Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Comparing some mobile advertising services - part 3

Continuing my look at the various Mobile advertising services that are out there, I next decided to investigate MoPub. This follows on from the previous article, which looked at LeadBolt.


MoPub is another ad service from whom I recently received some publicity information, and decided to find out a bit more about them. They were apparently founded by former AdMob and Google employees, presumably they hope this will give them additional credibility among the Android developer community.

In addition to having their own "Marketplace" for ads, MoPub also offers an ad mediation service, whereby you can connect your accounts from other ad service providers, and in theory, MoPub should automatically deliver the highest earning ad. It's worth noting there are other ad mediation services available, for example MobClix (which I looked at previously), AdWhirl, and others.

The SDK integration for MoPub was straightforward. Their source code is available from a git repository, so you can pull the source directly using git, or download as a zip file. The fact that the source code is available is a nice bonus.

Although primarily an AdMob user, I had previously set up accounts with MobFox and InMobi for previous trials. So I decided to link these to my MoPub account, using their web-based administration console. MobFox and InMobi ads can then be served via MoPub via a direct server-to-server request. This method can't be used in the case of AdMob however (I believe this is due to AdMob's terms of use), so instead, the API must be called from within the app via an adapter that MoPub provide. This does also mean it's necessary to include the AdMob SDK in your app, but as a pre-existing AdMob user, this was not a major problem for me.

What I like about this ad mediation approach is once set up, the ad networks and their priorities can be adjusted in the console area and any changes will take effect in real time. So in the event that one network is performing badly, or you want to add in a new service, you can do this dynamically without re-releasing your app.
Illustration of a possible MoPub setup

My initial impressions of MoPub are positive. The MoPub marketplace is giving me eCPM values of around $0.70, which is significantly higher than other services I have looked at. The fall-back to the other ad services seems to be working, with MobFox being the most likely service chosen. MobFox is returning eCPM values of around $0.20, with AdMob a little lower. InMobi continues to give me too low a fill rate, as was the case in the previous trial, so I fairly quickly stopped using them.

On the downside, some of the ads in MoPob marketplace may be considered annoying by some users - some are animated and others include adverts for age-sensitive content that publishers may want to exclude, such as gambling or dating-related. Going forward, I would like to see MoPub allow publishers to exert more control over what kinds of adverts can be shown, and I believe such features are in the works. You can create a MoPub account here.

What to conclude?

As a result of these tests, my current preferred setup for ad services has changed. I will be looking to use MoPub as my primary service, with AdMob and MobFox configured as additional networks. I have switched some of my apps to this configuration and initial results are suggesting improved performance. Let's hope that continues. I will continue to monitor the situation and keep my eye out for other services that may be of interest, and keep you informed of my findings.


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  2. Thanks for the given info. Can u provide any brief details about mobile ad network mediation? Will it be used for the mobile advertising?

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