Mobile marketing can be a confusing space, as the term encompasses so many types of advertising. One area that perplexes new marketers is the difference between mobile web and in-app advertising. As a result of this uncertainty, some verticals, like retail, fast-moving consumer goods, automotive, and finance haven’t fully utilised in-app marketing yet. But in an increasingly app-driven world, in-app marketing has become too big to ignore, regardless of vertical, argues Simon Spaull (pictured below), managing director EMEA, AppLovin.
So, what’s the difference between mobile web and in-app marketing? In order to clear up confusion, we first have to define what mobile marketing is. Mobile marketing is any marketing that takes place on a mobile device, whether it’s banner ads on a mobile website or push notifications alerting users of sales. In short, in-app marketing is a specific type of mobile marketing that takes place exclusively inside applications.
The biggest benefit of in-app marketing is the fact that the majority of users are spending much more time in apps than they are on the mobile web. Apps also see higher click-through rates (CTR) at 0.56% than mobile web, at 0.23%, and desktop web ads at 0.1-0.2%. For app users, in-app ads are more appealing because they are made to fit seamlessly in apps, and publishers are intelligent with when, where, and how often ads appear. Mobile web ads are often compressed, and various sites offer differing ad formats, making the ads themselves a frustrating and inconsistent experience.
Misconceptions about in-app advertising
One of the biggest misconceptions about in-app marketing is that more installs will equate to more revenue. While this logic makes sense on the surface, marketers realise that not all users are the same quality. High-quality users will be more engaged with your app and more likely to spend, compared to low-quality users.
It’s this misconception that leads to another myth: that acquiring new users is the only way to grow your business. Since marketers acquire users of varying qualities, they must measure the lifetime value (LTV) of their users to make sure there is a positive return on investment.
Tracking is also often misunderstood in the world of in-app marketing. On mobile web, tracking is done via cookies, which offers limited data about things like user preferences, ads they’ve seen, and browsing behaviour. Apps offer better targeting, as they have access to anonymised demographic and location data. This ensures marketers can target the right people at the right time.
Why in-app marketing leads to success
If we follow the data, in-app marketing will be increasingly important to marketers. According to Localytics, app downloads have grown 15% year-on-year (Q1 2016 to Q1 2017) and consumer spending within apps grew 45% during the same period, reaching USD$15bn (£11bn) in Q1 2017.
Apps aren’t just being downloaded either – they’re where customers are spending the majority of their time. According to eMarketer, adults spend 85% of their mobile usage time inside of apps. Consumers overwhelmingly prefer in-app experiences to the mobile web, making in-app marketing a crucial approach for every business.
Beyond growing app usage and spend, in-app marketing provides access to more detailed analytics and the ability to track exactly how users are using your app. Having access to this powerful dataset allows marketers to craft efficient marketing campaigns and optimise their marketing spend.
With more down-funnel data, highly targeted messaging, and lower costs for re-engaging, it’s easy to see why in-app marketing offers your best chance at acquiring, engaging, and retaining high-quality users.