The Nitty Gritty of In-app Advertising

The Nitty Gritty of In-app Advertising

We use apps every day, whether to boost productivity or manage finances. Are we shopping for groceries? Or are we ordering take-out? Or to track fitness goals? We have all this done at our fingertips, thanks to these apps. This is how apps have seamlessly integrated into our daily lives. From traveling to exotic locations or seeking knowledge with online courses? No problem. Communication across the globe? Simple. Today's advanced apps, designed with intention and ease of use, empower us to live and work smarter, not harder.

If Apps can become the nerve center for our day-to-day activities and bestride like a colossus, our savvy publishers and developers are too aware of how to make the most out of this App-Centric world. It is where this In-app Advertising comes into the picture!!!

What Is In-app Advertising?

In-app advertising is a fair way for developers to make a moolah by allowing advertisers to display targeted ads to the users while they use their applications. The ads enable companies to promulgate their products or services to users and generate a scalable revenue stream for publishers and developers. These In-app Advertising formats encompass banners, video, playable, display, interstitial ads, etc. In-app ads are neither irritant for the users nor do they distract their attention. Instead, they are well-suited to the user's demographics, preferences, or behavior. For Instance: If a specific game interests a user, then apps will display ads related to that game or similar games based on their user's interest levels. Ads can also reward users by giving them In-app currencies or discounts when they cross a particular stage of the game application.

This marketing strategy is a win-win situation for app developers, advertisers, publishers, and end customers. Developers can make money by developing the app and eventually covering their developmental costs, while In-app advertisers advertise their content and earn profits by getting impressions. They reach the most relevant and high-potential audiences at the lowest possible ad spend. The publishers can see downloads happening from the user's end, and they meet their goal of attracting advertisers who can compete for ad space in their apps to maximize revenue. Lastly, there are these end users who continue to enjoy their apps.

How Does In-app Advertising Work?

Advertisers purchase the inventory or ad space from multiple publishers and developers through a single platform for embedding ads onto their applications and displaying them to relevant audiences. App developers use software development kits to link their applications with an ad network. The application triggers the network’s SDK (Software Development Kit) or API, which signals the ad network that the user may be ready to see an ad. When an application initiates a request for an ad from an ad network, the ads are displayed in front-end to end customers. The advertisers are vying to bid on the ad request, and the highest bidder gets to display their ad. As a result of real-time bidding, this system is known as RTB. By doing so, they aim to reach a large audience.

While fulfilling the request for displaying an ad to the end users, the ad network or exchange takes a multitude of factors into account, including giving preference to the user’s first-party data, and then uses an algorithm and data analytics to identify the best and highest-paying ad from multiple advertisers and ensuring that the right ad reaches the right user at the right time. At the end of this complete process, If that user takes action based on the ad, like making an In-app purchase, the ad network informs the advertiser. The advertiser uses this data to optimize marketing campaigns.

The role of advertisers is to parse through their target user’s needs, develop the ad content, bid for In-app ad space, and manage and optimize campaigns according to their targeting strategy and ad budget. Advertisers can choose from pricing models like paying per click, action, install, and other options to monetize publishers. The best pricing model should align with their business objectives and maximize returns. Occasionally, app publishers offer the app for free to captivate a broad user base, and introducing these ads can supplement them with a steady stream of revenue.

Comparing Mobile Websites and In-App Advertising

Mobile websites are not the best place for advertisers and publishers to put all their eggs. Mobile Websites are fraught with the challenges of the prevalence of Ad-Blocking software that impedes the effective delivery of Ads to users, unlike In-apps. It is one of the reasons why In-app advertising has become more popular. It allows advertisers to reach users without the interference of ad-blockers. Mobile websites perform user tracking with third-party cookies where these cookies restrict themselves to uncover basic user details such as shopping habits and browsing history. While on the other hand, mobile apps use Device IDs to track user actions in mobile apps. These device IDs in mobile apps dot the i's and cross the t's while giving information on geolocation data, types of mobile devices, OS, gender, age, and wireless carrier.

The In-app advertising approach provides a more robust and advanced tracking and measurement mechanism and drives home details of user interactions, conversion rates, and other performance metrics. These Device IDs of apps have a longevity of 21 months vis-a-vis the 24-hour lifespan of cookies on mobile websites. Thus, more room exists for heightened user engagement, increased click-through rates, and improved user interaction.

With the preferences set by the users on their apps, the In-app approach offers a more one-on-one, user-friendly, and precise targeting approach to users than mobile websites. The benefits of In-app advertising are stark. The conversion rates are higher due to better viewability and the ability to make immediate purchases from within the app. The instant push notifications also make it easy for users to take prompt actions, and they can be accessed anywhere, anytime, and are up for grabs by anyone. It's no wonder that In-app advertising is becoming increasingly popular among advertisers and app developers.

Stripping Down to the Essentials of In-app Advertising

  1. Unparalleled Reach leading to Increase in Revenue Generation: These days, mobile apps have spread their tentacles to almost every user’s smartphone from every nook and corner of the world. Due to this unparalleled reach, they have the excellent potential to generate a steadier cash flow from ad clicks or impressions. Many apps rely on these ad revenues to stay functional. Studies found that In-app purchases drove around 48% of all mobile app revenue. The In-app ads on your app can churn out sales and fuel the business growth, provided you adopt the In-app purchase model.

  2. Spurt in User Engagement and Retention: There are no two ways to say that mobile apps have become an indispensable part of our daily lives, and In-app advertising is also on the rise. As per the global mobile ad spending forecast, In-app advertising will reach $399.6 billion by 2024. In-app purchases are essential for businesses to enhance their sales and brand recognition. These purchases not only indicate a rise in user engagement levels but also contribute to retaining existing customers, which is crucial for the success of any business. Rewarded Ads provide users with rewards, incentives, or discounts and are a smart way to keep them engaged and motivated to continue using the application. Users who engage with rewarded ads are up to six times more likely to make an In-app purchase. It is a win-win situation for both the user and the application developer. Users enjoy the benefits of the application while getting rewarded for their efforts, and developers maintain their loyal customer base by retaining users. A raft of applications have proven effective with this strategy, such as gaming, shopping, and language learning.

  3. In App-Advertising Leads to Precise Targeting: The more the apps strike a user's interest, the more the recall value of that brand. In the current scenario, where generating brand awareness has become a predicament, you can implement effective targeting strategies to reach customers on a personalized basis. These strategies will eventually hit home with users and increase brand awareness and engagement. One of the most significant advantages of In-app advertising is its ability to target specific demographics, like age, gender, location, interests, behaviors, and locations accurately. Advertisers must accurately assess situations or people and turn this to their advantage. This precision targeting means that advertisers can reach those selective customers who are genuinely interested in their products or services, making the ad spend more specific, effective, and efficient. Moreover, developers always get permission from the mobile user to collect their data before installation, and that stands a chance of a non-intrusive user experience.

  4. Ads Must Leave a Lasting Impression On the Audience: Being an app developer, you are in the saddle of the complete design of your ads. You have the absolute power to design In-app ads that can introduce users to new products and services, enhancing their overall app experience. The ads must engage the user, be relevant, and seamlessly integrate into the app. The personalized connection of these ads washes well with the audience. If you are an advertiser or publisher, you have a vested interest in the app, so you ensure that the ads remain non-intrusive and as efficient as possible. Hence, you can leave a lasting impression on your users through in-app advertising.

  5. Real-Time Analytics and Measurement: In-app advertising plays a remarkable role in real-time tracking and measurement of campaigns. With In-app advertising, It becomes easy for advertisers to keep a good tab on how users interact with their ads, such as how many clicks and conversions they receive. These detailed analytics give them the complete autonomy to make undisputed and informed decisions based on the data they receive.

  6. Higher Chances of Conversion: Research on In-app advertising statistics reveals that In-app ads have a higher click-through rate (CTR) of 0.56% vis-a-vis 0.23% for mobile web ads. Additionally, In-app ads have a customer conversion rate three times higher than traditional ads and a user retention rate that is four times higher. It is also worth noting that In-app ads perform 11.4 times better than banner ads on mobile websites and are more engaging.

  7. Prospect of Monetization: Using In-app advertising to earn an online income has turbocharged the economy. It has given a fillip to digital marketing through its true-blue benefits to advertisers and publishers. The ability to reach a highly targeted audience and the ease of measuring campaign performance have made In-app advertising a popular choice for many businesses.

Strategies to Get the Most Out of In-app Advertising

Here are some of the remarkable strategies to help you optimize your campaign and get the best results:

  1. Optimization of Ad Placements: Place your ads strategically on the front burner, and avoid placing buttons or other navigation elements near the ad, as this can distract from its message and reduce its impact. In addition to their visual appeal, the ads must not compromise on usability factors. Conduct a series of A/B tests to evaluate the sweet spot for placing your ads. It is imperative to use spaces properly to give the customer a satisfying experience and to create an enticing look.

  2. Limit the Frequency of Ads: You must avoid swamping the available space with many ads. By adding moderate amounts of ads, you can keep users interested without compromising on the user experience. It's paramount to strike a perfect balance between generating revenue through ads and providing a positive user experience.

  3. Video Ads are Powerful Magnates: Video Ads are a perfect spectacle for the eyes as they tug into the heartstrings. By telling captivating stories, visually showcasing products, demonstrating features, highlighting benefits, and even including testimonials or customer case studies, they can weave a powerful narrative and get the better of users by eliciting emotions. They educate users, and they do have a higher recall value in terms of their sound, sight, or motion. It is a known fact that compared to images or texts, our brain processes visual images more pronouncedly. Hence, give them their due share through In-app advertising.

  4. Know Your Audience: With audience segmentation, you may gravitate towards displaying ads in keeping with audience buying habits, preferences, likes and dislikes, and their interaction with a mobile app. The audience is the real heroes in any marketing campaign, and you must train your lens on meeting their diverse needs most aptly. Hence, personalization is a key mantra for the success of your advertising campaign. Additionally, if the user opts in for data collection and personalized advertising, advertisers can serve targeted ads to them based on their first-party information.

  5. Experimenting with Diverse Ad Formats: It's essential to keep testing and refining your approach to find the best and most fitting ad formats for your apps. This way, you can hit all the right notes to grab the user's eyeballs and meet your goals. Ad formats must be top-shelf and have a definitive call to action for users. With this, you can effectively market your products and increase user engagement. You must opt-in for full-screen banner ads for higher viewability, increasing awareness, and driving higher conversions, while video ads can lead to higher engagement levels. Steer clear of ads that disrupt the attention by popping up in the middle of a critical stage of the game or transaction. Interstitial ads are your go-to option during ad breaks within your apps.

  6. Privacy, Transparency, and Keeping Ad-Frauds At Bay: If privacy issues or fraud compromise the integrity of your campaign, you must pivot your strategy. Your ads must be authentic, and their projected metrics must be accurate to the last nail to rely on them to make data-driven decisions. Partner with ad networks that manage and protect user data, act with the utmost propriety and keep their eyes peeled for fraud. These ad networks are also taking proactive measures to prevent ad fraud.

Sundry Ad Formats to Keep Your Eyes Glued

Below is a breakdown of some of the most common digital ad formats:

  1. Interstitial Ads: These are full-screen banner ads at a rough size of 320 x 480 pixels that appear when users are transitioning between different levels in a game, taking a pause between levels on a gaming app, or waiting for a page on a mobile web to load. Users cannot keep them out of their sight as they are pushy. They catch hold of their attention to generate high impressions and click-through rates. Interstitial Ads include a mix of images, videos, and interactive ads to provide a seamless user experience.

  2. Banner Ads: These ads are static, less intrusive, have a simple design, are affordable, and appear at the top or bottom of the app. Users often leave them in limbo due to their more subdued appearance. Standard banner ads vary from 320 × 50 to 300 × 50 pixels in size. The banner ads will include videos and GIFs.

  3. Video Ads: According to industry estimates, mobile In-app advertising will reach $399.6 billion by 2024, with video ad formats being the significant contributors as they bring in over 30% of the revenue share. A video ad is delivered as a short video clip, typically 15-30 seconds in duration, but can even go to 60 seconds long. Video ads appear in several formats, including pre-roll(that precede the app’s content), mid-roll (ads that seamlessly blend into the app’s flow), or post-roll ads (that wrap up the user experience). Video Ads can be either stories, reels, or in-stream videos. They are more dynamic and engaging with users through their storytelling format. They have high Conversion Rates and CTR.

  4. Native Ads: Native Ads are video or textual, nonintrusive and non-disruptive, highly targeted, and hit the mark of reaching a niche audience and conveying their overall message. They blend well with the current app environment with their UI and UX features. They can be sponsored posts, recommended content, in-feed ads, or search listings. Since they are in keeping with the app’s aesthetic, they are less pesky. 87% of consumers prefer native ads to banner ads. It makes native ads a popular choice among marketers, with the format predicted to grow to $400 billion by 2025.

  5. Rewarded Video Ads: Rewarded Video Ads are lucrative as they offer rewards to users in the form of goodies, discounts, currency, an extended free trial, or access to premium features and content of their applications. These offers entice users to watch and perform an In-app purchase within the apps. As per a study, 77% of users would watch a 30-second ad in exchange for a discount from a retailer. Thus, users relish seeing these types of ads and become repeat customers. Players who watch rewarded video ads are also six times more likely to complete In-app purchases.

  6. Display Ads: Comprise text, banner ads, audio and video, and the works. Compared to banner ads, their CTR is 250% higher, and they generate 20% of total revenue.

  7. Playable Ads: Playable Ads are the gamified version of the actual game. Before downloading or installing the real-time game, the advertisements provide the user with an exhilarating and immersive experience. Thus, it lets users view the ad with its simulation of the qualities of a real game. Playable ads are available in several formats, such as banner ads, interstitial ads, and video ads, and are gaining traction for their user acquisition campaigns. Playable ads provide a game-like experience that lasts for a short span of 15 seconds to a minute. Playable ads saw a 113% increase in use in 2020, with monthly impressions increasing by 53%. 28% of U.S. agency professionals have ranked playable ads as the most effective In-app ad format. The highest ECPMs attract the most users, making them a popular choice among their users

  8. Rich Media Ads: These dynamic, interactive, and versatile ads comprise multimedia elements like video, audio, animation, and text with the works. The rich media ad format includes banner ads, video ads, and interstitials. It holds a significant potential for arresting the user's attention due to its rich collection of media elements.

Statistics Surrounding the In-app Advertising

  • In 2022, In-app advertising accounted for USD 135.92 billion globally.
  • As of 2027, In-app Advertising will reach $469.29 billion, a growth rate of 47%.
  • In 2024, of all In-app ad spend:
    • It’s predicted that social media will account for 38.1%.
    • It’s predicted that games will account for 30.19%.
  • Product viewers are three times more likely to convert through apps than mobile web.
  • Globally, In-app ads (average CTR of 0.56%) outperform web ads (average CTR of 0.23%).
  • The survey found that 52% of smartphone users found In-app ads much of use.
  • The likelihood of iOS users clicking on In-app advertising is 21% higher than Android users.
  • Gaming In-app ads have the highest click-through rate of all categories, with 11.4%.
  • In-app advertising accounts for 92 percent of mobile app usage.
  • Users receive approximately 4,000 In-app ads each month.


It is no secret that the app market is devouring the entire mobile landscape, and with it, In-app advertising is increasing brand awareness, conversions, user engagement, and retention. In-app advertising has indeed seen a meteoric rise in recent years. By using this form of advertising, brands, and businesses can direct their desired audience firsthand to their products or services through user's mobile devices. It makes it easier for advertisers to target relevant users and promote their products. Overall, In-app advertising is compelling for audiences and lets publishers and developers turn the wheels of the economy by earning a substantial income. In-app advertising is effective since it is becoming increasingly popular among businesses of all sizes.

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