How to Advertise on Mobile Apps: A Guide for Agencies (2022)

Increasingly, more and more people are spending a whole lot of time in front of their smartphones instead of television sets or even desktops and laptops. Consider these figures from eMarketer:

  • People in the United Statesspend more time looking at a mobile device than a TV.
  • The typical American adult devotes more than three hours and thirty minutes a day to their mobile devices.
  • In the U.S., 90 percent of all time spent with a smartphone is spent using apps.

Brands want to be where their target audience is, so their agencies must adapt. Any brand agency worth its salt today must be able to provide its clients with a range of advertising options for reaching and targeting mobile users.

For agencies just stepping foot into the world of the app store and app developers, let this guide show you how to advertise on mobile apps so that your client see real, lasting results at scale.

As part of our ongoing Mpower Mobile Masterclass series, we’ve been traveling the country to talk to agencies just like you about all things mobile in-app advertising. If you’re interested in having a mobile ad expert stop by, drop up a line at scheduleachat@inmobi.com to schedule a session.

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How is Mobile Advertising Different from Digital Marketing?

First, before we dive into all things app, let’s take a moment to consider broadly how mobile as a format diverges from digital advertising more broadly. If digital marketing is a rectangle, mobile advertising is a square - mobile is a subset of digital.

While some of the mechanics are the same (programmatic display networks, real-time bidding, scale, etc.), in other ways the two are nothing alike. It all comes down to the form factor.

Consider how someone uses a mobile phone versus how they might use a desktop or laptop. Mobile devices don’t have a house, are navigated through scrolling, gain internet connectivity from Wi-Fi or cellular service, and have smaller screens that are typically oriented vertically. These differences affect how people interact with an ad, what they expect from it and what ad format is likely going to perform best.

For example, a playable ad that required a keyboard likely wouldn’t work well on a smartphone or tablet. On the flip side, banner ads that push app installs to promote your app (this is the kind of ad Uber might want, for instance) wouldn’t work well outside of a mobile device.

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Mobile Web Versus Mobile In-App: Is There Really a Difference?

To properly optimize your mobile ad spend for your client, it’s key to know the differences between mobile web advertising and mobile in-app advertising. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t cut it on mobile.

If you’re used to standard digital marketing, then mobile web advertising is just an extension of that environment - except on a smaller screen. Also, some of the functionality may be limited. The ads themselves will be smaller, and it’s harder for your target audience to type (i.e. fill out a form) on a smartphone, among other attributes.

To really target your desired user base, it likely makes sense to embrace the mobile in-app ads space. A mobile app advertisement is so much more powerful for a few key reasons:

  1. Apps are how people interact with their phones. The average smartphone owner utilizes at least nine apps a day and around 30 apps every month, according to numbers from App Annie, and spends the bulk of their time in apps (as opposed to in mobile web browsers).
  2. Apps provide much greater targeting capabilities. Instead of relying on cookies and JavaScript tags, SDK-enabled app inventory provides you and your clients with rich device ID data, which includes latitude and longitude, and other key identificators.
  3. Apps can better guarantee brand safety, which is especially key for household names when advertising online. While mobile web advertising can mean your clients end up in uncomfortable advertising situations, you can control which apps make the most sense for your customers and won’t put them in brand unsafe situations.

“Mobile is often oversimplified as one strategy, while in reality there needs to be two distinct approaches to design and execute a successful mobile ad campaign,” says Kayla Wilson, Head of Programmatic Client Success for the InMobi Exchange.

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How to Advertise on Mobile Apps: A Guide for Agencies (1)

How to Scale Mobile App Advertising

Hopefully, by now you’re convinced of the benefits of mobile advertising and want to provide more options for your clients. So where to begin?

First, consider if you want to run universal app campaigns, or if you’d prefer to target a specific mobile app (for example, just a Facebook ad campaign). While larger apps have a significant built-in audience, it can be hard sometimes to break through the clutter. Plus, if your clients want independently verified metrics and cost-effective ad spending, this might not be the most ideal route to take.

A campaign involving multiple apps allows you to offer scale to your clients, while also being more targeted and more focused on the bottom line. For example, let’s say a major headphones manufacturer wants to target hip-hop fans between the ages of 18 and 24. Instead of advertising on just the top 10 apps in the app store, your client may have better luck with this target audience on more niche music sites that already cater to this audience, like DatPiff and SoundCloud.

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But, is there a way to easily reach all of these apps with as minimal effort as possible? In short, yes! Let’s take a quick look at some of the key players in the mobile in-app advertising supply chain.

  • Instead of connecting to every single app, you’re much better off working with a mobile ad exchange. An ad exchange will directly connect with a wide variety of apps, often through a dedicated SDK. Imagine you’re at a fork in the road, and there’s a gap in the pavement preventing you from going forward. An ad exchange is like a bridge: through it, you suddenly gain access to many different options.
  • Don’t know which ad exchange to choose? Not sure how to work with all of them? Fear not, as this is where a demand-side platform (DSP) comes into play. DSPs already have connections with multiple ad exchanges and other sources of app inventory. By working with one or a few DSPs you can easily be ensuring that your clients’ ads appear on dozens if not hundreds of different mobile apps.
  • On top of all this will typically exist various independent tracking solutions. These third parties will help you and your clients confirm that their mobile in-app advertising were indeed successful or not. They provide peace of mind that the ads were seen by the right people.

There are a lot of terms and acronyms in the mobile advertising space, as the above guide is just scratching the surface. It can get confusing keeping track of them all. Let our guide on The Crazy Advertising Technology Landscape be of assistance!

Before beginning any mobile in-app ad campaign, be sure to choose the right partners. Ask diligent questions about how each selected vendor works, and who they work with. Make sure you have alignment on goals, and that they can actually help you and your clients meet key performance indicators.

Interested in getting started with mobile in-app advertising at scale for your clients? Be sure to go to inmobi.com/advertising-cloud/ad-exchange for more information on the InMobi Exchange, and drop us a line at inmobi.com/company/contact/ if you have any questions or want to get in touch.

FAQs

How do you advertise on mobile apps? ›

Best Practices for In-App Advertising Success
  1. Know Where Your Ads Go. ...
  2. Choose Supply Partners Wisely. ...
  3. Select Banners for Reach. ...
  4. Make an Impact With Interstitial Ads. ...
  5. Maximize Engagement With Interactive Video Ads. ...
  6. Gain High-Quality Conversions With Rewarded Video Ads.

What are the best ways to promote an app? ›

How to Market an App
  1. Implement a search engine optimization strategy. ...
  2. Purchase search ads. ...
  3. Implement an app store optimization strategy. ...
  4. Run paid promotions in app stores. ...
  5. Employ social media marketing. ...
  6. Create a content marketing plan. ...
  7. Hire influencers. ...
  8. Hire marketing strategists or a PR team.
Feb 10, 2022

How do you create a marketing plan for a mobile app? ›

How to Build a Marketing Plan for Your Mobile App
  1. Know Your Audience.
  2. Build a Website.
  3. App Store Optimization (ASO)
  4. Create a Content Marketing Strategy.
  5. Go for Paid Ads.
  6. Track and Test – Everything.
Dec 20, 2018

How do you convince someone to download an app? ›

14 Smart Marketing Tactics to Encourage App Downloads
  1. Market Your App Up Front. ...
  2. Make Your App Vitally Important. ...
  3. Send Them a Text Message About It. ...
  4. Offer an Insightful Look at Your Brand. ...
  5. Give Incentives for Downloading. ...
  6. Prioritize the Mobile Experience. ...
  7. Write a Blog Post About It. ...
  8. Make It Well-Designed and User-Friendly.
Mar 16, 2017

How does advertising on an app work? ›

Mobile app advertising allows app developers to make money through ads delivered inside of their mobile apps. These ads are served through a mobile ad network –– a platform that connects developers and advertisers.

What is the best advertising platform? ›

For now, though, here are 18 of the best paid advertising platforms out there.
  • Google Ads. It should be no surprise that Google Ads is first on our list, as it's essentially the king of paid advertising platforms. ...
  • Bing Ads. ...
  • 3. Facebook Ads. ...
  • Instagram Ads. ...
  • Twitter Ads. ...
  • LinkedIn Ads. ...
  • Pinterest Ads. ...
  • Amazon Ads.
Oct 29, 2020

How can I promote my app without money? ›

10 Ways to Market Your Mobile App Without Spending Money
  1. Identify Your App's Targeted Users. ...
  2. Launch an SEO-Optimized WordPress Website. ...
  3. Market on Twitter. ...
  4. Promote on Facebook. ...
  5. Spread Message on Linkedin. ...
  6. YouTube/Video Marketing. ...
  7. Press Releases. ...
  8. Creative Visual Ideas.
May 28, 2019

How do I launch an app campaign? ›

Here are ten tips to help you in launching your first mobile app marketing campaign.
  1. Build an app that's genuinely useful and free of snags. Before you think about marketing your app (or even making it), it's critical you get the basics right. ...
  2. Create a detailed strategy. ...
  3. Optimize your app store listing.

How do you market an app 2022? ›

17 App Marketing Strategies That Still Work in 2022
  1. Creating your app's explainer video. ...
  2. Pitch to relevant content creators and influencers. ...
  3. Connect with app review companies. ...
  4. Master app store optimization. ...
  5. Do your target market research. ...
  6. Conduct competitor analysis. ...
  7. Do contests and giveaways. ...
  8. Open a Youtube channel.
Jan 26, 2022

What is mobile app strategy? ›

A mobile application development strategy is the easiest way to make sure that your mobile app achieves what it's built for. Following a comprehensive mobile app strategy helps save time and money spent on needless features, programming, and upgrades.

How do you make an app go viral? ›

This is the secret to viral growth.
  1. Social Media Sharing / Social Capabilities. ...
  2. Ask For Reviews. ...
  3. Contextual Deep Linking. ...
  4. Referrals. ...
  5. Gamification. ...
  6. The Hooked Model. ...
  7. Push Notifications. ...
  8. Build a Remarkable Product.

How many downloads does it take to be successful app? ›

Once you have 1000 downloads, you're better off than 67.8% of all apps. That's huge. And once you hit 1000 active users, you're better off than 85.7% of all apps. Again, that's huge.

Why brands should advertise in apps? ›

For any advertiser looking to engage consumers on mobile, in-app is key. Additionally, in-app offers advertisers more high impact formats that provide 100% share of voice, over mobile web. These formats generate greater viewability and brand awareness.

How much does it cost to advertise on a mobile app? ›

On average a PR agency would charge an app developer or a brand $100 – 300 / hour for media outreach. Tapping into the power of Influencer Marketing is one of the recent trends for many industries and app industry is one of them.

What is in-app promotion? ›

What is in-app marketing? In-app marketing is any message or marketing campaign that's designed to be displayed to your customers while they're inside and actively using your app. In-app marketing allows businesses to use real-time and personalized messages to help engage, retain and upsell customers to new products.

What are 4 types of advertising? ›

Types of advertising
  • Newspaper. Newspaper advertising can promote your business to a wide range of customers. ...
  • Magazine. Advertising in a specialist magazine can reach your target market quickly and easily. ...
  • Radio. ...
  • Television. ...
  • Directories. ...
  • Outdoor and transit. ...
  • Direct mail, catalogues and leaflets. ...
  • Online.
May 11, 2022

Which app is used for advertisement? ›

AdMob is among the most commendable advertising platforms presently available. It is sometimes referred to as 'the child of a search engine giant, Google'.

Which are the most popular forms of mobile advertising? ›

Video Ads. Video ads are becoming the most popular form of mobile advertising. These ads are used more often in recent years due to how they catch the user's attention; they often begin with a short clip preview of the ad, then play the full content once the user is watching.

How do I spread my app? ›

Mobile App Marketing 101: How to Spread the Word About Your App
  1. Make your press kit pop. ...
  2. Build an enticing microsite. ...
  3. Create a teaser or giveaway campaign. ...
  4. Keep content fresh. ...
  5. Build hype. ...
  6. Ask customers for feedback.

How do I advertise my app on Google? ›

Instructions
  1. Sign in to Google Ads.
  2. In the page menu on the left, click Campaigns.
  3. Click the plus button , then select New campaign.
  4. For your campaign goal, select App promotion.
  5. For your “Campaign subtype,” pick between App installs and App engagement.
  6. Select your app's platform.

Where else can I advertise my business for free? ›

How to advertise your business for free
  • Create a Nextdoor profile. ...
  • Sign up for Google My Business. ...
  • Claim a Bing Places profile. ...
  • Get listed on Yellow Pages. ...
  • Update your White Pages listing. ...
  • Claim a Yelp business page. ...
  • Sign up for Angie's List. ...
  • Claim a Foursquare listing.
Feb 5, 2021

How can I promote my Android app? ›

8 Great Ways To Promote An Android App
  1. Follow Android Design Principles. ...
  2. Set Up Android Beta Testing. ...
  3. Enable Feedback Channels. ...
  4. Make Good Use Of ASO. ...
  5. Use Social Media Marketing. ...
  6. Find A Social Media Influencer. ...
  7. Get Featured On Android Related Media. ...
  8. Create Referral Campaigns.
Aug 9, 2017

How does app store optimization work? ›

App store optimization is the process of optimizing mobile apps to rank higher in an app store's search results. The higher your app ranks in an app store's search results, the more visible it is to potential customers. That increased visibility tends to translate into more traffic to your app's page in the app store.

How do you write a mobile strategy? ›

4 Steps To Creating a Mobile App Development Strategy
  1. Establish the user profile. ...
  2. Define the data to be made available through the mobile app. ...
  3. Design the data security protocol. ...
  4. Decide how to leverage the data generated by the mobile app to make business decisions.

What are the elements of an app? ›

6 Necessary Elements For Designing A Perfect Mobile App User...
  • Color.
  • Font.
  • Icons.
  • Illustrations.
  • Brand Design.
  • Navigation.
Aug 3, 2017

How is mobile app developed? ›

Hence, the mobile development process involves creating installable software bundles (code, binaries, assets, etc.) , implementing backend services such as data access with an API, and testing the application on target devices.

What kind of apps make most money? ›

Profitable App Categories Worth Considering
  • Music and Video Streaming Apps. Music and video streaming applications were able to solidify their leading positions amongst non-gaming revenue leaders. ...
  • Dating Applications. ...
  • Social Media and Messengers. ...
  • Health and Fitness Apps. ...
  • Gaming Industry.

How do I create an app and make money? ›

Create a mobile App in 10 minutes and make money from it - YouTube

How much money can an app make? ›

Startup entrepreneurs that have an Android app earn about $97,600 per year on average. Android is a widely used platform which has growing market penetration. As for average ios app revenue, startup entrepreneurs here will earn roughly $96,600 per year on average.

What are 5 characteristics that make a good app? ›

  • 10 Key Characteristics of a Successful Mobile App for Every Business. ...
  • Simplicity for the End-User. ...
  • Both iOS and Android Must Be Covered. ...
  • High Performance. ...
  • Security. ...
  • Offline Work. ...
  • Regular Updates. ...
  • Personalization.

Why do most apps fail? ›

A poor user experience is one of the biggest reasons why apps fail. There are a lot of components involved in building an app that offers a great user experience. At a base level, your app needs to be intuitive.

Which app category is most popular? ›

As of the second quarter of 2022, gaming apps were the most popular app category in the Google Play Store, accounting for 13.63 percent of available apps worldwide. Mobile education apps ranked second with a 10.44 percent share.

How much does it cost to advertise on mobile apps? ›

On average a PR agency would charge an app developer or a brand $100 – 300 / hour for media outreach. Tapping into the power of Influencer Marketing is one of the recent trends for many industries and app industry is one of them.

How do I advertise my app for free? ›

Here are a few simple ways on how to promote your app for free:
  1. Find Influencers & Do Guest Post Blogging. ...
  2. Power of Hashtags. ...
  3. Get More Reviews. ...
  4. ASO - App Store Optimization. ...
  5. Link To Other Apps. ...
  6. Try Simple Print Marketing. ...
  7. Create Bookmarking Links. ...
  8. The Power of Forums.
Dec 14, 2017

How can I promote my app without money? ›

10 Ways to Market Your Mobile App Without Spending Money
  1. Identify Your App's Targeted Users. ...
  2. Launch an SEO-Optimized WordPress Website. ...
  3. Market on Twitter. ...
  4. Promote on Facebook. ...
  5. Spread Message on Linkedin. ...
  6. YouTube/Video Marketing. ...
  7. Press Releases. ...
  8. Creative Visual Ideas.
May 28, 2019

How do I advertise an app on my iphone? ›

Promote an app with Apple Search Ads Basic
  1. Get started in just a few simple steps.
  2. Choose the app you want to promote. From the menu on your account dashboard, choose the app you want to promote. ...
  3. Choose countries and regions. ...
  4. Add your monthly budget. ...
  5. Define your maximum cost-per-install (max CPI).

How much money does an app with 1 million downloads make? ›

1,000,000*0.05 = $50,000 per day.

What does CPM stand for? ›

CPM (cost per mille) is a paid advertising option where companies pay a price for every 1,000 impressions an ad receives. An “impression” refers to when someone sees a campaign on social media, the search engines or another marketing platform.

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