Gil Klein, MD at in-app monetisation company Mobfox (pictured, below), discusses how embracing the consumer shift to mobile devices and emerging technologies including VR can significantly improve advertising returns for app developers and marketers.

Analysts forecast advertising revenue from mobile app installations will climb to more than $7 billion by the end of 2020. And no wonder: consumers spend up to five hours each day on their mobile devices, with 87 per cent of that time spent in apps, compared with only 13 per cent spent browsing the mobile web.

The shift toward in-app advertising heralds significant new opportunities. As more consumers install ad blockers, desktop and mobile web have become increasingly problematic for the industry, but in-app advertising remains a bright spot. Compared with web advertising, in-app ads generate superior demographic and geolocation data, less ad fraud and higher click-through rates.

Simply put, in-app advertising will be a tremendous boon in advertisers’ efforts to optimise consumer targeting and drive conversions. So how can developers and marketers maximise the potential of their in-app campaigns?

  • Offer audiences to increase ad relevancy and revenue
    Data generated by mobile apps is a powerful tool in increasing the value of a developer’s inventory and offering them a richer picture of their audience. Using anonymous data like location, gender, age, intent and interests to target users can unlock the full promise of in-app efforts. Gender data alone can spark an increase of up to 200 per cent of CPM [cost per 1,000 ad impressions]. Data-enabled software development kits or third-party data platforms can be easily integrated to improve user targeting.
  • Embrace new mediation tools
    Say goodbye to the traditional waterfall. New mediation tools like header bidding-type solutions and AI-based auto-mediation can automatically optimise inventory, prioritise the best demand for ad placement, and create higher revenue. Given mobile usage statistics, in-app advertising is vital to meeting users where they are – and these advanced mediation tools bring even greater sophistication to the process, seamlessly matching supply and demand to increase yields.
  • Adopt viewability measurement solutions
    Advertisers understandably expect that their ads will be visible; failure to meet this basic test risks alienating partners. By taking advantage of advanced software services, app developers can prevent disaster and maintain healthy relationships with advertisers. Integral Ad Science (IAS) and Moat are among the providers whose analytics and optimisation services can help verify that ads are up to par. Such services should be incorporated into a monetisation strategy.
  • Use innovative ad formats.
    By 2020, 154 million people will be using virtual reality apps on mobile, according to a Deutsche Bank forecast. Advertisers can ill afford to ignore the impact of new formats like HD, VR, and AR, which each represent prime opportunities for advertisers, with potentially huge payoffs.
    One recent study found that on metrics like click-through rates, viewability, and video completion, 360-degree VR ads outpace other formats. On click-through rates, VR photos saw 300 percent higher results compared to regular 2D images. Meanwhile, users were 46 percent more likely to complete 360-degree videos than regular videos. The importance of new formats will only increase in the years ahead, particularly as 5G development propels such formats to new levels of connectivity and sophistication.

With consumers spending ever more time on their mobile devices, advertisers should adapt their strategies and campaigns to user behavior – and that means embracing in-app advertising. Following these steps will demystify the in-app process and ensure that advertisers keep pace with key trends, while developers tailor their services to ensure that their advertisers partners’ investments travel far.

The editorial views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and will not necessarily reflect the views of the GSMA, its Members or Associate Members.