In-app Advertising – How to Profit From Your App in 2017

In-app advertising is one of the most effective ways to monetise your app. Even if you’re earning good money through payments for the app itself, or through subscriptions, it doesn’t hurt to have a free version making additional revenue through in-app purchases.

Here, we’re going to go through the main things you need to know when it comes to in-app advertising.

in-app advertising

As you’ve probably guessed, in-app advertising means adverts are shown to users within the app itself, as opposed to through a browser.

In-app adds earn money through a pay-per-click model:

The user clicks your ad. The ad network – we’ll list some of the main ones later on – then charges the person advertising the product or the service for the click, and you then get paid a portion of that money.

What do I need to do to take advantage of them?

It’s actually fairly simple: sign up for your chosen ad network (we’ll look at some of the best later on).

Then, all you need to do is include space for the adverts within the design of your app. (This might sound complex, but your development team won’t have any trouble with it.)

in-app advertising

There are a number of perks to taking the in-app advert approach.

These are the ones we think are the most important:

The financial rewards can be substantial

In-app advertising can bring in thousands a day. As long as you work hard to ensure your targeting is effective, you can start making money almost immediately.

What other forms of advertising can offer the opportunity for you to make quick, direct profits on your initial spend?

Not many.

What’s more, in-app advert profits can scale. They’re only limited to how many users you have. If you really nail your app, the sky is the limit.

In-app ads can be targeted to exactly the right people

Making sure your ad is seen by the right users is a key part of success when marketing online, and in-app targeting can be seriously effective in helping you do this.

As well as location data – which is invaluable – you can also make use of other factors, such as age ranges, gender, browsing habits and interests.

Even the app itself offers insight: by downloading your app, users have confirmed they’re interested in your market, and will be more likely to respond to ads targeting that market.

What is the benefit to you? Simply that you’ll get more clicks.

And what do more clicks mean? You’ve got it: more money!

in-app advertising

It provides more actionable data

Online advertising as a whole offers more valuable information: information that can help you increase the amount of money your app earns.

You’ll be able to see – usually in real-time – how your apps are performing, and to get information on:

  • How many people are viewing your ads
  • How many people are clicking
  • When they’re clicking and on which parts of your app

And so on. Unlike with traditional forms of advertising, you won’t have to just guess what the response has been: you’ll be able to use real data to gain genuine insight.

From there, you can adjust your campaigns accordingly.

You’ll be able to reach a large audience

Even within specific niches, online ads can target a much larger audience than any other form of advertising.

Topics that might only appeal to 0.1 per cent of the population can still allow you to put adverts in front of millions of users, earning you more ad clicks and higher profits.

Even more niche markets can be profitable online.

You can earn more by encouraging businesses to compete

The more competitive a network, the better.

If you’re able to build a great-app within a really competitive network – insurance, say – all of the big names will want to advertise with you.

The result? They’ll be fighting each other for the ad space, and your profits will be much, much higher. In some niches clicks can cost as much as 50 dollars or more.

In non-web terms, think of this as the Superbowl: because companies know just how many viewers they’ll be put in front of during half-time, they’ll pay far more.

Get things right, and your app could provide a huge amount of revenue.

in-app advertising

Banner ads

These are the most common forms of in-app advertising.

Essentially, the app page is laid out as normal, but a small section of the screen is taken up by the ad, which the user can click on if they see fit.

These are no different to the kind of adverts you’ll see on desktop websites.

Interstitial static ads

These adverts take up the whole screen, and the user must click the ‘X’ in the corner of the ad to get rid of them.

These are more visually appealing than banner ads – there’s more space in which to create a great design – and they’re more likely to get clicks.

However, they can annoy some users. You’ve got to think carefully about placement before you use them.

in-app advertising

Expandable ads

These ads start off small, but if the user taps on them they then grow to take up a larger part (or in some cases all) of the screen.

These ads are less disruptive than some, but offer the opportunity to still show a full-page ad.

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the rate of user engagement can be lower than with a traditional interstitial ad.

Animated interstitial ads

As with any form of online ads, the more engaging your design, the better.

Animated interstitial ads are – as you’ve probably gathered from the name – full page ads in animated form: short videos, for instance, or GIFs.

They’re more flexible, and can be very visually appealing. This often means more clicks and more money.

It’s worth noting that they’re obviously a lot more complex to code, and can annoy users by taking up their bandwidth or by slowing the app itself down.

in-app advertising

You can’t use cookies

One of the biggest benefits of online advertising as a whole is ‘remarketing’ – that is, using a cookie to track a user that’s viewed your page and then being able to show your ad to them again.

This has been proven over and over again to improve conversions.

Unfortunately, in-app adverts don’t use cookies, so re-targeting can be problematic.

This won’t be an issue if you’re being paid per click, rather than per conversion, however.

It can take more experimentation

The trouble with in-app advertising is that there aren’t really any general rules: what works comes down entirely to your market. Different demographics will respond differently to banners, interstitial and so on.

You’ll need to do quite a bit of testing in the early days. Of course, once your testing period is done, you should be able to automate things more effectively.

(Even if you’re being paid to display the ads, rather than via end conversions, you’ll still need to do some experimentation: it’ll be down to you to experiment with which types of ads work best for your target market.)

in-app advertising

There are a number of networks offering in-app advertising, many of which pay very well.

These are some of the standouts.

Google’s Admob

You won’t be surprised to see Google on this list, we’re sure.

Google’s in-app advertising is competitive – unsurprisingly –but their reach is simply huge, and if you’ve built an app that’s ahead of the curve in your market, Google’s Admob program can still offer great results. actually invented the original display-to-search ad format: they really know their stuff when it comes to getting results.

They offer competitive CPMs, which is ideal in a competitive market, flexible ad units and their ads are responsive across both iOS and Android devices.


If you’re interested in interstitial advertising, we’d definitely recommend taking a look at StartApp, who have helped a lot of app developers achieve good revenue streams.

StartApp boast some impressive clients, and you should certainly consider taking a look at what they offer if you’ve tested interstitial ads and found them effective in your market.


InMobi pioneered what they like to call ‘appographic’ targeting – that is, ads that can effectively target users most likely to engage with them.

In terms of ad revenue, this can – as we highlighted earlier – make a big difference. Revenues for those using InMobi are usually above par, making them well worth your consideration.

In terms of targeting, InMobi is one of the standout options.


In the last few years, Amazon’s ad network has grown and expanded, and is now used by many app developers.

What are the main perks compared to, say, Google? Simple: revenue. Though payments obviously vary across different markets, developers using Amazon’s advertising network typically get higher payments than those using Google.

in-app advertising

If you’d like to maximize revenue from your in-app ads, or you’ve simple never used them before and you’d like assistance, contact Iconic Solutions today. We can help you get better results from your in-app advertising.

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