• Lilianna Scanga - Intern

Choosing the right ad type in an always evolving mobile advertising ecosystem

As my second summer at APEX comes to a close, I have decided to outline a few things I have learned throughout the past few years as an intern at a mobile in-app advertising company.


First, not all mobile advertising is the same. There are two types, mobile ads in browser and mobile ads in-app, and like in all cases where there are two options, one simply just works better than the other; and here is why.


Mobile advertising on a web browser is most simply put as the ads that are displayed on a mobile phone while the user is browsing the internet using a mobile browser. These ads are like desktop ads; however, they are optimized for mobile devices. An example I see almost everyday are ads that are displayed when I am looking up the scores from last night’s baseball game. I’ve learned that web browser ads are useful as they cast a greater net and have a greater variety of users; putting ads in front of a greater number of audiences with a greater demographic. Web browser ads are also easy to access and view as they span across a variety of webpages. Great for impressions but when I start to think about everything I’ve learned here at APEX, I realize that mobile web browsers ads are not so great for engagement - let me get to that later.

A mobile in-app ad being delivered to a user.

The alternative to mobile browser ads are mobile ads delivered in-app. This type of advertising is the single most important advertising channel today for marketers. According to PostFunnel, this is because users spend approximately 89% of their browsing time running apps, making it the most consistent place where ads can be viewed. Mobile browser ads may be great for casting a wider net, but meaningless if most of the audience is spending the majority of time in gaming on apps, watching video on apps, getting their news in-app, and using social apps. In-app mobile ads also allow marketers to have more visibility and control over the audiences that they target and are viewing and engaging with their ads.

But which in-app ad type works best for engagement?


The three top ad types for mobile in-app advertising are: rewarded video, interstitial, and standard banner ads. Today, brands are competing with each other for audience attention, making it imperative that brands choose the most lucrative avenue for ad creation and placement. It’s really a no brainer that people want to be engaged and not just advertised to. Making it clear as to why rewarded video tend to convert better when it comes to mobile in-app advertising.


But what about the ad fraud that scared off advertisers from mobile in-app advertising? Well let me tell you about that.


Let’s start with a recap: Location data fraud is created by the publishers of an application or when the demand-side platform (DSP) manipulates location-based data in an effort to increase the ad spend by the advertiser. This means that the impressions that are recorded are nonexistent. This is a problem because companies are paying money to have their ads seen by their target audience and are not actually reaching the impressions needed.

In-app advertising has to be driven by reliable data that is verified. Doing this ensures that client impressions are served to real life people like you and I. You can read further about fraudulent data and what APEX is doing to ensure that the first party location and profile data you get is always accurate in our recently published white paper. Point is, the world of advertising has done a lot to protect itself from this type of fraud and when you use a reliable source for serving up ads that’s partnered with a reliable source for location intelligence and mobile data, it's almost impossible to fall into a fraud scam.


Another positive is that in-app advertising targets the audience of your choice accurately, proving itself to be the most cost-effective way of advertising. My co-worker is a huge soccer fan and plays FIFA on mobile religiously. He gets served ads relevant to his love for the game and converts on those ads almost every single time. Great for the publisher and the brand, bad for his wallet.


Finally, personalization is key. With the right mobile and location data, your ad can be strategically placed in an app that will have audiences engaging with it and not ignoring it. For more information about personalization and why it matters, read my first blog.

Coming into this internship with APEX, I was a jaded ad block user and detested seeing anything interrupt my user experience on mobile. I have now learned that the problem isn’t ads. The problem is irrelevant ads being launched at me without any real strategy, something I rarely see in-app. Through in-app advertising, marketers are able to deliver relevant ads leading to more conversions and happier and more engaged audiences.

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