Though web browsing remains popular, consumers are increasingly relying on mobile apps. App stores’ consumer spend will reach $120 billion this year. The in-app experience enables better targeting, engagement, and data tracking, and can improve ROI by 41%. Additionally, 77% of brands have already expressed interest in investing in in-app inventory.
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While mobile apps open up great new opportunities to reach your users, and should not be overlooked. In this article, we’ll discuss three in-app marketing tactics for making the most out of this medium.
In-app Video Ads
Less intrusive than banner ads, in-app video ads are among the most effective advertising formats for connecting with app users. In fact, user engagement on mobile in-app video surpasses all other ad formats by at least 50%. A few tips to keep in mind when working with in-app video ads:
Adopt VAST Standard: Following the mass shift toward consuming content within apps, VAST (Video Ad Serving Template) is a helpful tool to have in your box. Compared to videos with browser-based technologies, VAST-tagged videos have five times the amount of CTRs, faster load times, buffer-free ad features, and an overall more immersive user experience.
Go Full-screen: Full-screen ads will catch users’ attention as smartphone screens continue to increase in size. Full-screen video ads drive the highest brand recall, delivering a 38% growth in impressions. Pair full-screen video ads with an interactive end card, and include VAST standards to ensure the ads load in a device’s native video player.
Use Interactive Video: Interactive videos involve consumers in the ad experience and can move the needle from awareness to consideration. Interactive ads are 32% more memorable than non-interactive ads and have a 9x higher impact on purchase intent. Give users detailed information on what to expect by interacting with your video ad, make navigation easy to follow, and gamify the ad experience by creating multiple content pathways so users can create a unique experience for themselves.
To compete in the in-app advertising field, work with accredited viewability partners that understand measurements such as MOAT and IAS, and ask for SDK-integrated inventory.
Enter The Gaming World
Gaming content accounts for a significant amount of the time users spend in apps, which means that you can’t afford to ignore the advertising here. Aside from offering brand-safe and controlled environments, gaming apps put consumers in the right mindset to receive messages. Consumers are twice as likely to say they feel relaxed when playing mobile games than when using social apps. Below are two methods you can use to advertise on mobile without interrupting the gaming experience.
Rewarded video ads: This format offers users an in-app reward in exchange for watching a video. Since rewarded video ads allow gamers to choose which ads to engage with, they’re more receptive to the content. When using this ad format, maximize engagement by integrating your campaigns into contextually relevant, in-app moments such as before the start of a level or when a player runs out of moves or lives.
In-game events: Partner with developers to create in-game events, which give players a new goal thats replaces the routine of normal gameplay and can help increase brand awareness. EA and Maxis partnered with fashion brand ASOS to create an in-game fashion event that allowed users to dress their “Sims” characters in ASOS clothing, or buy the clothes featured in the game.
To deliver a branded experience that gamers will love, craft your in-game event around the game’s core goals. Offer items that feed directly into existing gameplay and give real-life rewards such as discount codes.
When advertising on gaming apps, work with a partner with proven mobile gaming expertise, ensure your ads fit seamlessly into the game, and research your target audience to find out which game category best suits your product.
Deliver Experiences With Playable Ads
Playable ads, or ads that users can interact with, are considered effective by 71% of top advertisers. If you’re planning on investing in playable ads, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Give Instructions: Provide users with clear and short instructions at the beginning of your playable ad so they know how to work the game. Use short videos, intuitive visual cues, and text showing users which actions you want them to take and how to complete them, such as in the Kellogg’s playable ad below:
Keep It Simple: Don’t ask users to take complicated steps or perform lengthy tasks. They should be able to complete your playable ads with a tap, swipe, or finger hold. If your playable ad includes a timer, make the countdown visible and give users enough time to complete the game.
Mind Your End Card: End cards enable users to engage with your brand beyond the video. You can either use “Auto End” cards that show up once the timer stops or “No Auto End” cards that appears when the user completes the game; test both variants to see which works best. Use a mobile-friendly CTA and ensure that it is visible and clickable. You can also add social sharing links in your end card to encourage post-engagement activity, like lifestyle brand Hollister does below:
Though playable ads are great, they aren’t necessarily a good fit for every brand. If words like “fun” or “playful” are part of your brand’s identity, consider investing in a playable ad unit. Use deep analytics and A/B testing to track ad performance.
It’s an App World
While in-app ads provide numerous benefits, note that in-app fraud remains an issue. Leverage in-app private marketplaces (PMPs), invest in premium app inventory that utilizes app-ads.txt, and work with advertising platforms that will prioritize securing your mobile investment. Familiarize yourself with the mobile programmatic supply chain, and choose optimization tools to get insights on how well your ads are performing.
In-app ads are an exciting new way to reach potential customers in a context where many of their barriers are down and chances for engagement are enhanced. Stay in tune with developments in this emerging field, and do your research to see how you can make the most of this quickly expanding platform.
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