Mobile App Marketing Agencies, Networks and Platforms: What Are the Differences?

Published on Dec 17, 2015 in Mobile App Marketing
Mobile App Marketing Agencies, Networks and Platforms: What Are the Differences?

There is an entire ecosystem of mobile app marketing and advertising. If you are looking for promotion services for your app, you may get lost among these networks, agencies, platforms and tools. GoWide has put together a simple classification of app marketing companies to help app owners navigate and choose.

There are three main types of app marketing companies:
  • Mobile app marketing agencies
  • Mobile advertising networks
  • Mobile partner networks (CPI, CPA)

They differ mostly by scale and specialty of services they provide. Each type of app marketing company has a more detailed segmentation, by speciality, worth examining. It’s extremely helpful to define the type of company that is appropriate for your business goals.

Mobile app marketing agencies

Complex marketing agencies, that focus on mobile app promotion, are the best options for game and app development companies. They serve as an outsourced marketing team that takes care of your mobile app promotion. This will save time and effort versus in-house marketing efforts, which could potentially be useless.

Types: Complex marketing agencies differ by budget/company size they work with. It’s important to ask if the agency has a full execution team or if it outsources any services (this can impact the service’s quality).

There are also agencies that specialize in specific countries/regions or operation systems.

Best choice for:
  • Big brands that have mobile apps for brand promotion or additional user monetization.
  • App developers and new publishers who need help with market research, marketing strategy development, and organizing investor pitches.
  • Middle and large sized publishers who want to outsource PR activities, particular market launches, or any kind of non-standard marketing activities.

A marketing agency decision depends on the app owner's budget and goals. If the launch budget is less than $1,000, it's better to stick with self-service tools for the app launch like ComboStore and AppShout. If you have big plans for the app and an appropriate budget, you should start preparation six months before launch and use the expertise of professional analysts, media buyers, and PR managers from a full-cycle agency.

Mobile advertising networks

All advertising networks serve for app traffic monetization through buying and selling ad placements. This gives app owners an opportunity to efficiently promote and monetize their apps. Different ad networks work with various ad formats including banner, video, interstitial, and native.


One of the fastest growing segments of mobile advertising is video ads. Many networks work with mobile video ad services for apps or create their own services. Good video ad networks are AdColony and Vungle.

Best choice for: There is no perfect ad network for every app. You need to examine all ad networks closely before making a decision. Unlike the marketing agency, networks wouldn’t provide additional services for app promotion, they focus on buying and/or selling traffic only. That’s why one would need marketing skills and knowledge in order to control and adjust a marketing campaign when working with an ad network.


Mobile partner networks (CPI, CPA)

Mobile partner networks combine app monetization opportunities with other app owner’s requests for user acquisition on a CPI or CPA basis. Mobile CPI advertising allows app developers, media buyers, and partners to make a profit on app promotion. Mobile CPA advertising includes actions inside of the app such as sharing, registering, purchasing, etc.. In order to choose between them, determine your main goal whether it be incentive/organic installs (CPI) or a specific in-app action (CPA).


In order to understand which are the best ones, use ratings such as top CPA networks by mThink and top CPI networks by MobyAffiliates.

Best choice for:
  • Mobile publishers who want to monetize traffic and promote apps
  • Partner networks and media buyers who make a profit on traffic buying and ad campaigns
  • Mobile ad networks and ad servers who are looking for unsold inventory monetization

App owners can actually take advantage of the diversified and complicated mobile marketing ecosystem by finding a partner that is most suitable for their app type, region, budget, and marketing goals. As the cost of acquiring one loyal user increases every month (reached $4.04 in August, according to Fiksu report), and the app store competition gets tougher, having a reliable marketing partner becomes a crucial factor in the promotional success of an app.

Good Luck!

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