What Are The Top Perceived Benefits of Programmatic In-App Ads?

February 15, 2019

Even though there is evidence that smartphone sales are slowing, that doesn’t appear to be the case for the app economy. In 2017, consumers downloaded 197 billion apps – a figure which is projected to grow to more than 350 billion by 2021, according to statistics cited in a recent Forrester report [download page] produced with PubMatic.

The study combines this forecast with a survey of media planning and buying professionals, who spent an average of 44.5% of their digital advertising budget on mobile channels, split equally between mobile in-app advertising (22.3%) and mobile web (22.2%).

As such, mobile budgets for these respondents command the largest share of their digital spend – a fact that shouldn’t be surprising given that two-thirds of consumers’ digital media time happens on smartphones. Despite challenges for software publishers, app engagement also appears to be up, making in-app advertising an attractive prospect for media buyers.

Buying such in-app media is often done programmatically, with 68% of the respondents saying they always include programmatic in-app advertising in their digital media plans. Ad format choice is broad too, with funds being split between social media (26%), video (26%), display (25%) and native (23%).

In terms of the perceived benefits for a programmatic approach, the largest share of respondents (56% for both in-app advertising and in-app video) pointed to its ability to provide better audience targeting. Closely following, some 54% indicated that these media provide more effective customer engagement, and around half (47% for in-app ads, 53% for in-app video) reported that they improved / optimized targeting of marketing campaigns .

Targeting also comes top of mind when buyers look at choosing a publisher, with around three-quarters (73%) citing this as their most important factor.

Advertisers appear to be pleased with the quality that in-app advertising offers. Some 86% consider in-app video to be of above-average quality, 77% feel so for in-app display, and a similar proportion (72%) find the same to be true for in-app native advertising.

That being said, buying inventory isn’t being done with complete confidence. More than half of brand-side respondents reported a fear of fraud for both in-app (52%) and in-app video advertising (57%). Agencies, meanwhile, are most concerned with viewability measurement challenges (48% for in-app ads, 44% for in-app video). As such, around half of these buyers – on both the brand-side and agency-side – list fraud and viewability verification as the most valuable action that publishers and adtech companies can provide.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: 336 media planning/buying decision makers based in the US, EMEA and Singapore were surveyed in November 2018, 74% of which had marketing budgets of $1 million or more.

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