How to boost your ROI with in-app ads

Summer Liu, Business Director at SocialPeta, explains why in-app advertising should be on every brands radar.

Today, business competition has transcended outsmarting your competitors in product quality or packaging. The war for consumer grabbing has moved from the production front to the marketing front.

Online marketing and advertising have gone beyond throwing banners at users’ faces. Mobile app advertising, in particular, has become both a science and an art. Yet, by mastering the little in-app ads tricks in this article, getting the right customers to redefine your ROI could be much easier.

App usage increasing
With the spread of the pandemic and subsequent calls for isolation and stay-at-home order, the rate of mobile app users, for games, in particular, jumped. As Appsflyer noted in this article, the mobile app industry became a $120bn business, with increased game downloads and installation hitting 45 per cent between 2019 and 2020. To demystify this growth in app installations, Newzoo presents data showing that of the 3bn people who play online games worldwide, 2.8bn play on mobile devices.

Now, more than ever, the mobile advertising space is laid out for brands like yours to leverage the ad campaigns as a growth strategy to boost your company. This report overview shows a continuous growth pattern of in-app advertising market size in the US from 2014 to a projection into 2025. The in-app advertising market size was valued at $67,731.4m in 2018, and it registered a CAGR of 19.4 per cent from 2019 to 2025, making it a preferred platform for product promotion. 

App user behaviour
Different surveys have shown that the average app user spends about three hours daily on their phones, while top mobile users go on for longer. If mobile apps are where consumers are, brands only need to develop strategies to find their customers there.

So, with the growth in mobile app use, the in-app advertising market size has grown proportionately. With such potential still largely untapped, your brand could reap big rewards by leveraging advertising an app to hit your ROI target.

Why should you try in-app ads?
In its 2021 H1 Global Mobile App Marketing whitepaper, Socialpeta found that the average number of monthly mobile game advertisers is 18,000. The same report records that the average number of non-game app advertisers is around 70,000. The report notes that the above numbers keep rising, notwithstanding the global economic crisis caused by the pandemic. The implication is that more brands are embracing in-app advertising, particularly game apps. The chart below depicts the 2021 H1 statistical highlights of global mobile app marketing. The trend of in-app advertising points directly to why your brand needs to incorporate the process into your marketing strategy. These reasons include:

Source: SocialPeta backend data

More opportunities
The standard mobile advertising platforms – Google and Facebook – have been fantastic so far. However, if you focus solely on Google and Facebook, you are missing out on the many advantages offered by the latest  and more innovative mobile app marketing channels. A famous case study is the wild success of TikTok, which was the most downoaded app of 2021 and the second largest in terms of consumer spend[DM3] .  .  Like TikTok, many other apps and games perform well in user engagement. Failure to leverage such a success rate for advertising guarantees a more complex struggle in meeting your ROI target.

Better creativity in advertising
With mobile games revenue soaring worldwide, advertisers have increased their advertising efforts. According to SocialPeta’s 2021 H1 Global Mobile App Marketing WhitePaper, the first half of 2021 saw an average of 504 ad creatives per advertiser, up 183 per cent year-on-year, and over 19m active ad creatives, an increase of over 180 per cent year-on-year. You can expect more fierce competition among advertisers in ad creatives. While it’scommon to find consumer reviews complaining about ‘too many ads’ if you  tailor your in-app advertising such that it becomes relevant to app users, rather than a disturbance they have to tolerate, you can overcome such concerns. The secret lies in identifying your target audience and customising your ad to reflect their interests.

Source: SocialPeta backend data

In-app ads favor both advertisers and publishers
This symbiotic relationship creates a scenario where all parties are willing to invest in the business, knowing that their interests run parallel and will not conflict with each other. For the advertisers or brands, in-app ads lay a communication channel between them and the app users. For the publishers, the increase in in-app ad revenue is to their benefit.

Understanding the target audience
The apps in users’ devices make it easy to understand their personal lives and habits. With such knowledge, it becomes easy to determine and track their pattern of interests and to create the appropriate in-app ad to target a particular group of users.

Creative ways to use in-app ads
The point of advertising is to ensure that your target audience gets the message you convey and develops an interest in interacting with your brand. For this reason, your in-app ads require the creativity that would ensure your ads do not come off as offensive to your audience as many mobile ads have been known to. A few of the creative strategies for effective in-app advertising include in-app banner ads, where a banner appears within an app; rewarded video ads, where a video ad appears with a reward for the user for watching iot through to completion; and interstitial ads, where an add takes over the whole screen. 

In-app ad trends
Here are some in-app advertising trends to be aware of as you prepare your campaigns…

Advertising formats
With each update in technology, reality as we know it continues to become more fluid and progressively flows towards the virtual. Surprisingly, users are keeping up with the speed of technology, and your brand has a better chance of hitting your ROI by adapting to the flow.

At the moment, virtual reality (VR) is the highlight for innovative advertisers who leverage the technology in social and other media apps to promote their brands to a target audience.

Simply put, with virtual reality technology, the target audience gets to see and try a brands product before buying the product in real life. For example, IKEA, a home furnishing brand, has an AR app that allows users to see how a particular piece of furniture would look in their room before buying it.

Apples ID for Advertisers (IDFA)
On April 26, Apple launched a privacy policy that requires apps to ask users to opt in before advertisers can track their online activities. The IDFA policy implies that the digital ad industry would only have access to the mobile activities of those users who opt for tracking.

This policy drastically narrows advertisers access to iOS users data across apps. For this reason, targeting an in-app ad on on Apple devices becomes less precise and less effective., so it is worth considering Android devices as an alternative

In summary, if you have not considered in-app advertising, you should take a good look at it very soon. There’s a reason why more and more top brands are advertising in-app – because it works. And if it works for them, it can work for you too