Top 15 Mobile Game Ad Networks to Acquire Players

Top 15 Mobile Game Ad Networks to Acquire Players

by Andrea Knezovic

Feel like you’re constantly wasting your user acquisition budget on the wrong users? Wondering where you can find engaged, loyal, and monetizable users for your mobile game

To find these users in the right places, you must know which ad networks are the best choice for your user acquisition campaigns. For this reason, we’ve listed the top game ad networks for acquiring players. 

The ad networks are separated into different categories based on the observed KPIs – retention rates, in-app purchases, ad monetization, retargeting possibilities, and growth rates. 

Are you struggling with user acquisition ever since Apple’s IDFA depreciation arrived? We also have SKAN rankings you may be interested in. 

If you’re more interested in the same rankings for non-gaming apps, check out our article on top ad networks to acquire app users.

Data source: the most recent AppsFlyer Performance Index for 2022 (610 media sources, 25 billion installs, and over 18,000 apps analyzed).

Top Game Ad Networks: The Retention Index Power Ranking (Android)

If you’re looking to acquire loyal gamers on Android devices, these are the top ad networks to be on currently. 

google ads

1. Google Ads

Just like in the previous edition, Google Ads ranked #1 when it comes to retaining users on Android. The ad network was the leader in retaining players in almost all mobile game genres

With the tech giant’s focus on the App Campaigns tool, constant updates, and machine learning, it obviously has managed to reach the right users.

Using Google’s App Campaigns, your mobile game ads can appear across all Google’s properties: Google Play, Google Display Network, Google Search, YouTube, AdMob, at their search partners, and in other apps.

Generally, in Google Ads, you can target users by location, language, mobile platform, operating system, interests, topics, and other criteria.

On the other hand, in App Campaigns, Google automatically adjusts targeting and bidding to get maximum value from each install.

Furthermore, Google allows you to choose between bidding strategies based on the number of installs, in-app actions, and driving in-app action value.

When it comes to in-app advertising, Google supports all the leading app formats: banner ads, interstitial ads, native ads, and rewarded ads. Choosing the right ad format helps game advertisers to monetize games most effectively and retain the right users.

unity ads dashboard

2. Unity Ads

When it comes to retaining Android users, Unity Ads has remained the leader of the so-called Gaming Triopoly (Unity Ads, AppLovin, ironSource).

This ad network was extremely successful in several mobile game genres. It ranked #1 in racing games and 2# in hyper-casual, action, arcade, and adventure games. 

Since the Unity Ads network specializes in mobile game advertising, it comes as no surprise that it ranks this high in retaining game users. One of the key features of this network is that it can target users interested in a specific game type.

Another factor that makes UnityAds so successful is its focus on native video advertising. Of course, it also supports other ad formats like banners or interstitial ads.

Basically, if you are using video ads to monetize your game, this is an ad network you shouldn’t skip. 

ironsource game ad network dashboard

3. ironSource

This ad network has experienced a minor setback since the previous Retention Index, dropping by one spot on Android. This puts it in the last position in the Gaming Triopoly

IronSource comes with a set of tools that automate bid optimization across multiple breakdowns. 

Moreover, it allows you to also place different ad formats like video, interstitial ads, and offerwalls.

IronSource’s retention scores have been best among several game genres: music, sports, adventure, arcade, and simulation games.

campaign type app install

4. Facebook (Meta)

Facebook is one of those ad networks that stay at the top of these rankings year after year.

According to this year’s Retention Index, Facebook has been exceptionally good at retaining hardcore gamers. It performed exceedingly well in hardcore gaming in Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Latin America, and North America.

One of the main reasons for this is its superior targeting options that include:

  • Location
    Target users by country, city, or area where your game is available to download.
  • Demographics
    Find your target audience by age, gender, and other demographics. You can test different game ad variations for different user groups.
  • Interests
    Reach your potential players if they’ve shown interest in something related to your game.
  • Behaviors
    For example, you can find people who’ve purchased similar games in the past.
  • Platform
    Target Android, iOS, or Amazon App store users.
  • Devices
    Allows selecting device types, but also device models.
  • Connection
    Only targeting users with a WiFi connection.

Facebook also supports different ad formats, including game-specific ones, such as rewarded video ads and playable ads. These kinds of ads help game advertisers reach high-value and high-intent users.

Finally, these ads can appear anywhere on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network.

From finding the right audiences to delivering the right ad format at the right place, all of these factors drive user retention on Facebook.

To learn more about advertising on Facebook to acquire mobile gamers, check out our guide on Facebook Campaigns for Mobile Games.

mintegral campaign dashboard

5. Mintegral

In the previous Retention index, this ad network wasn’t even on the top 15 list. But now, it’s right behind three mobile game advertising giants. 

Mintegral performed particularly well in three mobile game categories: music, simulation, and mid-core, ranking #1 across six regions.

What is it about this ad network that has brought such a sudden surge?

Mintegral is an ad platform that originated in Asia and made a global impact. Today, it’s a part of more than 20 international ad exchanges and works with over 26,000 app partners.

It works as a supply and demand platform for mobile publishers and advertisers. If you are a mobile advertiser looking for a “smart” platform, you can stop looking.

If there’s one thing you should know about Mintegral, it’s this –  it’s completely programmatic and interactive

applovin game ad networks

6. AppLovin

Compared to the previous Retention Index, AppLovin has dropped by one spot. Nevertheless, it still holds second place in the Gaming Triopoly. 

This network’s main focus is finding high-quality users based on campaign analysis.

The ad formats on this platform include interstitial ads, banner ads, mobile app install ads, and video ads. You can mix these formats until you find the best performing combination.

When it comes to bidding strategies, AppLovin supports CPI and CPC-based campaigns.

vungle logo

7. Vungle 

Vungle is a mobile ad network with several distinguishing features. It serves one type of ad only – video ads.

Moreover, Vungle is specialized in in-app advertising, and it is available on several platforms: iOS, Android, Windows, and Amazon. 

Additionally, it provides custom targeting options. The bidding models it offers are CPA, CPM, CPC, and CPI.

This ad network managed to retain its position among the top ten from the last Performance Index. 

tiktok

8. TikTok for Business

TikTok for Business is already an established top player that has kept its position in most rankings. It is particularly successful for non-gaming apps. 

While it only reached the 15th position in the retention power ranking, TikTok got to third place in the retention volume ranking. This happened because it had a 130% increase in its share in non-gaming app installs on Android devices.

Here’s how advertising on TikTok works. 

When creating a campaign on Tiktok’s advertising platform, you can choose from two budget options – lifetime or daily.

Just like most ad networks, it provides demographics and interest targeting. Also, you can create custom and lookalike audiences to find users that are likely to install your app.

Finally, to engage your audience, TikTok gives you a variety of ad formats to choose from:

  • Brand takeover ads
  • Branded AR (augmented reality) content
  • In-feed video ads
  • Hashtag challenge
  • Influencer content

shareit app game ad networks

9.SHAREit

SHAREit is a sharing app with over 500 million monthly active users globally.

This ad network’s main feature is a peer-to-peer file sharing across short distances. By using the app, users share photos, music, and other files with other devices without having to be online. 

It’s interesting to note that this ad network has made it to the Retention Index and the IAP index. Both of these rankings suggest that this ad network can deliver high-quality, valuable app users.

Top Game Ad Networks: The Retention Index Power Ranking (iOS)

As we’ve mentioned, there were no mutual rankings for Android and iOS in this year’s Index. 

This is because Apple’s privacy changes had a big impact on iOS rankings, so it’s best to observe them separately. Here is the list:

  1. Apple Search Ads
  2. Unity Ads
  3. AppLovin
  4. Mintegral
  5. ironSource
  6. Facebook (Meta)
  7. Snapchat
  8. Google Ads
  9. Vungle
  10. TikTok for Business
  11. Moloco
  12. Liftoff

The SKAN Index

This is AppsFlyer SKAN Index for in-app purchases.

Let’s take a look at the rankings: 

  1. Facebook (Meta)
  2. TikTok for Business
  3. AppLovin
  4. ironSource
  5. Unity Ads
  6. Google Ads
  7. Twitter
  8. Snapchat
  9. Lifoff
  10. Moloco
  11. Vungle

Top Game Ad Networks: The IAA Index (Android)

The IAA Index tells us which game ad networks are best for acquiring users who engage with in-app ads

If we take all mobile game categories into consideration, the top ten ad networks for acquiring users who engage with ads on Android are:

  1. Google Ads
  2. Unity Ads
  3. AppLovin
  4. Facebook (Meta)
  5. ironSource
  6. Snapchat
  7. Vungle
  8. TapJoy

Top Game Ad Networks: The IAA Index (iOS)

When it comes to iOS users who engage with in-app ads, the top ten list is quite different from Android. Let’s take a look at the rankings:

  1. AppLovin
  2. Unity Ads
  3. ironSource
  4. Search Ads
  5. Mintegral
  6. TikTok for Business
  7. Snapchat
  8. Jetfuel Ads
  9. Moloco
  10. Facebook (Meta)

Top Game Ad Networks: The IAP Index (Android)

The IAP Index tells us about the ad networks that bring in players who are most likely to make in-app purchases. Here are the ad networks that made it to the top on Android: 

  1. Google Ads
  2. Facebook (Meta)
  3. Unity Ads
  4. TikTok for Business
  5. AppLovin
  6. ironSource

Top Game Ad Networks: The IAP Index (iOS)

Reaching paying iOS users wasn’t an easy task, especially with everything going on with the privacy updates. Here are the ad networks that were best for finding paying players on iOS:

  1. Apple Search Ads
  2. Unity Ads
  3. Facebook (Meta)
  4. AppLovin
  5. Ocean Edge
  6. ironSource
  7. Google Ads
  8. TikTok for Business
  9. Moloco
  10. Magnetic Engine

Fastest-Growing Ad Networks

The ranking of the fastest-growing mobile game ad networks is only available for Android users. This is because it would be pretty inaccurate to compare iOS rankings to the previous Index. 

The list applies to both gaming and non-gaming apps. Here’s the list of the most prospective ad networks: 

  1. Bigo
  2. Transsion
  3. Simeji
  4. Jampp
  5. aye-T Studios
  6. Myappfree
  7. Bluestacks

A Final Note on Game Ad Networks

In 2021, the world of mobile game advertising drastically changed. The ad networks needed to adapt to the situation, and some did this better than others. 

Overall, one of the keys to successful user acquisition is choosing the right ad network for your game. Hopefully, this list helped you with this. 

As can be seen from the rankings, different game ad networks work differently depending on the KPI you’re looking at. Generally, giants like Facebook and Google remain on the throne in most rankings.

The networks from the gaming triopoly (Unity Ads, ironSource, AppLovin) also found themselves in the leading positions across categories.

What can we expect from the next Index? On Android, the rankings will probably remain stable, with breakthroughs of the growing ad networks. On iOs, we have yet to see how different ad networks adapted to the privacy updates. 

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About Udonis

Udonis is an independent full-service mobile marketing agency that acquired more than 200,000,000 users for mobile games since 2018. Visitudonis.co

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