The fact that 2019 will be celebrated as a “year of mobile advertising” is not a secret for any marketer with more or less developed fortune-telling skills, right? Not really, the trick is, many prominent industry tech minds gave such predictions last year and the year before.
Indeed, the advertising world had bravely marched towards mobile landscape exploration a decade earlier, when users started massively shifting from desktops to mobiles. So, this is not news. The news is, we’re currently witnessing the birth of trends within trends, and the better you are informed of them, the better you can adapt to the future demands of the mobile market.
A little spoiler: Advertising giants like Google and Facebook are not going anywhere in 2019, but advertisers will try to access more traffic through AI-powered programmatic platforms, unexplored channels, and innovative advertising formats. Ready? Then let’s take a look at patterns to investigate what’s happening.
Short statistics on mobile for hurrying marketers
According to the IAB Mobile Advertising Revenue & Usage Report 2018:
- Users spend on nearly three-quarters (71%) of their internet time on mobiles.
- In 2018 mobile ad revenue significantly increased and now accounts for two-thirds of overall digital spend.
- Mobile revenue has increased ten times since 2013.
- Mobile ecosystem accounts for the largest chunk of revenue across all ad formats, search 59%, banner 74%, video 60%, and mobile 73%.
- By the end of 2019, in-app advertising will have grown by 60% as media-buyers will continue to receive increased conversion rates.
What does it all mean and why is it important?
People like free games and apps. Advertisements also help to make applications free for users, and that’s why today advertisers invest more money in digital advertising.
The mobile environment continues to grow and attract new audiences. This growth also includes children and people who gradually shift from desktop to mobile.
Mobile advertising ecosystem supports the most converting and ROI-driven interactive ad formats that engage and retain users inside the app.
The fastest growth is noticed in the in-app mobile segment, which is explained by the popularity of mobile games among diverse audience segments of all ages.
If the majority of your website users come from mobiles, then it’s a good indicator that you should focus your efforts on mobile development and monetization.
In-app as a leading trend in the mobile world
By the end of the third quarter of 2018, mobile users were able to choose among two million apps in their respective App Store and 2.1 million apps on Android. But, which format brings business more money and user retention, the mobile app or mobile website version? The best answer is both.
Mobile application is one of the most convenient ways for users to access your website content. Unless it’s a mobile game, the mobile website version performs similar functions. Therefore, they resemble each other. However, mobile applications have several advantages.
Mobile gadget owners say that applications support irreplaceable usability features. For example, they allow them to enter data using Swype technology, easily save, and share the content. Applications save traffic, which is sometimes too costly for mobile internet traffic users.
Finally, applications support interactive advertising formats, unavailable for mobile websites. Such formats, like rewarded and playable, involve user incentives and elements of gamification. This attracts users to the application more effectively and makes advertising unobstructed.
How does media buying look today?
Mobile ad revenue currently accounts for two-thirds of overall digital spend according to IAB. Mobile programmatic ad revenues made up 43% of US mobile display-related ad revenues in 2018. Two-thirds of the global mobile advertising share belongs to Google and Facebook.
In 2019, advertisers will be actively testing new channels because they are looking for cheaper alternatives to Facebook and Google. Also, advertisers will try to gain access to the audience through platforms and channels that attract TV audiences through connected TV solutions. Such platforms combine measurability and efficiency of algorithmic buying with the full-screen TV experience. They will also reduce cost per view for advertisers since CTV is typically watched by whole families and on various types of devices.
Special attention is also paid to fraud protection since experts have predicted fraud-related budget losses to grow up to $50 billion, globally by 2025. When it comes to mobile fraud kinds, most of it is caused by SDK spoofing (37%), click injection (27%), fake app installations (20%), and click spam (16%).
Because of such situations, big ad tech providers will have to become more sophisticated in digital fraud prevention. Many advertisers will start to choose advertising platforms based on blockchain technologies and turn to inherently fraud-free connected TV ecosystems. This situation will also make ad tech providers implement “ads.txt” and “ads.cert” certification and authentication that promise to bring a big inventory clean-up.
Mobile advertising tools and what they are good for
Many advertising platforms offer specific ad formats and services for mobile app promotion with a particular type of traffic. At first sight, they might look pretty similar. However, they are created for different mobile campaign types or have performance differences.
1. Contextual advertising with Google Adsense
Contextual advertising platforms offer almost all known ad formats to promote applications. In Google Adsense, it is a universal app campaign which utilizes nearly all known Google advertising channels. The channels include search, media formats, YouTube, and Google Play. Despite the limited performance management for universal ad campaigns, almost all paid Android mobile traffic advertisers are gaining because IOS traffic here is more expensive and hard to get.
What’s it best for? Google Adsense is best used for advertising applications based on Android. If you decide to promote your iOS app here, be prepared that CPI and CPA costs will be higher than average.
2. Social networks and Facebook
Social networks can become great promotional channels for your mobile app, especially if it’s game. Facebook accounts for a large share of mobile internet traffic and offers great campaign setting differentiation. You can optimize the price for the app installation, customize the user events without code manipulation in a couple of clicks, and track events in the Facebook analytics system. For this, you’ll have to integrate Facebook SDK to your app and create your first ad campaign through Ads Manager or Power Editor. The strict moderation of Facebook campaigns, however, may not accept all types of products. So it’s better to learn the terms and conditions beforehand.
What’s it best for? Facebook provides useful functionality for both beginners and pros in mobile app promotion, which helps to work more effectively with targeted ads. Facebook is also integrated with Instagram, so you can automatically obtain advertising campaigns’ analysis across these social networks.
3. CPI (cost per impression) advertising networks
More than 80% of CPI networks work with in-app traffic. Such promotional channels can bring excellent results, but only after careful traffic inspection and scanning. Precisely for this reason, CPI networks ally with certified traffic security providers. There are a large number of CPI networks that offer different traffic quality. CPI networks are already successfully competing with Google Adsense, delivering large traffic volumes across the channels and verticals.
What’s it best for? CPI networks work on the basis of app installation and will suit the majority of targeted mobile campaigns. Combining several CPI networks, you can reach a sufficient number of installations and settle preferable cost. Some of the widely known CPI networks include WebEye, The Cactus Road, Adcolony, Fanbytes, and others.
4. Programmatic platforms
No matter how high your mobile eCPM (effective cost per thousand impressions) jumps with manual mediation, automation with programmatic platforms can double existing effectiveness, even if you work with premium advertising. The automatic bidding mechanism along with local and hyper-local targeting will continuously search the most advantageous placements and channel the ad to the viewer whose personal data matches your ad campaign settings. Programmatic monetization services aggregate most large advertising networks in one system so that an advertiser doesn’t have to bother with several SDK implementations. Some of the widely known programmatic platforms include DoubleClick, Oath, SmartyAds, Sizmek, AppNexus, Adform, and others.
What’s it best for? Programmatic allows marketers to personalize their advertisements as narrowly as possible, taking into account their on-site behavior patterns, level of income, and even lifestyle habits. The entry thresholds are much lower compared to traditional media buying. Likewise, these platforms are typically safe and offer specific mobile ad formats of all types, including rewarded, playable, native, video, and reveal.
Four things to consider before launching a mobile ad campaign
No matter what platform you choose for advertising, to make a mobile ad campaign effective, you’ll have to change the standard design and functionality approach that you normally apply to desktop advertising.
1. Adjust your creative type
Take into account all screen sizes that your users will see the advertising message on. And don’t forget that Flash banners and their analogs are not suitable for mobile placements. In case you strive for the broadest possible audience reach, select the standard static ad formats, and CPC payment model. In this case, the native formats will also work just as well because they’re perceived as the least intrusive but the most useful, informative, and shareable.
In case your mobile campaign’s task is raising awareness and increasing customer lifetime value, select rewarded and playable ad units. Rewarded ad units offer customers an incentive for watching. That’s why they deliver the best completion, so they become very memorable. The playable ads are used for showcasing a new game as a part of the ad watching. The users will try your new game before the actual installation that will guarantee good quality and a highly-motivated audience for your game.
2. Combine various types of creatives
The cost of placement may significantly vary from format to format. It may also depend on the creative’s size. Smaller sizes (320*50, 300*50) might be more optimal for your banner ad campaign than larger ones (320*480, 300*250). At the same time, the larger dimensions of creatives usually have higher CPM than small ones. They also deliver better results in terms of CTR and ROI. However, these rules are not universal. Therefore, it is useful to test different creative types and sizes on A/B testing platforms before setting the campaign.
3. Always set the right frequency
“Ad frequency per unique user” is a setting for the mobile-targeted ad campaign, a necessary parameter that should never be neglected. The frequency indicates how often your creative will appear in front of one user during the day. For instance, set this parameter to “one”, this means that the advertising platform will only show your ad to the same user once within 24 hours. Tuning the frequency in the campaign settings is the right way to ensure you avoid advertising irritation, make your ad budget last longer, and reach as many unique users as possible.
4. Think about the daily limit of spend
No one wants to lose all of their money in the first few hours of their campaign. That is why it is so important to let your advertising budgets be distributed wisely and according to the daily spend limit. Most of the advertising platforms have this setting in their system. It might be pretty hard to figure out the limit if you have never run ad campaigns before. In this regard, professionals will always advise running A/B testing of your daily spend beforehand. Such tests will not define the optimal daily spend, they’ll simply help you collect the data about the most converting traffic sources and creative types you plan to compare.
The last word
During the last decade, mobile advertising has drastically changed the landscape of media-buying. Nevertheless, the battle for mobile traffic is only beginning. The desktop audience is gradually decreasing. New media formats like contextual, playable, rewarded, and native are finding a mass adaptation in the mobile ecosystem. Thanks to the new formats, automation, and targeting possibilities, mobile apps and games give customers the ability to interact with your brand everywhere they go.
All that you need to keep your mobile campaigns effective is to understand the needs of your mobile audiences and provide them with interesting and individualized offers.
Ivan Guzenko is CEO of SmartyAds.