Mobile app advertising is fast becoming a dominant tool for brands to reach customers. As of 2019, it even beats television advertising: US consumers will spend more time on their smartphones this year than they will spend watching TV.
And yet… how much of your advertising is focused on mobile users and devices? What proportion of your advertising is mobile? Are you investing in mobile-first creative at the same level you’re investing in television ads?
At least some of your competitors are. Research from eMarketer shows that mobile ad spending exceeded TV ad spend last year.
What is Mobile App Advertising?
Mobile app advertising refers to ads and ad campaigns expressly designed for mobile devices. In this context, “Mobile devices” include smartphones, tablets, or wearable devices. Mobile ads can appear within apps, on websites viewed from mobile devices, or on social media platforms viewed through mobile devices.
There are several advantages to mobile app advertising, including:
Increased Time Spent On Mobile Devices by Consumers
According to the World Advertising Research Center, two billion people already access the internet via only their smartphone. That’s the equivalent of 51 percent of all mobile users worldwide. In just six short years, 72% of all internet users will access the internet exclusively via mobile devices.
Mobile Ads Reach a Broader Market
Internet traffic via mobile devices exceeds traffic via desktop devices, and that’s been true for several years.
Mobile app advertising is a Better Buy
Phone-based CPCs cost 24% less than desktop clicks. Phone-based ads have a 40% higher CTR. And don’t say mobile users don’t make purchases: 35% of mobile and tablet shoppers buy products at least once a week, compared to only 15% of desktop users.
Mobile also enables location marketing in a way that desktops can’t match. And, because consumers have their mobile devices with them more often than they are with their desktops, advertisers have more opportunities to reach them.
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Mobile ads come in many flavors, including:
It’s impossible to talk about mobile use without talking about apps. And so, if you’re going to test mobile app advertising, you owe it to yourself to test app advertising. After all, it’s not like there’s a shortage of apps. If you can pick the right apps and show the right creative, in-app advertising can work really, really well.
Mobile video advertising
Mobile videos work– if you can develop enough creative and test it fast enough before ad creative starts to fatigue.
Mobile users have their devices with them almost all the time. That opens up a world of opportunities if you’ve got a local business or a business with brick and mortar locations.
Yes, even the much-maligned banner ad has a place in mobile app advertising. There’s plenty of inventory for mobile banner ads, and so if you can cherry-pick where these ads appear and pair that with great creative, mobile banner ads can work.
These are just like the pop-ups (aka “overlays”) you’ve been seeing on web pages for years. They’re just smaller and designed for mobile screens.
Native ads are published either in social media feeds or on websites. They’re called “native” because they look like the content surrounding them. Native ads must use high-quality content. They also tend to “soft sell” advertisers’ products, if they overtly mention them at all.
Voice search is not just coming – it’s here. And while paid voice search hasn’t really taken hold yet, it won’t take long.
Don’t overlook mobile app advertising channels, either. Almost all of the types of mobile app advertising mentioned above can run on social media, display ad networks, search ads, and even Amazon ads.
So if you’ve tried just one channel or mobile ad format and it didn’t work, keep testing.
Planning a Mobile App Advertising Campaign
Mobile app advertising campaigns work much like any other advertising campaign, with a few key differences.
Know your audience.
Mobile interfaces may be simplified compared to desktops, but they’ve got just as many (if not more) distractions. If you want your message to get through all the noise, you’ll need to know what type of messaging will appeal to your ideal users. You’ll also need to know which channels and publishers your ideal users flock to.
Find out which channels and ad formats fit your budget.
Don’t blow your budget on a display ad on The New York Times if a few in-app ads will work.
Get your tracking and reporting dialed in.
Data-driven marketers love mobile app advertising. It’s a blend of art and science, with the art driving the creative development and the science requiring a lot of number crunching. While it’s rare to find someone who can manage both aspects, we have tools that can make up for any shortcomings in your teams’ skillset.
Develop great creative. A lot of it.
Creative is your most effective lever to improve performance. Especially now that Facebook and Google have effectively taken over intraday bidding and budgeting. We also simplified media buying with improved machine learning algorithms. As a result, advertisers need superior creative to achieve breakthroughs and experienced Facebook and Google partners can provide it.
The problem for startups and SMBs, until now, has been the expense of creating a sufficient number of high-quality ads to produce runaway successes (i.e., the 5% of ads capable of beating previous high performers) and manage creative fatigue.
A 5% success rate means 19 out of 20 ads will fail along the way. That’s a lot of creative. Without human talent driving the process, social advertisers stand to lose a lot of money in their efforts to strike gold.
Use Optimization Algorithms to Their Advantage
Facebook and Google UAC have improved their optimization algorithms so much in recent months that advertisers of all sizes can access sophisticated optimization algorithms without becoming social advertising experts. Both new and established companies can automate the most repetitive aspects of campaign management and achieve comparable financial results.
This means social advertisers are now free to focus on what really counts: creative development, creative testing, and audience selection.
But in each of these areas, there’s still a big service gap for startups and SMBs. It’s difficult to find agencies offering experienced, affordable, robust creative, and rigorous testing in-house—the exact capabilities you need to ensure efficient advertising spend.
To help close the service gap and allow startups and SMBs to compete more effectively, we recently began offering three tiers of managed user acquisition and creative services for Facebook, Instagram, and Google UAC. All mobile app developers and lead generators, regardless of budget size, now have the means to get profitable and scale their user acquisition on Facebook and Google App Campaigns.
If you haven’t allocated a significant slice of your digital advertising budget to mobile ads, you’re missing out on a lucrative traffic stream. That’s true whether your audience is Baby Boomers or tweens, CEOs, or Yuccies (Young Urban Creatives). Everybody’s on their phones these days. Your ads should be there, too.