Buy mobile on the Ad Exchange

Ad Exchange is a great way for buyers to buy ad inventory on apps and track their ads’ performance. Apps provide another way to increase your return on investment by placing ads where customers are likely to take action. Customers also enjoy a better user experience with the types of ads that are available on apps, such as interstitial ads.

Read more below about some of the things you need to do to serve your ads on apps, and how you can use Ad Exchange to do it. There are also a few references to serving ads on mobile web, to describe where the process is different from non-mobile web.

The basics: Learn about some of the specifications needed for ads to appear on apps.

Understand the available mobile inventory sources

Two types of mobile inventory are available:

  • Mobile apps
  • Mobile web

This inventory can come from a variety of sources, including AdMob, Google Ad Manager publishers, and the Google Display Network. Learn how to target mobile inventory.

Create ads with sizes that are available on apps

Ads that appear on apps must follow certain size limitations. Here are a few of the accepted sizes:

  • 320x50
  • 728x90
  • 336x280
  • 300x250
  • 468x60

See a complete list of sizes.

Review app technical specifications and creatives

Buyers purchasing ad inventory served on apps (“in-app ad inventory”) must follow certain specifications for smartphones and tablets. There are requirements for unit sizes, tag types, file types, and more. Learn more.


Certification: Certifications are needed when using your own proprietary technology.

Certify your mobile app server

If you’re using proprietary technology that’s not already certified to run on Ad Exchange, you’ll need to fill out this form to certify your mobile app server.


Pre-targeting configuration: Set up the targeting so you can serve your ads on apps. We recommend keeping the pre-targeting filter as open as possible. Click here for more details.

See an example of an open pre-targeting configuration for apps and mobile web

If you don’t want desktop inventory included, make sure to click Platform in the left nav and include only Mobile and Tablet.

Display (all) targeting example

Target your ads to mobile apps

To have your ads appear on mobile apps, you’ll need to create a third-party ad with specific settings, make sure the campaign targets all available devices, add the apps you want to target, and more. Learn more.

Target mobile app inventory with mobile advertising ID

The Ad Exchange supports passing the identifier for advertising (IDFA) in app inventory bid requests. The IDFA allows developers and marketers to track activity for advertising purposes. It can be used by advertisers to run marketing campaigns and record “conversions” (purchasing or downloading). The IDFA can be reset by users at any time, and they have the option to opt out of all remarketing. Learn the technical details of using the IDFA in the Ad Exchange.

Target based on mobile advertising ID user lists

User lists can target mobile advertising IDs, including identifier for advertising (IDFA) and Android Advertising ID (AdID). With Authorized Buyers, you can update these user lists via HTTPS POST requests, which provide the mobile advertising IDs, user lists, and update type (add or delete mobile advertising IDs). Learn more.

Exclude ads from specific mobile apps

You can prevent ads in a campaign or ad group from being served on certain apps. Learn more.

Target your ads to mobile web

To have your ads appear on mobile websites, you’ll need to create a third-party ad with specific settings, make sure the campaign targets mobile devices, and make the ad a mobile-friendly size. You can also use Display Planner to help narrow your targeting criteria further, by specific mobile web inventory. Learn how to exclude desktop from your mobile web configuration.


Advanced settings: Configure the tools needed for real-time bidding of app inventory.

Buy mobile app inventory via real-time bidding

Some fields in the real-time bidding proto are required when buying mobile app inventory via real-time bidding. For example, the “is_app” field is an identifier for in-app traffic, and the “app_id” and “app_name” fields are used to specify what app inventory is being sent and from where. Learn more.

Set up bidding for interstitial ads

Interstitial ads are usually full-page ads served before or after an expected content page on an app. Authorized Buyers makes interstitial ad inventory available to all buyers as a new ad size. Learn how to serve interstitial ads in apps.

Analyze and bid based on user location

Ad Exchange can take the location of users into account when bidding on app ads. This is great for the serving of ads for local establishments, such as a restaurant within a few miles of the user. Note that the location signal is available only on a limited percentage of overall mobile traffic. Learn more.

Analyze and bid based on Android advertising IDs

If an advertiser has a list of advertising IDs from past visitors to their site domains, they can use those IDs to remarket the users and determine whether a specific user completed a conversion (purchase or download). Learn how a demand-side platform using real-time bidding can set this up for their advertiser clients.

Use cookie matching to make more effective mobile web bidding choices

Cookie matching allows a buyer to associate two kinds of data:

  • The cookie that identifies a user within the buyer domain.
  • The cookie that identifies the user for Google. (We share a buyer-specific encrypted Google User ID for buyers to match on.)

You can then bid on impressions in mobile web where users have a specific Google ID. Using cookie matching to help with bidding can simplify integration, decrease latency, and enable future enhancements. Learn more.


Measure performance: See if ads served on apps are providing a strong return on your investment.

Track app conversions and downloads

See how many conversions or app downloads originated from your ads. Learn more.

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