Whether you’re interested in app monetization or app promotion, advertising in apps is the way to go. Mobile is overtaking the internet, and 2014 marked a historic year where more people accessed the internet on mobile than on desktops.

Top networks from major companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Facebook all boast massive reach, but is larger always better? There are literally hundreds of mobile ad networks to choose from, and each solution has its benefits and drawbacks.

Benefits of Big Networks

Giant networks, such as Google, Microsoft, and Facebook offer a few major benefits for those who advertise with them:

Massive Reach – Large companies have large user bases. Google’s AdMob network, for instance, boast hundreds of thousands of apps, and reaches millions of users around the planet.

Cross-Platform – Your ads can appear in apps, search results, and elsewhere. Facebook’s new ad network, Audience Network, advertises on mobile devices, through the social network, and on multiple platforms and operating systems.

User Targeting – Facebook’s ad network draws from its massive trove of social media data to help target and optimize ads for users. Google’s ubiquitous tracking and data gathering also helps advertisers tailor and target campaigns towards specific types of users.

Multiple Types of Ads – From interstitial ads to display ads and contextual ads, the big networks offer something for everyone. Developers can easily integrate some code into their app to get started with monetization, and advertisers can create specific types of ads for their campaigns.

Now, it may seem that with all these benefits there’s no reason not to choose one of the larger ad networks to promote or monetize an app. But keep in mind that the larger a network is, the less specialized it is. There are some things that the big networks just don’t do.

Niche Advertising Solutions

Many people want a big hit that takes the market by storm and puts thousands and thousands of dollars in your pocket each month, but marketing to the masses is hard. Everybody wants to do it, and it’s just not practical for most advertisers.

And that’s where niche advertising solutions come in. You can still benefit from large user bases, but a niche monetization and promotion solution ensures that your app stays focused. The more targeted your app and ads, the more likely you are to reach the right users and the higher your conversion rates will be.

Here are a few benefits that niche solutions offer:

Specialized Advertising Methods – From marketing texts to recommendation engines and video ads, niche solutions handle the types of ads that the giants are too big to deal with. If you’re generating a specialized app for a specialized audience, then a certain type of ad may work better than generic display ads from Google, for instance.

Niche Audiences – If you’re trying to reach a specific crowd, such as software users on a certain platform, then it may be better to concentrate on advertisers that reach into that platform. Pay-per-install programs, for instance, are ideal for developers trying to reach users who are already downloading and installing software. Ad-powered recommendation engines, for instance, deliver relevant ads to users who are searching for something specific.

Innovation – Niche networks are more nimble than the giants, and often devote resources to newer, more creative approaches to monetization and advertising. Search boxes, such as CodeFuel’s MobileFuel, for instance, allows app developers to monetize their apps with search. Most users tend to block out banners and loud ads, so newer advertising approaches are discovering new ways to integrate ads into apps and software.

Which Solution to Choose…

Each type of monetization and advertising solution offers different benefits. And the answer isn’t always cut and dry. Niche apps, for instance, may monetize more effectively with a niche advertising solution, but they may wish to promote via one of the giant networks.

In many cases, advertising through multiple channels and split-testing a variety of monetization methods may be the best answer.

Before you choose advertising solutions to test, it’s wise to spend a good chunk of time researching the options. With hundreds of advertising networks around the world, and more springing up every month, you’ll want to focus on what’s right for your app.

Ask yourself:

  • How specific is your audience?
  • Can you reach that audience more effectively through a niche advertising solution?
  • Do the benefits of niche solutions outweigh the benefits of one of the giant networks?
  • Do you want to use the same platform to monetize and promote?

A bit of preparation and background research can help you weed out many networks that just aren’t the right fit. And the more research you do, the more possibilities you’ll discover. Chances are, there are new technologies and advertising potentials you haven’t heard of.