In mobile marketing, a publisher provides the capability and inventory that allows advertisers to run ads in their apps or on mobile sites. This can mean a publisher can be a website or an app. Publishers sell space on their property to buyers (app developers) and agencies (companies managing ad campaigns for advertisers).
An advertiser might be an app (like a mobile game or an e-commerce platform) or a brand who have a message they want people to see. A publisher is a place to display that message, with a viewership the advertiser is interested in converting.
It’s possible to be an advertiser and a publisher at the same time. If an app is running its own advertisements while also hosting ads, it is simultaneously an advertiser and a publisher.
When an app decides it wants to run an advertising campaign, it has to work with publishers that are willing to display the app’s message to the public. However, apps typically don’t head straight to the publisher with their video ads and banners. Instead, an ad network steps in and connects developers and agencies with the publisher. The publisher signs up to a network and allows that network to use their ‘inventory’ to advertise.
Publishers earn money by displaying ads, and cost is usually based on four different pricing models:
Through other publishers, sub-publishers deliver traffic for clients as a third party. If a publisher doesn't own their own traffic sources which an advertiser wants to run campaigns on, then they can buy traffic from other publishers – making them a 'sub-publisher'.
Working with a trusted mobile attribution provider like Adjust helps you determine the success of your campaigns and find out which publishers deliver your highest-value users. Adjust will never count a user twice, no matter which publisher sends them into your app. Our dashboard gives you a home to aggregate your conversion data, making it even easier to decide which publishers you’d like to run your next ad campaign with. To find out more about the hundreds of partners Adjust works with, take a look at our full list of technology partners.