Mobile Advertising

What Is Mobile Advertising?

Mobile Advertising is advertising which is built specifically to appear on a mobile phone (or cell phone in US). There are two primary types of this advertising – In App or Web Based. In terms of effectiveness and price there is not really any difference between the two types as of yet.


Mobile Web Based advertising is split into two types: for sites which have been optimised for mobile, and regular desktop sites which are just being resized on your phone screen. For example:

Mobile Advertising on Optimised vs Non-Optimised Site

Mobile Optimised vs Non-Optimised Site

The main difference between these two types of site view is obviously size. Mobile optimised sites make use of the reduced screen size in a better manner, which is why they exist in the first place. This translates to ads too: notice the banner ad on the top of the Mobile Optimised Site is a good size proportionally and easily visible.

For the Non-Mobile Optimised site a leaderboard ad is visible, but it’s somewhat lost in the clutter of the page, which is just the desktop site resized for a mobile screen. This happens because IAB standard ads which are meant for a desktop screen will still appear on the site if it is loaded on a mobile phone and mobile devices haven’t been excluded from targeting settings. Ads displayed in this way will not perform well, as they appear too small for people to make an informed choice about clicking on them (ie, most clicks will be accidental). However if you have not made a mobile version of your site, but still want to monetize people visiting fret not. There are several companies which have come up with a solution – run a type of overlay ad targeted to mobile phones only, which is about the size of the ad displayed on mobile optimised sites. These will then appear at the top or bottom of the screen as well as the misplaced desktop ads.


In App advertising targets users in mobile apps and can appear in any format. They often appear as small strips at the top or bottom of the app (often changing out ads over time), as well as sometimes appearing as full screen ads during loading pages or in between app usage. This type of ads effectiveness is highly variable as it depends on the app and ad, but as it is a fast growing marketplace it should not be ignored. Here are two examples:

In App Ads Between Activities vs Always Showing

In App Ads Between Activities vs Always Showing

Mobile Advertising Advice for Site Owners

In the advertising press, every year for the last decade has been declared “The Year of Mobile” – meaning it will finally be the year which mobile advertising takes off. As you may guess, that year has not actually happened yet. That is not to say that it won’t happen soon – there are many companies working on making money out of mobile advertising, and eventually they will succeed, but for the moment they are still all sound and fury signifying nothing. Having said that, it really won’t hurt you at all to use a mobile network, it just won’t fill your pockets with cash. As discussed above, there are two types of mobile ads and each have different expert networks which open and fold too quickly to mention them here. Do some research if you are interested and we’re sure you will find one (if you are stuck AdMob by Google is ok).

Mobile Advertising Advice for Ad Buyers

Mobile advertising has not yet been standardised by the IAB. This means that you cannot create a “mobile ad unit” and then run it across any site you choose, such as with a 300×250 or 728×90, as different sites run different ad sizes. It’s not just the ad sizes which vary either, but the technology that runs them differs too, as  does the screen size of the devices they are are intended for. This all means it currently is difficult to buy mobile inventory at scale for a reasonable cost. There is however an incredible amount of ad inventory available to buy from each individual vendor, so if you can strike up a good working relationship with a large mobile network it might be worth your while. As always, The Online Advertising Guide recommends testing out what is best for you. With Mobile advertising it make take a while to do a lot of testing as the industry is fragmented, however if you can find a positive ROI, then get stuck in.


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