In Praise of Apps

Amit Gupta, Co-founder and Head of Business Development of mobile ad network InMobi, pays homage to the power, and advertising potential, of mobile applications

InMobi Amit Mobile applications are a fast growing area in the mobile ecosystem, and are a hot topic in most industry forums these days. Due to their unique format and captive audience, they offer a huge potential for mobile marketing and advertising. In fact, it has become one of the preferred modes of mobile advertising for many brands and agencies for a lot of reasons.
Using mobile apps for advertising is all about leveraging Smartphones' inherent rich media and platform capabilities. Mobile advertising used to miss the wow factor; apps fill that gap. I am personally very excited about it.
The fundamental reason for this is that mobile apps can deliver a richer and more compelling user experience than most other modes of mobile advertising. As the phones capabilities start to get better, the feel of the application also improves. For example, a game with motion sensors to move in different directions is way more attractive than a game with button controls. Hence, as better phones begin to hit the market, more innovative apps are developed that use the enhanced features of phones, giving users a very engaging experience. Hence, an increasing number of brands have begun to sponsor an entire application and provide it for free for consumers, creating a big opportunity for brand awareness.
The apps on mobile phones can make use of all the phones features, such as the camera, GPS, media player or 3D graphics. If ad campaigns are designed to effectively utilize the mobile phones capabilities, it can lead to very engaging and successful ads.
Apps that provide value to the user usually stay on the users phone, and offer the potential for viral distribution. Moreover, if the app is designed such that it does not need to be connected to the Internet, then it can also be used when the user is offline. This boost usage of the app, in turn resulting in higher brand impact.
These are just a few of the advantages that in-app advertising can provide. Since the potential of  in-app advertising has been revealed, the ads on the apps are becoming as innovative as the apps themselves. You can have a full-screen ad before the app loads, or ads can be embedded into the application. A racing game app with ads shown around the race track is a good example.
While in-app advertising is definitely gaining momentum, there exists another school of thought which believes that the future of mobile will be driven by the mobile browser. The ever-decreasing rate of data charges is driving the use of the mobile web, and there may soon come a time when users are always connected to the Internet on their phone, removing the need for offline or in-app advertising.
Considering that both ideas have credit, one can only wait with anticipation for the mobile future to unfurl.