8 Types of Mobile Advertising Proven to Drive Engagement and Revenue (With Examples)

MA: mobile phone with floating icons

Creating a quality product is undoubtedly fundamental to building a successful app business, but product excellence alone does not guarantee success in today’s competitive app marketplace. You must also possess these crucial elements: visibility and awareness.

As mobile device usage continues to skyrocket, companies are increasingly relying on mobile advertising to engage potential customers and generate income from apps.

Determining the most effective mobile advertising options and campaign strategies for optimal return on investments can be challenging. Every dime spent must have a calculated risk.

But with so many factors to consider, it can be difficult to determine which mobile advertising options and what kind of campaigns will give you the best return on investments.

Let me help simplify the process.

In this article, I’ll discuss some of the most popular types of mobile advertisements and how you can best utilize them for maximum impact. Read on to uncover strategies that will boost your app’s visibility and success.

What is mobile advertising?

Mobile advertising refers to the promotional activities conducted on mobile devices. It involves the delivery of advertising content through various channels, including mobile apps, websites, and social media platforms. This type of advertising targets people on the move, acknowledging the widespread use of mobile devices as part of modern consumers’ lifestyles.

The biggest advantages of mobile advertising

  • Cost-effectiveness. Mobile ads are significantly less expensive than traditional ads. This is because ad spaces on mediums like print, radio, and television are far limited compared to the digital landscape.
  • Extended reach. With 5.25 billion smartphone users worldwide (as of 2023), one can’t dispute the accessibility of mobile advertising today. Look around any public place, and you’ll likely see a handful of people with their eyes glued to their mobile devices.
  • Higher engagement levels. Mobile advertising facilitates real-time interaction between brands and consumers. It offers a great way to engage your target audience with messages tailored just for them. Immersive, personalized experiences within mobile apps can increase app engagement and retention.
  • Real-time analytics. Mobile advertising platforms often provide real-time analytics and data tracking tools. This immediate feedback allows you to assess the performance of your campaigns quickly, adjust strategies on the fly, and make data-driven decisions to optimize the effectiveness of your mobile ads.

8 Types of mobile ads proven to increase engagement and boost success

1. In-app ads: boost engagement from within

In-app are mobile advertisements that appear inside mobile applications.

This type of mobile advertising enables users to experience content, such as interactive mobile displays, audio soundtracks, images, and high-resolution videos, without leaving an app.

In-app ads come in different formats. Some of the most popular mobile app ads among advertisers are:

  • Interstitials. Interstitial mobile ads briefly cover a device’s screen before the desired application appears.
  • Banners. Banners span the app or website interface along the bottom or side.
  • Native ads. These mobile ads blend naturally into the design layout of apps to feel less intrusive.
  • Offer walls. Offer walls reward users upon completing mobile surveys or ad viewing processes.
  • Video ads. These mobile ads display short clips that often take up the entire screen.

For more in-depth information and samples of these ad formats, check out our How In-App Ads Can Propel Your Mobile App’s Success.

Discussing advertising within apps begs the question: What exactly makes in-app ads effective?

To answer that question, let’s first have a look at the following data:

MA: app usage statistics

Source: Finances Online

With most mobile users’ time spent on apps, in-app ads provide advertisers ample opportunities to engage users, convey their message, and generate brand recall. The immersive nature of app experiences makes users more receptive to interactive and visually appealing advertisements.

And as with any advertisement, the more frequently the exposure = the better the chances of conversion.

But while in-app ads can be a powerful tool for app business owners and mobile marketers, executing them is a delicate art and science. Otherwise, it can drive the opposite expected results.

Intrusive or irrelevant ads may result in a negative perception of the app and potentially drive users to uninstall or reduce their engagement. Likewise, excessive or repetitive in-app ads can lead to ad fatigue and make users become less responsive or even annoyed by the ads.

To address these challenges, you should always prioritize user experience. Here are some ways how:

  • Leverage data to ensure ads are non-intrusive and relevant
  • Rotate ad creatives and carefully manage the frequency of ad displays
  • Address privacy concerns by being transparent about data usage and implementing robust data protection measures
  • Regularly analyze metrics (more on this below) to measure campaign effectiveness and adjust strategies accordingly

One app that exemplifies a great in-app ad is Nike Training Club. To promote its premium training features, the app advertises workout plans, challenges, and exclusive content, enticing users to upgrade for a more personalized fitness experience.

MA: Nike Training Club sample in-app ad

Source: Nike Training Club

What I personally like about Nike Training Club’s ads is how seamlessly they are integrated into the app, ensuring that they do not disrupt the user experience. Remember, ads that feel native to the app and align with its design and functionality are more likely to be well-received by users.

2. Banner ads: elevate your app’s visibility

If you’ve experienced examining e-commerce store designs or looking for research materials online, chances are, you’ll notice at least one banner ad.

Banner advertisements are ads that pop up on mobile device screens, urging users to click or purchase something. Depending on one’s mobile ad campaign strategy, banner ads can come in the form of a standard banner or rich media banner ads.

A standard banner ad is a type of display advertising that typically appears across websites, mobile apps, and other digital channels. It typically contains an image, a headline, and a link that drives users to a landing page.

MA: sample banner ad


Rich media banners, conversely, can contain interactive features such as videos or animation. Additionally, they can expand upon clicking, helping the ads become more engaging for mobile users.

MA: rich media banner sample

Source: HubSpot

💡 Fun fact: Did you know that banner ads have been around since 1994? Yes. The strategy has been a marketing campaign staple for nearly three decades — a solid indication of its effectiveness.

As such, many advertisers in the U.S. and other parts of the world continue to tap into the power of mobile banner ads to boost brand recognition and sales.

According to Statista, mobile advertising spending continues to grow and is projected to reach nearly $399.6 billion by 2024.

MA: app spending statistics

Source: Statista

But to ensure banner ads’ effectiveness, you must carefully consider timing and placement to avoid disrupting user engagement. In other words, it has to be executed in the least intrusive way possible.

There is no hard-and-fast rule to doing this, but our app developers often suggest showing banner ads during natural points in mobile app usage, such as at the end of a transaction or before moving to another game level.

For other pro tips on promoting your app, check out this insightful article on app marketing basics written by one of our founders.

3. Text ads: minimize space, maximize impact

Another mobile marketing strategy that has stood the test of time is text ads.

Text ads use text to create attractive and interesting messages that drive users to take action. They’re typically found displayed in search engine results.

Source: Google

Text ads come in different varieties, and each has advantages depending on your mobile advertising campaign. Among the most popular formats are:

  • Responsive ads. These mobile ads used codes that change the ad layout to fit any mobile device automatically, providing a consistent experience regardless of the mobile users’ gadget type and size.
  • Expanded text ads. These mobile ads allow advertisers to include two headlines and an 80-character description, offering more room to market their product or service.
  • Standard text ads. These traditional mobile ads have remained relevant despite the latest mobile marketing trends. Standard text ads include a headline and a two-line description, making them ideal for quick announcements about sales or promotions.
  • Dynamic text ads. These types of mobile advertising allow you to create ad copy tailored to the interests of your target audience. Dynamic text ads use an algorithm to change the message in the ad according to what the user might be searching for at any given time.

With its simplicity, it’s easy to see why text ads are popular among mobile app developers looking for engaging ways to get their message across quickly, economically, and effectively.

4. Video ads: visually tell your app story

Video advertising is any mobile ad that uses video content, incorporating various elements such as sound, visuals, animation, and text to engage viewers. They can take the form of short commercials, interactive product demos, or even intriguing stories with a promotional message.

As digital users have become increasingly visual, video content is the king of engagement. It is no longer considered “nice to haves” but a crucial factor in most mobile ad campaigns.


The sheer volume of people spending an incredible amount of time watching videos is an opportunity that advertisers should take advantage of.

According to a Zenith study, an average user spends about 100 minutes per day watching videos online. Wyzowl’s research also found that video ads can significantly impact consumers’ purchase decisions. The study revealed that:

  • 96% of consumers have viewed an explainer video to learn more about a product or service.
  • 88% of users say that watching a video has convinced them to purchase a product or service.
  • 78% of people say they’ve been convinced to buy or download a software or app by watching a video.

Pretty impressive figures, right?

But just like all types of mobile ads, there’s a caveat. Producing effecting video ads can be a tricky, costly, and time-consuming process.

Our insider tips on video marketing delve deeper into this topic. I encourage you to check it out.

Part of a video advertising campaign’s success depends on several factors, including the message and story of the ad, the emotions it evokes, and its placement and timing.

Let’s look at one great example of a video mobile advertising campaign: Dove’s #ChooseBeautiful.

Source: Dove Bangladesh’s YouTube Channel

What makes Dove’s mobile video ad great? Here are my notes:

  • First, it has a well-thought-out storyline that captures the attention and resonates with the brand’s target audience.
  • Placement and timing are also key. The video ads are shown strategically on digital advertising platforms, such as YouTube and social media, where Dove’s target audience (women all over the world) will likely see them.
  • Lastly, the visuals are high quality and free of technical glitches, even though they were shot raw or as Dove called it, “no digital distortion.” In our experience, nothing disrupts the user experience faster than buggy material — be it a video ad or a mobile app.

Take it from one of our app development partners, Grill’d.

Before tapping Appetiser, Grill’d was an unstable, crash-prone app with a 1-star rating. It was obviously falling behind in delivering the experience its mobile app users deserved.

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MA: Grill'd app screenshot

Within 6 months of taking over the app, our team managed to turn things around and transform Grill’d into an app with a user-friendly interface that boasts 99.9% crash-free sessions. This helped increase its monthly active users by 51% in the same short period.

How did we do it? Find out more by reading the Grill’d case study.

5. Gamified ads: the playbook for leveling up engagement

Gamified ads are mobile advertising techniques that incorporate elements of rewards, competition, and fun into mobile ads. These types of ads drive interaction by having mobile users complete a specific task or challenge to receive an incentive.

Gamified ads come in various forms and can be executed in virtually endless ways, including:

  • Quizzes related to a product promotion
  • Match-three puzzles sponsored by a brand
  • Mini-games where participants accumulate points or virtual currency to level up their experience

Apart from encouraging more active engagement from your target audience, gamified mobile ads provide quantifiable results that allow you to measure return on investment easily (more on this below).

One crucial thing to keep in mind though if you’re considering gamified ads: Users have high expectations for the quality of games, even in ad formats.

If the game within your ad lacks polish or is not engaging, it may have a negative impact on your brand perception and the effectiveness of your advertising campaign. In other words, you have to maintain a consistent user experience between the game and the rest of your app.

Here’s an example of a gamified ad that I personally find engaging courtesy of the clothing company gwynnie bee:

MA: gamified ad sample

Source: NeverBounce

The ad met all the crucial elements of an attention-grabbing gamified mobile advertising campaign:


✔️Clear and engaging call to action

✔️Attractive reward that suits its market

6. Playable ads: quick demos, lasting wins

Playable ads allow users to engage with a mini-version of a game or app before downloading it. They are commonly associated with marketing for mobile games, but other industries are also finding innovative ways to benefit from this highly engaging mobile ad type.

And why wouldn’t they when playable ads are found to convert up to seven times higher than standard ads? They are also the most profitable, generating between $11 and $25 for every 1,000 ad impressions.

Among the key features I see that contribute to the effectiveness of playable ads are:

  • Interactivity. The primary feature of playable ads is interactivity. Users can actively engage with a simulated version of the app, providing a hands-on experience that encourages interaction.
  • Clear value proposition. Playable ads make a great platform for highlighting the core features of an app. Even a 15-second ad is enough to give users a glimpse of what makes the app unique. Users can decide instantly whether the app is valuable to them or not.
  • Immersive. When executed effectively, playable ads create memorable experiences that are more likely to capture and retain users’ attention.

Here’s a video showing what a playable ad may look like:

Source: YouTube (Udonis)

While playable ads offer an immersive and interactive advertising experience, they share the major caveat of gamified ads: Users have high expectations for the quality of playable ads. If the interactive elements or games within your are not well-designed or engaging, it may negatively impact the overall user experience and the effectiveness of your advertising campaign.

So whether in your ad or your app itself, observe UX design principles. I encourage you to read this article to learn how: UX Design for Apps: 5 Key Insights Every Startup Should Know

7. Push notifications: drive actions and engagement smartly

Push notifications are short messages or alerts sent by mobile apps to the users’ devices, typically appearing on the home screen or in the notification center. These messages are a direct way for apps to communicate with users, whether to provide information or to drive specific actions.

Among the common messages advertised via push notifications are:

  • Promotional content. Mobile advertisers often use push notifications to deliver promotional content, such as special offers, product announcements, or personalized recommendations, to encourage user interaction.
  • New product or feature announcements. Inform users about new products, features, or updates within an app. This helps keep users informed about the latest offerings and encourages exploration.
  • Time-sensitive information: Since push notifications are sent in real-time, it is ideal for delivering time-sensitive information, such as flash sales, limited-time offers, or breaking news, where immediate user attention or action is crucial.
  • Personalized recommendations. Push notifications can be sent based on a user’s location, in-app activity, and other data. Examples of this are location-specific promotions, offers, and information.

Push notifications can increase your app retention rate by 3 to 10 times. That is, if you execute the strategy correctly.

While push notifications can be a powerful tool for user engagement and retention, it’s important to strike a balance and avoid overwhelming users with too many or irrelevant notifications, as this can lead to user opt-outs or app uninstalls.

To maintain user satisfaction and minimize intrusiveness, consider implementing an opt-in feature for push notifications. Granting your users control over message delivery ensures a more positive engagement with your app.

8. Audio ads: amplify your app’s reach

Audio ads are delivered through audio channels on mobile devices and are commonly played on audio-centric platforms. This type of mobile ad offers a unique and immersive way for advertisers to engage with mobile users who are often on the go.

There are various types of audio ads, each tailored to engage audiences through different formats and platforms. Some of the common types are:

  • Traditional radio ads. Traditional radio ads are broadcast over AM, FM, or digital radio channels. These ads typically include spoken messages, jingles, and music to capture the audience’s attention.
  • Streaming audio ads. These ads are played during the streaming of music or other audio content on platforms like Spotify, Pandora, or Apple Music.
  • Podcast ads. Podcast ads are integrated into podcast episodes and can take the form of host-read endorsements, pre-recorded spots, or dynamically inserted ads. Podcasts often allow for niche targeting based on the podcast’s subject matter.
  • Branded playlists or stations. Advertisers can create branded playlists or stations on music streaming platforms. These playlists incorporate sponsored content, offering a non-intrusive way to engage users with the brand
  • Live reads. Live read ads are read aloud by a live presenter, often the host of a radio show or podcast. These ads provide a more personalized and authentic touch, leveraging the presenter’s credibility.
  • Audio QR codes. Audio QR codes are scannable codes that, when activated, play an audio message. They can be used in various offline and online contexts, allowing users to engage with the brand through sound.

In 2023, the number of users of music streaming platforms is estimated to be 524 million globally. This indicates that leveraging audio ads is a great way to reach a large audience base. It is also an excellent strategy to target specific audiences based on their content preference.


Source: MIDIA Research

While audio ads offer a unique way to engage users through sound, they also have downsides.

For one, listeners are often engaged in various activities. This leads to potential distractions and reduced focus on the ad. Ensuring that your ad message is compelling enough to capture attention amid potential distractions is crucial.

Another major caveat is that audio ads are dependent on the platform or app where they are served. You, therefore, need to consider the specific context and user behavior of the chosen audio platform to maximize impact.

Mobile advertising metrics you should be tracking

A successful mobile ad campaign requires more than just crafting compelling ad creatives. You must also understand the intricate details, like mobile analytics, of your campaign’s performance.

When assessing the effectiveness of mobile advertising campaigns, several key metrics can provide you with valuable insights. Here are some essential mobile advertising metrics you should track to measure your campaign’s success:

1. Click-through rate (CTR)

CTR measures the percentage of users who click on your ad after seeing it. A higher CTR generally indicates a more engaging and relevant ad.

MA: CTR formula

2. Conversion rate

The conversion rate measures the percentage of users who completed your desired action (e.g., making a purchase) after clicking on your ad. It indicates how effective your ad is at driving desired outcomes.

MA: conversion rate formula

3. Cost per click (CPC)

CPC represents the average cost you incur for each click on your ad. It helps you assess the efficiency of your advertising budget in generating user engagement.

MA: CPC formula

4. Cost per mille (CPM)

CPM measures the cost of a thousand impressions. It is useful for comparing the relative cost of reaching a thousand users across different ad campaigns.

MA: CPM formula

5. Return on ad spend (ROAS)

ROAS evaluates the revenue you generate for every dollar you spend on advertising. A ROAS greater than 100% indicates a positive return on investment.

MA: ROAS formula

6. Install rate

This metric measures the percentage of users who installed your mobile app after clicking on your ad.

MA: install rate formula

7. Cost per install (CPI)

CPI calculates the average cost you incur for each installation of your mobile app. It provides insights into your user acquisition costs.

MA: CPI formula

8. Engagement Rate

This metric measures the percentage of users who interacted with your ad (e.g., clicks, shares) relative to the number of impressions. Engagement rate is a good indicator or your ad’s overall appeal.

MA: engagement rate formula

Stay ahead of the curve with the right mobile advertising strategy

While mobile advertising shows significant potential for driving app engagement and revenue, it doesn’t automatically guarantee a stellar result.

The key is to find the perfect blend of strategies that work best for your business and your customers. Experiment with different combinations of ad types and placements, measure results, and optimize continuously.

Keep in mind that mobile advertising is constantly changing, so stay ahead of the latest trends and don’t be afraid to try new things or adjust your approach as needed.

And if you need a partner to design and develop a world-class mobile app, reach out to Appetiser today.

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