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6 Mobile Advertising Lessons We Learned in 2011 That Will Maximize App Revenue in 2012

6 Mobile Advertising Lessons We Learned in 2011 That Will Maximize App Revenue in 2012

By: Hillel Fuld

As 2011 comes to an end, every publisher across the Web is sharing his or her thoughts about 2011, the lessons we learned, and what we will take with us into 2012. Enough has been said about past and future trends in mobile and tech in general, and "Top Apps" posts are a dime a dozen.

Well, how could we not join the party? 2011 was a wild year for the world of mobile advertising and app monetization in general. We already talked about mobile apps and how they pretty much went mainstream in 2011. You can read the numbers here.

As far as mobile advertising is concerned, 2011 was the year in which it became clear to all that mobile advertising was going to be following in the footsteps of its big brother, Web advertising. What I mean by that is that, while many different solutions exist for Web publishers who want to monetize their sites, advertising is by far the most common.

When it comes to monetizing mobile apps, there are also various options including in-app purchases, the freemium model, integrated search, and more. While in-app purchases are getting some nice traction, mobile advertising still generates the most revenue for developers and it is still the most widespread form of app monetization.

2011 has taught us much about mobile developers, the different mobile platforms, different mobile devices, but more than anything, 2011 has taught us how to do mobile advertising right. By "right", I mean how to incorporate ads into mobile apps without annoying users and in a way that will generate real clicks and evenutal conversions. In other words,  how to maximize revenue for mobile developers from mobile advertising. So here goes:

1: Size Seriously Matters

While many have claimed quality matters more than quantity, when it comes to mobile advertising, 2011 has taught us that the size of the display as well as the size of the ad itself, have a direct effect on the percentage of clicks it generates. You can see more detailed information in the infographic below, but to sum it up, larger screens will generate higher CTR.

This is of course not an absolute rule and there ARE exceptions but generally speaking, comparing two devices on the same platform, one with a smaller screen, and one with a larger, the bigger device will generate more clicks. Click the infographic to see it in all its glory!

2: It's All About Engagement

The world of mobile advertising lives by one very basic rule: "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours". In other words, you make sure to serve engaging and relevant (more on that in the next bullet) ads, and users will click. You engage the user, the user will engage the ad. But how? Very simple.

There are many ways to get the information in front of users. You can use text banners or you can think out of the box ever so slightly and use animated graphics. If you really want to get the user excited and increase conversions, why not go all out and use HTML5 or full blown video? The point is, the more interactive the content, the more appealing it is to the user. If we learned one thing in 2011, it is that rich media mobile advertising IS the future.

3: Not so Black and White

If you spend time on the Web reading blogs and sites on technology, you might be mislead to believe that technologies are either dominating or they are dead. The same is true for mobile companies including Apple, Google, RIM, Nokia, and Samsung. I am sure you can look at that list and point to at least two companies that are perceived as dead.

Except in reality, there is a middle ground. Not everything is so black and white, grey is a fantastic color. Don't worry, I will give you an example. Nokia. Is Nokia relevant? Some might say no, but did you know that Nokia sells one million mobile devices every single day? Did you know that some Nokia developers are generating close to $100k revenue a month from mobile advertising alone? Take a look at the infographic below for an interesting perspective on Nokia and how it is very much alive and kicking. The lesson for you? All platforms matter, why not deploy your app across all of them?

4: Target Away

One of the biggest advantages of mobile advertising and mobile technology in general, is the ability to use location-based targeting. Smartphones transmit location and what better way to keep users happy and clicking, than by serving them ads that are relevant to their current location and surroundings. Just to put things in perspective for you, what are you more likely to click if you are currently located in NYC? An ad for a restaurant in London or the same ad for a burger joint twenty feet away from you? See where I'm going with this?

Of course, you are now thinking, "But do I really want advertising companies knowing where I am and what I'm doing at any given moment? Good question, thought you'd never ask. Here is where it gets tricky and this is the reason you want to run your mobile advertising campaigns through a reputable and dependable company. The location data is out there, the question is what it is being used for, and offering relevant and targeted ads to users will only make them more loyal and likely to click. The bottom line is, location is going to be a very dominant trend in the world of mobile in 2012, and mobile advertising is no different.

5: Ads are Like Real Estate

Deciding that mobile advertising is the method by which you want to monetize your app is only the beginning. How will you go about incorporating those ads into your app and where will you place them? When it comes to mobile advertising, much like the world of real estate, there are three words that really matter. Location, location, location.

You need to have a strategy in place regarding where and how the ads will appear within your app. This strategy has to accomplish or more precisely balance two opposing goals. On the one hand, the primary goal is to get the user to engage with the ad, or in other words, click it. The flip side is that you do not want to annoy the user. Yes, if you display an ad at the climax of a game and all the user wants to do is get rid of the ad, they will click it, intentionally or accidentally. However, in that case, the chances of converting that user are close to none and you will be lucky if the user does not delete the app all together. In the infographic below, you can see a well thought out ad placement strategy and how it affects the final CTR.

6: The World Ain't So Small

Here is a secret that no one ever told you. You know that song "It's a small world after all"? It's a blatant lie! The world is huge! Contrary to what many people believe, there is an entire world outside of New York or even the entire United States of America. While the US market is one of the strongest in the mobile world, anyone who ignores other parts of the world, is simply leaving money on the table.

In fact, if you use apps as much as I do, you have probably come across an ad that was either in a different language or completely irrelevant to your current location. Well, we already discussed targeting but to take it one step further, there are hundreds of million of people around the world using their mobile device as their primary computer. You want to make sure your mobile advertising speaks to those people too and not only the people drinking their morning coffee at Starbucks. Global mobile advertising is an absolute must if you want to take your app monetization seriously.

Make no mistake about it, 2012 is the year of mobile advertising. If you are a mobile developer, now is the time to monetize your app with some fantastic, interactive, relevant, global, and cross-platform in-app ads. If you are not a mobile developer... Well, why not?

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