Over 25% of consumers' total media time is spent in-app,1 and since mobile devices are typically owned and used by one person, these apps are closely connected to users' personal lives and daily habits. The in-app environment also offers advertisers sophisticated data tracking and user targeting that is superior to other digital advertising formats, which makes it the ideal medium for creating effective advertising touchpoints.
But while it is clear why advertisers should invest in in-app, advertisers may still wonder how to most effectively invest their budgets in-app. Here are five best practices that advertisers can apply to their next in-app advertising campaign to optimize their strategy and maximize campaign performance:
1. Know Where Your Ads Come From
The mobile advertising landscape is a complex environment that requires trust and transparency between all supply and demand partners. It is especially important for advertisers to maintain control over their creatives as they move through the programmatic supply chain and are ultimately served on a user’s mobile device.
The best starting point is to understand where purchased ads are coming from and who is authorized to sell this inventory. Choose supply partners wisely — many premium publishers only work with a small selection of supply-side platforms (SSPs), and working with SSPs that have direct relationships to high-quality inventory is the best way for advertisers to maintain control over their ads and get the best return on investment.
2. Choose Banners for Reach, Full-Screen for Impact
The in-app environment allows for ad spaces to be seamlessly integrated, turning ads into a relevant idea, offer or suggestion that enhances rather than distracts from the user experience. When choosing an ad format for an in-app campaign, consider how users experience display advertising in the app age.
3. Maximize Engagement With In-App Video
Video has become one of the most effective advertising formats for connecting with mobile consumers. Mobile video ads yield higher user engagement and greater brand recall than any mobile display ad format.2 And since mobile video demand is still growing and eCPMs have not yet matured, in-app video is also one of the most cost-effective sources of video inventory.
To maximize consumer engagement, look no further than VPAID (Video Player-Ad Interface Definition). This video ad delivery format allows advertisers to program interactive features directly into ads — something that VAST (Video Ad Serving Template) cannot. It also allows an advertiser's preferred viewability tracking solution to be implemented, regardless of whether the specific measurement provider is integrated into an app’s SDK.
Another effective method for gaining informed clicks and high-quality conversions is to use rewarded video ads. Since this ad format is opt-in, with users choosing to watch in exchange for a reward, it has the highest viewability rates of any mobile ad format.
4. Take Advantage of Private Marketplace & Other Programmatic Deals
Customized programmatic deals are an effective way to ensure that in-app advertising campaigns reach their target audience at the right mobile moment. Not only do they provide more transparency and control, but they are effective tools for optimizing campaigns, inventory and pricing.
Buying inventory through programmatic deals creates a direct relationship between an advertiser and a publisher, allowing advertisers to know exactly who is seeing their ad and in which context. When working directly with supply partners, there are multiple programmatic buying options available. At Smaato, we recommend both Private Marketplace and Open Deals.
5. Target People in Their Natural Habitat
Since mobile is such a personal device, the ability to harness user data is incredibly valuable for reaching highly-specific audiences and achieving campaign success. With such a wide range of apps available for diverse audiences and purposes, in-app targeting is one of the most effective contextual targeting tools available. And when combined with audience data, specific groups can be targeted in the places where they spend the majority of their time on mobile devices.
For more insights into consumer app usage, the unique advantages of the in-app environment and how to leverage them to create highly-effective in-app advertising campaigns, check out Smaato's In-App Advertising Playbook.
1eMarketer, Sept 2017 | 2InMobi, 2017; YuMe, April 2017