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There’s a reason why in-app advertising is the fastest-growing form of mobile advertising on the market. About 90% of smartphone time is spent in apps, but that’s not all — in-app advertising also offers marketers what other mediums can’t: Laser-focused user targeting and excellent data tracking. Since mobile is typically a personal device, it’s a valuable resource to gather user data for reaching highly-specific audiences and achieving campaign success. And when combined with audience data, you can target specific groups to find out where they spend most of their time on mobile devices. 

Let’s explore why in-app ads are gaining traction over mobile website ads, and delve into some in-app advertising best practices to help maximize campaign performance

Why In-App Advertising Beats Mobile Website Advertising

While consumers generally aren’t fans of advertising, some ads are more tolerable (or even likable) than others — in particular, in-app ads. Why? Because in-app advertising allows for superior user targeting, among other advantages:

  • Most websites use cookies, but you can track prospects on apps with device IDs. Most device IDs are good for 21 months — in comparison, most cookies are only good for a day. This means that in-app opt-ins last well over 600x longer than most mobile website cookies.
  • In-app advertising gives you a ton of valuable information because the apps are opt-in. It enables you to leverage data like the type of device your prospect is using, their GPS location, their age, gender, wireless carrier, and more. 
  • There’s no adblocking on mobile apps as there is on mobile websites.

In-App Advertising Best Practices

While it’s obvious why advertisers should invest in in-app, advertisers may still wonder how to invest their budgets most effectively. Here are five in-app advertising best practices to consider:

Invest in Quality Creative

Remember that you only have a few seconds to capture your customers’ attention. To reach your audience, you must grab them with stand-out messages and images. For each advertising initiative, don’t just reach for the same creative you used last time — switch it up and look for different opportunities to connect with your audience. 

Check and Recheck App Quality

Parents often share personal mobile or tablet devices with their children for games or educational content. Remember to check in on what apps your ads show up on so you can avoid spending money advertising to children who feel no interest in your product nor possess the means to purchase it. When launching your campaigns, check in on excluding categories that might indicate apps targeted toward children.

Check and Recheck Viewability

Your in-app advertising is only going to be useful if your audience can see it. Luckily, the Media Rating Council has released a set of guidelines that provide an industry standard for measuring viewable mobile ad impressions. According to the guidelines, a mobile display ad impression can only be considered viewable if it fulfills the following requirements:

  • Pixel requirement: At least 50% of the advertisement’s pixels (density-independent) must be on an in-focus browser or a fully downloaded, opened and initialized application in the viewable space of the device.
  • Time requirement: The duration in which the pixel requirement is met must be at least one continuous second, post ad render. This time requirement applies equally to news feed and non-news feed environments.

Experiment With Various In-App Advertising Formats

In-app advertising offers you many different types of ad sizes and formats. You’ll want to try them all and test which works best for your campaigns. 

Video Ads: Eight out of ten smartphone users watch mobile video. About half of video ads are on video platforms, but the other half are on nonvideo media. Consider using interactive video ads that encourage customer engagement or rewarded videos where users opt in to watch in exchange for a reward.

Native Ads: Mobile native ads blend in with the rest of the website content. It imitates the interface of the site or app and often replicates essential website functionality. 

Mobile native video ads are presented natively within a selected app. Most times, the videos will autoplay in silence until the user interacts, fitting naturally into the form and function of a mobile app without disturbing the user experience. Because these ads feel like part of the app, your audience is more likely to engage.

Interstitial Ads: Interstitial display ads appear full-screen during a content break within the app. Since these ads fill the screen, they’re one of the most engaging in-app display ads.

Use Programmatic Media but Choose Your Partners Carefully

Programmatic media campaigns use artificial intelligence (AI) to automate buying advertising inventory in real-time auctions. You can use programmatic media buys for in-app advertising as well as other types of digital advertising. 

Programmatic media technology enables you to automate all processes of digital advertising for increased effectiveness, improved ROI, expanded reach, and more flexibility. If you’re sensitive about protecting your brand and want to control the type of environment in which your ads appear, you can choose to work with a premium publisher, so that you have more control. They work with a small number of SSPs and carry high-quality inventory.

Track, Test, Analyze and Tweak

Test the performance of your in-app advertising so that you can tweak for optimum success. You’ll want to test placements, format, headings, body copy, and images. Note that this isn’t a one-time event — you’ll need to test and optimize continuously. Test more at the beginning of your campaign, but once it’s underway, A/B test and tweak every couple of weeks. 

Don’t just measure immediate response, because your in-app advertising can and probably will affect purchases throughout your channels. Measure your digital marketing, including your in-app advertising against your profits. Your in-app advertising is perhaps helping to drive brick and mortar store traffic and phone sales if you have them.

Angie Tran
Author

Angie is the Content Marketing Manager at AdRoll. Prior to AdRoll, she was a Content Writer at various digital marketing agencies. A writer by day and a reader by night, Angie’s other hobbies include cooking and learning useless movie trivia.