Mobile Advertising Terminology: A Complete Guide

mobile app marketing terms feature

Mobile advertising is a dynamic field with its own specialized vocabulary. This glossary breaks down those terms, offering clarity and the essential foundation needed to navigate this ever-evolving landscape.

Apple Search Ads

These are ads that appear at the top of the App Store to promote an app. The basis of search ads is keywords. 

App Monetization

App monetization is the art of making money from an app through advertising and promotions. 

App Store Optimization (ASO)

App store optimization (ASO) is the process of optimizing mobile apps to rank higher in an app store’s search results. To do this, you must optimize all parts of your app store presence using ASO best practices.

App Store Rank

All apps stores have charts, and app store rank identifies where your app comes up in search results. It’s the same as organic rank on Google. Four factors tend to have an impact on app store rankings:

  • App Title
  • Targeted Keywords
  • Number of Downloads
  • Positive Ratings

Burst Campaigns

A burst campaign is the act of “boosting” a keyword advertising campaign with significant spend in a small timeframe, typically two to three days. The goal is to obtain installs or conversions.

Casual Mobile Games

The term is a mobile game genre designed for all ages and skills with simple rules and short sessions. They use a free to play model. Examples include Candy Crush, Temple Run, and 8 Ball Pool. 

Cohort Analysis 

A “cohort” is a group of users who perform a specific sequence of events in a particular time frame. App developers use this data to track and study user behavior. 

The Cost Pers

The cost pers are all cost models for mobile app user acquisition:  

  • CPA (Cost per Acquisition): Advertisers pay when a user takes an action linked to a specific advertisement. 
  • CPC (Cost per Click): Advertisers pay per click on an ad. 
  • CPCV (Cost per Completed View): Advertisers pay per view.
  • CPA (Cost per Action): Advertisers pay in this model when users complete a specific post-install event, such as a free trial signup or registering for a download. 
  • CPE (Cost per Engagement): Advertisers pay after a post-install engagement like reaching a new level or writing a review.
  • CPI (Cost per Install): Advertisers pay per install. 
  • CPM (Cost per Mille): The cost of 1000 ad impressions. 
  • eCPM (Effective Cost per Mille): Describes the ad revenue generation per 1000 ad impressions. It’s a useful way to compare ad monetization earnings across variables (ad network, ad unit, region, device, location).
  • CPV (Cost per View): Advertisers pay when users watch a video ad. 

Learn more about how to calculate these metrics here

Daily Active Users (DAU)

DAU is a mobile app metric of the unique users on an app on a daily basis. 

Downstream Events

Downstream events characterize those actions taken by users post-install. Examples include registrations, free trials, and subscriptions. 

Fill Rate

Fill rate is the measure of an inventory’s ability to meet demand, showing what percentage of ad requests are filled. 


The act of targeting mobile users by their location.

Google Advertising Identifier (GAID)

GAID is a unique identifier to track advertising attribution on Google Play. 

Hyper-Casual Games

A hyper-casual game is a mobile video game that’s easy to play and free to play, even more so than casual games. Games are immediately playable without a tutorial. Examples include Grass Cut, Rise Up, Dodgeball Duel, and Helix Jump. 

In-App Purchase (IAP)

IAP describes when users make purchases in the app for premium content, subscriptions, or other gaming currency. 

Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA)

Apple assigns an IDFA to a user’s device. Advertisers use this to track data so they can deliver customized advertising. The IDFA is used for tracking and identifying a user (without revealing personal information).

Idle Games

This subset of games rewards players for leaving the game while it continues to run by itself. 

Interstitial Ads

These ads are interactive and full screen, covering the interface of their host app. The ads appear between content, such as in between activities or game levels.

Monthly Active Users (MAU)

MAU is a mobile app metric of the number of unique users who visit an app every month. 

Mobile Measurement Platform (MMP)

An MMP is a platform that allows you to collect, organize, visualize, and track your mobile app marketing campaigns in one central hub.  


Offerwalls are in-app advertising units that monetize users through reward engagements, often serving as mini-stores. 

Organic Installs

Users who install an app as a result of organically-driven browsing or search in the app store. Your organic install rate is one of the key indicators of your brand’s/app’s impact/reach and can be increased by optimizing your app store assets.

Performance-Based Marketing

The term performance-based marketing is a form of marketing where mobile app marketers pay for advertising only when there are measurable results. 

Performance-Based Social Influencer Marketing

Performance-based social influencer marketing is a strategy that uses social influencer campaigns to drive new app installs. The advertiser only pays the influencer based on the number of installs. 

Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

ROAS is a metric that measures how much revenue you earn for every dollar spent on advertising. 

Rewarded Traffic (Incent Traffic)

Used interchangeably, rewarded traffic refers to traffic that comes from an advertisement in turn for a reward. Users receive a reward in exchange for taking an action, such as watching a video or completing a survey. It’s completely user-initiated and can drive organic uplift. 

User Acquisition (UA)

User Acquisition (UA) refers to the strategic approach that encompasses various techniques, such as targeted advertising campaigns and promotional incentives, designed to attract and onboard new users to an app platform. This process focuses on expanding the user base by implementing methods specifically aimed at acquiring new users.

Need Help? Contact Us

This primer on mobile advertising terminology is just a starting point. If you’re eager to put these concepts into practice for your own campaigns, our team at AdAction has in-depth resources to guide you. Let’s talk about how we can help you reach your acquisition goals.

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