Mobile in-app: Why advertisers shouldn’t miss the opportunity

Mar 26, 2020 | Articles

Despite the convulsive days that people and markets are currently going through, we have good news. 45.12% of the world’s population owns a smartphone. This translates into 3.5 million smartphone users across the world that keep downloading and using apps. Moreover, app usage and smartphone penetration are still growing at a steady rate, without any signs of slowing down in the near future. In fact, according to eMarketer, worldwide mobile ad spending will hit $402 billion in 2023.

That the average number of apps used continues to increase is excellent news because app users visit, on average, 3 times more pages per session than mobile web users. This means that the engagement rate is higher in-app compared to mobile web, mainly because the mobile app user experience is superior to mobile web for content, as well as for advertising. In fact, eMarketer predicts this year 85% of mobile ad dollars will be spent on mobile in-app inventory and many US media buyers are already shifting their spend. 

In the US, the average American checks their phone every 12 minutes, 10% of people do it once every four minutes and 90% of mobile time is spent on apps. These are powerful reasons for the in-app advertising activity to keep growing, reaching $77 billion in the US over the past year, as estimated by eMarketer. 

  • Mobile apps are expected to generate $189 billion in revenue by 2020.
  • The Apple App Store has 2.2 million apps available for download.
  • There are 2.8 million apps available for download on the Google Play Store.
  • 21% of Millennials open an app 50+ times per day.
  • 49% of people open an app 11+ times each day.
  • 57% of all digital media usage comes from mobile apps.
  • The average smartphone owner uses 30 apps each month.

App-ads.txt and in-app header bidding, as well as the IAB’s Open Measurement SDK, improved viewability and transparency, key issues in the industry. These initiatives, that took place in 2019, along with the upcoming roll out of 5G this year, will certainly boost in-app mobile ads.

Also the market now includes video, outstream, and native formats, that improve experience, since the ads can tap into the native features of smartphones. This level of innovation, as well as the fact that in-app advertising can leverage device-IDs, makes it possible for advertisers to reach a higher level of personalization and targeting accuracy.

These are all factors that clearly contribute to the changes that we are currently experiencing. The best example is probably the retail industry, where the cookie restrictions in web environments are increasingly pushing marketers and advertisers toward in-app advertising. 

Coronavirus might speed up this shift from offline to online too, reinforcing the role of in-app advertising and therefore, its growth. Since mobile apps are basically immune to ad blocking, this type of advertising presents many advantages.

Apart from this, with the average US consumer spending more than three hours a day with mobile apps and more than 42 minutes with mobile video in 2020, budgets in video advertising will shift away from web browsers to in-app. 

However this is a trend worldwide. Over 2B users will watch videos on mobile devices this year (mostly in-app) and according to several researches, mobile video is expected to represent 79% of mobile data traffic by 2022. 

Forecasts predict an imparable growth of OTT video, as well as gaming and now, pushed by coronavirus, also e-commerce, delivery services and utility. So, despite recent restrictions regarding data privacy and other issues the industry is still working on, advertisers now have a golden opportunity with in-app.