What is Ad Tech Industry – And How it Makes Media Trading Easy

What is Ad Tech Industry – And How it Makes Media Trading Easy

The ad tech industry has changed significantly from a decade ago. Long gone are the days of negotiating ad placements between publishers and advertisers. Ad tech makes it possible for giants like Google and Facebook to make billions in revenue, and online publishers and developers generate income from their digital properties. But what is exactly ad tech and how it is shaping media trading?

Ad Tech brief definition

Is an umbrella term that stands for advertising technology. It refers to the stack of software and tools advertisers, agencies, publishers, and other industry actors use to plan and manage their advertising and monetization strategies

Evolution of the Ad Tech Industry

Evolution of the Ad Tech Industry

Before the advent of ad tech, media buying and advertising was a manual, complex process that required a lot of time and effort. Then, in the ’90s, e-commerce exploded, and advertising agencies found themselves helping to select websites for their client’s ads. This involved researching, checking metrics, and choosing which website would bring the maximum ROI for advertisers.

The first significant change came with the creation of the first ad server. A software that would automatically serve ads, ended manual ad placement and started the automated advertising revolution. This first ad server would later become the Google Ad Manager.

From then, the ball rolled quickly, and soon other technologies appeared driven by the market needs. Google AdWords, ad exchanges, and real-time bidding are only some of them.

There was a need to improve ad targeting and choosing the most relevant real estate for the ads, thus demand-side platforms were born. On the other side, publishers needed to gain some measure of control over their impressions prices while ensuring their ad space reached the coveted higher-paying advertisers, giving way to supply-side platforms. Other solutions that provide the user data for all this ecosystem to work properly appeared, as Data Management platforms, data analysis solutions, etc.

The state of Ad Tech in 2021 in numbers: 

  • Ad Tech market value (eMarketer): $134 billion. 
  • Market share distribution:

Market share distribution

While the biggest single player is Google, there are other companies that are looking to join the marketplace, whether with proprietary technology—like Apple—or other strategies.

  • U.S companies have increased the spending on programmatic advertising since 2020

In 2019, e-marketer forecasted that by 2020 the % of digital display ad spending will reach 83.9%. The reality surpassed the expectations, and as of May 2021, the percentage had reached 86%.

Digital Display Ad Spending

This change may happen because of the increase in the number of companies adopting automated solutions and undergoing digital transformation derived from the 2020 crisis. The market will continue growing and they expected companies to spend 91% of their advertising budget on digital display ads and programmatic advertising.

  • Companies spent $129 billion in programmatic advertising in 2020.

This figure is expected to reach $155 billion in 2021. (Statista)

So, what is Ad Tech, and why do we need it?

The Ad Tech industry includes all tools, resources, and software platforms that demand and supply sides use to interact, buy and sell ads and optimize advertising efforts.

  • Publishers use ad tech platforms to optimize their monetization activities through advertising.
  • Organizations use ad tech to plan and execute media buying and advertising optimization.
  • Advertisers use ad tech to deliver their ads to potential customers.

Without adtech, programmatic advertising wouldn’t exist. Ad Tech enables the delivery of highly targeted ads, implementing omnichannel marketing strategies among other techniques.

To understand why we need adtech let’s think about the way advertising was done years ago before the ad tech industry was born. Adverts were published with the goal to reach as large an audience as possible without almost no personalization.

While a massive reach can be useful to create brand awareness, this type of ad is less relevant for individual viewers. Adtech makes it possible to deliver advertisements to the most relevant audiences, at the right time and in the right context. Marketers then save time, money, and effort. Publishers, on the other side, can monetize their digital assets while giving end-users the most relevant offer for their queries.

The Ad Tech Solutions of CodeFuel

CodeFuel is an adtech company dedicated to providing monetization solutions for publishers and app developers. Our solutions include:

Search Mediation

CodeFuel offers optimized landing pages that maximize revenue for publishers. Regardless of the platform, you buy your media, our solution can help you increase your revenue. The monetization page is fully tailored for your business needs and the buying platform you use.

Media traders then can monetize search and achieve higher revenue by leveraging the mediation platform.

Website monetization

CodeFuel monetization solutions are designed to transform intent into revenue.

The user-intent-based search enables you to monetize your website with contextual ads. By matching the audience’s intent to the right ad, you enhance the user experience and earn higher revenue.

Search queries

Search queries give a customized search results page (SERP), hosted on your website,  with paid text ads, optimized by search technology.

Shopping ads

When you sign up for your website with CodeFuel, your users are served shopping fuel ads related to their intent. For example, when a user clicks on an ad for a new cell phone, the system directs them to a results page with relevant ads for this specific cellphone model.


You can also add a news feed to your website. Powered by MSN, it includes over a thousand premium news publishers. This increases your user’s engagement, by encouraging users to have a longer dwell time on your site. Ultimately, this translates into more conversions.

App Monetization

CodeFuel uses intent-based search to monetize your mobile app or browser extension. Add search capabilities to your application, which returns a customized SERP with relevant text and shopping ads.

Key features of CodeFuel solutions

  • Simple integration: easy installation and integration with search engines and ad networks.
  • HUB Analytics: get the information you need to improve your performance with the analytics hub.
  • End to End Support: complete account management with strong business intelligence.

Ad Tech Basics

Advertising technology analyzes, manages, and delivers advertisements according to the requirements of the advertiser and target audience. Campaigns look to maximize the effect of ads, ultimately increasing ad revenue.

Who are the actors in AdTech?

The ad tech ecosystem consists of Advertisers, demand-side platforms, ad exchanges, ad networks, supply-side platforms, and publishers.

Publishers make their impressions and ad space available through supply-side platforms and ad networks at ad exchanges. Demand-side platforms bid on those ads through real-time bidding, selecting the most relevant ad types and placements for the target audience. Thanks to adtech, this supply-demand loop takes place in seconds, in the time that takes a page to load.

The role of user data

This loop of supply and demand generates revenue thanks to a key component: user data.

Understanding the user behavior and activity on a particular platform is the core of the effectiveness of programmatic advertising. User data is what makes it possible, via sophisticated software algorithms, to deliver the right ad to the right person at the right time.

You can buy user data or you can gather it on your own. But, the goal is to gather actual data from actual people (behaviors, interests, attitudes, and attributes) to be accurate in your targeting. The more you can refine ad targeting to the user, the better your bottom line will look. Why? Because the more the user relates to the ad, the more inclined they will be to click on it. That’s simple.

For publishers, the more your website, application, or extension marketing efforts apply to your target audience, the higher the value of your digital real estate for advertisers.

Advertising Technology for advertisers

Advertisers conform to the demand side of ad technology. Solutions geared for them aim to reach the target audience in the most efficient way and for the lowest possible price. These solutions help advertisers to run and optimize personalized programmatic campaigns, targeting and retargeting potential customers.

The advertiser’s ad tech stack may comprise some or all these types of tools:

  • A remarketing/ retargeting tool 

The fast pace of digital communications and the short attention span of customers means that sometimes a consumer will have interest in an ad but not follow through. Later, the consumer cannot find the ad or recall the name of the company (didn’t happen to us all?). Therefore, retargeting is essential for marketers to push consumers down the funnel.

  • Prospecting tools 

Expanding their customer base is a priority for most companies. Thus, machine-learning-powered prospecting tools help companies find their target audience in ad networks and ad exchanges. The more marketers use the tool, the more the system learns and refine the prospecting process.

  • Data management platforms

As we mentioned above, leveraging user data is a basic concept of programmatic advertising. Gathering, processing, and analyzing consumer behavior and transactional information makes it possible for companies to pinpoint the ads to the users to the dot.

  • Demand-side platforms

This is the technology that facilitates finding, bidding, and placing the ads at the right placement automatically. The system works automatically, serving the ads according to relevance for the end-user, the budget, and the criteria specified by the advertiser. Some of the top demand-side platforms are:

  • Facebook
  • Rocket Fuel
  • Amazon
  • AppNexus

Advertising Technology for publishers

Ad tech for publishers aims to achieve the highest price for the ad placement or impression from the most relevant buyers.

The right supply-side platform, like CodeFuel, can maximize the revenue of your digital property, whether is a website, an application, or an extension by delivering the most relevant ads to high intent users. It uses contextualization and intent-based technology to ensure the right ad gets to the user most likely to click on it.

This enhances the user experience, increasing the value of the website or app for advertisers, thus ensuring higher bids.

Elements of the Ad technology Ecosystem

Elements of the Ad technology Ecosystem

Image credit: Nagle

Ad exchange

This solution works as an intermediary in the real-time bidding process. Ad tech providers use ad exchanges to connect DSP to SSP. Publishers and advertisers don’t usually have access to the information shared in the ad exchange. However, their traffic and inventory pass through the ad exchange on the way to the advertiser or publisher, respectively.

Ad networks often buy both traffic and inventory from ad exchanges to sell on their own.

Ad Exchange

Ad network

Content delivery network

Ad network

Image source  

A CDN is a distributed network of servers deployed in multiple data centers. The goal of a content delivery network is to serve content to end-users with minimal latency and load times. CDNS are used in adtech to host ads so they are served to users from the closest server, minimizing the time to load the ads.

Ad server

These were among the first ad tech developments, used to host and store ads, then serving them on the publisher’s website. Nowadays, ad servers are full ad tech platforms for launching and managing ad campaigns, connecting publishers and advertisers.

Ad servers also collect data on ad performance to optimize campaigns. This technology is what makes it possible for media buying automation.

Agency Trading Desk (ATD)

Is a set of tools used by media agencies to plan, buy and manage to advertise. Organizations that are not yet ready to install a DSP or justify an in-house team use ATD services. The downside of using an agency trading desk is that advertisers don’t have direct access to the inventory.

Demand-side Platform (DSP)

Is a platform that allows users to buy inventory from various ad exchanges and supply-side platforms (SSP). Unlike an ad server, with DSP advertisers don’t need to negotiate prices with publishers. They set their CPM (Cost per Mille), target preferences, and can launch the campaign. A DSP also lets you set bidding rules and optimization tools that help run your media buying without having to be on top of it.

Supply-side Platform (SSP)

Is the publisher’s side of a DSP. This ad software enables publishers to make available, manage, sell and optimize inventory on their websites and applications. SSP also works based on real-time bidding. That means you don’t need to negotiate rates with advertisers. You only need to embed an ad tag and or a header to the website, which will allow the browser to request an ad for that place in the website. The tag is forwarded to the SSP, which automatically selects a suitable ad from the DSP according to the publisher’s data.

Data Management Platform (DMP)

A data management platform enables advertisers to understand in-depth their audience’s behavior. The DMP collects data from different sources, hashtags, mobile apps, cookies, APIs, etc. The platform uses third-party cookies to define the user profile and develop behavioral targeting in a DSP or ad server.

Customer Data Platform (CDP)

Customer Data Platforms go a bit further than DMP. Not only collects third-party data but also personally identifiable information (PII). Thus a CDP can create a complete profile with a name, company email, and other data, gathered under consent, from analytics tools, Customer Relation Management tools, subscriptions, newsletter signups, transactional systems, etc. This technology will probably be very popular once third-party cookies are phased out by Google in 2022.

Inventory and Ad Quality Scanning Tools

Inventory and Ad Quality Scanning Tools

Image source

These tools are critical to prevent ad fraud, which affects around 37% of ads. Inventory and ad quality scanning tools help prevent traffic bots, malvertising, and ad fraud by scanning the ads before being served on the website.

How Ad Tech simplifies media trading

Without ad tech, programmatic advertising wouldn’t exist. By automating the media trading process it takes the negotiation out of the hands of publishers and buyers, simplifying the process. Ad tech enables advertisers to bid on the most relevant ad placements for their campaign without having to check site by site. Simply input the requirements and budget and the platform will find, bid, and acquire the best ad placements at the best possible price, then serving the ads immediately.

On the supply side, ad tech helps publishers to sell ad space without having to find and negotiate with advertisers. It also makes it possible to sell impressions and inventory in seconds. Thus, ad tech is taking the hassle out of media trading.

The current trends in the Ad Tech Industry

Where is Ad Tech going in the next few years? The industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 20 years and is not willing to stop evolving. Here are the top trends that are shaping the ad tech industry:

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

These two technologies help advertisers analyze massive amounts of user data, incorporating behavior analysis to predict the actions of a user online. This data is processed and correlated to serve the right ad according to the user intent at this moment.

Post cookies optimization

Google’s phasing out third-party cookies by 2022 is causing major upheaval in the programmatic industry. Some markets report significant drops in buyer’s bid rates as a consequence. In Germany, buyer’s bid rates decreased by 40%.

Companies are trying to find a viable user identity alternative that doesn’t affect them so much. Some alternatives may include storing data without using cookies by opt-in forms, universal ids, data pools, among others.

Programmatic everything

When Netflix and Amazon Prime changed the way we consume multimedia content from cable to digital, advertisers needed to transition with them. Now, programmatic advertising is making its way to television, audio, and podcasts to take advantage of the power of data for this segment of the market.

Ad Tech or MarTech?

While often confused, adtech and martech are two different industries. Is true, they intersect in some features and functions but each one has a different approach. Putting it simply is the same difference between marketing and advertising.

Advertising implies using paid media and content for promoting products and services. Marketing is a more broad approach to promotion, and inside the marketing mix of activities is advertising.

Ad Tech
Use cases
Paid ad campaigns
Display ads, video ads, PPC, social media ads, CTV
Simplify media trading, optimize monetization revenue
Media buyers, ad agencies, website owners, app developers, networks
Use cases
Paid and unpaid promotion methods
Social media, email, direct sales, content marketing, video marketing, conversational marketing
Facilitate and automate marketing strategy implementation
Marketing teams, freelance marketers, sales teams
Ad Tech
Use cases
Paid ad campaigns
Display ads, video ads, PPC, social media ads, CTV
Simplify media trading, optimize monetization revenue
Media buyers, ad agencies, website owners, app developers, networks
Use cases
Paid and unpaid promotion methods
Social media, email, direct sales, content marketing, video marketing, conversational marketing
Facilitate and automate marketing strategy implementation
Marketing teams, freelance marketers, sales teams

Make the most of your media trading with CodeFuel

CodeFuel ML and AI capabilities facilitate media buying while improving the revenue for publishers. Getting the right monetization solution is critical for success. Leverage user intent in your digital property by using search, shopping, and news to engage users and improve their experience, serving them ads matched precisely with their queries.

What Is Media Planning? Essential Guide and Best Free Templates to Download

What Is Media Planning? Essential Guide and Best Free Templates to Download

When you plan to implement an advertising campaign, one of the most important steps is to get your media plan in top shape. These days, a well-crafted media plan can be the difference between a successful campaign or a failure.

In this guide, we are going to guide you through all you need to know to create a perfect media plan including the best free templates to get you started.

What Is Media Planning? Meaning and Definition

Media planning Is the process marketers use to define how often, when, and where they will run ads to maximize conversions and ROI. Marketers prepare a media plan that includes how they will distribute the advertising budget and resources, which channels and type of ads they will use. 

These days, when marketers need to do much with less, meeting their audience at the right channel and serving the ads at the right time, planning is essential to prevent wasting time, money, and efforts.

What’s in a Media Plan?

The media plan consists of the details of the media you will create. It has your budget spending and details when and where you will publish to engage and convert your audience. Some plans support a company’s global campaign while others are individual strategies to connect with followers and/or customers.

But it is not only a budget detail. The media plan displays the steps on the advertising strategy, the channels to use, the frequency of the publishing, etc. The plan allows marketers to have a view at a glance of the advertising activities that will be carried for the advertiser.


What’s in a Media Plan?Here are the things you cannot forget to include:
Business goali .e:
increase sales to existing customers
Type of channel
Name of platform and description
Detailed spend by platform
Pricing model (CPC/CPM/CPA)
Revenue and Return on Advertising.

So what’s in a media plan?

Here are the key components of creating an effective media plan:

  1. Marketing problem: the media plan always starts with trying to solve a marketing problem.  For instance: not seeing enough conversions from their website.
  2. Marketing objectives and KPIs: this is what the organization wants to achieve, it can create brand awareness, increase sales or engagement. This becomes the marketing objective, in the form of measurable goals. This includes selecting what metrics you will use to track success.
  3. Media objectives: these are the objectives for the advertising campaign. To define the objectives the marketer needs to take into account:  the total budget, the media budget, key messages, calls to action, deliverables, timeline, specifications.
  4. Media strategies: these are the actual recommendations and implementation ideas of the media plan. Which channels to use, ad types, when and where to launch. This stage includes monitoring and measuring the advertising campaign effectiveness.

Media Plan

Figure1. How media objectives and marketing strategies interact as factors of media planning.

What Are the Top Factors That Affect Media Planning?

1. The Product

What are you going to advertise? Is it a product or service? The nature of the product influences the type of media you can use. You may want to advertise technical or software products on review pages for SaaS, for example. Social media may be a better fit for fashion and consumer products.

2. The Customers

Your audience is the most important factor. Check the demographics of potential customers, the age group, gender, income, interests, education level. Targeting the wrong crowd can be disastrous. It is critical then to learn as much as possible about the people that may buy the product or service.

3. Conversion Goals

This is a specific factor among business goals. It refers to what are your goals for that particular campaign, how many people do you expect to convert, click or make a purchase on the ad? Miscalculating the conversion goals can give you an inaccurate idea of what you expect from the campaign.

4. Frequency

This factor stems from your potential customers’ habits. You need to know when and how often they are online on the channels you want to use to reach them. Running the ad too frequently may annoy customers, running it too sparingly may fail to get their attention.

5. Is Your Goal Reach or Engagement?

Failing to answer this question can make or ruin a campaign. If the goal of your campaign is to generate brand awareness, then achieving the maximum reach should be an objective. For instance, if you are launching a new product you want everywhere to know about.

6. What Do You Consider a Successful Campaign?

You should set from the onset what is the expected outcome of the campaign. Do it in measurable terms. For instance, grow 15% of the engagement or acquire 20% more clients than last quarter. Having a measurable goal can help you make adjustments if needed.

7. What’s Your Message?

Think of what type of messaging can resonate with your target audience and drive engagement. What is the message you want to deliver with the campaign?. A good advertising campaign aligns with the core message of the company and enhances it.

8. What’s Your Budget?

This is perhaps the most complex factor. Planning a budget too tight can be a cause of expensive top-ups. On the other hand, setting a budget too high can lead to a waste of resources. Set a realistic budget that accounts for leeway so you don’t have the problem of getting overboard in the middle of the campaign.

9. What Media Are the Competitors Using?

We are not saying to copy your competitors but to keep an eye on what they are doing. Take a look at what tactics are successful. By knowing what works and what doesn’t you can focus on doing things better.

10. What’s the timeline?

How much time can you realistically dedicate to the campaign? What is the campaign timeline? The timeline needs to be precise to generate the maximum impact.

Media Planning Step by Step

Media Planning

1. Define Your Goals

Before any planning first, you need to know what you want to achieve with the plan. Therefore, evaluate the organization’s main goals and how the future campaign aligns with the company’s main goals and objectives.

Once you do that, you can define the media goals and objectives which are the goals for the campaign. To achieve it, the marketer needs to analyze the current marketing position, including the competitive environment so they can approach the present marketing problem.

When you have a complete analysis, then you can put these objectives into goals you can measure with key performance indicators (KPIs).

2. Who’s Your Target Audience?

Target Audience


Now is the time to define exactly who you are directing the campaign for. The golden rule is the more targeted the message, the better the outcome. Since different audiences react to different media, ad types, and messages. You need to consider this when creating the media plan.

Your target audience also has preferences for specific content types and platforms. That’s why it is important to market to the audience where they use to spend their time online. Without researching the target audience, the message can be too broad or scattered and it won’t be measured accurately.

Once you find your target audience, you need to gather as much information as possible. Not only the demographics but their habits, interests, and how they consume media, then define the rest of the plan around these data.

3. Consider the Budget, Frequency, and Reach

Next, it is important to determine how much and how often you will serve the ads to your audience. Marketers should take into consideration to avoid alienating the audience, serving them too many ads.

There are three main approaches to ad frequency: 

  • Continuity: this refers to running an ad on a fixed schedule so the audience is constantly exposed. This approach works well with generic consumer products and awareness campaigns.
  • Flighting:  this method involves running ads intermittently. This method works best with seasonal items.
  • Pulsing: this is a combination of both methods. Here you run a consistent stream of ads at the most convenient times and pulse reminders at other times.

Finally, you need to define the reach of the campaign. This is determined by the size of the audience. The larger the audience, the broader the reach.

4. Select the Media Channels

At this stage, you already know who is going to consume your audience and what’s the goal for your campaign. Now you need to select which channels you are going to use to reach them.  Take into account which pricing method you will use, which platform you will sign on, etc.

5. Write the Plan

Once you have all the pieces in place, it is time to write the plan. A media plan should be specific and measurable. It should include details like the specific media channels, the number of impressions,s and development specifications.

6. Monitor, Measure, Analyze and Repeat. 

Now comes the part of executing the campaign. Analyze the measurable goals by tracking the engagement, conversions, and all the rest of the KPIs. Thus you can check what is working and what it isn’t. There should be continuous optimization in a constant loop of monitoring, measuring, and analyzing.

Benefits and Challenges of Media Planning

Challenges of media planning

  • Platform preference: brands need to reach consumers in the various channels and platforms that the target audience uses while keeping the campaign within budget.
  • Too focused on the budget: campaigns that revolve too much around the budget don’t have the flexibility to allocate a bit extra to different channels that prove more successful.
  • Inaccurate measurements: because of the diversity of online and offline channels, it is difficult for marketers to compare the performance of each other and detect which are the most effective.
  • Not targeted at the consumer level: to be successful, a campaign needs to be able to reach at consumer level with in-depth marketing.

Benefits of media planning

  • A deeper knowledge of your target audience. 
  • Keep control of the budget 
  • More decision-power over which platforms and channels to share your content
  • Monitoring advertising efforts on a deep level

Best Free Media Planning Templates to download

1. Hubspot media plan template: The best solution for budget tracking

Hubspot Media

In our opinion, this is the best solution for budget tracking. The spreadsheet has all the macros you need to track and report your media spending.

What it lacks is space to add an overview of the previous stages of media planning, like objectives, strategies, and goals, (the plan itself), which can be easily added in another document or tab.

You can download it from here, and make your own copy via Google Sheets. While it can work in MSExcel, we recommend keeping it in Google Sheets for better performance.

2. Hootsuite social media strategy template: Best for social media strategies


This plan enables you to easily set the goals, objectives, and metrics of your social media campaign. You can use it to create and adjust social media profiles, create personas and overall have a view at a glance. You can download it with your business email from here.

3. Slidebean Media planning template: Best for presentations


This slide deck media planning template offers you the framework to create a presentation of your media planning. With slides that cover all aspects of your marketing and media plan, from detailing the problem to the campaign breakdown in an editable file. You can download the pdf version or register to use an editable version.

While it is good for presenting the media plan, this template does nothing to help you execute or track the results. You can download the template here.

4. New Old Stamp Media Plan for Advertising Template: Simplest of All

New Old Stamp Media

If you are just starting and don’t need much tracking and reporting, you can use this example to create your own spreadsheet and track your media plan. It is very simple and doesn’t allow for reporting, but it can be useful to jot down data for a glance.

5. AdCMO media planning template


This simple media planning template enables you to have a high-level overview of the project and the goals you want to achieve. It is another example of a simple media plan but a bit more complete, including events and other types of media. You can download the plan template here.

6. Amazon media planning template

If you are using Amazon advertising, they provide a very useful quick media plan template you can download from here.

The template is very simple, a basic checklist you can copy/paste to your own document. It will help you have a high-level view of the entire plan.

Amazon Media

We suggest combining this template with other, more in-depth templates for a complete solution.

Is Media Planning the same as Media Buying?

Media buying is the next step after the media plan is complete. The media plan sets the framework according to which you will buy the media required to achieve the goals of the campaign.

Learn more about what is media buying in Media Buying Explained

Media buying involves evaluating and selecting all advertising options within your budget and other criteria specified in the media plan. Then, buying according to the combination of ad types and media channels will produce the best campaign results.

What Is the Point of Media Planning?

Media planning aims to detect the perfect mix of media channels that fit into a present budget to advertise a product, service, or brand. The best media plans enable organizations to meet customers on the channels they are.

A well-crafted media plan allows you to create the optimal mix of paid online and offline media that will produce the results you expect from your advertising campaign, by using data, research, and lessons learned from previous campaigns

Media Planning on Social, What’s the Difference

Social media advertising revenue is soaring. Social media advertising is the second biggest market for digital advertising according to Statista research. Today’s revenue of $138.2 billion is expected to reach $182.4 billion in 2025. The largest spending in social media advertising happens in the U.S, followed by China.

Media Planning


That’s why advertising on social media platforms is critical for most companies’ growth strategies these days. It includes content and ads posted on social media platforms.

The key steps of creating a social media plan for paid advertising are similar to digital ads media planning. The difference is that every social media platform is in itself an ad network and has its own requirements and pricing scheme.


Facebook enables the creation of images, video ads, carousels, and personalized shopping ads. It works as an ad network, connecting advertisers with publishers on Facebook and mobile apps.



Linkedin uses programmatic advertising to help advertisers publish on the platform according to the goal of the campaign, be it awareness, consideration, or conversion. Advertisers can set a budget and run the campaign with several options for their bidding strategy. The platform enables users to run video, static or native conversation ads.


Instagram allows advertisers to run video ads. It also enables shoppable ads with call-to-action buttons. Instagram advertising may cost from $2 to $6.7, depending on the pricing model for the bidding. CPC can go for $2/click and CPM over $6 for a thousand impressions. Since it is owned by Facebook, it allows you to build multi-platform campaigns, turning posts into ads on Facebook and Instagram.

  • It uses programmatic advertising to manage the budget for the ad campaigns.
  • They suggest you run the ad for 7 days to let the algorithm learn about the audience.
  • They offer video ads and promoted posts.

How to craft the Perfect Media Plan for Advertising (5 Tips)



  • Define the problem well: ask questions and try to find out what the marketing problem is as accurate as possible. When creating the plan, keep going back to the problem definition so you stay on track.
  • Set clear goals: ensure the goals and objectives are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely).
  • Invest in knowing your audience: the better you know your audience’s interests and habits, the more you can target them. The target audience should feel like an old friend you know very well how to catch their attention easily.
  • Have a distinct brand personality: your brand’s voice is what makes you recognizable from your competitors. Take time to build your brand personality and message so they will be memorable and your audience can recognize it at once.
  • Pay attention to the content journey: when creating the media plan, think about how consumers will get to your ad, what is the customer journey and at what stage in the funnel they are when they get there? It is not the same to create ads for the top of the funnel as for the bottom.

Media Planning Tips

How to Split the Budget Between Offline Media and Online Media

All the factors we analyzed as part of your media plan will help you determine what is the best channel to communicate with your target audience. This may include allocating some of your budgets to offline channels.

Media Channels

Do Offline Channels Still Have an Impact?

Depending on your audience, you may have to include some offline media alternatives. For instance, if your product demographics include older generations, advertising on TV and Cable may still get the attention of viewers.

With offline channels, you have the problem that it is difficult to measure and track the impact of such advertising. Tracking direct sales after an offline marketing campaign is one of the ways to do it. Here are some indicators that your offline campaign is successful:

  • You notice an increase in direct or indirect sales
  • There are more inquiries to partners, direct or resellers.
  • You notice your website traffic is increasing
  • Surveys show better brand awareness
  • More leads or better qualified

Online Channels

Online channels have the advantage of being easily accessible and tracked. Online channels have metrics that give you a quicker and better understanding of the impact of the campaign. Some of the indicators of success for offline campaigns are also useful to monitor for online channels.

For online advertising, you should look at a combination of:

Social media: This channel allows you to have maximum reach and highly targeted impact. Most platforms offer advertisers to publish ads and build a community.

Programmatic advertising: This highly targeted method of advertising, uses algorithms to find specific audiences and serve the right ads can save you a lot of time and effort. It uses real-time bidding to select the highest paying advertisers for the digital property.

PPC: Pay-per-click is a popular form of online advertising Publishers sign with an ad network and get served display ads and search ads targeted to the visitor’s intent.

Simplify your Media Planning with CodeFuel

Defining, planning, and executing your media plan can be a lot of effort and take a lot of your budget. By serving highly targeted intent-based search and display ads, CodeFuel makes sure your advertising campaign hits the target every time. Publishers can monetize digital properties by leveraging search, shopping ads, and news to enhance user experience.

Learn more about how CodeFuel can simplify your media planning by contacting us.

Ad Fraud: The Complete Guide To Protect Yourself

Ad Fraud: The Complete Guide To Protect Yourself

Ad fraud is a huge challenge for marketers. With the losses caused by ad fraud increasing exponentially, marketers and publishers need to take action to protect themselves. Learn what is Ad fraud and effective tips to protect your marketing efforts.

What is Ad Fraud?

Ad fraud is an attempt to defraud or trick digital advertising platforms to obtain financial gain. Criminals often use bots and other software methods to carry on fraud attacks. When scammers use bots to trick advertisers and PPC networks, it is called click fraud.

Types of Ad Fraud

Types of Ad Fraud


Criminals use different methods, to carry out ad fraud:

  • Click hijacking: when an attacker “steals” a link that was directed to one ad and redirects it to a different ad. To achieve this, attackers compromise the user’s computer and the ad publisher’s website. They also can compromise proxy servers.
  • Fake apps installation: this method targets in-app advertising. Teams of people in click farms – low-paid workers who click massively on targeted links – install apps thousands of times. The goal is to gain advertising revenue.

Fake apps installation


  • Hidden ads: this method aims to defraud networks that pay by impressions. Scammers hide the ad, showing it on the page in a way the user doesn’t detect it. Thus, the user is “seeing” the ad, and it counts as an impression for payment purposes.
  • Botnet fraud: scammers use botnets to generate fake clicks on an ad or direct fake traffic to a website displaying the ads to generate “views”.
  • Invalid Ad Traffic (IVT): this umbrella term is traffic that is not coming from real users. It could be coming from bots or other automated systems.

Mobile Ad Fraud

This type of ad fraud is directed to mobile applications. The goal of attackers is to steal money from advertising payments into fake impressions or faked installs.

There are several variations of mobile ad fraud. For instance, a fake publisher may hide adverts in a few pixels or place the ad out of sight so it generates views without the knowledge of the user.

A fraudulent application can generate clicks by running a feature in the background. Other cases involve sending impressions as clicks to make them count as it was converted into an engagement. Other times fraudsters send clicks from fake device IDs to track vendors.

Another common type of mobile app fraud is ‘click injection.’ In this attack, fraudsters publish or gain access to an Android application. Then use it to track installs in other apps and trigger clicks before the install is complete. Then, the scammer gets the credit for the install.

In a more sophisticated version of this exploit, called SDK spoofing, the attacker creates a fake but legitimate-looking install to attract installs and eat through an advertiser’s budget. The problem is that the installs appear legitimate because fraudsters collect real device data.

Ad stacking is a type of mobile ad fraud where the scammer stacks multiple ads one over another with the goal to hide them from view while appearing in records to justify the payment.

Why Does Mobile Ad Fraud Happen?

With everybody glued to their phones nowadays, mobile advertising revenues are soaring. According to Statista, mobile advertising spending reached $189 billion in 2019 and is expected to go over $240 billion by 2022.

Mobile Ad Fraud


Mobile ad fraud gives hackers an opportunity to make money relatively quickly by exploiting two key factors: one, the widespread popularity of mobile apps, and two, the lack of organized industry action to combat fraud.

How Do You Detect Ad Fraud? Step by Step Guide

Detecting ad fraud is easier if you manage your own display advertising campaigns but it can be done by paying attention to some key factors. Here are some red flags that can signal fraud activity:

  • The on-site analysis is not good

When you see the same ad performing normally in one channel, showing real behavior (browsing through other pages, normal time on page, etc) and another channel shows high bounce rates and short sessions, it’s time to dig deeper and investigate. 

  • The campaign shows zero performance

This itself is the most common warning sign of fraud. It is even more obvious if you compare the display ad campaign with social media channels’ ad campaigns. If the landing page and offer are the same and you still see zero conversions from your display campaigns when other channels do produce, it’s a big red flag. It is highly improbable that your visitors would follow through with the desired action in one channel, and zero people will do it in the other. 

  • Your Click-through-rates are off the charts

On the other hand, if your click-through rates are abnormally high, let’s say more than 1%, it can be that a fraudster is tricking the platform. It is worthwhile to investigate more and check if you see any other of the above-mentioned signs. 

  • The site lists look fishy

Having long-tail site placements in a campaign report is not alone an indicator of fraud. However, if you see a very large number of long-tail publishers gathered into a tail aggregate, check the list to see if you detect suspicious sites on that list. Scammers generally use obscure sites.

  • Visits seem to come from datacenters instead of user IPs

Both scams use data center IPs to conduct their attacks. Therefore, a red flag is when you see a data center IP address. Is a giveaway that the visitor is likely not a real one.

Other flag signs:

  • High traffic spikes with low conversion rates
  • The clicks or impressions peak at unusual times
  • A large number of repeated visits from the same user agent.

 4 Tips to Prevent Ad Fraud 

  • Stay alert for suspicious IPs: If you are not using an anti-fraud protection tool, try to spot suspicious IPs from publishers reporting, and eliminate them as quickly as possible.
  • Limit your target audience: Targeting specific audiences can help prevent fraud, by limiting the opportunities for attackers to create fake traffic on your ad.
  • If it seems fake, it probably is: If the inventory advertisement seems too good to be true, it probably is. For instance, if a big-name brand ad is selling the product ridiculously low, it is probably a scammer trying to catch unsuspecting users.
  • Use only trusted Demand-side platforms (DSP): Media buyers use demand-side platforms to interact with ad exchanges and purchase inventory. Because the transactions are completely automated, they are vulnerable to ad fraud. Working only with a trusted DSP can greatly minimize the possibility of fraud.

How You Can Actively Guard Against Ad Fraud

  • Use anti-targeting pre-bid contextual data segments

These segments are available through the demand-side platform. What do they do? They allow you to select segments and filter out specific levels of invalid traffic, or viewability tiers. The downside? You can end with a too-narrow inventory. 

  • Leverage an ad verification tool

These tools give advertisers campaign metrics and detect automated bot traffic, preventing fraud. The catch is that to work with ad verification tools as a media buyer, you need to have your own ad server to include the tool’s tracking code in your ad tags. 

  • Don’t stop analyzing your campaign data

Constant monitoring is critical to detect signs of fraud in your campaign. If you use an ad verification tool you can already have the metrics on invalid traffic levels.

Is Ad Fraud Illegal?

Despite the huge losses it causes, most countries don’t have specific laws against ad fraud. Many times this type of criminal activity falls under the category of cybercrime. While the European Union has strict anti-fraud laws as a whole, individual union members’ law is not that specific.

Scammers take advantage of these legal voids to conduct their activities and get away with them. Nevertheless, there have been some cases of ad fraud lawsuits.

Can you succeed at suing for ad fraud? The results are really unpredictable. Mostly because it is really difficult to prove who did the ad fraud.

Why Is Ad Fraud a Huge Problem for Advertising?

These days, ad fraud represents one in three dollars digital advertisers spend. Since it directly affects advertising budgets, ad fraud can undermine the best marketing efforts.

Ad fraud makes marketers make mistakes when measuring the performance of a campaign since it tampers with the real traffic and clicks results. For marketers, this can be a nightmare.

Why is it so difficult for advertisers to fight ad fraud?

First, ad fraud can go a lot of time undetected, so marketers are launching and measuring campaigns without knowing those are affected by ad fraud. This means any results and metrics are not accurate. For instance, in the common ad fraud case where an ad gets a lot of impressions but very few conversions, most marketers will assume the message is not getting through. The reality is that the ad clicks are being stolen by an ad fraudster.

Second, although some marketers are more vigilant of the signs of ad fraud, they are swept by what seems like good metrics and don’t want to see that it may be a product of fraud.

Latest Ad Fraud Trends

As companies protect against ad fraud attempts, scammers also improve their tactics. Here are ad fraud trends we may expect to see in 2022. 

  • Attack on the entire marketing funnel: anti-fraud experts expect fraudsters to combine their mechanisms in order to create collaborative attacks that manipulate the whole marketing funnel.
  • More evasiveness and new exploits: attackers will get better at covering their tracks. Fraudsters may try to do reverse engineering of anti-fraud tools to try to be undetected as much as possible.
  • Mobile ad fraud will be more complex: attackers will get better at providing a complete set of metrics to trick advertising systems. This may include providing seemingly legitimate (impressions, clicks, purchases, etc).
  • More attacks on shopping applications: because e-commerce applications tend to use the CPA pricing model which is easier to hack.

The Biggest Ad Fraud in History

Dubbed the “Biggest Ad Fraud Ever” by Forbes, the attack called the Methbot campaign, enabled a group of Russian criminals to make between $3 to $5 million a day by faking clicks on video ads.

The group Ad Fraud Komanda acted carefully and efficiently. Using fake domain registrations they tricked programmatic advertising algorithms into buying their space over big-name brands. Next, the criminal group sent fake traffic from more than 570,000 bots to those ads.

Since the bots appeared to “watch” the almost 300,000 million video ads a day, the platform paid the criminals according to the pay-per-click system. With an average PPC rate of $13 per thousand views, the hackers were able to reap substantial gains.

The bots were intelligently programmed to mimic the reactions of real users, with fake mouse movements and social media login information. Criminals took pains to make the bots appear as close to real users as possible, even stealing hundreds of thousands of addresses and associating them with U.S internet providers so the system would think they belong to American addresses.

Key Ad Fraud Statistics

How Much Is Fraud Costing Advertisers?

  • Digital ad fraud losses will grow exponentially by 2022

According to Statista, global costs will grow from $19 billion in 2019 to $44 billion in 2022.

  • In 2017, close to 40 % of ad impressions from programmatic advertising were fraudulent (Statista)
  • Ad fraud steals 20% of the global online ad spending (Campaign Asia)
  • In the US alone the costs of digital ad fraud will reach $15.09 billion by 2021. (Statista)

Fraud Costing Advertisers


Which Regions Are Worst Hit by Ad Fraud? 

Regions Worst Hit by Ad Fraud

How Does Ad Fraud Harm Publishers?

Ad fraud tactics not only affect marketers but can break havoc in a publisher’s business. Here’s how different ad fraud techniques affect publishers:

  • Domain spoofing: the fraudster takes place when a scammer impersonates a legitimate domain to present low-quality inventory as high quality. The buyer then purchases low-quality impressions at a higher cost. These attacks damage the reputation of publishers.
  • Ad injection: this method involves fraudsters placing fraudulent ads on a publisher’s website without their knowledge. The injected ads look exactly like legitimate ads but they send the revenue to the fraudster.
  • Ad placement fraud: this involves manipulating a publisher’s inventory to generate revenue, they can be hidden or stacked.

How Does Using a Monetization Platform Help Protects from Ad Fraud

Attackers prey on the lack of relations between the parties in programmatic advertising. Using a reliable partner, a monetization platform, can ensure publishers get high visibility over their site metrics and performance, which minimizes the risk for ad fraud. CodeFuel leverages trusted ad networks to provide reliable contextual ads.

Learn more about how CodeFuel, by using trusted partners gives you clear-cut monetization.

What Is Media Trading and Tips For Increasing Revenue

What Is Media Trading and Tips For Increasing Revenue

What is Programmatic Media Trading?

Definition: Programmatic media buying is an automated method of buying and selling digital advertising according to the decisions on a per-impression basis by supply and demand parties and in accordance with the rules of the exchange platform.

Put it simply, programmatic media trading is the buying of digital advertising space in real-time via an automated auction (real-time bidding). Sites that want to sell advertising space through this type of auction typically offer the inventory through a marketplace or ad exchange.

This method allows advertisers to reach the audiences they want, based on the value of the impression. On the supply side, it allows publishers to get higher-paying advertisers, since the higher the demand for your site audience, the higher the price for the impression.

Programmatic Media Trading

Source: Google

Programmatic mechanics 101

Programmatic media trading uses automated platforms to simplify the buying/selling process according to a predefined budget. Advertisers connect to an ad exchange placing offers using their set budget. The ad exchange connects to ad networks which then choose ad spaces that meet the target market, size, and budget of the advertiser.

Programmatic trading offers advertisers better targeting for their campaigns. It also improves the quality of advertisers publishers may get on their sites. The automated technology uses data management and algorithms to select the right ad to serve the right user at the right time and price.

To understand programmatic media buying, you first need to know key concepts related to this process.

There are three categories of programmatic media buying:

Real-time bidding (RTB)

In this method, inventory prices are decided through a real-time auction. Any advertiser or publisher can access it. Ad exchanges and supply-side platforms often provide the framework for this auction.

How does it work? Ad exchanges collect information about the page and the user viewing it every time an ad impression appears in a user’s web browser. The ad exchange auctions the impression off to the advertiser that is willing to pay the highest price for it.

Private marketplace (PMP)

These auctions have restrictions on who can participate. Often they select advertisers on an invite-only basis. In other cases, publishers may have an interview and selection process so advertisers can apply to enter the PMP.

Programmatic direct

In this case, a publisher sells media inventory directly at a fixed cost per mille (CPM – cost per impression) to advertisers.

Programmatic advertisements have three components: the supplier side, the demand side, and the exchange platform (more about this below)

What is the role of a programmatic media trader?

A media trader is the professional that spends the assigned digital budget within the RTB environments. A media trader needs to know where is best to buy inventory for an advertiser, meeting the campaign goals and ROI.

Media traders maximize the advertiser’s digital budgets aligning them with the business goals. They create real-time bidding and paid search strategies, implementing this in digital media buying platforms, to ensure the advertiser’s goals are met.

A media trader has four key responsibilities when executing an RTB campaign:

  • Know the market: media traders need to understand the market in which the impressions are happening. They define the strategy they will use, retargeting, prospecting, contextual targeting, and more.
  • Oversee ad operations: this is the technical side of launching ads, including the restrictions on the placement of the ads and managing attribution.
  • Trading: this involves managing a campaign, purchasing the ads, checking the reports, and making changes to the targeting. Is the responsibility of the trader to ensure the best possible outcome, achieving the highest possible ROI from the ad campaign.
  • Reporting: the media trader pulls all the reporting from the platform analytics and provides insights on the key drivers of that performance.

How does a media trading desk work?

A media trading desk can be a service provided by an agency or a software solution. The service or solution provides planning, management, and optimization of programmatic advertising campaigns. 

Advertisers benefit from an agency trading desk (ATD) that enables them to buy media for less than managing a campaign in-house. At first, you may think that ATD is similar to a demand-side platform (DSP). However, an agency trading desk offers the added value of programmatic advertising professionals on top.

ATDs provide the expertise of software developers, account managers, and data analysts that optimize the media buying for the agency’s campaign. ATDs work between the advertiser and the supply and demand platforms, and networks to purchase media. In this sense, they work similarly to AdTech platforms. They provide added services that regular demand or supply platforms don’t give to their clients like:

  • Planning
  • Campaign launching and optimization
  • Reporting and analytics

The State of Programmatic Advertising in 2021 ( Statistics)

Digital advertising has been changing in the last years driven by automation and innovative solutions that benefit both publishers and advertisers. Here are top statistics you need to know about the state of programmatic advertising in 2021:

Global programmatic ad spend will reach 155 billion in 2021

Global Programmatic Ad Spend

Global ad spending 2017 to 2021 (Statista)

Programmatic ad spending is projected to grow 20% in 2021. 

The percentage of growth is also seeing a rising trend. Companies are expected to spend 20% more on programmatic advertising in 2021 than in 2020.

And the rising trend will grow well into 2023, according to a study by an e-marketer.

In fact, programmatic display ad spending is growing more than non-programmatic display ads. 

Programmatic Display Ad Spending


More statistics

  • The average cost per action (CPA) is $49 for paid search and $75 for display ads.
  • The US social media ad spends reached $43 billion in 2020. This was a 20% increase from 2019. (Source: eMarketer)
  • Marketers use ineffective strategies: Only 61% of marketers believe their marketing strategy is effective.
  • 40% of marketers consider that proving the ROI of the marketing efforts is a challenge.

Programmatic Advertising Trends

The pandemic affected programmatic advertising, but as was reported by MediaRadar in September, the numbers were bouncing back. There was a 36% growth in July 2021 from 2020 levels, which puts the market at pre-pandemic levels.

What’s next for programmatic advertising? Here are some trends to look for:

  • Avoiding “heavy ads” 

In August 2020, Google implemented a feature on Chrome that blocks “heavy ads” to improve the user experience. Any ad that Google considers as heavy is removed and replaced with a label that says: “ad removed”

What’s a heavy ad?

  • It has more than 4MB of network data usage
  • Uses the main thread for 60 seconds in total
  • Uses 15 seconds of CPU in a 30 seconds window

This means companies will need to optimize video ads to prevent being labeled as heavy ads.

  • Planning for Post Third Party Cookies (P3PC)

Third-party cookies are being phased out on Chrome by 2022 and are going to change the way companies carry programmatic advertising. Organizations need to prepare for 2022 when they can no longer use 3PC. That means they need to take a multi-layered approach to advertise.

  • Programmatic advertising spending will continue rising

The 2020 IAB Europe reports that companies will keep raising their budgets for programmatic advertising. Here are some of the reasons:

  • The number of companies investing more than 41% of their display budget into programmatic advertising grew to 70% in 2020.
  • 54% of advertising agencies buy almost half of their video ads programmatically.
  • Publishers report they are selling 81% of their inventory.
  • Adoption of emerging formats

New formats like connected TV (CTV) and Digital out-of-home media are slowly taking off. CTV in particular offers an opportunity for programmatic advertising. It allows advertisers to reach two different audience types at the same time. The people that want to watch TV on their timeframe and people that avoid linear TV.

What about Digital Media Trading Platforms? How do they work?

Technology is changing the way companies buy and sell digital advertising space. What once was done by human buyers, and advertising salespeople now is done through technology trading platforms.

How do they work? The media trading ecosystem consists of three key actors: demand-side platforms, supply-side platforms, and the ad exchange where they interact. Let’s explore how each one works:

Demand Side Platforms (DSP)

Demand-side platforms enable advertisers to buy impressions from publisher sites, targeted to their audience.  Publishers put their ad impressions for sale on ad exchanges. The DSP selects the right impressions for the advertiser in a real-time auction through real-time bidding.

How does this work?

The advertiser inputs the target audience preference and budget into the DSP. Then, the platform places programmatic bids using artificial intelligence (AI). The auctions take place in seconds and the highest bid ad is the one that appears on the page. The entire process happens automatically, without human intervention.

Best demand-side platforms

Some of the most popular demand-side platforms are well-known digital giants, others act independently of the media channel they run.

  • Facebook Ads Manager: they provide the buying platform and the biddable ad space. The ads manager enables advertisers to create, edit, manage, track and analyze campaigns from one place.
  • Rocket Fuel: is a self-service DSP, allowing companies to bring programmatic marketing in-house. The platform uses predictive AI to serve real-time ads relevant to the customer profile.
  • Amazon: Amazon Advertising Platform (AAP) uses the amazon algorithm to serve ads in real-time, leveraging precisely targeted campaigns for relevant customers. The downside is that users (advertisers/publishers) don’t get much information about conversion rates or click-through rates.
  • MediaMath: is an independent programmatic company for advertisers. One of its advantages, MediaMath can have full access to their data.

Supply-side platforms

A supply-side platform is a software solution geared to help online publishers sell their display, video, or mobile ad impressions. It works as the publisher-side of a demand-side platform. SSPs are designed to maximize the prices of impressions for publishers.

How does it work?

It allows publishers to connect their inventory to several ad exchanges, DSPs, and ad networks. Thus expanding the range of potential buyers for ad space. Real-time bidding helps publishers to get the highest possible rates. The SSP inputs impressions into ad exchanges, where a DSP analyzes and purchases them. The process, although looking complicated, happens in real-time in the time a page takes to load.

Best supply-side platforms

  • MoPub: is a hosted ad serving solution built specifically for mobile publishers.
  • Google Ad Manager: formerly Double Click for Publishers, works as an ad revenue engine that connects with the Google Ad Exchange. The downside is that it is locked to Google products.
  • Sharethrough:  is an omnichannel supply-side platform for programmatic advertising, geared to publishers, content creators, and app developers.
  • AppNexus: this is an independent programmatic marketplace, with the advantage of accessing data and managing the advertising offerings.

What are Ad exchanges?

Is a digital marketplace that connects advertisers and publishers to buy and sell advertising space through real-time auctions. They are used to sell display, video, and mobile ad inventory.

Best ad exchanges

PubMatic: it offers an easy-to-use interface and advanced advertising features like open-source header bidding.

Verizon Media: the company offers a large range of advertisers, serving over 2 billion ad impressions daily. Provides header bidding, programmatic direct selling, and management tools.

Google Adx: uses both open-auction and private-auction bidding models. The downside is that it has a high barrier of entry

Ad exchange vs ad network

Ad network

What’s an ad network?: is an intermediary that collects inventory from publishers and sells it to advertisers.

How does it work? Ad networks are organizations that collect, curate and sell publisher’s ad inventories. They charge a commission for the intervention, and the inventories are sold in bulk.

Ad exchange

What’s an ad exchange?: is a digital marketplace where advertisers and publishers buy and sell ad inventory directly.

 How does it work?

An ad exchange is a platform that gives an environment for advertisers, agencies, DSP, publishers, and SSP, to buy and sell media in a transparent way, in real-time.

Ad Network Ad Exchange
Type Company services Technological platform
Target Users Agencies, advertisers, and publishers Agencies, Advertisers, DSP, SSP, publishers
Optimization speed Takes time to change Changes in real-time
Transparency Advertisers don’t know where the ads are served. Publishers don’t have information about the buyer Both parties have information on the transaction
Inventory Offers a premium inventory to advertisers Offers remaining inventory.
Pricing Depends on negotiation According to the bids placed
Pros Publishers can sell at a premium price because they set the price. The price is set automatically according to the bidding process.
Cons There is little transparency about where the ad is served and who is the buyer. Publishers may not get a premium price for their inventory.

Tips to Increase your Ad Revenue

Publishers need to develop a programmatic ad strategy that aligns with the overall sales strategy. The most important point is ensuring the quality of the inventory so it doesn’t get categorized as remnant inventory.

Publishers can follow some tips to increase the advertising revenue of a website. Let’s review a couple of them:

CPM advertising

In Cost-Per-Mille advertising, you get paid per thousand impressions of an ad. Publishers can use this method to set the prices they want to get for their ad impressions. This method works best when you have high traffic and a targeted audience.

PPC Advertising

Another popular method is Pay-Per-Click. With PPC ads, you get paid every time a user clicks on an ad served on your site. You can increase your revenue as a publisher with PPC by using an ad network like CodeFuel. An ad network will give you the control and information to maximize the revenue for the ads on your website.

Join affiliate marketing

You can also advertise and promote products for third parties on your website. You get paid every time a customer clicks on the link or makes a purchase through your site. This method can be combined with other advertising methods.

If you want to know more about ad revenue, check Ad Revenue: What Is and How to Increase it?  

Maximize your ad revenue with CodeFuel

Codefuel is a complete monetization platform that enables publishers to maximize their ad revenue through intent-based ads.

CodeFuel ad network enables publishers to generate higher revenue with text, display, and search ads. Tap into the broad reach of. premium search vendors while enriching the user experience. The CodeFuel Hub enables publishers to manage and optimize traffic with real-time data enhancing the value of their impressions. Learn more about how to increase your ad revenue with CodeFuel by contacting us. 

What is The Future of Media Trading

In its beginnings, media trading was conducted almost entirely on a managed basis. Later, vendors implemented self-serving platforms. The issue with programmatic advertising tools is that in reality, the user needs to choose their target audience, the budget, and other aspects of ad campaign optimization. With marketers using over 30 tools regularly, this can be a hassle and lead to inefficiencies.

New media platforms need to address several challenges:

User experience is king: Enhancing the user experience is key for a successful interaction between publishers and advertisers.

Mobile friendly: users need to manage the media platform across devices.

Transparency and clear information: buyers and suppliers need clear information about what is happening with the real-time bidding.  Buyers need to know where the ads will appear to optimize the campaign.

More Business Intelligence: new platforms use AI to target the audiences at the end-user level. The software will understand the target user’s intent, behavior, and preferences.

Final Thoughts

Publishers and advertisers cannot go blind when using media trading platforms. Programmatic platforms must provide a high-targeted user experience while maximizing revenue through transparency.

Selling Advertisements: How to Start and Do It Right!

Selling Advertisements: How to Start and Do It Right!

If you are looking for ways to monetize your website, selling ads is a convenient and potentially profitable way to do it. You surely have questions about how to start, requirements. Also, should you sell the ads directly or join an ad network?

Don’t worry, the CodeFuel team prepared this guide to answer all questions you may have for selling advertisements the right way.

What to Do Before Starting Selling Ads?

Before you sell ads on digital property, you need to be sure your website is attractive for high-paying advertisers. Whether you plan on selling directly from your website or sign up for an ad platform, there are some common requirements.

1. Basic Requirements for Selling Ads

Each ad platform has its own requirements, but  there are three basic factors that determine your quality as a publisher for advertisers:


For Google AdSense for example, your site must be active for at least six months, attract 250 unique visitors a day and the majority of the traffic must come from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Europe. Traffic that goes against Google policies (fake impressions, invalid click activity) are prohibited.


The content of your website needs to be unique, relevant, and provide value to users. The more niche the content, the better for advertisers because it means the website is highly targeted to their audience. Your site needs to have enough pages for a reasonable dwell time (20 to 30 pages) and allow visitors to browse, with rich, value-based content.

Design and Usability

Look at your site design. Is it clean? Entices the visitors to learn more about your content? It should be professionally designed and visually attractive. To attract conversions, it needs to be easy to navigate, with a simple structure, and fast to lead to provide a great user experience. Make sure the page is mobile-friendly so visitors can reach your site (and its ads) from any device.

What Are the Requirements for Selling Ads on Your Properties?

Two of the major programs are Google AdSense and Bing Network Contextual Ads Program.  If you want to expand your site’s reach, you are not limited to AdSense. Let’s review both networks characteristics:

Criteria Google AdSense Bing Network
  • Unique, interesting, and helpful.
  • Comply with Google guidelines
  • Premium, high-quality original content.
  • Comply with Bing guidelines
  • Own site.
  • If using Blogger, different eligibility requirements apply.
  • Own site with a reasonable volume of traffic.
  • Accessible, easy-to-use Readability
  • Functionality
  • Good navigation
  • Readability
  • Functionality

2. Understand the Current Site Audience

Before going on searching for advertisers first you need to understand who your visitor is. Look into your website analytics: what are the demographics? Check from where the traffic is coming. Do you have peak traffic times?

It is important that your audience is targeted, comprising visitors that are heavily interested in what your advertisers may offer. For instance, if you have a website about video games, while teenage gamers don’t have a high income as a collective, the audience is very attractive for game console companies and game developers.

3. Make Your Online Property Attractive

How to make your online property attractive to advertisers? We already mentioned some factors above but let’s explore this a bit more. The golden rule is that if your site is appealing and engaging to visitors, it will catch the attention of advertisers trying to reach those visitors.

A clean, engaging website design creates trust and enhances the user experience. So, here are 8  tips to create an engaging website design:

  • Keep the layout simple
  • Make navigation intuitive
  • Design clear calls to action
  • Minimal and impactful content
  • Whitespace is your friend
  • Use eye-catching colors in your brand palette
  • Attractive and easy-to-read fonts draw attention
  • Add media and images but keep tabs on the load speed.

4. Check How Much You Can Get For Ads In Your Niche

Including ads on your website is one of the most popular ways of monetization. Online advertising is a cost-effective advertising method for companies, compared to traditional advertising. While the average cost to reach 1000 people with online ads is $3.45, offline ads cost $22 and up to reach the same number of people.

The key to success monetizing with ads is to set your prices right. How much should you charge for ads? Your rates (Cost per Mille – or per thousand impressions) will depend also on your niche. You also need to take into account how much the ad network will pay you for every click on the ad (Cost per Click).

Related content: What is it, and How to Increase Your Page RPM?

So how much do you charge? We researched industry benchmarks for the highest and lowest cost per click:

Highest and lowest cost per click

The average cost per click for most verticals is $2 to $4, but top industries like lawyers, insurance, and loans can go by $6 per click.

The platform you choose to monetize your impressions is also important, with a significant difference in costs between search and display ads. Check the below table for average CPC and CPM costs per platform (including social media):

Platform Average CPC Average CPM
Google Search Ads $2.32 $38.40
Google Display Ads $0.67 $3.12
Social Media Ads
Facebook  $1.35 $8.60
Instagram $3.56 $8.96
Twitter $0.38 $6.46
LinkedIn $5.26 $6.59

How do you price advertising space?

Your rate should attract high-paying advertisers and at the same time help you meet your monetization goals. Here are some questions you should ask to find out your ideal rate:

  • How much is your minimum rate?

Define how much you need to charge for your ads to cover costs and make a profit. Take into account your business expenses and how much income you expect to make from sales. The remaining amount is how much sales you’ll need to cover from selling ads.

  • How much can you sell from ads on your page?

On the other side, you should find out how much you can actually sell from ads on your website. This will depend on your layout and how many ads you can fit on your pages without cluttering them.

Look at the ad placement and format. Will you include video or interactive ads? Banners? Check the size of the potential ads and the position on the page.

Here are the banner ad sizes that perform better in 2021:

Dimension Name Maximum size CTR FREQUENCY
300 x 250 Medium rectangle 150 KB 0.13% 40%
336 x 280 Large rectangle 150 KB 0.33% 1%
728 x 90 Leaderboard 150 KB 0.08% 25%
300 x 600 Half-page or large skyscraper 150 KB 0.23% 5%
320 x 50 Mobile leaderboard 150 KB 1.2% 12%
  • How much are your competitors charging?

Finally, it is good to know the market for ads in your niche. Look at how much your competitors charge for ads on their sites, the types of ads they display, their placement, and their frequency.

Selling Ad Space: 4 Top Ways for Selling Ads

Selling ads on your website is a great way to monetize your site’s traffic. Still, it is not that easy to achieve a reasonable income from it.

Sell directly

This model doesn’t require an intermediary (ad networks, ad exchanges, affiliates) and potentially enables a publisher to earn more by being in direct contact with media buyers. However, this method requires a lot of time and effort.


  • Publishers retain 100% of the advertising revenue.
  • You can set your own rate and control who advertises on your site, and how they will pay.
  • By choosing the brands to work with, you establish unique and potentially long-term business relations.
  • It is simple without hassling over clicks, conversions, and impressions.


  • It’s a ton of work finding advertisers manually and negotiating terms with them.
  • It requires you have an established website, with lots of traffic, good conversions, and a community of visitors that regularly browse on your pages.
  • Requires manually controlling your ad sales and performance.

Affiliate advertising

This is one of the fastest ways to earn money with your website. This method involves promoting a product or service in exchange for a commission.

Usually, publishers place affiliate links, text ads, or banners on their sites. When a visitor takes the desired action through the affiliate link (making a purchase, opting into a newsletter, etc) you get paid.


  • Easy to enter. Most affiliate networks have minimal requirements: your own domain, an email account linked to it, and a website layout that supports different ad formats.
  • Free for publishers
  • High commissions per purchase. The average purchase commission for a user clicking on the affiliate link and purchasing through it can range from 30 to 50%.


  • Generally, you only get paid when the visitor completes a purchase from the link. Very few affiliate networks will work on CPA (pay-per-action) or CPC (cost-per-click). Learn more about pricing models: CPC vs CPM Explained: What’s the Difference in 2022?
  • You need to promote your site and the products to encourage sales. That means investing time and effort in social media posts and posting content on your site to drive visitors to click on that link or ad.

Ad Networks

The easiest option is to join an ad network that takes care of selling your impressions, track your earnings, and arrange placement on your site for a commission. Most ad networks set minimum monthly traffic you need to meet. CodeFuel is an example of a complete platform that leverages data management and artificial intelligence to maximize revenue from ads for publishers.


  • Once you sign on to the network, the platform takes care of everything, dealing with the impressions via real-time bidding (learn what is real-time bidding).
  • Niche or premium networks can offer more revenue for ads since they attract higher-intent customers, which in turn attracts higher-paying advertisers.


  • Large ad networks have strict requirements for publishers to join their networks.
  • The traffic minimum can be high for some publishers.

Native advertising

With this method, you create ads that blend with the surrounding content. Sponsored posts, content, and reviews are examples of native ads. Native advertising can be more effective than display ads since they integrate with the content. For instance, native ads can have 18% more purchase intent than display ads.

Native Ad Click Through Rates

Source: eMarketer


  • Builds brand awareness because
  • They integrate into the customer experience, enhancing it.
  • Can be used to target specific audience segments.
  • Increase click-through rates


  • Time-consuming. Requires creating content, like articles, reviews, social media posts.
  • It is complex to measure performance. You need to combine measuring impressions, clicks, and CTR with website metrics like time on site, engagement rate, views, and cost per action.

What’s Better – Sell Directly or Through an Ad Network

Selling ads directly can be tempting. It may produce a high revenue but it comes with a few caveats:

  • You need to have a top-performing website. That means, from the traffic to the design, it should be optimized to generate maximum conversions.
  • It is also extremely time-consuming. You’ll be handling all the advertising sales and negotiation yourself.

So if you are not ready or you want to save time, it is better you join an ad network.

Still not sure? Let’s do a quick test.

Should I sell ads directly on my site? Checklist 

  • Do you have significant traffic? If your site gets over 50,000 unique visits a month it may be worth it to target direct advertisers.
  • Is your audience highly targeted? Advertisers want their ads to go as directly as possible to people who will buy their products. So, if you have a high-intent, interested audience it may be valuable for advertisers.
  • Can you find active advertisers in your market? Your success will depend on clients that will actively (frequently) place ads on your website. If your website is suitable for a dynamic market that releases updates and new products all the time, check this item.
  • Do you already have direct relationships with companies? If you are an expert on your niche and already have relationships with companies it will give you the advantage to get them to place adverts on your site.

Results: If you checked all the items on the checklist above there might be a chance for you to generate money from direct ad sales.

Still, remember you need to invest time and effort. First, putting your site in shape to attract advertisers, then investing time in contacting potential clients.

Using an ad network takes all the hassle of chasing advertisers. The right ad network increases the value of your website by placing contextual ads that enhance your user experience. Thus, you gain for the performance of the ads and you also make your online property more valuable.

How much can you make on selling ad space on your website?

This will depend on the pricing model you choose. If you sell by Cost per Mille (cost per thousand impressions). If your CPM is $2 and your site generates 200,000 impressions per month, you can expect to make $400 a month.

If you sell by Cost-Per-Click (CPC), you will get paid according to the number of people that actually click on the ad.

Can you sell ad space with low traffic?

The short answer is yes. It will depend on the level of engagement of your audience. If your site boasts a highly engaged audience it may be a valuable asset for advertisers.

Think about it. If you were an advertiser, would you prefer to present ads massively to an audience that may or not convert? Or get your message directly in front of a group of highly engaged potential customers? The answer is clear. While traffic is a basic requirement, having an engaged audience is a good asset to attract advertisers.

Where to start?

As a publisher, you have a great opportunity to generate revenue and earn passive income from placing ads on your website. The easiest and most effective way is to sign with an ad network.

CodeFuel combines the advantages of a large reach with the enhancing of the user experience through contextual ads. You can leverage search, shopping, and text ads in a single monetization platform to maximize revenue and increase engagement.

Start monetizing your website today with CodeFuel

In-App Advertising: All You Need to Know and The Best Networks

In-App Advertising: All You Need to Know and The Best Networks

You’ve created the ultimate app, and now you’re looking for ways to monetize it. Here at CodeFuel, we have created this in app advertising guide to help you plan your monetization strategy and select the best monetization networks for it. It’s going to be a handful, so let’s get started. 

What Is In-App Advertising?

In-app advertising refers to the type of ads that you find in mobile apps. It may include banners, videos, and images that are displayed right when you play the app.

How In-App Advertising Works

To use In-app advertising, you dedicate a portion of your app’s digital real estate, installation or workflow to advertising. To do this, you pair up with an advertising network specialized in in-app advertising.

There are three key steps to start monetizing your app using in-app advertising:

  1. Choose an ad network
  2. Select the type of ad
  3. Choose the right ad monetization model

Types of ads you can find in an app

The right type of ad can make or break your monetization strategy. According to the add type you choose, you can drive clicks or annoy users. You can use video or image ads, text, and interactive. As we saw above, native ads and interstitial ads perform better than banners. Let’s see which types of ads are the most popular.

Pop-up ads

You can include these ads in any kind of app. They can appear at pre-defined moments when the person is using the ad or during transitions. You can set them to appear triggered by opening the app or when doing a specific action.

Pop-up pros

  • They get noticed
  • They give a quick way to convert.

Pop-up cons

  • They can annoy the user
  • They can cover the actual content

Besides the detractors, pop-up ads actually work. According to a study by SumoMe: The average conversion rate for pop-ups is 3.09%, with the top 10% highest performing averaging a 9.28% conversion rate. 

Image source

Transitional ads

These ads appear when the user transitions between screens. For instance, if you enter your breakfast data in your calorie counter, you may get an add promoting healthy receipts.

Pros of transitional ads

  • They get users at the moment they are in between tasks
  • They keep the user engaged in the app.

Cons of transitional ads

  • The ad needs to be relevant to the action being performed in the app
  • If too promotional, it can annoy the user by being “too salesly”

Text ads

Text ads can appear everywhere in the app. When the cursor hovers over a text or at any place in the app screen.

Pros of text ads

  • They are unobtrusive
  • They are easy to set up
  • They can be anywhere.

Cons of text ads

  • Be careful not to overuse them.
  • They can be boring to the user.

Banner ads

A mobile screen is too small to fit a full size banner ad. However, you can be creative and use these ads strategically. Place it at the header or the footer, whichever it stays more visible to the user.

Pros of banner ads

  • They stand out more than other types of ads
  • Bigger visual impact

Cons of banner ads

  • Can be too small to read the text inside
  • Ensure the app screen allows the banner to be seen.

Search Feeds

Adding a search feed to your app gives users a useful tool to improve their experience. In-app search ads allow your users to search from inside your app. The more active the users of your app, the more you generate ad revenue.

Pros of search feeds

  • They are convenient
  • Enhance the user experience

Cons of search feeds

  • They are not fit for all types of apps

Best 5 Advertising Networks For Publishers

Choosing a network is one of the critical steps to ensure your success with in-app advertising. Here we did the hard work for you and listed the 5 best in-app advertising networks for publishers.

1. CodeFuel

CodeFuel is a complete platform that allows you to monetize all your digital properties effectively. You can leverage search, ads, shopping, and news to monetize your app by using intent-based monetization.

This excellent ad platform is geared specifically with publishers in mind. There are over 1.1 k publishers with 9billion annual searches, so you’re sure your digital property will be monetized.

Key features

  • Presents relevant display ads inside your app.
  • You can add a search feed based on user intent that presents shopping ads
  • Enhances the user experience.
  • Increases conversions by keeping the user engaged.
  • Integrates with Microsoft Bing, Google AdSense, and Yahoo.
  • Performance tracking and analytics.
  • CodeFuel also offers search mediation if you want to link to other networks.

CodeFuel is a versatile ad network that gives you the flexibility to monetize your app with search feeds and relevant display ads while enhancing the user experience. The platform presents ads offering multiple ad formats, including banner, interstitial and native ads.

2. AdMob

AdMob is the mobile version of Google AdSense. AdMob includes ads automatically offering multiple ad formats, including banner, video, and interstitial ads.

Key Features

  • Multiple ad formats
  • Ad mediation
  • It is suitable for beginners and Google AdSense users
  • However, it has limitations on ad placements.
  • It is focused mostly (and logically) in Google products.

3. Smaato

Smaato is a mobile ad platform for publishers and advertisers that focuses on matching publishers with relevant advertisers.

Key Features

  • Real-time bidding for ads auctions
  • Allows video, interstitial, banner, interactive, and rewarded ads.
  • Allows ad mediation.

The downside of Smaato is that it works only as an intermediary, for ads not dealing with user experience or search feeds.

4. Unity

Unity is a monetization network specifically for mobile games by using video ads. If your app is a game, Unity is your solution.

Key Features

  • Compatible with iOS and Android
  • Compatible with all game engines including Marmalade and Adobe Air.
  • You can set up in-app purchases.
  • They support interstitial, video, or banner ads through CPM or CPI campaigns.
  • Target demographics segmentation
  • Almost real-time reporting.

5. MobFox

MobFox is an independent mobile ad network for app monetization for publishers, app developers, and advertisers.

Key Features

  • Works with all advertising formats, like Unity, Cordova, AdobeAir, and GameMaker.
  • You can target your audience by location, carrier, channel, and demographics.
  • Allows for native, interstitial, banner, video, and rich media ads.
  • Provides analytics and reports.

The downside: it seems focused on gaming monetization. It also doesn’t offer mediation or search feeds.

Why In-App Advertising Works better than Interruptive Advertising

Interruptive advertising is any type of advertising that gets in the way (interrupts) what a person is doing. It is very common, and you are most likely familiar with this type of advertising. Think about TV commercials and radio ads, for example.

While interruptive advertising has been around for a long time, it is not very effective for the digital world. When you interrupt the user, you “cut” their engagement with the app.

In-app ads are presented in the context of an app and tend to be more relevant, and therefore, more effective. Since the user is already engaged with the app, in-app advertising blends seamlessly with the user experience.

When you integrate the ad with the app experience, for example, by giving recommendations, the ad gives value instead of pushing a sale.

So, why should you use in-app advertising? Here are 3 reasons:

1. You can guide the user experience by mixing different in-app formats

When you use in-app advertising, ads are contextual and don’t look like ads, but like helpful suggestions. By doing so, you can enhance and guide the user’s journey. Mix ad formats, for example, video, interactive, and text, so it is more engaging for the user.

2. The user spends more time in-app

Engaged users spend more time using the app. Therefore, providing relevant and helpful in-app ads increases the possibilities of conversion.

3. You can target ads accurately

An ad network platform can help you segment and target ads according to different groups, locations, and demographics. This helps your ads stay relevant to the customer’s journey and intent.

Use In-App Advertising to Monetize More Effectively

When you put the right ads in the right context, it gives users an experience that is more relevant to their needs. As mentioned above, this increases CTR, engagement, and conversion rates.

The key to using in-app advertising for monetization is implementing the right monetization solution. This will get you an increase in ROI. How do you do it? Here are a few tips:

  • Pick the right solution for your app. Not all ad networks are the same. Some solutions focus more on banners, others are more directed to gaming apps. Make sure the monetization solution offers ads that match your audience.
  • When choosing the ad format, choose the most relevant and put them in front of the target audience within the app workflow. The less an ad seems like an ad, the better.
  • Find a vendor that works for your business. Keep in mind which platforms do you display the app on and find a vendor that works with all of them.

Strategies for Mobile App Advertising

The right network and ad type need to align with your strategies for mobile app advertising. Here are a few pillar strategies to succeed:


It helps to blend the advertising with the app experience. This feature lets you offer value and advertising at the same time, preventing disengagement problems like banner blindness. Display ads can be tricky in mobile advertising and disconnect the user from the app. By contextualizing, you tie the ad to the app function.

Understand and Target the User Intent

What’s user intent? The term describes what is the user’s intention and purpose in using the app. For example, a user that downloads a taxi app is probably looking for rides.

A user playing a game wants to enhance their gaming experience, so you can offer in-app purchases. When you understand the user’s intent, you can target the advertising towards specifically this intent.

Improving the user experience and adding value

People use apps because they are looking to solve a problem with them. However, ads not always help with the purpose. Ads need to bring value and support the user experience. The more relevant and contextualized the ads, the higher the chances of converting.

Still, first, you need to promote your app so it can reach your target audience. How do you do it?

App Monetization Statistics

First, let’s review some statistics that show how app development and monetization have grown in the last years.

1. There are 3.6B smartphone users in the world

Smartphone users

More than half of humankind uses a smartphone nowadays, and the number is still growing, expecting to reach 4.3 billion users by 2023.

2. The number of apps in the Google Play Store reached 3 billion by December 2020

Google Play apps

The pandemic stalled applications’ releases, lowering the number of applications to 2016’s levels. At the end of 2020, however, we could see a recovery tendency and now the number of apps surpassed 3 billion.

3. Which Apps are the Most Popular?

What types of apps do people use the most? 97% of people use Communication and social apps, followed by Shopping, Entertainment, and Search, which are used by 95% of users and over 60% of users have a Gaming app on their phones.

App usage

Image source

It is not a surprise then, that social apps like TikTok and Instagram were the most downloaded in 2020. Communication apps like Zoom and Messenger following close as most people rely on them while working from home or remotely.

App download statistics

4. Over a half of web traffic is coming from mobile devices

Global mobile website traffic share

The percentage of people using their mobile phones to access the Internet has skyrocketed in the last years. On February 2021, over half of all Internet traffic came through mobile phones, compared to 42.9% of desktop traffic and a mere 2.85% from tablets.

5. Mobile Ad Spending is increasing

With more than half of web traffic coming from mobile devices and growing, it is no surprise that mobile ad spending is increasing too. According to Statista, mobile ad spending will surpass desktop ad spending by 2022. From $189 billion in 2019, we can expect companies to spend over $240 billion by 2022.

Mobile Ad Spending

In-app advertising is a market in expansion. In fact, Mobile in-app advertising revenues are projected to reach over $900B by 2023. This provides a great opportunity for app developers and marketers to tap into the market.

Worldwide mobile app revenues

Why is this? Because In-app advertising works. In-app ads have a 10%  higher engagement rate than mobile web apps, according to a recent report. In addition, the click-through rate of interstitial ads is 18 times higher than that of web ads.

In-app display Ads

Image source

While banners are the cheapest, they also are the less effective. Interstitial display ads are more expensive, but the CTR is much higher. Native ads have also higher conversion rates. Therefore, if you want your app to convert, in-app advertising can be the solution. True, it is a very competitive market, but let’s explore how you can actually make money from your app with in-app advertising.

Getting the Word Out: Advertising an App

To get the word out in a saturated marketplace — remember they are over 3 billion apps only in the Google Playstore—, you need to be on target with your audience. To do that, start by asking the following questions:

Who are you advertising to?

Try to get as specific as possible with your audience. Chances are you already have a lot of information from when you created the app. Find out demographics, location, interests, and age group. The more you narrow the niche, the most effective your marketing.

For starters, you can work with the info you had to create your app. Once you begin advertising, you’ll get data through your ad network you can use to refine your campaigns. Learn what worked and what didn’t and re-target if necessary.

Where are they online?

If you are advertising an app, you need to reach your audience where they spend time online. Using the demographics and target audience profile you created on the last step, find out where your audience hangs out online.

  • Create buyer personas and use this data to find out which social media channels they are more active on.
  • Search on sites that cover your audience’s interests. Use social listening tools, search forums, or question-and-answer sites like Quora.
  • Look at your competitors. Where are they promoting their apps? Chances are you have a similar audience.
  • Survey your customers. Add a small survey after downloading, or in the middle of the app, workflow to check where your customers hang out online.
  • Search Facebook Groups. Groups are a great source of information and offer you a ready-packed audience that is interested in what you offer.

How do you reach them?

Now that you know who is your audience and where they are, it is time to find the optimal way to reach them. You can promote your app via social media platform ads, through buying advertising space, or using an ad network.

You’ll want to find ad networks that target your audience where they spend time online. For instance, if your target is professionals, LinkedIn will be more effective than Facebook, if your target is young people, try Instagram or Tiktok.

Find the right advertising solution

You can be as creative as you need to get the word out about your app. Some innovative advertising methods include smart installers, pay-per-install solutions, and bundling. Affiliate marketing, for example, lets you recruit online marketers to promote your product.

Advertising an app is not an exact science, you need to measure and refine your campaign until you get results.

Cool and Unusual Ways to Advertise your App

In the age of social media, you want the app to get the most exposure possible. You want everybody to know about it and use it.  Here are some out-of-the-box ideas to advertise your app.

Collaborate with Influencers

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is when companies partner with influencers in order to increase brand awareness or conversions among a specific target audience. (Bigcommerce)

According to a study, the ROI of influencer marketing can be 6 to 1, meaning for every $1 invested in influencer marketing, you can get $6.5 in return.

Partnering with an influencer can spread the voice of your app very quickly and on target. After all, almost half of the people look for an influencer recommendation before making a purchase.

Here are some tips to make the most of influencer marketing:

  1. Find an influencer that caters to your target audience.
  2. If your product is very specific, try a micro or medium influencer.
  3. Look for an influencer with great rapport and steady relations with followers.

Social media

Nowadays, most consumers are using social media platforms before deciding whether buy something. You should advertise in the channel where your customers are. Over half of apps are discovered outside the app store.

Here are some tips to promote your app on social media:

  1. Use paid ads on social media platforms.
  2. Encourage user-generated content
  3. Ask for reviews and ratings.
  4. Tease your audience and create anticipation with tweets.

Viral marketing

A viral marketing campaign is designed to generate the most buzz around your app possible. The whole point is using the public as your medium to spread the word.

How do you generate the buzz? You can create a giveaway, a contest, or an event. You can use clever tweets, combined with a funny and memorable video in TikTok.

Provoke your audience, encouraging them to spread the word. A viral marketing campaign should be interesting enough that people would be compelled to share the video. Adding a freebie, for example, in exchange for shares can attract attention.

How to Optimize Your In-App Advertising Strategy in 10 Steps

In-app advertising helps brings a steady income, so you’ll want to do it right. The more effective your advertising, the more users will want to download and use your app. Below find some tips to monetize effectively with in-app advertising.

1. Put the User First

A user-centric approach in all your designs, from the user interface, to your website and ads, will help give a consistent user experience. Focus on giving a seamless user experience throughout all the elements that the user comes into contact with.

2. Test New Ad Formats

There are new ad formats appearing every once in a while. If it seems your current ad formatting is not working, mix it up. Test different formats to see which ones work better for your users, and increase conversion rates. Mix expandable ads, mobile video ads, recommendation engines, and interactive ads are some of the formats you can try.

3. Optimize What You Have

Sometimes you cannot go over budget for every new strategy. If you’ve hit the ceiling of what new trends you can try, optimize what you’ve got. Keep re-testing and improving your existing strategy.

4. Use a One-Stop Mobile Marketing Shop

You can be tempted into signing in to every ad network and monetization program under the sun to maximize your returns. However, this can result in spreading your efforts too much, first, and you’ll end analyzing data and ROI from a hundred sources.

Instead, sign up for a monetization and promotion platform. You can then manage all your analytics and monetization solutions under a centralized dashboard. A platform also integrates different ad networks giving you a unified solution.

5. Make Engagement a Priority

Downloading your app and using it are two different things. In-app advertising can work only if you got your user’s attention. Create a high-value app they want to use again and again. Then, integrate ads seamlessly into the app so they will stay engaged.

6. Focus on Usability If You Want Conversions

An app that is difficult to use can put off users after they download the app. When you design an app, remember:

Designing for conversion = Designing for Usability

The easiest to use is your app, the better the user satisfaction. Sometimes, flashy graphics and heavy downloads make the user experience cumbersome. Whatever the goal of your app, ensure that your user can achieve it seamlessly. The more usable interface, the longer people will use it.

7. Don’t Slow Things Down

Speaking about stalling user journeys, ensure your app is easy and fast to download. The same happens with ads. If your interstitial ads take too long to download and display, users may leave the app.

8. Add Incentives

You want ads that convert immediately, so you can add immediate incentives for action. You can include limited-time discounts, giveaways, or bargains, as a way to get users to act immediately.

Another way is to add in-app upgrades, tied with an affiliate offer, and it will likely jump your conversion rates. Or, add incentives for social sharing if you want to promote your app.

9. Add Strong Calls-to-Action

Sometimes you cannot design the ads that appear in your app. But if you do, include strong calls to action. Add triggers like “Act Now” or “Click here for your discount”. This can influence a user to complete an action, which will increase your conversions and revenue.

10. Understand Your Users

Understanding what your users want is the best way to give them a great user experience. Conduct user testing through surveys, A/B split testing, and interface optimization. The secret to a soaring monetization strategy is to find out what your users really need and give it to them as seamlessly as possible

Should You Use a Big Network or a Niche Solution?

When you try to monetize your app, finding the right network is critical. There are top companies you can use such as Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, that boast massive reach, but is it the right thing for your app?

Pros and Cons of Big Networks

Giant networks like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook offer a few benefits for developers that advertise with them.


  • Massive reach: The main benefit is the large user base these companies have. For instance, Google’s AdMob reaches millions of users around the world.
  • Cross-platform: Most big companies offer advertisers to present ads in-app, search results, social media, and other channels.
  • User targeting: Facebook, for instance, draws from its social media data to target and optimize ads for users.
  • Multiple types of Ads: Major platforms offer many types of ads, interstitial, display, and contextual ads.


  • Lack of specialization: Major platforms reach everyone, which means they market to the masses. If you have a specific app for a defined niche, a big network cannot do the trick.
  • Too much to chose from: Large networks offer a lot of options, sometimes, too much. This can be overwhelming for startups.

Pros and Cons of Niche Solutions

Niche solutions come in where large networks result impractical. You can still benefit from large user bases, but ensuring your app stays focused on your target audience. The goal is to reach the right users for your conversions to increase.


  • Specialized Advertising Methods: Niche solutions give you the types of ads that the large companies are too big to deal with. For instance, marketing texts, recommendation engines, and video ads. If your niche is specific, then out-of-the-box ads may work better than generic ads from Google.
  • Niche Audiences: Let’s say you want to reach software users of a certain platform. It would be better if you use an ad network that reaches the users of that platform. You can use pay-per-install programs since they are already installing software. Recommendation engines can deliver relevant ads to users that search for something specific.
  • Innovation: Since niche networks are more nimble than large networks, they often dedicate resources to innovative creative approaches to monetization and advertising.


  • Not suitable for everyone: There are, however, apps that do require massive generic reach, and a niche solution wouldn’t be enough.

Best Practices for a Successful In-app Advertising Strategy

Now that we covered the basics of in-app advertising, there are some best practices advertisers should consider:

In-App Advertising Formats

Maybe you are wondering which is the right ad format or a mix of them that will give you results. To do that, first, you need to understand how the different types of ads work. Here we explain the most popular types:

Interstitial Ads

Source: Amazon appstore

Interstitial ads cover the entire mobile screen, generally at a size of 320 x 480 pixels. This size allows to display more content and the call to action becomes clearly visible. Other sizes include 300 x 400  or 300 x 250 pixels.

They are good to catch a user’s attention and to place in games in between levels, as they minimize the disruption for users. Beware of interrupting the user experience, so don’t push an interstitial ad in the middle of a game.

Video Ads

Video ads are increasingly popular, as they catch and retain the attention of the user when engaged with the device. However, if the video is intrusive, it may backfire. It’s important that the video ads are short (less than 30 seconds) and placed at natural breaks in the user experience.

Native Ads

Native ads can be of different forms and sizes, but what they have in common is that they are presented in a way that fits the publisher. Therefore, the ad blends with the app content.

They appear as part of the app’s content, thus are not intrusive or interrupt the user experience. The ad is relevant to the context of the app, making them highly effective.

Expandable Ads

This type of rich media ad, is a combination of a banner and an interstitial ad. It starts with a 320 x50 pixels banner as a teaser, then when the user taps on it, it displays in full screen. It has the advantage of being less intrusive than full-screen interstitial ads, but presenting too many can be annoying for the user.

Mobile Websites vs. Mobile Apps

Users access both apps and mobile websites via their mobile devices. Some companies wonder if is worth it to create an app, after all, they have a responsive mobile website. However, they are different things and the impact they have on the user is different too. Let’s examine the differences of mobile websites vs mobile apps.

How CodeFuel Can Help Monetize Your App

CodeFuel is a complete platform that leverages search, ads, shopping and news to monetize your application. It offers different types of ads and integrates with major search engines and networks for a complete solution. By adding user intent monetization, the platform ensures viewers get the most relevant ads in-app, enhancing conversions.

Are you ready to increase your app ROI? Learn more about how CodeFuel helps.