Both Facebook application users and smartphone app users show a strong preference for free apps that are ad supported, as opposed to paid apps that contain no advertising, details MediaBrix in August 2012 survey results. An overwhelming 87% of Facebook app users surveyed prefer free apps, with the vast majority (83%) of those users favoring keeping them free through relevant ads appearing during breaks in the game or app, rather than through in-app purchases. Smartphone owners are not quite as clear-cut on their choice of app monetization strategy, although a clear majority (61%) prefer free mobile apps as opposed to paid apps without advertising. Of those that prefer free apps, a resounding 88% favor keeping them free via relevant advertising rather than through in-app purchases.
A January report from IHS estimated that 96% of all smartphone apps were downloaded for free in 2011, while an April 2012 report from Tapjoy found smartphone and tablet app users estimating roughly half of the apps they use to be ad-supported. Encouragingly for these advertisers, 70% of 18-24-year-old app users and 66% of 25-34-year-old app users reported having ever seen an ad within a mobile app, with half of the latter group claiming to have clicked on one of the ads.
App Users Want Interactive Ads
Details from the MediaBrix report suggest that social and mobile developers will have an easier time monetizing immersive ads than standard banner ads. 72% of the Facebook app users said they would prefer to see immersive and interactive ad units, compared to just 28% who would prefer the standard banner ads. Smartphone owners display a similar attitude, with 60% preferring the immersive and integrated ads.
The study defines immersive and and integrated ads to “include those that offer people virtual rewards or currency and interactive video ads that occur during natural breaks in the app or game.”
According to the Tapjoy report, among mobile app users who recalled having seen ads in mobile apps, 89% recalled seeing a small banner ad, compared to 42% who reported having seen an ad that took over their entire screen momentarily, and 40% who recalled seeing an ad popping up as a notification, asking for a download or rating.
Pre-Roll Video Ads Out of Favor
Meanwhile, further details from the MediaBrix report show that Facebook and smartphone app user preferences are moving away pre-roll video ads. 63% of Facebook app users prefer to initiate a video themselves or be shown the video during a break in the game or app, compared to the remaining 37% who favor being shown pre-roll ads. Smartphone app user preferences line up almost exactly the same, at 62% versus 38%.
- 1 in 3 survey respondents using Facebook said they had used an app on the social network in the previous 12 months.
- 65% of Facebook app users reported having played a game on Facebook in the past 12 months.
About the Data: Harris Interactive conducted an online survey in the US on behalf of MediaBrix from July 23-25, 2012 among 2,236 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.