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In the battle between the mobile web and native apps, advertisers have already declared a clear winner, at least in the US. eMarketer estimates that more than three-quarters of mobile ad spending in the US—a figure equal to $45.26 billion—will flow to native apps this year, with the balance spent on the mobile web.
But just what sort of mobile app ad formats are playing well with audiences? In Q3 2017, mobile advertising and marketing platform AdColony surveyed mobile users ages 14 and older in Europe (including some in the Middle East and Africa) and North America to find out.
It turns out mobile app users want to get something in return for watching an ad. The survey found that 40.1% of respondents deemed rewarded video ads as the most acceptable ad format, the highest rate of any ad mentioned. Playable ads, which let viewers play part of a game immediately, ranked second, considered OK by 22.4% of those polled.
But just as informative are the types of ads that viewers didn’t like. Only 12.0% had a favorable opinion of interstitial display ads. And while much attention has been paid to video ads of late, just 14.2% felt positive about pre- or mid-roll ads.
AdColony also unveiled some different sentiments toward ads and their various formats among particular age groups. For example, the acceptance of any type of native app advertisement dropped as respondents got older. While 29.8% of those ages 14 to 17 had an acceptable view of mobile ads, only 21.5% of those 35 to 44 and 20.7% of those 45 to 64 felt the same.
Similarly, while interstitial video ads and pre- and mid-roll video ads played relatively well among younger demographic groups, older consumers were less enamored with the format.
Other research has shown only a slight difference between ads served on the mobile web and on mobile apps. A May 2017 report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) found that nearly half (47%) of smartphone users worldwide who saw an advertisement in-app took some sort of action afterward, while slightly fewer (45%) who saw an ad on the mobile web did the same.
But marketers in the midst of making allocation decisions also need to consider where their audience is spending its time. eMarketer estimates that in-app activities will account for 89.2% of US adult smartphone users’ daily time spent accessing the web through smartphone this year.
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