The 7-minute Guide to In-App Advertising

The 5-minute Guide to In-app Advertising

Want to test new traffic but not sure if in-app is worth your time? Cool, this post is for you. I will help you look into in-app and make your campaigns more profitable. 

Let’s talk about how you can optimize in-app for your needs.

You’ve probably noticed that different offers perform differently depending on the network. But this isn’t entirely true. If your campaigns are regularly optimized, you will see that performance does not depend on the network, but only on how well your campaign is set up.

Very often, newbies choose web traffic and pass up in-app networks. Have you ever heard about Smaato, Mopub, or Pubnative? They offer unlimited opportunities to make money by running ads in applications. Let’s learn more about why in-app is so great.

App Features

Apps usually have several millions downloads. App audiences can be much bigger than the web audience. 

Let’s count how many times you open your messenger? How often do you use your mobile browser, play games, listen to music? Literally, billions of people wake up and go to sleep with their smartphones. All those people are your potential leads who will see your ad, click your ad, and get you a conversion.

One of the main pros of in-app traffic is the precise source categorization that it provides which is much more difficult with web. Once you know app categories that perform better for you (news, for example), you can create an extended whitelist and target only similar apps. This is much more challenging with web traffic due to diversification of the information on the websites. You have the option to choose only the best performing apps, create whitelists with them and observe the impressive performance of your campaigns.

You also should know, smaller screen = better user interaction. In-app ads are ads with better visibility – nothing distracts user attention from your product. You can see below the example how the ad will look like in applications.

In-App Ad Format

How to Figure out What App Category You Need?

I have a few insights for you:

  • Game Apps – work well for game offers. However, some game apps attract more women than men. Voluum DSP has a possibility to create Gender & Age deal IDs for your native ad campaigns. So you can use one of these deals to reach, for example, women or men after a certain age.  Ask your Account Manager about it.
  • News Apps & Browsers – one-size-fits-all traffic for all types of offers. News apps have diverse and big audiences with different interests. You can run any offer here and it can turn out to be appealing to such a diversified audience. To start, you can try E-commerce, App installs, Nutrition.
  • Messaging apps – apps with huge coverage usually. They offer good performance for almost all verticals: E-commerce, Health & Beauty, Finance, Dating, Games etc. Hint: if you run Nutrition and Dating campaigns there is a possibility of Gender and Age targeting in our DSP. Just ask one of our Voluum DSP ad experts about it. 
  • Dating Apps – such apps usually block their competitors. That’s why running Dating campaigns in Dating apps is not always possible but again, broad audience and extensive information about users like age or gender, make this traffic a good match for many other products

How to Test What Kind of App Works Better for You?

The best way to identify effective apps is A/B Split Testing. Create a couple of campaigns with different creatives and headlines. Run these campaigns on different app categories. A/B tests will show you whichwhat creative or headline brings you more clicks and conversions. 

In the DSP Traffic Planner, you can see all the available apps per network and make a  WL. If you would like to whitelist only a specific category of apps (news apps, messengers, gaming apps, etc.), reach out to your Account Manager. Also, the Traffic Planner will let you know the amount of traffic on each app per geo.  

The graphic shows DSP Traffic Planner.
DSP Traffic Planner

Keep an Eye on Your iCTR

In-app traffic has lower user diversification due to a lack of organic traffic – so pay attention to your iCTR and update creatives and headlines when you see this metric going down. 

Not sure what else you can do to increase your iCTR? Check out some of the tips below:

  1. Write original and compelling headlines. Your ad should be different from your competitor’s ads. We observe many similar creatives and headlines taken from spy tools that stop working after some time as users see them constantly. 
  2. Test your ad. Split testing is the best way to understand what assets are best for each type of offer and traffic source. 
  3. Increase your bid. A higher campaign bid lets you get a better position for your ad. With 1st auction networks (majority nowadays) it is important to increase bids gradually and observe metric improvements.
  4. Optimize your ad campaigns based on ad space ID (the most granular reporting metric and targeting option). Remember that different ad placements within the app could have very different performance. 

For good performance, you should change creatives and headlines very often. Yes, it takes some time but it’s worth it to try if you want to improve your main metrics.

By the way, Voluum provides granular reporting which will help you optimise your campaigns. You can watch your metrics and pause placements with poor results: creatives, apps, ad spaces etc. Also, you can set a custom bid for each app and increase your win rate. If you want to improve your iCTR, pause creatives which have poor visits/impressions ratio. Don’t be afraid to pause apps with no visits/low iCTR especially if your bid is high or you’re spending decent money there.

You don’t want to spend time making bid adjustments? It’s too boring or complicated for you? Well, I have something that may interest you – the Auto Optimisation Feature. You can use it any time you want, it’s free and available for every DSP client. 

The Auto Optimisation Feature is a machine learning algorithm which optimizes your campaigns towards your specified performance goals:

  • iCTR 
  • CPV
  • CPC
  • CPA 

While running a campaign with Auto-Optimization enabled, you can perform the following manual adjustments:

  • Pausing ⇄ resuming sites, applications, creatives, operating systems, etc.
  • Changing a micro bid value
  • Changing campaign’s targeting options

All the above-listed changes will not reset the optimization findings for a given campaign. 

Make your campaigns profitable right now – read more about the Auto Optimisation feature in our documentation or reach out to our DSP ad operation experts.

Voluum DSP and In-App Opportunities

At the moment, in our DSP you have 4 in-app networks: Mobfox, Mopub, Pubnative, Opera, NewsBreak. You can also find in-app traffic in mixed traffic networks like Smaato and Pulsepoint. 


One of the top in-app networks, highly performing on the Health and Beauty vertical. You can be sure your clicks are made by people not by robots – Fraud-free environment is taking care of it. You can find many apps here from one of the biggest Publishers, Appodeal. Weather apps, News apps, Game apps – everything you need to make your campaigns work for you.

Top Verticals: Health & Beauty, Finance, Gaming
Top Apps: TMZ, NewsDay, Current,
Top GEOs: US, CA


100% in-app network. Fraud control is carried out by the market giants: DV, TMT, Pixalate etc. You will target audiences across more than 55,000 apps in all verticals and 1.4 billion devices worldwide. High amounts of unique apps will satisfy the demands of even the most rigorous advertisers. The added benefit of this network is vCPM – you will pay only for viewed impressions. Native ads on MoPub are high-quality, content-driven experiences that engage consumers by matching the look and feel of an app’s UI. 

Top Verticals: Streaming, Health & Beauty, E-commerce
Top Apps: Viber, Badoo, ShareIt, Likee, TextNow
Top GEOs: US, RU, EU countries


A network with 100% in-app inventory and proven performance for various offer types. Pubnative’s inventory is mostly Game apps. However, you can also find popular dating apps or messengers here. Access non-standard ad-units fully customized to match the app’s interface and user experience. Take advantage of global advertising demand with over 150+ trusted demand partners on the PubNative Exchange.

Top Verticals: Gaming, Trading, App Installs, Health & Beauty
Top Apps: IMO, Grindr, Kik, Tagged
Top GEOs: US, AU, DE, CA, AU


Originally an in-app network offering high quality and profitable native traffic. Fraud-free traffic available owed to multi-level verification for all publishers. Smaato supports viewable impressions – pay only when a user sees the ad. 

Top Verticals: Streaming, E-commerce, Trading, Health & Beauty
Top Apps: Lovoo, Buzzlite, Whisper, Zoosk
Top GEOs: US, BR, RU, ZA, IN


A traffic source with mixed web and in-app traffic. Native traffic for Health and e-Commerce performance marketers. Highly-diversified on Desktop, Mobile Web and App Publishers. Try the top news apps, messengers and many others here.

Top GEOs: US and CA
Top Apps: News Break – Local & World Breaking News & Radio; TextNow: Free Texting & Calling App


Not really a traffic source but only one news app with big volumes (about 40M daily). More than 50M impressions daily and diverse content lets your ad work better for you.  Our clients love this app for easy optimization, varied audience and nice performance. 

Top Verticals: E-commerce, Content, news, Gaming
Top GEOs: US


Even though you might know Nativo mainly as a site traffic provider, they do not limit themselves, providing in-app traffic as well. Here you can try the popular online newspaper TMZ with an audience of over 1M: celebrity news, videos & photos. Nice iCTR, low CPV – all your need for good performance.

Top Verticals: Health & Beauty
Top Apps: TM‪Z
Top GEOs: United States, Canada


Now that you know the best practices for in-app campaigns, are you ready to benefit from them? Voluum DSP offers you endless opportunities in terms of progression and earnings. We are doing our best to give our clients the best traffic and performance. Plenty of apps all over the world are waiting for you.

Don’t wait, be at the forefront and take advantage of DSP’s game-changing mobile app traffic! Sign up today!

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