The 7-minute Guide to In-app Advertising

Want to test new traffic but not sure if in-app is worth your time? Cool, this post is for you. I will help you look into in-app and make your campaigns more profitable. 

Let’s talk about the benefits of in-app traffic and how you can optimize in-app advertising for your needs.

Very often, newbies choose web traffic and pass up in-app networks. Have you ever heard about ad networks such as Smaato, Mopub, or Pubnative? They offer unlimited opportunities to make money by running ads in mobile applications. Let’s learn more about why in-app is so great.

Apps and Their Features

Apps often have several millions of downloads. App audiences can be much bigger than the web audience. 

One of the main pros of in-app traffic is the precise source categorization that it provides, which is much more difficult with web. In-app ad networks have more targeting options than regular ones.

Once you know app categories that perform better for you (news, for example), you can create an extended whitelist and target only similar apps. This is much more challenging with web traffic due to diversification of the information on the websites. You have the option to choose only the best performing apps, create whitelists with them and observe the impressive performance of your campaigns.

You also should know that usually smaller screen = better user interaction. In-app ads are ads with better visibility – nothing distracts user attention from your product. You can see below the example how the ad will look like in applications.

In feed ad:

How to figure out what app category you need?

I have a few insights for you:

  • Game Apps – work well for game offers. However, some game apps attract more women than men. Check if your in-app ad network allows for gender-based targeting.
  • News Apps & Browsers – one-size-fits-all traffic for all types of offers. News apps have diverse and big audiences with different interests. You can run any offer here and it can turn out to be appealing to such a diversified audience. To start, you can try E-commerce, App installs, Nutrition.
  • Messaging apps – apps with huge coverage usually. They offer good performance for almost all verticals: E-commerce, Health & Beauty, Finance, Dating, Games etc. Hint: if you run Nutrition and Dating campaigns there is a possibility of Gender and Age targeting in a DSP or ad network. 
  • Dating Apps – such apps usually block their competitors. That’s why running Dating campaigns in Dating apps is not always possible but again, broad audience and extensive information about users like age or gender, make this traffic a good match for many other products

How to know what kind of app works better for you?

The best way to squeeze the most out of your in-app traffic is to use a dedicated tracker such as Voluum. With the same magic that allows for web-based campaign optimization used on targeted in-app traffic you can achieve outstanding results. Here’s how.


The best way to identify effective apps is A/B Split Testing. Create a couple of campaigns with different creatives and headlines. Run these campaigns on different app categories. A/B tests will show you which creative or headline brings you more clicks and conversions. You an do this manually or with Voluum’s AI-based A/B testing.

Keep an eye on your iCTR

In-app traffic has lower user diversification due to a lack of organic traffic – so pay attention to your iCTR and update creatives and headlines when you see this metric going down. 

Not sure what else you can do to increase your iCTR? Check out some of the tips below:

  1. Write original and compelling headlines. Your ad should be different from your competitor’s ads. We observe many similar creatives and headlines taken from spy tools that stop working after some time as users see them constantly. 
  2. Test your ad. Split testing is the best way to understand what assets are best for each type of offer and traffic source. 
  3. Increase your bid. A higher campaign bid lets you get a better position for your ad. With 1st auction networks (majority nowadays) it is important to increase bids gradually and observe metric improvements.
  4. Optimize your ad campaigns based on ad space ID (the most granular reporting metric and targeting option). Remember that different ad placements within the app could have very different performance. 

For good performance, you should change creatives and headlines very often. Yes, it takes some time but it’s worth it to try if you want to improve your main metrics.

By the way, Voluum provides granular reporting which will help you optimize your campaigns. You can analyze Voluum reports and then pause placements with poor results in your ad network: creatives, apps, ad spaces etc.

In-app ad networks

There are many ad networks that sell in-app traffic. Here’s a quick rundown:


One of the top in-app networks, highly performing on the Health and Beauty vertical. You can be sure your clicks are made by people not by robots – Fraud-free environment is taking care of it. You can find many apps here from one of the biggest Publishers, Appodeal. Weather apps, News apps, Game apps – everything you need to make your campaigns work for you.

Top vertical: Health & Beauty, Finanse,Gaming
Top apps: TMZ, NewsDay, Current,

Top GEOs: US, CA


100% in-app network. Fraud control is carried out by the market giants: DV, TMT, Pixalate etc. You will target audiences across more than 55,000 apps in all verticals and 1.4 billion devices worldwide. High amounts of unique apps will satisfy the demands of even the most rigorous advertisers. The added benefit of this network is vCPM – you will pay only for viewed impressions. Native ads on MoPub are high-quality, content-driven experiences that engage consumers by matching the look and feel of an app’s UI. 

Top Verticals: Streaming, Health & Beauty, E-commerce
Top Apps: Viber, Badoo, ShareIt, Likee, TextNow
Top GEOs: US, RU, EU countries


A network with 100% in-app inventory and proven performance for various offer types. Pubnative’s inventory is mostly Game apps. However, you can also find popular dating apps or messengers here. Access non-standard ad-units fully customized to match the app’s interface and user experience. Take advantage of global advertising demand with over 150+ trusted demand partners on the PubNative Exchange.

Top Verticals: Gaming, Trading, App Installs, Health & Beauty
Top Apps: IMO, Grindr, Kik, Tagged
Top GEOs: US, AU, DE, CA, AU


Originally an in-app network offering high quality and profitable native traffic. Fraud-free traffic available owed to multi-level verification for all publishers. Smaato supports viewable impressions – pay only when a user sees the ad. 

Top Verticals: Streaming, E-commerce, Trading, Health & Beauty

Top Apps: Lovoo, Buzzlite, Whisper, Zoosk

Top GEOs: US, BR, RU, ZA, IN


A traffic source with mixed web and in-app traffic. Native traffic for Health and e-Commerce performance marketers. Highly-diversified on Desktop, Mobile Web and App Publishers. Try the top news apps, messengers and many others here.

Top GEOs: US and CA

Top-volume apps: News Break – Local & World Breaking News & Radio; TextNow: Free Texting & Calling App


Not really a traffic source but only one news app with big volumes (about 40M daily). More than 50M impressions daily and diverse content lets your ad work better for you.  Our clients love this app for easy optimization, varied audience and nice performance. 

Top Verticals: E-commerce, Content, news, Gaming

Top GEOs: US

Even though you might know Nativo mainly as a site traffic provider, they do not limit themselves, providing in-app traffic as well. Here you can try the popular online newspaper TMZ with an audience of over 1M: celebrity news, videos & photos. Nice iCTR, low CPV – all your need for good performance.

Top Verticals: Health & Beauty
Top Apps: TM‪Z
Top GEOs: United States, Canada


Now that you know all about in-app traffic, it’s time to choose an in-app ad network and use Voluum to leverage the best qualities of this type of traffic.

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