Developer How-To: Choosing the Right Ad Formats for Your App

ad-formats-headerOne of the first decisions developers must make when it comes to ad monetization is choosing the right ad formats for their app.

Choosing the right ad format can mean the difference between great reviews and increased ARPDAU, or angry reviews, low player engagement and missed revenue.

With so many different options, there’s no reason to disrupt the user experience with irrelevant or otherwise unpleasant ads. Instead, developers can enhance the experience with ad units that offer unique content, rewards, or some other user benefit.

Read on for a list of the four most popular ad units, with some quick thoughts on how to decide which ones make the most sense for your game or app.

“There are two key points to think about when it comes to choosing the right ad format for an app. First, is the complexity of the app or game, and how that impacts stats like session time and repeat visits. Second, are the mechanics of the virtual economy, if there is one.”
– Christy Wong-Taylor, VP of Monetization, Fyber

1. Rewarded Video

How it works:

Rewarded video ads are full-screen commercials that give players an in-game or in-app reward in exchange for watching.



Video ads can be gorgeous and entertaining on their own, meaning they’re less likely to incur negative user feedback. When the reward is tied to a valuable in-game or in-app benefit — such as new weapons in an action shooter game, or additional credits in a messaging app — users are more likely to repeatedly engage, leading to increased ARPDAU.

Rewarded video works well in simple action and puzzle games like endless runners or match-3, and when combined with Offer Wall ads, can drive high ARPDAU in games with a very robust virtual economy.

Best for:

  • Endless runners
  • Match-3 and puzzle games  
  • Messaging app


2. Offer Wall

How it works:

The Offer Wall is an opt-in ad unit that gives users a selection of relevant offers — for example, download an app and complete the tutorial, or enter information for a free trial — and rewards their actions with in-app currency.


Offer Wall units put users in charge, giving them the chance to earn as much in-game or in-app currency as they’d like, by interacting with the offers that are most appealing to them. Depending on factors like the target audience and time of year, these ad units can deliver very high eCPMs in aggregate. Offer Wall ads work very well in mid-core titles and apps that have a robust virtual economy.

Best for:

  • Simulation games
  • FPS
  • Strategy games


3. Banners

How it works:

The original digital ad format, banners typically include an image with easy-to-read text and a call to action. They link to destinations like the advertiser’s website.


Banners are the most universal, lightweight ad format. They take little effort to integrate, and can give developers access to big budgets from brand advertisers and ad exchanges. They’re also great for monetizing users in regions that may not support higher-bandwidth ad units like video.

Best for:

  • Simple games with no virtual economy
  • Publishing apps where players scroll through content
  • Apps and games with players in geos with limited bandwidth


4. Interstitials

How it works:

Interstitials are static, rich media or video ads that take over the full screen while an app is loading, between levels or on menu screens.



Interstitials are very simple to integrate, and work well as supplements to other ad units.  

Hybrid Interstitials functionality gives developers the option of choosing only static or video interstitials, as well as the ability to mix both formats in order to avoid user fatigue with either format.

Best for:

  • Games and apps with long load times between levels
  • Games with a natural break in their core loop design
  • Simple apps with no virtual economy

Our Monetization & Growth team helps app developers figure out which ad formats will drive the most revenue. Find out more at [email protected].

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