The Best Methods to Apply In-App Advertisements in your Mobile App

The advertisement industry has seen drastic shifts in recent years first newspapers and brochures to TV ads and then TV ads to the internet and mobile-app ads. While the newspaper ads added mass reach, TV ads brought interactive content to the table. Internet and mobile app advertisements introduced features of personalization and pin-point audience targeting to get the most out of the minimum possible spending.

Mobile ads, on one hand, provide effective marketing opportunities to companies, they also provide a common but unique business model for app owners and developers to get paid for their efforts without compromising on their app’s availability for users free of cost.

We will look into the details about what are the possible implementations of ads in a mobile app, what platforms can developers use to integrate ads in their apps, and lastly, a few tips and tricks for better app implementation. But first…

Why should someone go for In-App ads?

Developing an app takes tens of wakeful nights and intelligent minds to deliver to the app store and even further resources are required to maintain and update it regularly so that any bugs and glitches are fixed and the user’s experience keeps getting better and better. Someone has to pay for these software engineers as well, right? Turns out there are the following 5 models in the industry:

1.) Paid Apps on the app store

2.) In-app purchases

3.) User donations

4.) In-app advertisements

5.) Trading user data (a rather ill-famed one but does exist)

Data trade is simply crossed off the sheet because let’s just face it, it’s unfair to sell someone’s privacy. User donations are a rather inconsistent source to rely on. App pricing and in-app purchases can drive the user away since there is so much flooding in the app marketplaces that you are sure to find an equally good alternative for every paid app.

Eventually, you are left with including advertisements in your app. Yes, it can turn off the users but as per a study by IPG Media Lab, 63% of smartphone users accept in-app purchases as a necessary consequence of getting free apps. So, this apparently irritable option is not so bad after all.

In-app ads have many of the features that make them stand out. Any app on a user’s phone is collecting data from the device and sharing it with its server. This can include demographics, signal strength, usage time, and usage frequency. Besides, it can also use the user’s suspected interests to show the user ads of what he just searched on the internet. This puts it in a very unique position of its own; mobile marketers prefer such personalization of ads and are willing to pay as well.

Possible Implementations of In-app Ads

Unlike a website, there are rather limited possibilities of how you can add an advertisement to your app.

A.) Banner Ads

Banner ads are a very simple implementation of in-app ads where the user is shown ads in a small ribbon at the top and bottom of the screen. Consider that the app runs on an A4 sized sheet. While the actual application will run within the page margins, the ads are shown in headers and footers.

B.) Interstitial Ads

These ads are shown every now and then when the user is using the app. The majority of the time, interstitial ads are very conveniently placed as a transition between two stages or menus. When you choose to toggle among different screens or menus, you are shown a full-page that take up your entire screen.

At times, the ad closes itself while at others, the user closes it with the tiny cross on the top corners. Sometimes, it also runs short videos of 10 to 20 seconds.

C.) Rewarded Video Ads

At times app owners keep some features paid in their apps so that their premium features still have a direct source of earning but make including them as In-app purchases. However, 1-day or 3-day trials are offered or you can use them for some time but you will have to earn a certain amount of reward points by watching ads.

Take the example of the game ‘Subway Surf’. When you get caught, it offers you to use keys or watch an ad to get an escape from the cop. In such moments, users are desperate to save their game life and are willing to watch rewarded video ads.

Each of these implementations has countless ways to be included in in-app advertisements. Essentially, it depends upon the type of app and the features it offers that how a developer or mobile app owner can effectively implement the ad.

Mobile app Platforms you need for In-app Ads

99.99% of the time an app owner or developer will go for the option to include the ad slot in their app and outsource it to another platform that will keep using it as its ‘billboard’ and the app gets paid for that. While another option could be that the app owner has his own marketing function that deals with customers who want to show their ad in the app, but it is no longer a possibility today. All of the following app platforms have millions of TB of data on user behavior. It is actually the usage of this data that makes them worthy, both for a marketer and an app owner.

A. AdMob by Google

AdMob by Google is one of the most trusted platforms when it comes to in-app ad outsourcing. It is the mobile app version of Google AdWords; Google AdWords shows ads on websites. The developer includes the Google AdMob code in his app. It supports both Android and iOS and can be used to display all types of ads.

B. Facebook Audience Network

Facebook unanimously has the most data when it comes to user interests because not only collects data as time and location, it also has access to your personal life like your hobbies or hangouts. Marketers rely on this data available with Facebook to boost the performance of their campaign.

C. StartApp

There really is no need to look any further after Ad Mobs and Facebook Audience Network but if you do, try ‘StartApp’. StartApp promises a reasonable return to mobile publishers and thus, is a viable option to try.

Tips And Tricks

Including ads in your app is a very key decision but the way a developer includes them is important for both the performance of the ad and the user experience. So, keep in mind the following points when integrating an ad in your app.

i.) Be compassionate about the user experience

Think about how your user will see the ad. The ad should be in such a place that it does not annoy him and he agrees to wait for 10–15 seconds for the ad to be over. A problem generally arises when an app is flooded with ads. Anything you click shows an ad first and performs an action later. NO! These can be seriously put out by the user and they may choose to shift over to an alternative.

ii.) Be smart in your implementation

Idealize how you can increase the user’s engagement with the ad and your own app at the same time. You can couple ads with in-app purchases or with features that are limited to the paid version of your app. There is a lot to learn from in this regard from game developers just like we quoted ‘Subway Surf’ earlier.

iii.) Do not compromise on your Apps engagement

Do not implement an ad in such a place that it affects the user’s engagement with your app. Ads after an ad, video ads of an entire minute that can not be skipped, ad of a fitness app in your own fitness app; these will simply ruin your app’s engagement so consider this aspect whenever you include an ad spot in your mobile app.

Point of Balance

With over 72% of the US digital ad spends controlled by mobile it is evident mobile is winning the ad dollars. There is always a point of balance; a point where the user experience, the marketer, and the developer all are making a compromise but they all are getting something in turn, something to bear for. Try to strike is a fine balance between interests and your app and the ads in it will be outperforming in no time.

Care to share your ideas? Want to add something more? We cordially invite you to comment on your views. We will be absolutely delighted to hear what you have to say.

Note: This article first appeared at Best Practices for Implementing In-App Advertisements in your Mobile App

I live, breathe and dream mobile apps. My interest lies in pursuing and getting to know the best app development technologies, processes and platforms.

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