Singular ROI Index 2022: the world’s best ad networks

By John Koetsier February 8, 2022

How do you seek out the world’s best ad networks? You look at a lot of data.

We’re releasing the Singular ROI Index for 2022, and there’s a lot to digest in it. We looked at 300 top ad networks. 5,000 of the world’s most-downloaded apps. Literally billions of app installs. And over $20 billion in in-app revenue.

All with one goal:

Find the world’s best ad networks so you don’t have to spend months and millions trying to accomplish the same thing. And, of course, as per usual, we’re giving away all of that insight: get the 2022 Singular ROI Index right here.

ROI index 2022

New this year: M&A activity included

As everyone in adtech knows, there has been a ton of consolidation in the mobile user acquisition adtech space. ironSource, Liftoff+Vungle, AppLovin, and Digital Turbine have all been busy buying companies, products, and capabilities, and they’re not the only ones.

So we totaled up winners — companies that occupy the most slots in the various ROI Index regional, vertical, and platform top lists — by individual company but also, for the first time ever, by parent company. And that means while you’ll still see the traditional top dogs like Google and Facebook, there are some brand-new winners in the most-mentions contest.

In fact, with their acquisitions, two of the emerging titans of adtech scored more mentions than either Facebook or Google.

Top ad networks by vertical, region, and platform

The 2022 Index includes top lists for best ROI on Android, best retention on Android, best ad networks on iOS pre-iOS 14.5, and best ad networks on iOS post iOS 14.5.

 Top ad networks by vertical, region, and platform

Plus more insight on what’s happening in mobile adtech

In addition to all the top lists for ROI, retention, and revenue, we’ve jammed the report full of insight on some of the biggest changes in mobile user acquisition marketing over the past year, including:

  • Adtech M&A impact
    Apple’s iOS privacy changes made device identifiers, which enable third-party targeting data for advertisers, hard to acquire and use. First-party data, however, is less impacted, meaning more bigger ecosystem players with more consumer touches can both target and deliver ads better. Now we’re seeing the impact: fewer names in the top echelon of advertising success.
  • Growth of intent/search
    As device identifiers grew rare on iOS, search-based ad networks including Apple Search Ads and Google Ads grew their share of the market 15-20% over the year. Without device identifiers, behavioral targeting is hard, leaving only contextual targeting and search-based targeting. Search has always been a high-intent form of ad targeting, driving outsized returns over contextual targeting, and so search-based networks grew.
  • Apple Search Ads dominated iOS
    ASA grew a staggering 33% in a year, driven by its triple-threat targeting capability.
  • 6 emerging titans of adtech
    Thanks to massive M&A activity, we’re seeing a clear emergence of a second tier of ad networks below Google and Facebook:

    • Apple Search Ads
    • AppLovin
    • ironSource
    • Liftoff+Vungle
    • TikTok
    • Unity
  • And even more:
    • Which ad networks have made the transition to post-IDFA SKAdNetwork methodologies best
    • TikTok’s big jump and still-available opportunity
    • What’s happening with intent, display, and social ad inventory in the privacy era
    • The emergence of Unity Ads
    • Why acquisition-hungry heavyweight champions such as AppLovin and ironSource, Liftoff+Vungle, and Digital Turbine are the new titans of adtech
    • Which emerging contenders who didn’t make the ROI Index, but are worth watching
    • Why Facebook and Google are still top of the heap

Get the full report today

The full Singular ROI Index report for 2022 is available here.

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