In-App Advertising: a quick overview

In-App Advertising: a quick overview

Everyone using a smartphone will understand the excitement around applications (apps). An app can be your personal interactive map, point you in the right direction for the best pizza, be your personal fitness trainer, do your weekly shop or just entertain you.

With statistics showing that iPhone users now account for around 4.5% of the UK’s total website traffic, and Apple devices now for 70% of all UK mobile traffic, the figures are speaking for themselves; apps are the next big step in advertising.

Applications can be downloaded from a consumer’s smartphone opening an advertising gateway and new opportunities for brands with the help of platforms such as Apple’s iAd which enables an advertisement to reach its desired audience within the apps they are already using. This in-app advertising places ad banners within applications which can be opened to full screen without the user moving out of the app and into a new browser window. 

The iAd platform’s main competitor is AdMob which was bought out in May 2010 by Google. AdMob works in a similar way to iAd yet was developed with devices such as Android and Flash Lite in mind. Not to be outdone by Apple, Google have also acquired AdWhirl for iPhone application developments which also supports iAd.  

A recent example of in-app advertisement is Levi’s Curve ID Jeans “virtual fit experience” within Mall World. The app helps users find their perfect jeans and then display their new look and the Levi’s brand to all of their virtual friends. 

In 2009 £37.6m was spent on mobile device advertising increasing to £83m in 2010. This type of activity will soon be the norm for smaller brands as recent research by Appsavvshows:

 “…advertising integrated into the social activities occurring across social games, applications and web sites, is one of the most effective forms of digital marketing.”

There are already a number of available platforms to help brands increase their revenue via in-app ads such as Medialetswho provide a rich media ad platform for mobile with brands including McDonalds, Pepsi, Virgin already on board.

For in-app advertising to work brands need to consider their target market and what applications (if any) they will be using. The Mall World app works for Levi’s as their target audience are aged between 18-24 however, this would not be the case for all brands as outlined in our previous post on marketing in the retail sector:

“Our advice to marketers in the retail sector is to focus on what they know works and test more innovative approaches as a complementary strategy. There are now far more opportunities for micro campaigns and reactive activity that brands can use to deliver very specific objectives at relatively low cost”

If brands can incorporate their advertising in the correct applications, in-app advertising will have a significant effect on their brand awareness. Research shows that as consumers we are incredibly open to buying and using new technology:

… mobile users pick up their phone 18 times a day to consume content via apps or a browser… 51% of the UK population has engaged in m-commerce for research or purchases”.

Consumers are already using apps to interact and purchase and in-App advertising allows brands to place relevant adverts in the correct places targeting the right audience. This will inevitably increase brand awareness and, more importantly, brand engagement for brands that can create positive disruption in the mobile environment.

  • Billy Clarke

    Nice blog post! Reading around, it’s suggested that the top three ‘appvertising’ (as I’m calling it) strategies are ‘becoming part of the game’, ‘bribery’ and the general ‘make better ADs’… — I think all three are valid points. It’s the same as everything, engagement is the key!

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