This sponsored post is produced by Facebook’s Audience Network.
Remember when clicks ruled digital advertising? Once upon a time CTR (click-through rate) was the industry’s king metric, helping determine the success and effectiveness of display ad campaigns. And click people did — what’s considered the first banner ad in the history of online advertising appeared in 1994 and boasted an average, whopping CTR of 44 percent. Fast forward to 2015, and you’ll find the Internet average CTR is about 0.1 percent. And of course all of this is on desktop.
Today, as media consumption increasingly shifts to mobile, advertising spend is following — eMarketer expects mobile ad spend to top $100 billion worldwide in 2016, accounting for 51 percent of digital ad spend. This is opening up the proverbial revenue floodgates for mobile app developers and publishers, as they now have the opportunity to monetize with in app ads and capture a chunk of that shifting advertiser spend. But for developers to optimize their ads business and command high CPMs (cost-per-thousand impressions) they need to prove to advertisers that their in app ad placements are driving real results — not just clicks, but actual conversions. They also need to find ways to drive said results without compromising the experience of their users.
Those deceptive accidental clicks
A conversion rate can be defined as the percentage of users who take a desired action. For mobile ads, it could be installing an app or completing some sort of purchase. Click-through rates on mobile devices have actually been higher than on desktop and tablets according to a report from Marin Software, but the case is not the same for conversion rates.
One of the reasons why CTR on mobile devices is higher is due to what can be classified as unintentional clicks. A study from the Online Publisher’s Association suggests that as many as 50 percent of clicks on mobile ads are accidental.
Chances are you’ve played a game on your smartphone before where you use buttons on the screen as your controls, maybe to move a character or spin a wheel. And it’s likely that at some point, you’ve been trying to play your game and accidentally clicked on an ad that was in close proximity to a control button. You then — between groans of frustration — quickly try to navigate back to the game. This is classified as an unintentional click and contributes to an inflated average CTR for mobile ads.
Going after true conversion
While it’s difficult to distinguish just how many clicks on an ad are intentional versus unintentional, there are clear ways that mobile app developers can do their part to help drive intentionality and conversions for advertisers.
Inarguably the most important consideration is design. Smartphone screens offer limited real estate, making it crucial for developers to thoroughly evaluate and test their ad placements. Putting the same ad in different positions within the app and analyzing clicks in relation to conversions can be helpful in determining whether users are really interested or just accidentally clicking. Usually the closer an ad is to an app’s control buttons the higher the amount of unintentional clicks. A best practice is to try to place ads away from action buttons or any part of the screen that the user is going to be interacting with a fair amount.
Native ads, defined as an ad format that usually match the look and feel of the app, also help drive intentionality and CPMs. Cheetah Mobile is a great example of this. With native ads that align with the design of their Clean Master app, they were able to serve ads without disrupting their users’ operational flow. A Facebook’s Audience Network case study found this led to higher engagement and retention rates among users, as well as increases in CPMs.
Another key factor in driving conversions is accurate targeting. Advertisers want to reach the right audience with the right message at the right time. App developers want to ensure that ads aren’t hindering the user experience and increasing attrition rate. To address the needs of both parties, it’s imperative that users see relevant, visually pleasing ads — which is accomplished through advanced people-based targeting. The best example of this is Facebook’s Audience Network, which uses the same powerful people-based targeting that’s used to serve ads on Facebook.com to help over 2 million advertisers reach their target audience in other mobile apps. This enables developers to serve more applicable ads to people using their app and can improve time spent.
By keeping these considerations in mind, app developers can not only their increase ad revenue, but position themselves to appeal to advertisers and the new reigning metric of conversions.
Evan Piwowarski is Product Marketing Manager at Facebook’s Audience Network.
To learn more about driving intentionality and mobile ad revenue, check out Facebook’s Audience Network.
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