In-app advertising is a powerful method of both reaching new audiences and improving the performance of the ads you run inside your apps.
Within your app, by adopting user-friendly ad practices that show customers more relevant ads and thus improve their experience using the app, you can increase your retention as well as your ad revenue.
Here are four tactics you can employ to maximize the potential of your in-app advertising strategy.
1) Implement ads unobtrusively
Ads that interrupt the app can sometimes annoy the user. It is hard to feel positive about an app that intentionally wastes your time. Integrating ads does not have to mean inconveniencing your customers however. Instead, following these simple rules will prevent unnecessary interruptions to the experience:
- Don’t fill the screen with banner ads.
Banner ads can be included without breaking the flow; however, there are a few potential pitfalls to avoid. Make sure ads don’t take up so much screen space that they inhibit use of the app or get clicked accidentally. Ensure the ad is clearly separated from menu buttons. With the best ads, little screen space is needed to get the viewer’s attention when a bold design is used.
- Consider displaying ads during loading screens.
The great thing about loading screen ads is that they typically don’t interrupt the customer at all. That means you can utilize the full screen to display more detailed ads. This can also be an ideal time show video ads.
- Add interactivity.
Interactive ads, especially fullscreen ones such as interstitials, can increase engagement by offering the customer some value in the form of entertainment. Some businesses go as far as to build entire games into their ads, but simpler interactivity still gets results. For an app designed to be used in short bursts, this can be a great way to get visitors hooked enough to download.
- Use video ads thoughtfully.
Video is one of the most effective forms of marketing, with half the cost per action of interstitial ads. Some apps will show a video after a set period of time has elapsed, or after certain actions have been taken a set number of times. Some show frequent videos that can be skipped after 30 seconds, while others show only one or two videos per session but require the entire ad to be viewed. Think carefully about how often users will see video ads, and implement them in a way that respects their time.
The size and placement of any ad is critical not just to engagement with the ad but to the long-term use of your app as well. You need to find the perfect balance between ensuring ads are in the right place to get noticed without obstructing the customer’s activity.
2) Consider offering rewarded ads
Rewarded ads can help attract and convert users by allowing them to try out premium features or gain bonus items for free. Customers who might not have considered an in-app purchase get a chance to see the benefits of having additional currency or premium features, and think about spending money for more permanent access. One 2017 study found that users who viewed a single rewarded ad in the first 30 days using an app had a
17% higher retention rate than other users.
This means offering a reward that could otherwise be purchased with a small amount of money as a microtransaction. This is not the same as needing an ad view to continue using the app; engagement is completely optional. Done right, giving users in-app benefits for viewing ads can increase engagement by attaching a clear value to interacting with the ad. The reward you offer could be anything from a small amount of in-app currency to a few hours or days of access to premium features. In
Trivia Crack, for example, players can get free lives by watching ads.
The timing of rewarded ads is key to maximizing engagement. Ideal times to display these include when the user tries to access a premium feature or make an in-app purchase they don’t have enough currency for.
These are just suggestions, though. You should think about the most appropriate use of these ads for the way your app works. For example, the high score-driven
Color Switch offers the player 30 extra points to their total instead of lives.
3) Segment your audience
Categorizing your audience into segments allows your demand partners to target your app users with more specific ads that offer greater value to customers in each group. Using analytics and buyer personas to understand your audience and better appeal to them is a
core component of any growing business.
Audience segmentation is important for any form of marketing, but in-app advertising is particularly good for this. For a number of technical reasons, mobile applications allow you to
create more accurate audience profiles than other channels. By tracking visitor activity, you can start to identify groups of customers with related interests or similar behaviors, and ensure the ads they see are of interest to them.
You don’t need to record everything people do to achieve this; just a few basic metrics can help you start to build an idea of the different groups within your install base. These are some stats that most apps can benefit from tracking:
- How long does an average session last?
- How many times a day or week is the app loaded?
- Which ads do users click and which purchases do they make, if any?
There are plenty of other metrics which could be beneficial to have, depending on your service. For example, if you are offering a free-to-play mobile game, players could be categorized by the number of matches they play each session or how often they quit before the match is over.
Segmenting your audience is a key step to presenting users with relevant ads. If you consistently show customers ads for products they have no interest in, not only does this make the presence of ads more annoying, but it also trains them to ignore all ads in your app, assuming they are equally irrelevant.
When in doubt, always aim to show ads which fit the average user of your app; for example, if you have a music app, showing promotions for albums and events based on customer preferences will be much more effective than something totally unrelated to music.
4) Be thoughtful about how you show ads to first-time users
One in four users abandons an app after a single try. If this happens, your in-app advertising achieves little to nothing. This principle applies to the ads a new user will see as well as their introduction to the app itself. If new visitor is immediately greeted by a full-screen ad that’s not aligned to their interests or numerous prompts to make in-app purchases, they might quit before trying out any of the features.
The most effective in-app advertising aims to present each visitor with ads calculated to be as relevant as possible to them. This is done by evaluating customer activity and source to group the app’s audience into segments with similar interests and behaviors.
Above all, once you have a base of long-term users, make sure the ads they see are relevant and don’t make your app an annoying experience.
About the Author
Alexa Lemzy is a customer service expert and content manager at
TextMagic blog. She is particularly interested in customer retention strategies, mobile marketing and internal communication. Alexa loves to share her expertise and discover fresh perspectives. If you want to share some ideas with her or just say 'Hi', reach out to her on Twitter.