App Open Ads

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This guide is intended for publishers integrating app open ads using the Google Mobile Ads Android SDK.

App open ads are a special ad format intended for publishers wishing to monetize their app load screens. App open ads can be closed at any time, and are designed to be shown when your users bring your app to the foreground.

App open ads automatically show a small branding area so users know they're in your app. Here is an example of what an app open ad looks like:

At a high level these are the important steps:

  1. Extend the Application class to initialize the Google Mobile Ads SDK.
  2. Create a utility class that loads an ad before you need to display it.
  3. Load an ad.
  4. Listen for ActivityLifecycleCallbacks.
  5. Show the ad and handle callbacks.
  6. Implement and register the LifecycleObserver interface to show an ad during foregrounding events.

Prerequisites

  • Google Mobile Ads SDK 19.4.0 or higher.
  • Follow the setup instructions in the Get Started guide.

Always test with test ads

When building and testing your apps, make sure you use test ads rather than live, production ads. Failure to do so can lead to suspension of your account.

The easiest way to load test ads is to use our dedicated test ad unit ID for app open ads:

ca-app-pub-3940256099942544/3419835294

It's been specially configured to return test ads for every request, and you're free to use it in your own apps while coding, testing, and debugging. Just make sure you replace it with your own ad unit ID before publishing your app.

For more information about how the Mobile Ads SDK's test ads work, see Test Ads.

Extend the Application class

Create a new class that extends the Application class, and add the following code to initialize the Google Mobile Ads SDK.

Java

/** Application class that initializes, loads and show ads when activities change states. */
public class MyApplication extends Application {

  @Override
  public void onCreate() {
    super.onCreate();
    MobileAds.initialize(
        this,
        new OnInitializationCompleteListener() {
          @Override
          public void onInitializationComplete(InitializationStatus initializationStatus) {}
        });
  }
}

Kotlin

/** Application class that initializes, loads and show ads when activities change states. */
class MyApplication : Application() {

  override fun onCreate() {
    super.onCreate()
    MobileAds.initialize(this) {}
  }
}

This will initialize the SDK and provide the skeleton where you'll later register for app foregrounding events.

Next, add the following code to your AndroidManifest.xml:

<application
    android:name="com.google.android.gms.example.appopendemo.MyApplication" ...>
...
</application>

Be sure to reference your actual package name.

Implement your utility class

Your ad should show quickly, so it's best to load your ad before you need to display it. That way, you'll have an ad ready to go as soon as your user enters into your app. Implement a utility class to make ad requests ahead of when you need to show the ad.

Create a new class called AppOpenAdManager within MyApplication class and fill it out as follows:

Java

public class MyApplication extends Application {
  ...
  /** Inner class that loads and shows app open ads. */
  private class AppOpenAdManager {
    private static final String LOG_TAG = "AppOpenAdManager";
    private static final String AD_UNIT_ID = "ca-app-pub-3940256099942544/3419835294";

    private AppOpenAd appOpenAd = null;
    private boolean isLoadingAd = false;
    private boolean isShowingAd = false;

    /** Constructor. */
    public AppOpenAdManager() {}

    /** Request an ad. */
    private void loadAd(Context context) {
      // We will implement this below.
    }

    /** Check if ad exists and can be shown. */
    private boolean isAdAvailable() {
      return appOpenAd != null;
    }
  }
}

Kotlin

private const val String LOG_TAG = "AppOpenAdManager"
private const val String AD_UNIT_ID = "ca-app-pub-3940256099942544/3419835294"

public class MyApplication extends Application {
  ...
  /** Inner class that loads and shows app open ads. */
  private inner class AppOpenAdManager {
    private var appOpenAd: AppOpenAd? = null
    private var isLoadingAd = false
    var isShowingAd = false

    /** Request an ad. */
    fun loadAd(context: Context) {
      // We will implement this below.
    }

    /** Check if ad exists and can be shown. */
    private fun isAdAvailable(): Boolean {
      return appOpenAd != null
    }
  }
}

Now that you have a utility class, you can instantiate it in your MyApplication class:

Java

public class MyApplication extends Application {

  private AppOpenAdManager appOpenAdManager;

  @Override
  public void onCreate() {
    super.onCreate();
    MobileAds.initialize(
        this,
        new OnInitializationCompleteListener() {
          @Override
          public void onInitializationComplete(InitializationStatus initializationStatus) {}
        });
    appOpenAdManager = new AppOpenAdManager(this);
  }
}

Kotlin

class MyApplication : Application() {

  private lateinit var appOpenAdManager: AppOpenAdManager

  override fun onCreate() {
    super.onCreate()
    MobileAds.initialize(this) {}
    appOpenAdManager = AppOpenAdManager()
  }
}

Load an ad

The next step is to fill out the loadAd() method.

Java

private class AppOpenAdManager {
  ...
  /** Request an ad. */
  public void loadAd(Context context) {
    // Do not load ad if there is an unused ad or one is already loading.
    if (isLoadingAd || isAdAvailable()) {
      return;
    }

    isLoadingAd = true;
    AdRequest request = new AdRequest.Builder().build();
    AppOpenAd.load(
        context, AD_UNIT_ID, request,
        AppOpenAd.APP_OPEN_AD_ORIENTATION_PORTRAIT,
        new AppOpenAdLoadCallback() {
          @Override
          public void onAdLoaded(AppOpenAd ad) {
            // Called when an app open ad has loaded.
            Log.d(LOG_TAG, "Ad was loaded.");
            appOpenAd = ad;
            isLoadingAd = false;
          }

          @Override
          public void onAdFailedToLoad(LoadAdError loadAdError) {
            // Called when an app open ad has failed to load.
            Log.d(LOG_TAG, loadAdError.getMessage());
            isLoadingAd = false;
          }
        });
  }
  ...
}

Kotlin

private inner class AppOpenAdManager {
  ...
  /** Request an ad. */
  fun loadAd(context: Context) {
    // Do not load ad if there is an unused ad or one is already loading.
    if (isLoadingAd || isAdAvailable()) {
      return
    }

    isLoadingAd = true
    val request = AdRequest.Builder().build()
    AppOpenAd.load(
        context, AD_UNIT_ID, request,
        AppOpenAd.APP_OPEN_AD_ORIENTATION_PORTRAIT,
        object : AppOpenAdLoadCallback() {

          override fun onAdLoaded(ad: AppOpenAd) {
            // Called when an app open ad has loaded.
            Log.d(LOG_TAG, "Ad was loaded.")
            appOpenAd = ad
            isLoadingAd = false
          }

          override fun onAdFailedToLoad(loadAdError: LoadAdError) {
            // Called when an app open ad has failed to load.
            Log.d(LOG_TAG, loadAdError.message)
            isLoadingAd = false;
          }
        })
  }
  ...
}

The AppOpenAdLoadCallback has methods that get called when the AppOpenAd finishes loading.

Keep track of current activity

In order to show the ad, you'll need an Activity context. To keep track of the most current activity being used by your user, implement the Application.ActivityLifecycleCallbacks in your Application class.

Java

public class MyApplication extends Application implements ActivityLifecycleCallbacks {

  private Activity currentActivity;

  ...

  /** ActivityLifecycleCallback methods. */
  @Override
  public void onActivityCreated(Activity activity, Bundle savedInstanceState) {}

  @Override
  public void onActivityStarted(Activity activity) {
    // Updating the currentActivity only when an ad is not showing.
    if (!appOpenAdManager.isShowingAd) {
      currentActivity = activity;
    }
  }

  @Override
  public void onActivityResumed(Activity activity) {}

  @Override
  public void onActivityStopped(Activity activity) {}

  @Override
  public void onActivityPaused(Activity activity) {}

  @Override
  public void onActivitySaveInstanceState(Activity activity, Bundle bundle) {}

  @Override
  public void onActivityDestroyed(Activity activity) {}
}

Kotlin

class MyApplication : Application(), Application.ActivityLifecycleCallbacks {

  private var currentActivity: Activity? = null

  ...

  /** ActivityLifecycleCallback methods. */
  override fun onActivityCreated(activity: Activity, savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {}

  override fun onActivityStarted(activity: Activity) {
    // Updating the currentActivity only when an ad is not showing.
    if (!appOpenAdManager.isShowingAd) {
      currentActivity = activity
    }
  }

  override fun onActivityResumed(activity: Activity) {}

  override fun onActivityPaused(activity: Activity) {}

  override fun onActivityStopped(activity: Activity) {}

  override fun onActivitySaveInstanceState(activity: Activity, outState: Bundle) {}

  override fun onActivityDestroyed(activity: Activity) {}
}

By keeping track of the current activity, you have a context to use to show the ad. You now need to register this interface using the registerActivityLifecycleCallbacks method.

Java

public class MyApplication extends Application {
  ...
  @Override
  public void onCreate() {
    super.onCreate();
    this.registerActivityLifecycleCallbacks(this);
    MobileAds.initialize(
        this,
        new OnInitializationCompleteListener() {
          @Override
          public void onInitializationComplete(InitializationStatus initializationStatus) {}
        });
    appOpenAdManager = new AppOpenAdManager();
  }
}

Kotlin

class MyApplication : Application() {
  ...
  override fun onCreate() {
    super.onCreate()
    registerActivityLifecycleCallbacks(this)
    MobileAds.initialize(this) {}
    appOpenAdManager = AppOpenAdManager()
  }
}

registerActivityLifecycleCallbacks allows you to listen for all Activity events. By listening for when activities are started and destroyed, you can keep track of a reference to the current Activity, which you then will use in presenting your app open ad.

Show the ad and handle fullscreen callback events

The following code demonstrates when to show and subsequently reload an ad.

Java

public class MyApplication extends Application {
  ...
  /** Interface definition for a callback to be invoked when an app open ad is complete. */
  public interface OnShowAdCompleteListener {
    void onShowAdComplete();
  }

  private class AppOpenAdManager {
    ...

    /** Shows the ad if one isn't already showing. */
    public void showAdIfAvailable(
        @NonNull final Activity activity,
        @NonNull OnShowAdCompleteListener onShowAdCompleteListener){
      // If the app open ad is already showing, do not show the ad again.
      if (isShowingAd) {
        Log.d(LOG_TAG, "The app open ad is already showing.");
        return;
      }

      // If the app open ad is not available yet, invoke the callback then load the ad.
      if (!isAdAvailable()) {
        Log.d(LOG_TAG, "The app open ad is not ready yet.");
        onShowAdCompleteListener.onShowAdComplete();
        loadAd(activity);
        return;
      }

      appOpenAd.fullScreenContentCallback(
          new FullScreenContentCallback {

            @Override
            public void onAdDismissedFullScreenContent() {
              // Called when fullscreen content is dismissed.
              // Set the reference to null so isAdAvailable() returns false.
              Log.d(LOG_TAG, "Ad dismissed fullscreen content.");
              appOpenAd = null;
              isShowingAd = false;

              onShowAdCompleteListener.onShowAdComplete();
              loadAd(activity);
            }

            @Override
            public void onAdFailedToShowFullScreenContent(AdError adError) {
              // Called when fullscreen content failed to show.
              // Set the reference to null so isAdAvailable() returns false.
              Log.d(LOG_TAG, adError.getMessage());
              appOpenAd = null;
              isShowingAd = false;

              onShowAdCompleteListener.onShowAdComplete();
              loadAd(activity);
            }

            @Override
            public void onAdShowedFullScreenContent() {
              // Called when fullscreen content is shown.
              Log.d(LOG_TAG, "Ad showed fullscreen content.");
            }
          });
      isShowingAd = true;
      appOpenAd.show(activity);
    }
    ...
  }
}

Kotlin

class MyApplication : Application() {
  ...
  /** Interface definition for a callback to be invoked when an app open ad is complete. */
  interface OnShowAdCompleteListener {
    fun onShowAdComplete()
  }

  private inner class AppOpenAdManager {
    ...

    /** Shows the ad if one isn't already showing. */
    fun showAdIfAvailable(
        activity: Activity,
        onShowAdCompleteListener: OnShowAdCompleteListener) {
      // If the app open ad is already showing, do not show the ad again.
      if (isShowingAd) {
        Log.d(LOG_TAG, "The app open ad is already showing.")
        return
      }

      // If the app open ad is not available yet, invoke the callback then load the ad.
      if (!isAdAvailable()) {
        Log.d(LOG_TAG, "The app open ad is not ready yet.")
        onShowAdCompleteListener.onShowAdComplete()
        loadAd(activity)
        return
      }

      appOpenAd?.setFullScreenContentCallback(
          object : FullScreenContentCallback() {

            override fun onAdDismissedFullScreenContent() {
              // Called when full screen content is dismissed.
              // Set the reference to null so isAdAvailable() returns false.
              Log.d(LOG_TAG, "Ad dismissed fullscreen content.")
              appOpenAd = null
              isShowingAd = false

              onShowAdCompleteListener.onShowAdComplete()
              loadAd(activity)
            }

            override fun onAdFailedToShowFullScreenContent(adError: AdError) {
              // Called when fullscreen content failed to show.
              // Set the reference to null so isAdAvailable() returns false.
              Log.d(LOG_TAG, adError.message)
              appOpenAd = null
              isShowingAd = false

              onShowAdCompleteListener.onShowAdComplete()
              loadAd(activity)
            }

            override fun onAdShowedFullScreenContent() {
              // Called when fullscreen content is shown.
              Log.d(LOG_TAG, "Ad showed fullscreen content.")
            }
          })
      isShowingAd = true
      appOpenAd?.show(activity)
    }
    ...
  }
}

The FullScreenContentCallback handles events such as when the ad is presented, fails to present, or when it is dismissed. If a user returns to your app after having left it by clicking on an app open ad, it makes sure they're not presented with another app open ad.

Listen for app foregrounding events

Add the libraries to your gradle file

In order to be notified of app foregrounding events, you need to register a LifecycleObserver. First, edit your application-level build.gradle file to include the LifecycleObserver libraries:

apply plugin: 'com.android.application'

dependencies {
   implementation 'androidx.appcompat:appcompat:1.3.0'
   implementation 'androidx.constraintlayout:constraintlayout:2.0.4'

   implementation 'com.google.android.gms:play-services-ads:21.2.0'

   def lifecycle_version = "2.3.1"
   implementation "androidx.lifecycle:lifecycle-extensions:$lifecycle_version"
   implementation "androidx.lifecycle:lifecycle-runtime:$lifecycle_version"
   annotationProcessor "androidx.lifecycle:lifecycle-compiler:$lifecycle_version"
}

Implement the LifecycleObserver interface

You can listen for foregrounding events in your Application class by implementing the LifecycleObserver interface.

Java

public class MyApplication extends Application
    implements ActivityLifecycleCallbacks, LifecycleObserver { {
  ...
  @Override
  public void onCreate() {
    super.onCreate();
    this.registerActivityLifecycleCallbacks(this);
    MobileAds.initialize(
        this,
        new OnInitializationCompleteListener() {
          @Override
          public void onInitializationComplete(InitializationStatus initializationStatus) {}
        });
    ProcessLifecycleOwner.get().getLifecycle().addObserver(this);
    appOpenAdManager = new AppOpenAdManager();
  }

  /** LifecycleObserver method that shows the app open ad when the app moves to foreground. */
  @OnLifecycleEvent(Event.ON_START)
  protected void onMoveToForeground() {
    // Show the ad (if available) when the app moves to foreground.
    appOpenAdManager.showAdIfAvailable(currentActivity);
  }

  /** Show the ad if one isn't already showing. */
  private void showAdIfAvailable(@NonNull final Activity activity) {
      showAdIfAvailable(
          activity,
          new OnShowAdCompleteListener() {
            @Override
            public void onShowAdComplete() {
              // Empty because the user will go back to the activity that shows the ad.
            }
          });
  }
}

Kotlin

class MyApplication : Application(),
    Application.ActivityLifecycleCallbacks, LifecycleObserver {
  ...
  override fun onCreate() {
    super.onCreate()
    registerActivityLifecycleCallbacks(this)
    MobileAds.initialize(this) {}
    ProcessLifecycleOwner.get().lifecycle.addObserver(this)
    appOpenAdManager = AppOpenAdManager()
  }

  /** LifecycleObserver method that shows the app open ad when the app moves to foreground. */
  @OnLifecycleEvent(Lifecycle.Event.ON_START)
  fun onMoveToForeground() {
    // Show the ad (if available) when the app moves to foreground.
    currentActivity?.let {
      appOpenAdManager.showAdIfAvailable(it)
    }
  }

  /** Show the ad if one isn't already showing. */
  fun showAdIfAvailable(activity: Activity) {
    showAdIfAvailable(
        activity,
        object : OnShowAdCompleteListener {
          override fun onShowAdComplete() {
            // Empty because the user will go back to the activity that shows the ad.
          }
        })
  }
}

By registering your LifecycleObserver, your app will be alerted to app launch and foregrounding events and be able to show the ad at the appropriate times.

Consider ad expiration

To ensure you don't show an expired ad, add a method to the AppOpenAdManager that checks how long it has been since your ad reference loaded. Then, use that method to check if the ad is still valid.

Java

private class AppOpenAdManager {
  ...
  /** Keep track of the time an app open ad is loaded to ensure you don't show an expired ad. */
  private long loadTime = 0;

  /** Request an ad. */
  public void loadAd(Context context) {
    // Do not load ad if there is an unused ad or one is already loading.
    if (isLoadingAd || isAdAvailable()) {
      return;
    }

    isLoadingAd = true;
    AdRequest request = new AdRequest.Builder().build();
    AppOpenAd.load(
        context, AD_UNIT_ID, request,
        AppOpenAd.APP_OPEN_AD_ORIENTATION_PORTRAIT,
        new AppOpenAdLoadCallback() {
          @Override
          public void onAdLoaded(AppOpenAd ad) {
            // Called when an app open ad has loaded.
            Log.d(LOG_TAG, "Ad was loaded.");
            appOpenAd = ad;
            isLoadingAd = false;
            loadTime = (new Date()).getTime();
          }

          @Override
          public void onAdFailedToLoad(LoadAdError loadAdError) {
            // Called when an app open ad has failed to load.
            Log.d(LOG_TAG, loadAdError.getMessage());
            isLoadingAd = false;
          }
        });
  }
  ...

  /** Utility method to check if ad was loaded more than n hours ago. */
  private boolean wasLoadTimeLessThanNHoursAgo(long numHours) {
    long dateDifference = (new Date()).getTime() - this.loadTime;
    long numMilliSecondsPerHour = 3600000;
    return (dateDifference < (numMilliSecondsPerHour * numHours));
  }

  /** Check if ad exists and can be shown. */
  public boolean isAdAvailable() {
    return appOpenAd != null && wasLoadTimeLessThanNHoursAgo(4);
  }
}

Kotlin

private inner class AppOpenAdManager {
  ...
  /** Keep track of the time an app open ad is loaded to ensure you don't show an expired ad. */
  private var loadTime: Long = 0

  /** Request an ad. */
  fun loadAd(context: Context) {
    // Do not load ad if there is an unused ad or one is already loading.
    if (isLoadingAd || isAdAvailable()) {
      return
    }

    isLoadingAd = true
    val request = AdRequest.Builder().build()
    AppOpenAd.load(
        context, AD_UNIT_ID, request,
        AppOpenAd.APP_OPEN_AD_ORIENTATION_PORTRAIT,
        object : AppOpenAdLoadCallback() {

          override fun onAdLoaded(ad: AppOpenAd) {
            // Called when an app open ad has loaded.
            Log.d(LOG_TAG, "Ad was loaded.")
            appOpenAd = ad
            isLoadingAd = false
            loadTime = Date().time
          }

          override fun onAdFailedToLoad(loadAdError: LoadAdError) {
            // Called when an app open ad has failed to load.
            Log.d(LOG_TAG, loadAdError.message)
            isLoadingAd = false;
          }
        })
  }
  ...

  private fun wasLoadTimeLessThanNHoursAgo(numHours: Long): Boolean {
    val dateDifference: Long = Date().time - loadTime
    val numMilliSecondsPerHour: Long = 3600000
    return dateDifference < numMilliSecondsPerHour * numHours
  }

  private fun isAdAvailable(): Boolean {
    return appOpenAd != null && wasLoadTimeLessThanNHoursAgo(4)
  }
}

Cold starts and loading screens

The documentation thus far assumes that you only show app open ads when users foreground your app when it is suspended in memory. "Cold starts" occur when your app is launched but was not previously suspended in memory.

An example of a cold start is when a user opens your app for the first time. With cold starts, you won't have a previously loaded app open ad that's ready to be shown right away. The delay between when you request an ad and receive an ad back can create a situation where users are able to briefly use your app before being surprised by an out of context ad. This should be avoided because it is a bad user experience.

The preferred way to use app open ads on cold starts is to use a loading screen to load your game or app assets, and to only show the ad from the loading screen. If your app has completed loading and has sent the user to the main content of your app, do not show the ad.

Best practices

App open ads help you monetize your app's loading screen, when the app first launches and during app switches, but it's important to keep best practices in mind so that your users enjoy using your app. It's best to:

  • Show your first app open ad after your users have used your app a few times.
  • Show app open ads during times when your users would otherwise be waiting for your app to load.
  • If you have a loading screen under the app open ad, and your loading screen completes loading before the ad is dismissed, you may want to dismiss your loading screen in the onAdDismissedFullScreenContent() method.

Examples on GitHub