Top Apps Monetizing using In-Stream Ads

The revolution in mobile advertising has begun. Native advertising is taking the industry by storm and every day, more and more mobile app developers are switching their in-app advertising models to native-ads. Native advertising is not some new kid on the block anymore and has started creating an admirable track record. Some of the most downloaded apps rely on native advertising and this blog will discuss how they use In-Stream ads to be in particular, to generate billions of dollars in advertising revenue every year.

What are In-Stream Ads?

In-Stream ads fall under the greater category of native ads. Apps that have streams of content (Lists, Grids e.t.c.) inject ads in their stream that resemble their original content. Usually these ads mimic the appearance and function of the regular content making In-Stream ads a very strong native ad format.
Although In-Stream ads first begun appearing on the web, these days they are mostly found in mobile applications. This should not come as a surprise at all because lists and grids are a very common design pattern in mobile app design and are very effective way to monetize an app while preserving that smooth UI/UX that you worked so hard for.



Facebook is a prime example of how In-Stream ads can be seamlessly integrated in an app and how this is done at scale. The social giant now has more than 1 Billion users on mobile and has reported a $1.48 Billion mobile revenue just in Q1 2014. The ads are well integrated in the news feed and there is a variety of ad units including promoted posts and app installs.



Twitter, the other social giant is as well on a clear trend of becoming a mobile-first company with In-Stream ads having a key role in this play. Twitter reported $242 million in revenue in Q4 2013 of which 75% was mobile. As with facebook, the ads are seamlessly integrated in the stream and mimic the function of regular content making them “truly” native. At the moment, only promoted tweets are used for monetisation but app installs should start appearing in our twitter feeds shortly.



Buzzfeed is another great example of monetizing through In-Stream ads. Although exact revenue figures are not available because the company is not public, it can be estimated that a good portion of ad revenue comes from mobile. The ads take the form of sponsored articles which blend perfectly with the normal content. There are no external ads at the moment.

Benefits of In-Stream Ads

If your app has content streams like feeds, lists or grids then In-Stream advertising can potentially offer some unique benefits. One benefit is that it can be used as an incremental revenue solution. This means that you can keep your current monetization solutions (e.g. Banners, Interstitials) and earn more on top of that. More than that, In-Stream ads like all true native ads, can be used to deeply integrate the ads in the application and build a better advertising experience for the end user. These, combined with all the other benefits of native ads like improved ad performance can compose a very successful advertising strategy.


In-Stream advertising has generated billions of dollars in advertising revenue for some of the top publishers in the world. It promises a sustainable advertising model with high performance while preserving the app’s user experience. There is already very strong evidence that In-Stream ads are here to stay.


Panos Papageorgiou
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Panos Papageorgiou

Co-founder at Avocarrot
Startup Dude. Talks to machines in a few languages. Makes things happen.
Panos Papageorgiou
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