In App Advertising: A Boon or Bust for Marketers?

Mobile is often a “brand’s first point of contact with the consumer.”  As such, mobile has tremendous power and it doesn’t seem to be slowing anytime soon.  Modern mobile devices [including tablets and some e-readers] have video capability through mobile apps like FaceTime and Skype.  So it may be logical to have a mobile web site and a mobile search strategy but what about an app or in-app advertising?

Web apps must have a definite value add for the consumer.  The large number of apps available make it easy for a company’s app to be overlooked.  The competition for prime real estate on a consumer’s mobile device continues to grow.  Web apps are expensive to develop [and maintain].  Each update requires action by the consumer to download the app again.

How about advertising on another web app or web game?

Hmm..that is a tough question.  It all depends on what the marketing objectives are and the target audience segment.  Mobile gaming apps are popular but ask yourself this, if you are playing a game and see an advertisement appear at the top or bottom of your mobile screen will you stop playing and look at it? Will you click on it to follow the small banner? Do you remember the last banner ad that you saw within an app?

Of course, there are certainly a lot of app developers ready to take your precious marketing dollars.  In fact, Mobile advertising revenue increased nearly 1.5X in 2011, to top out at $1.6 billion for the year.  As of October 2013, Google offered 700,000 apps for their Android operating system while Microsoft offered approximately 120,000 apps.

Apps in Apple's iTunes Store

1 Billion Apps were in the iTunes store (October 2013)

Apple announced that they had more than 1 million apps are in the App Store with 60 billion apps downloaded since iTunes was launched 5 short years ago.

App developers tend to be more likely to make money from in-app advertising than marketers.  Consumers; however, have different experiences with in-app advertising.  According to an 2013 article in the Harvard Business Review, four of five report disliking the tiny banner ads.

The majority of activities on smartphones including calling, e-mailing and texting.  Smartphone users spend, on average, 82% of their mobile minutes with apps and just 18% with web browsers. However, out of the 40 apps to their phones only about 15 are used regularly.  What are the chances that your ad will appear in one of those apps?

Sunil Gupta of the Harvard Business Review asserts that People simply don’t like ads on their mobile devices.  If your company can develop a web app that provides value and incentives to customers to download and use is more profitable long-term than in-app advertising.  For those without funding or programming expertise, the monies that you are considering for in-app advertising may be better served allocated to developing a mobile web site and mobile web search placement.


About Kimberly Coleman

I am a graduate student at WVU in Integrated Marketing Communications. I reside in Western North Carolina and enjoy all the beautiful nature this area has to offer.
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