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How Mobile Ads Work: What to Know About Mobile Advertising

Technology has greatly improved in the last decade, thus changing the digital marketing landscape. Our mobile phones have become basic communications tools. Not only are they used for phone calls and messages, but also for surfing the Internet, and capturing videos. In fact, there were more than 5 billion mobile users in 2019.

So, it’s safe so say that a consumer world is always online. This means that you need to focus on smartphone-using audiences in your advertising campaign. Today, brands use a number of sophisticated options to create user-friendly mobile ads, therefore increasing brand awareness and producing higher revenues.

If you want to get on board as well, we’ll answer how mobile ads work, mention mobile ad formats, and more.

Let’s dive in!

Glued to Our Phones

People are glued to their mobile devices. No matter where you go, be it a restaurant or the mall, you’ll inevitably see both older and younger generations who can’t stop looking at their phones. Indeed, back in 2016, statistics showed that users spent more time online on their phones than they did on desktop. So, everything, from making a purchase, to reading, and to hunting for information has shifted from our computers to phones.

Therefore, it’s only natural that advertisers, vying for the attention and loyalty of customers, have started to focus more on mobile platforms. But what is mobile advertising and, more importantly, how mobile ads work? Let’s find out.

What Is Mobile Advertising

With customers increasingly hooked on to their mobile screens, the digital advertising world had to find a way to reach their target audience. And that’s how they came up with mobile ads that would provide information about products or services. They come in many forms. Remember that text you used to get from your local store? Well, that’s mobile advertising. Or how about that ad you see while you’re reading your favorite news outlet? Also mobile advertising!

As you can see, this advertising type comes in a range of strategies such as:

  • Text messages: These ads are sent in the form of a text message. They can either be text- or image-based.
  • Banner ads: We used to predominantly see them while using our desktop computers, but they now appear on mobile websites as well.
  • Ads in mobile apps: Most mobile apps we download come with ads. Regardless of whether you use workout apps or play games, it’s inevitable that ads will appear on your screen. 

Now that we’ve gone over the basics, let’s examine how mobile ads work.

How Mobile Ads Work

Setting foot into the mobile advertising world might seem like a daunting task at first glance. But it really isn’t. It won’t take you long to start understanding the system and how it works. All you need to get started is a dedicated mobile ad network. Look at these networks as intermediaries that connect you with advertisers. Once you select your go-to mobile ad network, you’ll have the following business models that apply to your marketing campaign:

  • CPM (Cost per Mille): This cost model is the most frequent one. Here, the advertisers pay each time their ads appear 1,000 times. If you’re new to the advertising world, then it might be useful to point out that publishers frequently opt for this type. Namely, it earns them money every time an ad has been viewed. Experts say that this model is useful if your campaign wants to increase brand awareness.
  • CPC (Cost per Click): As its name would suggest, this pricing model brings you money when a user clicks on the ad. CPC is best suited for campaigns whose aim is to encourage customers to take some action, e.g. install an app or register.
  • CPI (Cost per Install): Here, an advertiser is charged when a user installs the advertised app.
  • CPA (Cost per Action): According to this payment model, publishers charge advertisers only after a prospective customer takes a specified action.

Now, to get you better acquainted with how mobile ads work, we’ll go over the most used formats.

Mobile Ad Formats

A true testament to how far mobile advertising has come is a wide range of ad formats it offers. You might think that you don’t need them to promote your brand, but we have an interesting statistic for you that will prove that mobile ads are here to stay. Namely, mobile data traffic is projected to increase by a whopping 700% between 2016 and 2021. Therefore, mobile users will still be glued to their screens and it would be wise to leverage this figure in your favor. How? Well, by shifting your focus towards mobile ads.

And if you’re a novice publisher, then a good starting point would be to learn which four major ad types reign in the marketing world. To ease your transition, we’ll highlight pros and cons of each format now that we know how mobile ads work. Let’s check out these types below.

Video Ads

Video ads are by far the most powerful way to present your brand’s story. They last anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds and can be effective if you use your time wisely. Indeed, 84% of people report that they purchased a product or service after watching a video. And this doesn’t come as a surprise. To be specific, videos send a clear message and present information in a digestible manner.

Additionally, these ads produce higher engagement which is why many publishers go with them. You have three options to choose: the pre-roll ad (appears before the selected video content plays), the mid-roll ad (show in the middle of the video), the post-roll ad (pops up after the video ends).


  • High click-through rate
  • High interactivity
  • Customers enjoy watching video
  • Attracts attention


  • Non-skippable video ads might be irritable

Let’s move on with our guide to how mobile ads work!

Native Ads

The beauty of native ads is that they don’t really look like advertisements. Namely, they match the look of the editorial content on a specific website. In many cases, they are advertorial, and appear as a video, article or editorial. Customers don’t perceive them as a direct advertising, thus this increases their loyalty to your brand. Because of this, they’re becoming increasingly popular among publishers and on social media.


  • Non-intrusive
  • Improve user experience
  • Align with the overall design


  • They can be expensive

Interstitial Ads

Interstitial ads are those full-screen ads that cover the entire interface of a mobile app or website. Their name suggests that they are used as a transitional screen between two sections. So, they pop up between content, i.e. during navigation. For instance, this ad type appears when you access a selected website, when you move from one page to another, or when you reach a new level in your game. Their full-coverage is quite popular in mobile marketing because it provides space for more context and clearer call-to-action.


  • More space for ads
  • Sends a clearer message
  • Visually compelling
  • High conversions
  • High impressions


  • People can find them irritating if they’re badly placed
  • Can affect search engine rankings in Google   

Banner Ads

Banner ads are one of the most dominating advertising formats on the internet. This type makes use of an image or a multimedia object to present information pertaining to a particular brand. Therefore, depending on the technology used to create them, they can be either static or animated. Although banner ads don’t generate the highest revenue, they are still helpful if you want to improve brand awareness and visibility


  • Affordable
  • Universally supported
  • Easy to integrate


  • Limited space
  • Accidental clicks
  • Low click-through rate

After mentioning the most popular ad types and how mobile ads work, we’d be remiss not to draw your attention to Brid.TV’s mobile SDK. Let’s check it out!

Brid.TV’s iOS and Android SDKs

The modern-day digital marketing world might be confusing. However, this doesn’t change the ultimate goal of advertisers and publishers, i.e. to generate enough revenue while ensuring consumers remain happy. To achieve this, it’s imperative that a mobile ad monetization system includes both Android and iOS SDKs. At Brid.TV, we’re more than aware of this, thus we’ve upped our game and we feature a full mobile SDK.

By utilizing our mobile SDK, you’ll expand your opportunities for ad optimization. Remember, not only is it important to have a strategy for your monetization plan, but also to know how to implement it and at what time. This is where we can help you.

If you have your eyes set on video monetization, then we’re here to support and assist you in improving your effort with our SDKs. This extensive iOS and Android feature results in better monetization and a more polished business model.

Mobile Ads 

To sum up, although mobile ads have their limitations, they can be quite powerful and effective as a form of monetization. If you want to succeed, then you should keep up-to-date with video technology and use the right tools for mobile ad monetization, like Brid.TV’s iOS and Android SDKs.