As mobile adoption continues to accelerate, perhaps no topic has been more widely debated or examined than how to best monetize mobile apps.
In some ways, it’s funny that we’re still trying to develop a standardized mobile ad format that appeals to app developers, advertisers and of course consumers. With more than 80 percent of time on mobile devices spent in apps, it’s more important than ever to create ads that keep consumers engaged. To do that, it’s generally understood that ads cannot disrupt the user experience.
[We’ll be discussing the intricacies of mobile user experiences at our Mobile Summit next month.]
But with advertisers constantly seeking news ways to interact with potential customers, striking a balance between those needs, consumer and developer preferences, it’s clear that satisfying all parties is a delicate process. That said, mobile advertising presents opportunities for everyone to benefit, so long as you follow these best practices.
- Keep it short. Shorter ads (15 seconds or less) do better than 30+ seconds. The average session time in many apps is less than three minutes. Users don’t want to spend a large proportion of that time in an ad.
- Give users control. Partner with an ad-serving provider who makes sound optional and permits skippable ads. Be good to your target customers.
- Pay attention to the user experience! Use the right partner to make sure your ad runs at a natural pause in the user experience. For instance, when someone is playing a game and loses a life, or between songs on a jukebox app. This way, you avoid interrupting users.
- Mix up the format. A mix of video and full-page display ads strike the best balance for users and advertisers. Videos deliver the highest eCPM. They give advertisers the chance to truly connect with consumers, and give viewers the best understanding of the product being advertised, whether it’s a game, movie or even consumer good. Full-page display ads monetize fairly well as they can be shown at natural break points within an app, and monetize nearly 100% of an app’s user base.
- Stay away from banners! Banner ads are seen as bothersome and offer a poor UX due to banner blindness and fat-finger clicking. According to eMarketer, almost 40 percent of clicks on mobile banner ads are accidental.
It’s no secret mobile is here to stay. eMarketer recently announced it expects mobile ad spend to rise 75 percent to $31.5 billion in 2014. With the flood of ad dollars pouring in, there is only going to be more demand for video inventory on the screens that people are actually paying attention to. It’s imperative for developers and advertisers to remember user experience matters above all, and to adjust their ad formats accordingly.
What other factors do advertisers and developers need to think about when it comes to creating a harmonious mobile experience for all? Join me at the VentureBeat Mobile Summit to be a part of the discussion.
Zain Jaffer is the CEO and founder of Vungle, the leading in-app video advertising platform. He was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2012 and Vungle was highlighted as one of the 15 hottest pre-IPO ad tech companies by Business Insider earlier this year.