Ad monetization

Top ad networks 2023 by growth (so far!)

By John Koetsier November 29, 2023

Colder temperatures outside have been warning me for months now: it’s winter in the northern hemisphere and almost the end of the year. Which means just 1 thing at Singular: we’re getting very close to the next Singular ROI Index. And that made me kind of curious … what are the top ad networks by growth so far in 2023?

Good thing Singular has a lot of data to answer questions like that.

It’s been a tough year for ad networks, platforms, and advertisers, thanks to inflation, war, and a general downturn in the economy. Not all of the 30 top ad networks by spend on Singular have increased revenue throughout the year: for many, ad spend has decreased. But some have still managed to grow spend, and while that list is shorter than it was last year, the list of ad networks and platforms that have increased their number of customers is longer.

In other words: ad networks are generally working harder for less so far in 2023. Which probably exactly mirrors what advertisers are going through as well.

Top ad networks 2023: customers

Here are the top 10 ad networks by number of Singular customers gained in 2023:

  1. Google Ads
  2. Facebook Ads
  3. TikTok Ads
  4. Apple Search Ads
  5. Unity Ads
  6. Mintegral
  7. AppLovin
  8. Bing
  9. Digital Turbine
  10. Moloco

Yes, it’s true that the rich are getting richer: Google, Facebook, TikTok, and Apple vacuumed up the majority of all new customers gained so far in 2023. But we’re also seeing smaller players like Unity, AppLovin, Bing, and Mintegral get some share of new advertisers.

Top ad networks 2023: spend

Here are the top ad networks by growth in ad spend by Singular customers in 2023:

  1. AppLovin
  2. Liftoff
  3. Tapjoy
  4. TikTok Ads
  5. Google Ads
  6. Blind Ferret
  7. Facebook Ads
  8. Snapchat Ads
  9. Moloco
  10. Mistplay

This is a more interesting list. It’s not representative of where the total ad revenue is going: Google and Meta are still taking the lion’s share of that, while Apple, TikTok, Moloco, AppLovin, and Snapchat are firmly occupying the tier beneath them. 

But it is representative of which ad networks are adding spend … or at least losing the least in an overall down market.

What this means for advertisers

Everyone knows that at scale you’re likely to be using Meta and Google. Apple Search Ads is popular for iOS app publishers, of course, and TikTok continues to grow its share of advertisers and ad spend, though there doesn’t seem to be consensus that these platforms work for all kinds of apps and budgets. 

Just under that tier of ad networks is Unity, AppLovin, ironSource, Moloco, Snapchat, Liftoff, and a few other players.

While I didn’t check ROI for this analysis — wait for the ROI Index — these are worth a try.

We’re also seeing interest in some different players like Bing and Roku. Roku in particular seems to be riding the CTV wave and boosting its share of revenue from traditional mobile ad networks.

What about Twitter? X? Xitter?

Twitter has of course been an interesting platform over the past year and not without its share of controversy. As it turns out, that controversy is not great for business.

  • Twitter hit the top 3 for number of advertisers lost so far in 2023
  • Twitter also was down 46.2% in revenue over the course of the year

We’ll have more details in the 2024 Singular ROI Index, but it looks like if new owner Elon Musk and CEO Linda Yaccarino are going to turn that ship around, it’s going to take at least another year, and maybe just a little less controversy … which few advertisers like.

Any surprises?

While I can’t share any specific numbers here, Moloco surprised me with the sheer amount of ad spend advertisers are sending it. 

We’ll have more insight in the ROI Index, which will come out in the near year, but as we saw in a recent Growth Masterminds podcast, Moloco is doing something right. In fact, ad monetization expert Felix Braberg called it an “instant 10-year success” that opens the door for advertisers to get a 8-11% lift on revenue.

More coming: stay tuned for the Singular ROI Index for 2024

I like to analyze an entire year’s worth of data for the ROI Index, so we’re likely targeting late January/early February for the next version of the Singular ROI Index. Stay tuned!

Stay up to date on the latest happenings in digital marketing

Simply send us your email and you’re in! We promise not to spam you.