The 4 essential elements of effective in-app advertising
- In-app marketing has many benefits, including the ability to granularly target audiences, tools to measure results and optimize efficiently, brand safety and a variety of formatting options to drive engagement.
- To be successful with in-app, advertisers must think from the perspective of their audience and determine what will drive them to take the next step to conversion.
- Important elements of in-app ad design and creative, include interactivity, bite-sized messaging, dynamic imagery, and effective and relevant calls to action.
- It’s not enough to take creatives used for television or web and port them over to in-app as-is. You’ll need to develop a custom in-app advertising strategy that takes into account how people use apps and what they expect from in-app advertising.
- With a close eye and an understanding of these best practices, you can be sure that your creatives are always leading to campaign success and major dividends.
In-app marketing has proven to be one of the most effective channels for brands that are looking for results.
The benefits include the ability to granularly target audiences, tools to measure results and optimize efficiently, brand safety and a variety of high performing ad format options to drive quality engagement.
Of course, it helps that mobile app usage has grown tremendously over the past few years and has spiked of late as consumers largely stay at home.
Consumers in the U.S. are now spending over four hours day using mobile devices, and close to 90% of all time spent on mobile is spent using apps. As apps overtake television as the most popular mass media, it’s critical for brands to advertise where consumers are spending their time.
But to be successful with in-app advertising, it’s critical that advertisers think from the perspective of their audience and determine what will drive them to take the next step to conversion.
The mobile app environment is very different than even other digital channels, so advertising in-app should understand what mobile app users want and what they expect.
So what does quality in-app advertising look like? Important elements of in-app ad design and creative include these four points.
Traditional advertising is inherently passive to some extent. And while mobile in-app advertising can function similarly, the best mobile ads include interactivity and make the advertising experience much more active. With mobile, it’s possible to make the consumer a key component of the ad.
Interactivity is especially valuable when the action is tied to the product offering being sold, as it helps to connect the ad and the message. Here are a few examples of how this can work:
- Adding clickable elements helps the end user to dive into a product or service on their own terms. For example, an in-app ad for a new car can allow consumers to click on different parts of the car as shown in the ad to learn about the car’s features that most matter to them.
- Including augmented reality as part of the ad can help consumers better understand how the product can work in their daily lives. For instance, it can be deployed in an ad creative to help someone see how jewelry might look on them or to determine whether a piece of furniture will fit and work in their home.
- Playable ads (i.e. ads that essentially serve as a short game) help capture attention and prove more memorable than just display ads. This type of advertising is especially effective for mobile game advertising as it allows people to try out the game for themselves before they buy, but really any kind of company looking to boost brand awareness can benefit from this kind of mobile in-app advertising.
2) Bite-sized messaging
On mobile, attention spans are short. A minute or 30 seconds may be fine for television, but even 30 seconds is too long for mobile. There’s a reason that 70% of all video ads served by InMobi Exchange in 2019 were 20 seconds long or shorter, while 10% being six seconds or shorter.
It’s essential to consider that when using phones, consumers are looking for bite-sized information. They’re opening the app, quickly scrolling or just accomplishing a particular action and then closing the app.
For example, how many people are opening and using a weather app for longer than 15 seconds?
As a result of all this, ads should be short and to the point.
3) Dynamic imagery
When I was a child, I used to love my uncle’s National Geographic magazines. I wouldn’t always read the articles, but I always noticed and enjoyed the photography. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth 1,000 words.
This same principle of more is more applies to mobile in-app advertising. What do you think is more likely to catch your attention: a static banner ad or a fullscreen video ad with rich media creatives?
Our research brings this to light and show just how effective dynamic imagery is for mobile in-app advertising.
For example, we found that during the first six months of 2020, the average click-through rate of a mobile video ad was over 17x greater than the average click-through rate of banners.
Consider bringing an image to life with effects to animate and make the ad more visually stimulating. Videos are great, but even adding animations to banners and interstitials can make a big difference.
In fact, for all advertisers that use InMobi DSP, we make sure that all creatives include subtle transitions and animation meant to capture user attention.
4) Effective and relevant calls to action
Having a clear call to action is essential to ensure consumers follow the steps to conversation. This is true for all advertising, but it’s especially necessary for mobile in-app advertising.
For mobile in-app advertising, there are two key points to keep in mind when it comes to calls to action: 1) what do you want the consumer to do after seeing your ad? and 2) how easy is it for the end user to complete this action on mobile?
The best CTAs lead to a desired result not only because the ad itself was effective but also because the ad made it easy for the person to complete the desired result.
So what does this look like in action? Let’s say you’re a retailer looking to drive sales during the all-important holiday shopping season. What’s the best next step for someone to take?
For some people, the CTA should lead them to the retailer’s own app to make a purchase. For others, the CTA should lead them to a third-party app they already know and love, like Amazon, to make a purchase.
For still others who prefer to buy in person, an effective CTA shows where the nearest retail brick-and-mortar location is from them. In short, the best CTA is the best for that particular person.
Crafting a path forward for effective in-app advertising
As time spent using mobile apps rises, it’s critical to reach consumers where they are through in-app advertising. But to see success from in-app advertising, you can’t just take creatives used for television or web and just port them over to in-app as is. However, by developing a custom in-app advertising strategy that takes into account how people use apps and what they expect from in-app advertising, any brand can see major dividends from an in-app marketing investment.
Supriya Goswami is the VP and Head of Marketing for InMobi Marketing Cloud. She leads strategic marketing for InMobi and has global experience spanning the U.S., Europe, Asia and India. She is passionate about complex, multi-channel, integrated marketing campaigns, influencing go-to-market strategies, shaping product marketing strategy, driving digital transformation and working collaboratively with diverse teams in sales, product and technology.
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