is essential for maximizing the impact of mobile advertising campaigns. Ad Networks employ a variety of targeting techniques to help advertisers reach their desired audience segments. These may include demographic targeting, which focuses on factors such as age, gender, and location, as well as interest-based targeting, which leverages data on users' browsing habits and app usage patterns to deliver specific ads.

Ad Networks may also offer more advanced targeting options such as contextual targeting, which serves ads based on the content of the app or website being visited, and retargeting, which allows advertisers to re-engage users who have previously interacted with their ads or visited their website. 

Thanks to data, advertisers can concentrate on specific targeting audience’s options such as:

  • Age 
  • Gender 
  • Location
  • Data related to the device (OS, updates, user agent, connection, etc)

The usage of data it’s an essential part in the process of targeting the right audience, you can track users’ data, information challenges, etc., which will be the possible interests of your target audience. During the optimization process,thanks to data, you can target users with higher probability to make purchases inside the app (In-App purchases) 

Pricing model for Mobile Ad Networks

There are different pricing models for mobile ad networks, depending on the goals and objectives of the advertiser and the publisher. Some of the most common ones are:

·   CPM (cost per mille) which means the advertiser pays for every thousand impressions of their ad, regardless of how many clicks, conversion or install they get from the ad. This model is suitable for branding campaigns, where the main objective is to increase brand awareness rather than generate immediate conversions.

·   CPI (cost per install) which means the advertiser pays for every app install resulting from their ad. This model is commonly used by app developers who want to increase the number of installs for their app. It is also the most common pricing model in the app industry since it provides a clear measure of the effectiveness of an advertising campaign compared to other pricing models.

·   CPA (cost per action) which means the advertiser pays for specific actions taken by users, such as making a purchase or filling out a form inside the app. It is commonly used by advertisers who want to assess the quality of users acquired through advertising activities. This model is a performance-based model that allows advertisers to pay for actions that are directly related to their business goals.

There are also other pricing models, such as CPC (cost per click), CPV (cost per view), and CPL (cost per lead), which are variations of the above models. Clearly each model has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the type of ad, the target audience, and the campaign goals advertisers are seeking.


Mobile Ad Networks play a crucial role in the modern digital advertising ecosystem, offering advertisers unparalleled access to mobile audiences and enabling them to reach their marketing objectives with precision and efficiency. By leveraging the capabilities of Ad Networks, advertisers can tap into a vast pool of ad inventory, target their desired audience segments, and optimize their campaigns for maximum impact. With the continued growth of mobile usage worldwide, Mobile Ad Networks are strengthening to remain a cornerstone of digital marketing strategies for years to come.