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Ad mediation is a tool that allows developers to manage and maximize ad traffic using multiple ad networks in mobile games.
Using just one ad network such as AdMob, Unity or Meta would mean there is no ad mediation in place. As a result, the ad network being used would take all ad impressions regardless of price. Having a single ad network becomes more problematic when they don’t have a supply to fill the demand as the impression would not be filled leaving the developer with no revenue gain.
Having ad mediation in place gives your game say, ten potential buyers for an ad impression, which of course, is better than having just one i.e. how it would be if there were no ad mediation in place. Therefore, not using an ad mediation platform means leaving potential revenue on the table.
There are two basic types of ad mediation:
A waterfall ad mediation setup is where a mediation platform asks each ad network if they are willing to buy an impression for a specific price. If the ad network does not accept, it moves “down the waterfall” which may look something like this:
And so on. If the offer is accepted, the waterfall has a winner.
Bidding is essentially an auction whereby the mediation platform asks all involved ad networks how much they are willing to pay for a specific impression at that moment. The ad networks then answer with offers and from there, the ad mediation platform will pick the highest offer.
Both types of ad mediation increase competition for ad impressions and therefore, increase revenue for your mobile game. Why? Because the ad mediation platform maximizes the revenue of each ad impression to the ad network.
The difference between waterfall and bidding mediation is the time it takes a waterfall setup to make multiple ‘calls’ back and forth between mediation platforms and ad networks.
Bidding is faster because every ad network is asked at the same time which generates higher eCPMs. We are talking minute differences in the tens or hundreds of milliseconds, but this greatly impacts the fill rate, especially if the waterfall is too long.
From the perspective of a game developer, the key difference is that bidding happens automatically, whereas the waterfall must be managed manually to maximize eCPMs and revenue.
Nowadays the world is heading towards “bidding only” but we are not quite there, because not every ad network supports bidding with every mediation platform. Therefore, the standard mediation setup used today is often “hybrid”. This means that waterfall, as well as bidding, is used simultaneously and the best offer from both wins the impression.
The main result of a good ad mediation setup is high competition between each ad. Higher competition will result in:
‘Good’ ad mediation platforms make monetization easy to manage and present you with dashboards that bring you data clarity and highlight further monetization improvements.
When selecting an ad mediation platform, we recommend comparing these main parameters:
Naturally, developers tend to end up comparing the following ad mediation platforms: AdMob, Max by Applovin or ironSource. So here is a short summary of each:
As a company, we love to see games grow. Ad monetization is often the “low-hanging fruit” with quick implementation, measurable uplift and substantial results. Our All-inclusive Solution offers hands-off monetization once implemented and covers the following areas of monetization: