Mobile Banner Ads: An Everlasting Ad Format That Comes in a Small Package

By Vungle | December 8, 2020

Hot take alert: Mobile banner ads won’t exist in the 2020s, said Tejal Patel in 2016, formerly of Microsoft and currently Cisco’s Director of Digital Marketing, EMEAR.

Banner ads for mobile apps and mobile games, however, have not only survived since this doomsday prediction in 2016, the oft-criticized ad format has thrived.

In fact, data from programmatic DSP company Liftoff showed that banner ads are as effective as ever in mobile in-app. In Liftoff’s 2019 Creative Ad Index report, the company found that mobile banner ads were a 120% more cost-effective ad format than mobile video ads.

Rather than focus on the negative rhetoric surrounding banner ads (i.e. this, this, and this), we’re going to highlight the positive.

The five points that follow show mobile marketers like you why the mobile banner ad format is a must for diversifying your overall ad buying mix. We start with cost, sharing the latest industry benchmark for banner ad buying rates. Then, we share more proof points for banner ads, including its massive volume, programmatic readiness, and imperviousness to seasonality. Let’s dig in.

Massive volume of high-quality traffic

We think it goes without saying that the mobile market is massive. But allow us to share a statistic anyway, particularly about the hyper-casual game genre—a genre that has proven the relevance of mobile banner ads. In 2019 among the top 20 most-downloaded mobile games released that year, 77.6% of those games were of the hyper-casual variety, according to data from mobile intelligence company Sensor Tower.


Banner ads have been transacted programmatically for over a decade in desktop and for a few years in mobile in-app. If you’re a mobile marketer looking to dip your toes into the mobile programmatic water—particularly as the mobile ad industry shifts to buying and selling ads through app bidding—then look no further than in-app banner ads.


The ad format may be over 20 years old, but it’s certainly the ageless ad format wonder of ad tech. Even though banner ads have been around for years on mobile, Vungle has been supporting banner ad advertising and publishing on our platform for about a year. But instead of just adding banner ads support to the Vungle platform, we still felt that the ad format had more innovation left in it.

Also Read: Best Practices for Creating Banner Ads

Our Vungle Creative Labs team has been working hard to push the envelope on both banner ads and MREC ads. Vungle Creative Labs first introduced MREC video ads support on the Vungle platform. And over the coming months, the team will be rolling out richer capabilities for banner and MREC including video banner ads and playable MREC ads.


For mobile marketers, seasonality matters. The holiday season—Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day—represents business growth for them. And with it, mobile marketers expect to shell out more ad dollars to hit their desired UA goals and ultimately drive growth. Thankfully, mobile banner ads can save marketers some budget throughout the year, especially during the holidays. In-app ads generally exhibit the least amount of seasonal change in CPI compared to other ad formats, according to data from Liftoff.


Among the ad formats at mobile marketers’ disposal, mobile banner ads are one of the most economical. From 2018-2019, Liftoff reported that the average install cost for the banner ad format was $2.03, the lowest among video, interstitial, and native. Not only that, but that $2.03 average CPI is actually down 12.1% from 2017-2018.

Those very top 20 mobile games generated 2.1 billion installs in 2019. These statistics simply represent a massive opportunity for mobile marketers to achieve their top two buying criteria for performance marketing—volume and quality.

So let’s all collectively pump the brakes on spelling the demise of mobile banner ads. For mobile marketers, this pint-sized powerhouse ad format will continue to be an effective weapon in their ad buying arsenal for years to come.

To get started advertising on the Vungle platform with mobile banner ads, email your Vungle account manager.