Windows Phone Ad Network Options

Ad based app or paid app? That is the question many developers have faced. Do I charge a one time cost for my app or do I hope the user run the app with enough frequency to generate a decent level of ad revenue?

Windows Phone ads pay by impression in that you don't have to click on the ad banner for the developer to receive credit/revenue from that view.  The downside is that not everyone likes to see that ad banner regardless of how discrete they are placed.  If you choose the ad supported option, there are a few options available and Improvisoft has compiled a listing of their favorites along with rankings (in Jewels).

  • Millennial Media SDK (0/5 Jewels): While the API was highly customizable, the SDK proved to be unstable. Shutter animation would be closed more times than not, obscuring the ads. "Millenial had a lot of promise. This company has a good website and SDKs for 10 platforms including well-known 4.2.X versions for Android and iPhone. But it didn’t take long to realize that there is little delivery on that promise..."
  • AdDuplex SDK - version 1.1 Beta (3/5 Jewels): Described as a simple SDK with minimal documentation and a minimal API, it may be too minimal for some. Improvisoft notes that AdDuplex works, but there is room for improvement ranging from better ad appearance to better SDK documentation.  To give AdDuplex a little credit, it is still a Beta and these improvements may be in the works.
  • Smaato SDK v1.2 (2/5 Jewels): Smaato serves advertisements to over 220 countries. With no other functional ad-network for WP7 XNA games providing ads outside the US, that's a strength you have to recognize. Otherwise, Smaato is described as being the ugliest ad-network the reviewer has seen for Windows Phone.
  • Microsoft Advertising pubCenter SDK v5.1.0.166 (3.5/5 Jewels): Described as the best ad network for displaying ads on U.S. based Windows Phones, pubCenter does have some limitations. PubCenter is U.S. based only, the number of advertisers are fewer (more repeat ads), and while ads can be text or graphical they are not rich-media capable or to the size requested.

The skinny of it is that not every ad network is perfect and it seems that there isn't a "one size fits all" solution. Some may provide better coverage, cleaner appearance or simply easier to manage.

So...for the developers in the crowd what ad network do you find works best? Or do you prefer to avoid ad supported apps all together.

Source: Improvisoft

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • Currently, 95% of my revenue comes from ad based apps. I use the Microsoft advertising pubCenter. I played around with the others early on, but they were just not very stable for me. Things might have changed since then.
  • What's the name of that game on the screen? Looks cool kinda like harbor master but with planes.
  • It is called Flight Control. Out long before Harbor Master. One of the first xbox live games.
  • That's because it is. Search 'Flight Control' on the marketplace.In response to the post, I prefer paid apps with no ads. I'm willing to pay a little extra do offset the difference. Devs just need to make an app worth buying.
  • I would really like to try out pubCenter, but I'm unfortunately stricken by that awful illness of not being american. It's not even like I'm back home in New Zealand (I could understand a population of ~4 million being left out) - I'm in Europe (Germany).I was pretty understanding for a while, but It's been 6 months now, and no change... I wouldn't even mind if the ads still stayed US based for a while, almost 50% of my downloads are from the US so I could be generating revenue on that. But no, I'm not allowed, cause I'm a 'foreigner' :PSorry, just had to get that out... I feel better now :)
  • As user, I want free, full apps without ads :DAnd I'll remember this when as a developer I'll publish my first app in few months...
  • Ah good old something for nothing mentality...Using AdMob currently but the number of ads available here in the UK is laughable, fill rate is awful as a result so I'll be very glad when they bring the MS ad sdk over the Atlantic
  • I'm glad for the guy above, but developers won't put time or effort into making or porting their apps if they can't be compensated for it. Most devs do it to break even, for server costs and whatnot. WP7 is not as lucrative a platform for everyone as it has been for the select few making thousands.I'm using AdMob as well though, I've been using it since April of last year with webOS and I can't use pubCenter because the ads NEVER show up on my device or any other test devices. AdMob for WP7 has some rich media capability, but they pay by the click (which is MINISCULE for me.)
  • Well, it's probably simply because as a student I haven't got to pay much in order to release an app... of course developing apps to earn money to live is completely different ^^
  • Your problem with pubCenter might be mine, its not very well documented. There is a testmode flag you have to turn off, for the ads to actually show up. You have to add another using statement to even access the flag....For my first few apps (which came out around the same time) I was getting nothing until I figured that out.....
  • Wow, if I could fix this it would be amazing. Is there any more info on this? I've googled it so extensively and have found nothing.
  • I've posted various info about integrating pubCenter on my blog at you have any pubCenter problems, you should use the pubCenter for Mobile forum ( or email
  • This is the code c#, so in you code behind file you need to do the following.using Microsoft.Advertising.Mobile.UI;andRight after the InitializeComponet() add AdControl.TestMode = false;So, if you have no code in your code behind, it would look like this. // Constructor public MainPage() { InitializeComponent(); AdControl.TestMode = false; }
  • Also note, you can deploy an app on your phone and load it up and see a few ad views, and wait 4 hours and then go to the pubCenter page and it should finally show the impressions, as conformation.
  • George - Thanks for linking to my article, but I'd like to suggest that if you're going to summarize articles from my blog, it would be much appreciated if you also included screenshots of my "Ener-Jewels TGIF!" game along with it (instead of someone else's game). It's a little frustrating to see all of my work promoting Namco's game - they really don't need the extra PR.Thanks,Dan ColasantiImproviSoft LLChttp://www.improvisoft.com
  • You guys should use adtomatik, if you want the best ecpm, this is your best choice.