What’s The Best Mobile Ad Network? eCPM Explained

What's The Best Mobile Ad Network?

This is a question we get very often at Bluecloud. It's important to clarify the answer to this AND the eCPM behind this (earnings per thousand impressions).

The short answer: there isn't any “best mobile ad network” out there the same way there isn't any “best dating app” for someone.

What you should be really ask yourself is “does my app work well with the ads being served by this ad network?”

Let's do a quick illustration to better explain this concept:


Now – most people think that the AD NETWORK is the most important part here…that they have some magic ads that make more money than another network.

That's simply not true – some ad networks are better simply because they are able to match inventory more effectively. 

To understand why, let's talk about eCPM:


eCPM Explained

You'll see that eCPM (earnings per thousand impressions) is the product of Install Rate X Cost Per Install.

Install Rate is what percentage of your users Click on the ad then go through and Install the app that was advertised.

Cost Per Install is the price that an advertiser (like Candy Crush Saga) is willing to pay for that install.

Virtually all ad networks receive the same CPI from advertisers! The CPI almost always remains constant no matter what network you are on!

This means if you show Candy Crush Saga ads using Chartboost, you'll most likely get the same CPI that you will if you show Candy Crush Saga using AppLovin.

What You Control + What the Ad Networks Control

Here's the important part – understanding who is in control of what.

You control:

  • How often you show the ads
  • How well matched your app is to the ad network inventory
  • How many users you get
  • Which ad networks you use
  • How well you filter ads
  • Direct deals with advertisers

Ad networks control:

  • Which ads are served (when you let the algorithm do it's thing)
  • Which advertisers are bidding in the marketplace

Put another way: your eCPM is determined by how well you match your users to your ads, NOT by the algorithm. 

How to Find the Best Mobile Ad Network

Now that you understand the fundamentals of this, here is the step-by-step process that will get you the highest possible eCPM for any mobile ad network:

  1. Find an ad network that matches your core audience. If you have gamers, find a game focused ad network (like Chartboost). Casino apps, use AppLovin. Non-games, try AdMob or Vungle.
  2. Install the SDKs. Read the documentation from the ad network about the best places to put the ads. They analyze billions of impressions a month – they know more than you do.
  3. Let the networks run for a few weeks
  4. Analyze the results. Which apps convert the best? Which have the highest Install Rate? Who's paying the most?
  5. Turn off ads that are NOT performing
  6. Get in touch with some of your top performing advertisers and negotiate more inventory and/or a higher price
  7. Repeat each week

THIS will get you the highest eCPM more than finding some “hidden gem” ad network. The only reason certain mobile ad networks claim they are better is because they “have better intelligence” to serve the right ad to the right people.

It always comes down to matching your users to the right advertisers at the right time!


See ya,




  • Shane January 6, 2016

    Excellent post Carter! You always manage to break it down into bite size chunks of informative goodness!

  • Sain-R January 6, 2016

    Thanks for the info Carter! I will make sure I revisit this from time to time.

  • Aseel January 7, 2016

    Thanks Carter. The way you explain things is SO easy and simple. You are the best.

  • Tolik January 8, 2016

    All so right , i make few months ago course about how we make more than 100$ ECPM , and basically we use all way achieve it the rules carter write here.


  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas January 13, 2016

    @Tolik – NICE! Congratulations on the success.

  • StarfallGamer March 24, 2016

    Hello Carter! Have you tried or tested comparing mobile ad networks? There are countless ad networks available, but I am still confused which is the best to monetize.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas March 24, 2016

    @Starfall – Yes, I’ve tried about 30 ad networks. They all perform well some days, then not well other days. That’s why I wrote this post – the ad network is a very small part of the equation.

  • eky bong hengky January 12, 2017

    thx for the pro tips Carter 🙂

    will remember this thing for my apps journey

  • Salman Maqbool July 2, 2017

    Its an excellent article. Now i am clear about ad networks.
    Thanks Carter

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