The different types of ad formats to boost your app


Mobile is taking over the world. That means it is also taking over the customer journey.

In 2021 the number of smartphone users will reach 3.8 billion (Statista, 2021). As this unprecedented number is expected to grow, so are the mobile marketers’ chances to drive user acquisition.

There is a wide variety of ad formats you can consider to reach and engage your target audiences. But in order to avoid option paralysis, it is crucial to understand the difference between the formats and what will work best for your app. Let’s have a quick walk through the options.



One of the oldest ad formats. That’s what mobile advertising started from. Banner is an image displayed

on the mobile web or in apps, on which a user clicks and is redirected to Apple Appstore or Google Play to install your app.

There is an assumption that banners are not delivering that well on conversions but this is far from being true. In fact, banners were found to be 120% more cost-effective than videos and 20% more cost-effective than native ads, especially when it comes to the events further down the funnel (Liftoff, 2019). Banners are the most affordable format compared to videos, natives, interstitials, and interactive ads (Liftoff, 2019).

Apart from this, they are not as intrusive and do not interrupt the user experience. Another huge benefit is their ease of production and deployment. Publishers can quickly integrate banners on their sources.

However, it is essential that your creatives are visually compelling and include a clear call-to-action. Besides, your banners do not necessarily have to be static. You can always go for animated creatives to make your ads more appealing and engaging. It is also recommended to avoid too much text and ensure the high quality of the graphics.


Native ads

Natives are subtle ads that are naturally integrated and blended in the website or app content. The beauty of this format is its seamlessness whereby users click on ads without realising that they are engaging with ads.

Natives are even less intrusive than banners and are aimed at complementing user flow rather than interrupting it. They appear contextually relevant and appropriate thus minimising the risk of random clicks and leading to higher conversion rates for in-app events (AppSamurai, 2021). While this comes with certain challenges such a difficulty to scale quickly as well as a higher cost, it pays off in the long run by earning more installs and in-app engagement due to customised advertising experience.


Interstitial ads

interstitial-adsInterstitials are full-screen ads that appear at crucial app transition points and encourage a user to install or open the app.

Their huge advantage is the ability to grab and hold user’s attention naturally during navigation. Due to full-screen exposure, interstitials are memorable and can deliver high impression and conversion rates. You can also get very creative with a copy by including interactive and animated media content.

While interstitials are great attention getters, they can be intrusive and disrupt user experience if placed in the wrong transition point or poorly designed. Here it is vital to find a balance between a copy and its placement in the app.


Playable ads

playable adsPlayables are a fairly recent format which allows a user to try the app before committing to an install. It looks like a demo or a simulation (15 to 60 secs) where a user interacts with snippets of app’s core functionality and receives a limited app experience before facing a call-to-action.

This format is particularly effective for decreasing uninstall rates and increasing user retention (MobileAds, 2021). It will also drive higher engagement down the funnel as only the audiences that are genuinely interested in the app will proceed to the store and download. The challenge here is the fact that creatives take more time to produce and iterate, which consequently leads to higher costs.


Video ads

viedeo ads

Mobile video ads reach is expanding and no wonder why! They are proved to increase

engagement rate and drive high lifetime value (Facebook, 2020). Many users consider it to be the least disruptive format, which opens content discovery opportunities for them. Besides, videos are more visually appealing and have a better chance of holding users’ attention. Video ads also perform better on mobile than desktop as users are more focused on the video and can’t start multitasking like they do on a laptop (MobileAds, 2021).



Social Media Ads

social media ads2 hours and 25 minutes per day – this is the average time a typical social media user spends on social media today (Hootsuite, 2021). Increased social media usage is a great opportunity for advertisers to reach their target audiences where and when they are most likely to convert.

The users see paid socials in the form of sponsored publications within their feed. In this respect they are very similar to native ads as their formatting makes them look like organic posts. A big advantage of social media ads is their versatility and relevance to the audience as social media platforms allow you to reach and retarget only those users that are most likely to convert. However, paid socials come at higher costs compared to, for example, banners.


Incentivised traffic

incentivised trafficToday there are millions of apps in Apple AppStore and Google Play. Under the circumstances of such huge competition, app discovery is one of the biggest problems and the top priority for app owners. Incentivised traffic has turned the market upside down by solving this issue and securing top app store ranking.

Incentivised advertising is a form of app promotion that offers users rewards for an install or completed in-app action. Incentivised traffic is much more affordable compared to other ad formats and its virality factor allows you to easily boost your user-base and reach top store-rankings (sometimes within days).



All these mobile ad types have a potential to acquire users for your app through your choice will depend on what your goals and budget are. At Tradedoubler we work will all kinds of ad formats for App Marketing and our team is always there to advise you so that you could make the best choice.

ads overview


Even more insights

Interested in reading more about App Install? Take a look at our previous articles:


Contact us here and start user acquisition for your app today!

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