Mobile Games Promotion with DSP. Does It Work?

Mobile Games Promotion with DSP. Does It Work?

Sedykh mikhail

DSP networks are getting more and more popular on the Mobile Promotion market; they already generate more than 50% of all mobile ads and their share keeps growing

DSP networks

DSPs offer huge advantages in mobile advertising thanks to their access to large user data bases and broader range of targeting instruments. Moreover, a campaign can be optimized in real time often by the CPI rate, and can display ads in multiple networks and channels simultaneously. However, everything is not as simple as it seems.  

What is a DSP? 

DSP (Demand Side Platforms) is a technological system for auctioning for Advertisers which trades with SSP (platforms for RTB trades for Publishers),manages several Ad Networks and Ad Exchanges, and trades other data to the benefit of an Advertiser in RTB digital system.

It’s not a new trend anymore but an established business area, which grows steadily throughout recent years. In 2015 programmatic generated 30% of all ad spend across all digital area.

See detailed infographics on the DSP networks market

The Most Popular Advertising Formats

Programmatic nearing

55% of all ads placed with digital solutions are desktop banners. 28% are distributed among mobile formats: 19% for mobile banners, 9% for mobile videos. Desktop videos occupy around 18%. Notably, the most popular format among desktop banners is tall and narrow banner sized at 120 х 600px.

Inventory is a set of advertisement sources in which a system can place ads. These include Ad Exchanges (DoubleClick, Right Media, AdECN (owned by Microsoft), AdBrite, etc.), Ad Networks (Nexus, EZmob, Facebook, etc.) and separate advertisers (owners of websites and apps, vloggers). Here a DSP works as a mediator which provides advertisers with easy means of placing their ads and controlling campaigns.

Today, the most popular advertising formats are as follows: Display Advertising, Video Advertising, Mobile Advertising, Social Advertising, and Search Advertising.   

Programmatic growth

Banners and Video Advertising remain as the most popular formats for Mobile Gaming industry. The reason behind this is pretty simple: text ads are not capable of capturing a user’s attention while image-based advertising can show gameplay or simply draw attention with vibrant visuals.

Mobile advertising spend reached $72B worldwide in 2015. That’s 70% increase compared to 2014.

Despite the rapid growth of the market, DSPs are rarely used in promotion of mobile products and mobile game brands. The main reason behind this is the lack of transparency and, therefore, understanding of the processes.


Quality > Quantity


  1. Wide range of targeting instruments. DSPs often have far more user data compared to regular advertising networks thanks to using DMP solutions.  
  2. The ability to place ads on several advertising networks, platforms, etc. simultaneously. When you have a very strict target, you can not cover enough audience within a single network. With DSP you can connect other networks with similar parameters. 
  3. Cross-promotion. You can achieve better results with multichannel audience targeting. This feature allows you to “stalk” a certain user across various platforms. It can definitely benefit you if you use it right. 
  4. You can not be certain which platform will suit your current task best. You’ll probably never use the most part of the inventory, but isn’t it nice to have such opportunity in stock for the future. 
  5. Promotion of mobile games in Social Media is one of the most effective strategies. In addition, you’ll also develop the app’s page. Read more in “How to Promote Your Game in Facebook”.  



  1. Only a part of DSP’s inventory is suitable for mobile. 
  2. High CPI. The majority of downsides in mobile games promotion lies in the fact that automated bidding systems may ignore some of aspects of systems they support. Therefore, CPI (cost per install) can reach up to 10-15$ while manual bidding control and targeting can cut the expenses by 50%. 
  3. No way to optimize traffic purchasing in post-install events. Almost all currently available solutions are aimed at exposure, not on performance-based UA. 
  4. No clear way to segment the audience by interests as in Facebook where you can “catch” gaming audience this way. You can forget about segmenting users by their genre or gameplay preferences. 
  5. Fraud is still a major issue.  
  6. No transparency. It is unfortunate but there is no way you can see where exactly your ad is being displayed. 

It’s Time to Choose

In conclusion, we’d like to point out that understanding of your campaign’s goals leads to making a list of features you need. If you are looking for a DSP for advertising in Social Media only, platforms that support Facebook and Twitter will suit you; search no further. You will gain access to millions of users in an instance. 

If you are willing to experiment - take a close look at the inventory and pick one you are interested in. Some DSPs are more oriented on video and TV ads (both on Smart TV devices and on TV channels!).

To promote mobile games we’d recommend you to check for support for placing ads in Social Media (most importantly on Facebook) and in other mobile apps first.

Unfortunately, many issues like fraud, questionable quality of some sources, imperfect bidding and purchasing automation systems remain unresolved. As for 2016 DSPs look like ideal instrument for brand promotion, however, it is merely an alternative channel for mobile games promotion.