Ad mediation: Waterfall mediation, ad mediation networks, and mediation platforms
What is ad mediation?
What is an ad mediation platform?
Ad mediation platforms give multiple ad networks access to an app’s inventory, creating an arena in which ad networks must compete for their ad to be served. Higher competition among ad networks means competitive eCPMs and more ad revenue for app developers.
Waterfall ad mediation explained
Traditionally, ad mediation uses a ‘waterfall’ approach to optimize its ad networks, prioritizing and ordering ad networks according to total potential ad revenue. In this approach, when an app developer requests an ad to fill, the highest performing ad network is called until its ad bidding pool is used up. Then, the system moves onto the next ad network until its pool is used up, and so on.
Ad mediation networks today
Today, however, the top ad network mediation platforms use a ‘hybrid waterfall bidding system,’ combining the traditional waterfall approach with real-time in-app bidding, which helps manage the monetization process. The in-app bidding process is set up like an auction. Ad networks are asked at the same time how much they are willing to pay to serve an ad. The network with the highest bid wins the auction and displays their ad.
Hybrid waterfalls are beneficial to developers, since it provides access to both network bidding and ad networks that only use waterfalls. This increases the amount of ad networks competing to fill your ad space, and as a result, yields higher revenue.
What to look for when choosing an ad mediation platform
There are multiple key factors to consider when choosing a platform. Knowing your app’s audience and objective will help create a foundation for your decision. Here are a few key factors to consider:
1. Ad network integration: Ensure the platform enables integration with a wide range of ad networks. The more potential advertisers can mean more revenue for your app, since fill rates could be higher with better eCPMs.
2. Ad units: Make sure the platform offers a wide variety of ad units such as, rewarded video, interstitials, banner, native, and more. Having more choices can help you find the best suited ads for your app and audience, creating a more engaging experience.
3. Robust analytics: Access to real-time analytics serves as a guiding light for informed decision making for your game. Having user-friendly data reporting can help you iterate on all of your KPIs to better understand what’s working (and what’s not).
Read our in-depth guide on mobile ad mediation.