For now, at least, brands are bullish about in-app ad potential. eMarketer predicts that spending on in-app mobile ads will grow to 73.2 percent of all US mobile ad spending next year. That equates to 44 percent of total digital ad spending—more than what marketers plan to spend on desktop ads.
Driving this growth of in-app activity is performance. In-app ads tend to earn more clicks than their desktop and mobile web counterparts. A report from Medialets found that in-app ads earned a 0.55 percent click-through rate compared to only 0.26 percent for ads on the mobile web.
Dating app Tinder claims its own in-app ad secret sauce: the swipe. According to Tinder, 20 percent of users “swipe right” on ads, indicating they want to engage further with branded mobile content. When a user sees a video ad from early advertisers like Bud Light or Orbitz, they can swipe right to match with the advertiser and receive future content.
Snapchat is also reporting success with its own in-app ads. Curated stories around major events, like the Super Bowl, feature ads intermittently. While jarring for some, they also capture attention. The approach seems to be working, as a majority of Snapchat users say they like ads on the platform, as the Content Standard previously reported.
All of the in-app ad growth could be a double-edged sword. In-app ads may get higher engagement in the short-term, but if the space becomes saturated with ads, users’ attention may start to drift. Doomsayers predict that an explosion of apps will lead to app fatigue among users. Bombarded with so many apps and ads, it’s all too easy for consumers to swipe left to ignore.
To hook app users, content marketers should adopt a constant refrain: add value. Mobile content, from the fanciest interactive ad to a lowly banner ad, needs to deliver value in an innovative, mobile-optimized way. In the competitive mobile marketing space, anything less is just noise.
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