Five ads networks myths debunked

AdQuantum's Andrey Kalita explains advertising networks and the potential benefits and revenue you may be missing out on

Five ads networks myths debunked

AdQuantum is a performance marketing agency based in Cyprus that specializes in helping mobile apps grow their revenue and business. Using risk-free user acquisition solutions AdQuantum enables mobile brands to meet their performance targets by attracting new paying users.

We spoke to their User Acquisition Manager, Andrey Kalita, who in this article scythes through the confusion and doubt surrounding ad network traffic and sets a clear path to success.

Mobile in-app networks are great stable traffic sources, though often underestimated by mobile marketers out there. The largest networks require a greater investment than paid social channels and not every marketer is willing to take these risks. Nevertheless, we at AdQuantum have many cases showing that ad networks not only pay off, but also bring awesome profits when using them wisely. I'm going to debunk the five most common myths about ad networks and clarify why you have to definitely consider this ad channel to succeed with your mobile game.

#1 You can't make money from ad networks

While you think you can't make money on ad networks, your competitors grab the chance and earn sometimes even more money than from paid social sources ;)

If you have a high-quality game that performs well on other traffic sources, then we strongly recommend at least testing it on the largest ad networks, such as AppLovin and Unity Ads. If the game is successful, then you will receive an additional amount of traffic and will be able to multiply your profit. We have many cases where ad networks performed in a more stable way than the biggest paid social sources or Google Ads.

#2 Unaesthetic ad creatives do not perform well

Are you familiar with the situation of when a creative that has been worked out thoroughly from the visual point of view does not work and a creative that was made quickly, and perhaps not very carefully, suddenly shows excellent results? This indeed also happens on ad networks.

For some app categories, it is not always possible to find high-quality assets or create your own, but do not be afraid to experiment! Give preference to the general concept and the idea of the creative itself rather than to visual aesthetics.

Of course, we do not advise you to make creatives of very low quality with pixel graphics or ugly assets. Users do not like such creatives as metrics show. But still, remember that the shape is not as important as the idea behind it. Pay more attention to what exactly you want to reflect in the ad and not to how you want to reflect it. Think more about what mechanics and game elements to show that would be the most engaging to your user.

#3 Ad networks are fully automated, it has no settings

This myth probably appeared based on three facts. The first one is the fact that the auction on networks is more linear than on social networks. Therefore, with the same creatives and bids, you will target the same audience in most cases, while in social networks the audience constantly changes and your best profiting bundle (GEO + campaign optimization + ad creative + audience) can stop working in just a week, so you have to constantly adjust your campaigns.

The second fact is that ad networks don’t have the option of targeting by interests or lookalike audiences. And thirdly, there is also no ability to drive traffic to a specific Tier of GEOs within ad networks (except for a few networks like Reddit, for instance).

Thus, this myth didn’t appear out of thin air. However, that’s not really true. In fact, ad networks have all the other settings most mobile ad platforms have. You can learn more about how ad networks work in our article.

#4 If a campaign performs well within one network, it will work just as well with the same settings within another network

We at AdQuantum have always considered the major ad networks we work with as completely different sources. There sure is information across the industry that some networks allow you to use almost identical campaign settings from another grid. However, we prefer to treat each new source as a unique entity.

A large number of networks have different types of optimizations, except for CPI optimization. Thus, it is impossible to transfer settings from another network in general. Let’s consider an example: optimization for Retention Rate in Unity Ads is absent in AppLovin whereas AppLovin has Cost per Purchase campaign optimization that ironSource or Unity Ads do not.

Apart from optimization types, there are also differences in when exactly networks allow you to optimize your campaign. For instance, Unity Ads offers ROAS campaign optimizations on day 7, whereas AppLovin allows you to do so on day 0, day 3, and day 7.

It should also be noted that different ad networks have different publisher portfolios (the list of apps you’re advertised in). And if in some networks like ironSource or AppLovin, you can see exactly which apps you are advertised in, in some of them like on Unity and Mintegral, the publishers are hidden behind encrypted designations. Therefore, your campaign settings from these networks will be applicable only to the networks themselves.

Additionally, there are also technical differences between various networks, which can finally put an end to your hopes of transferring campaign settings between different sources. For example, on AppLovin you get a huge number of clicks with a CTR of up to 45-50% compared to Unity Ads where the CTR fluctuates around 5-10%.

#5 Ad networks do not require an individual ad approach for ad creatives. You can use what has already been on paid social traffic sources

Very few ad creatives that performed great on paid social channels perform well on ad networks. There were cases in our practice when creatives worked great on some traffic sources, but at the same time, they did not perform at all on ad networks. Ad networks are pickier in terms of misleading ads.

The main difference between ad networks and paid social sources in this sense lies in the cost of traffic at the initial stage of the marketing funnel. With a clickable misleading creative on paid social sources, you can buy traffic so cheaply that even with a low RRd1, you can pay off with a low CPI.

Ad networks have a limited number of creatives that you can launch at a time. For example, AppLovin recommends you upload 4 creatives per week whereas Unity Ads asks you to upload even fewer. Moreover, there is no A/B testing on ad networks. Therefore, we do not recommend using ad networks as platforms for testing creatives.

Here’s our tip: test creatives on paid social sources or Google and use the best-performing ones for ad networks. By “best-performing” we mean the creatives with cheap CPI and high RRd1.

Be prepared that not all creative approaches that worked successfully on paid social sources will work the same way on ad networks. However, by using the abovementioned tip, you will pick the most appropriate creatives for ad networks faster and easier.

Summing up

We hope that now you have fewer doubts about if you can really boost your app with ad networks and make a good profit on them. In case you want some help with ad networks or other ad platforms, AdQuantum is always there for you.

Edited by Iwan Morris

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