When you advertise in mobile environments, you have the choice between doing so on the mobile web or in mobile apps. Let’s explore what might be best for your mobile campaigns.
Mobile Web and Mobile Apps: Similar Use and Ad Experience
IAB recently released some new device research – a global perspective on consumer experiences with mobile. A significant portion of the report focuses on the mobile web, mobile apps and advertising on both platforms.
Smartphone owners use mobile web and mobile apps with similar frequency across the regions and countries of the world. More than half of users access the internet with each platform once daily or more.
For daily users, about six sites or apps are accessed each day.
Users access the internet on the mobile web and in apps for a wide range of reasons.
Mobile websites are preferred for:
- Finding information
- Purchasing products and services
- Booking services
- Reading article and blogs
Mobile apps are preferred for:
- Finding locations
- Paying bills
- Online banking
- Watching short videos, TV shows and movies
- Listening to music
- Social networking
- Mobile gaming
- Making calls/video calls
- Instant messaging
Users might opt for mobile apps for more activities, but when it comes to the type of content accessed, they enjoy the mobile web as well.
The vast majority of users, as much as 90 percent, remember seeing ads on both the web and apps within the first couple of days after seeing said ads.
Nearly half of those users then acted on the ads they saw. Whether they saw the ads on the mobile web or mobile apps, they took action in almost equal measure. In North America, each platform was equally influential at 43 percent.
Specifically, users either recalled a brand or clicked on an ad. Mobile web ads prompt brand recall slightly better, while mobile app ads score a little better on ad clicks.
When IAB looked at North American user actions specifically, those actions after mobile web ad and mobile app ad exposure were in line with the global rates.
Smartphone users feel ads on both the mobile web and mobile apps have improved in terms of loading speed, relevance and creativity over the past year. However, they also feel ads are more frequent and intrusive.
Keep in mind that users still spend more time with mobile apps. According to eMarketer’s predictions, just under 90 percent of adult smartphone use time in the United States (just over two hours a day) will be spent in apps this year, while they only spend 16 minutes a day with the mobile web.
Mobile Web Ads and Mobile App Ads: Pros and Cons
We’ve seen that mobile web ads and mobile app ads are quite similar in their effectiveness. Yet, they remain two different concepts, even as spending for each doubles (see next link). App Samurai provides a side-by-side comparison to help advertisers decide which is best for their campaigns.
Mobile Web Advertising
The benefits of mobile web ads are:
- Accessibility – Users don’t have to download apps, and anyone using the internet can see mobile web ads. Responsive design scales content to fit smaller screens, allowing advertisers to concentrate on the ads themselves, rather than mobile-first design.
- Audience size – Unlike the “walled garden” of apps, the mobile web is available to anyone. The overall audience is thus significantly larger.
- Affordability – Mobile web advertising costs less than mobile app advertising because only one ad must be created to reach all types of devices.
The disadvantages of mobile web ads are:
- Competition – With that larger audience, advertisers are not reaching out to the targeted market that they are in apps. Further, web pages are likely to show more ads than are apps.
- Fraudulent traffic – In the more open mobile web environment, it’s harder to protect your ads from fraud.
Mobile App Advertsing
The benefits of mobile app ads are:
- Brand safety – When an ad is aligned with a particular app, advertisers can be confident that it will have a particular presentation style.
- Conversion rates – These more personalized apps in more targeted environments mean that engagement, and thus conversion, is more likely.
- Engagement – People come to apps intending to engage, so doing that with an ad is easier once users are inside the app.
- Limited Competition – Fewer ads are displayed in apps, so users are more open to the ones they do see. Analytics can also help to improve performance.
- Targeting options – It’s easier to learn about user preferences in an app. With location and other data, advertisers can reach a specific group.
- Visibility – Fraudulent attacks are harder to carry out in an app, so it’s more likely your ads will be seen by real people, not bots.
The disadvantages of mobile app ads are:
- Expense – All of the advantages of in-app advertising make it more expensive.
- No cookies – Not being able to tell who’s seen your ads before makes targeting more challenging.
State of Mobile Advertising
Whether you choose to advertise on the mobile web or in mobile apps, continue to weigh the pros and cons of each as the market, and the technology, grow and evolve.