Mobile advertising has become an essential part of any marketing strategy. No wonder! The numbers speak for themselves: US adults spend a lot of time on mobile—about 4 hours, 35 minutes every day, according to eMarketer’s forecast 2023. With the amount of time spent on mobile rising, marketers need to rethink how they engage with consumers. In the Digital Advertising market, 68.7% of total ad spending will be generated through mobile in 2027, according to Statista. In 2020, the average click-through rate (CTR) for mobile search ads was 3.52%, while the average CTR for mobile display ads was 0.59%, according to WordStream.
What is mobile advertising?
Mobile advertising is a form of advertising via mobile phones or other mobile devices. It is a subset of mobile marketing, mobile advertising can take place as text ads via SMS, or banner advertisements that appear embedded in a mobile web site.
Mobile advertising refers to the practice of promoting products or services through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. This form of advertising uses various types of mobile-specific ad formats, including banner ads, in-app ads, video ads, interstitial ads, and native ads, among others.
Mobile advertising can be targeted to specific demographics, locations, interests, and behaviors of mobile users, which allows advertisers to reach their target audience more effectively. It can also be tailored to fit the small screens of mobile devices and optimized for better user experience.
Mobile advertising has become increasingly popular in recent years, as mobile devices have become more prevalent and people spend more time on their smartphones and tablets. It offers a wide range of benefits to advertisers, including greater reach, more precise targeting, higher engagement rates, and better ROI.
Mobile advertising purpose and goals
The purpose and goals of mobile advertising are to reach and engage with users on their mobile devices, and to drive business results by promoting products or services effectively. The goals of mobile advertising can vary depending on the advertiser’s objectives:
- Increasing brand awareness: By using mobile ads, businesses can expose their brand to a larger audience and increase their visibility.
- Driving traffic and engagement: Mobile ads can drive traffic to a website or app and encourage users to engage with the brand.
- Boosting sales: Mobile ads can lead to direct sales by promoting products or services to potential customers.
- Retargeting: Mobile ads can be used to retarget users who have already shown interest in a brand or product, reminding them of the brand and encouraging them to make a purchase.
- Collecting data: Mobile ads can also be used to collect valuable data about users, such as their location, demographics, and behavior, which can be used to improve future marketing efforts.
Mobile advertising platforms
There are several mobile advertising platforms available that allow advertisers to run mobile ads including various targeting options, ad formats, and pricing models to reach their target audience:
- Google Ads: One of the largest mobile advertising platforms that allows advertisers to create and run various types of mobile ads on Google search, YouTube, and the Google Display Network.
- Facebook Ads: A popular mobile advertising platform that allows advertisers to create and run ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Audience Network.
- Apple Search Ads: A mobile advertising platform that allows advertisers to run ads on the App Store and increase their app downloads.
- Twitter Ads: A mobile advertising platform that allows advertisers to create and run ads on Twitter.
- AdMob: A mobile advertising platform that allows advertisers to create and run ads on mobile apps and mobile web.
- Unity Ads: A mobile advertising platform that allows advertisers to create and run ads in mobile games.
- InMobi: A mobile advertising platform that allows advertisers to create and run various types of mobile ads on mobile apps and mobile web.
- IronSource: A mobile advertising platform that allows advertisers to create and run ads in mobile games and apps.
- AppLovin: A mobile advertising platform that specializes in delivering personalized ads to users based on their interests and behavior, offering a range of ad formats, including interstitial ads, rewarded video ads, and native ads.
- Vungle: A mobile video advertising platform, offering a range of video ad formats, including rewarded video ads, full-screen video ads, and playable ads.
Mobile advertising key benefits
Mobile advertising provides a unique opportunity for advertisers to reach their target audience effectively and efficiently, and it is becoming an essential component of many businesses’ marketing strategies. Key benefits to advertisers:
- Wide reach: With the growing number of mobile devices, mobile advertising provides a broad reach to a large audience, allowing advertisers to reach potential customers wherever they are.
- Precise targeting: Mobile advertising allows advertisers to target their audience more accurately based on demographics, location, interests, behaviors, and device type, which can increase the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns.
- High engagement rates: Mobile users are more likely to engage with mobile ads than traditional ads due to the interactive nature of mobile devices. This can lead to higher engagement rates and better brand awareness.
- Cost-effective: Mobile advertising can be cost-effective as advertisers can set their budget and bid for ad placements based on their desired cost per click or cost per impression.
- Better ROI: Mobile advertising can provide better ROI compared to traditional advertising as it allows for more precise targeting and better measurement of ad performance.
- Real-time optimization: Mobile advertising allows advertisers to monitor and optimize their ad campaigns in real-time based on their performance, which can help them achieve better results and maximize their return on investment.
Mobile advertising and social media
Mobile advertising and social media are closely related, as social media platforms are primarily accessed through mobile devices and have become popular channels for mobile advertising. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat offer a range of mobile advertising options, including sponsored posts, promoted tweets, and in-app ads, among others.
Mobile advertising on social media allows advertisers to target their audience more precisely based on demographics, interests, behaviors, and location, which can increase the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns. Social media platforms also offer various ad formats, such as video ads, carousel ads, and story ads, that can be optimized for mobile devices, providing a better user experience.
Moreover, social media platforms have large user bases, making them an ideal channel for advertisers to reach a wide audience. Advertisers can also leverage social media platforms’ features such as hashtags, user-generated content, and influencer marketing to increase their brand awareness and engagement with their target audience.
Overall, mobile advertising on social media provides an effective way for advertisers to reach their target audience, increase their brand awareness, and drive conversions.
Use of AI in mobile advertising
Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used in mobile advertising to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and personalization of ad campaigns:
- Ad targeting: AI algorithms can analyze large amounts of user data, including demographics, interests, and behavior, to deliver more personalized ads to specific audiences. This can help advertisers improve the relevance and effectiveness of their ad campaigns.
- Ad optimization: AI can analyze ad performance data in real-time and make adjustments to improve performance, such as adjusting ad placement, targeting, and creative elements. This can help advertisers improve their click-through rates, conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI).
- Predictive analytics: AI can be used to analyze user data to predict future behavior, such as the likelihood of a user making a purchase. Advertisers can use this information to adjust their targeting and messaging to improve conversion rates and ROI.
- Ad fraud detection: AI can analyze ad performance data to identify patterns of fraudulent activity, such as click farms or bot traffic. Advertisers can use this information to adjust their targeting or ad delivery to avoid fraud.
- Chatbots and virtual assistants: AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can be used in mobile advertising to provide personalized customer service and support, answer questions, and make recommendations based on user behavior and preferences.
Types of mobile advertising
There are several types of mobile advertising:
- In-app advertising: This type of advertising appears within mobile applications. It can include banner ads, video ads, interstitial ads, and native ads.
- Mobile web advertising: This type of advertising appears on mobile websites. It can include banner ads, video ads, interstitial ads, and native ads.
- SMS advertising: SMS advertising involves sending promotional messages via text to mobile users.
- Push notifications: This type of advertising sends targeted messages to mobile users through push notifications, which appear on a user’s mobile device.
- Mobile search advertising: Mobile search advertising appears in mobile search results.
- Location-based advertising: This type of advertising uses a mobile device’s GPS to deliver ads relevant to a user’s location.
- Rich media ads: Rich media ads are interactive ads that include features such as video, audio, and gaming elements.
- Mobile video advertising: This type of advertising involves displaying video ads within mobile apps or on mobile websites.
- App store advertising: App store advertising involves promoting an app within an app store or through search ads.
- Mobile game advertising: This type of advertising involves displaying ads within mobile games.
- Augmented reality (AR) advertising: AR advertising involves placing ads within an augmented reality experience.
- Virtual reality (VR) advertising: VR advertising involves placing ads within a virtual reality experience.
- Native advertising: Native ads match the look and feel of the app or website they appear in, making them less intrusive and more engaging.
- Banner advertising: Banner ads are static or animated ads that appear at the top, bottom, or sides of a mobile screen.
- Interstitial advertising: Interstitial ads are full-screen ads that appear between app screens or during a natural break in mobile web browsing.
- Pop-up advertising: Pop-up ads are small ads that appear over the content a user is viewing.
- Overlay advertising: Overlay ads are ads that appear on top of content, but can be dismissed or minimized by the user.
- Click-to-call advertising: Click-to-call ads allow users to click on an ad to initiate a phone call to the advertiser.
- Click-to-download advertising: Click-to-download ads allow users to download an app directly from the ad.
- Sponsored content: Sponsored content involves creating content that is sponsored by a brand and shared on social media or other mobile channels.
Mobile advertising strategies
There are several mobile advertising strategies that businesses can use to reach their target audience effectively and maximize their return on investment. Here are some examples:
- Mobile app advertising: This strategy involves advertising within mobile apps to reach a specific audience. Businesses can use different types of mobile app ads, such as in-app banner ads, interstitial ads, native ads, and rewarded ads, to reach their target audience.
- Mobile web advertising: This strategy involves advertising on mobile websites through banner ads, interstitial ads, and other ad formats. Businesses can use targeting options such as location-based targeting and audience targeting to reach their desired audience.
- Video advertising: This strategy involves creating and promoting video ads that are optimized for mobile devices. Businesses can use different types of video ads, such as in-stream ads, out-stream ads, and in-feed ads, to reach their target audience.
- Social media advertising: This strategy involves advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, among others. Businesses can use various social media ad formats, such as sponsored posts, promoted tweets, and in-app ads, to reach their target audience.
- Mobile search advertising: This strategy involves advertising on search engines such as Google and Bing through paid search ads. Businesses can use keywords and location-based targeting to reach their target audience.
- Influencer marketing: This strategy involves partnering with influencers to promote products or services to their followers. Influencer marketing can be done through social media platforms or mobile apps.
- Retargeting: This strategy involves showing ads to users who have previously interacted with a business’s website or mobile app. Retargeting ads can be shown on social media platforms, mobile apps, or mobile websites.
Some mobile advertising best practices
Mobile advertising best practices can help businesses create effective mobile ads that engage their target audience and drive conversions. Here are some best practices to consider:
- Know your target audience: Understanding your target audience is key to creating engaging mobile ads. Consider their demographics, interests, behaviors, and preferences when creating your ads.
- Optimize for mobile devices: Ensure that your mobile ads are optimized for the smaller screen sizes of mobile devices. Use high-quality images or videos that are optimized for mobile devices, and make sure that your ad loads quickly.
- Use clear and concise messaging: Use simple, clear, and concise messaging that is easy to read and understand. Avoid using jargon or technical language that may be confusing to your target audience.
- Make it visually appealing: Use attention-grabbing visuals that are relevant to your message and that resonate with your target audience. Use contrasting colors and fonts to make your ad stand out.
- Use location-based targeting: Use location-based targeting to show your ads to people who are in close proximity to your business or who are likely to be interested in your product or service.
- Add interactivity: Incorporate interactive elements such as quizzes, polls, or games to make your ads more engaging and increase user participation.
- Use humor or emotion: Using humor or emotion in your ads can help create a connection with the viewer and make your ad more memorable.
- Include a clear call-to-action: Include a clear call-to-action (CTA) that tells the viewer what action to take, such as “Shop Now” or “Learn More.” Make sure that the CTA stands out and is easy to find.
- Test and optimize: Test different ad formats, visuals, and messaging to see what works best for your target audience. Use data and analytics to optimize your ads for maximum engagement and conversions.
- Be transparent: Be transparent about your ad targeting and data collection practices. Ensure that your ad complies with all applicable laws and regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
Mobile advertising analytics tools
Mobile advertising analytics tools are important for measuring the performance of mobile ad campaigns and optimizing them for maximum engagement and conversions. Here are some examples of mobile advertising analytics tools:
- Google Analytics: A free analytics tool that allows businesses to track and analyze website and mobile app traffic. It provides insights on user behavior, demographics, acquisition channels, and other metrics that are important for optimizing mobile ad campaigns.
- Facebook Ads Manager: A platform for creating and managing Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns. It provides real-time insights on ad performance, including impressions, clicks, and conversions.
- App Annie: A mobile app analytics platform that provides insights on app downloads, revenue, user engagement, and retention. It also provides competitive intelligence data that can help businesses benchmark their performance against their competitors.
- Mixpanel: An analytics platform that allows businesses to track user behavior in real-time. It provides insights on user engagement, retention, and conversion rates, and allows businesses to segment their audience for targeted messaging.
- Kochava: A mobile attribution and analytics platform that provides insights on app installs, engagement, and revenue. It also offers fraud prevention and optimization features that help businesses maximize the ROI of their mobile ad campaigns.
- Adjust: A mobile attribution and analytics platform that provides insights on app installs, engagement, and retention. It also offers fraud prevention and optimization features that help businesses optimize their mobile ad campaigns for maximum performance.
Mobile advertising metrics
By monitoring and analyzing these metrics, advertisers can optimize their mobile advertising campaigns to reach their desired goals and maximize their return on investment (ROI):
- Impressions: The number of times an ad is shown to users on a mobile device.
- Clicks: The number of times users clicked on an ad.
- Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of users who click on an ad after seeing it. It is calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the number of impressions and multiplying the result by 100.
- Cost per click (CPC): The amount of money an advertiser pays each time a user clicks on their ad.
- Cost per impression (CPM): The cost an advertiser pays for every 1,000 ad impressions.
- Conversion rate: The percentage of users who take a desired action after clicking on an ad, such as making a purchase or signing up for a service.
- Return on ad spend (ROAS): The revenue generated for every dollar spent on advertising. It is calculated by dividing the revenue generated by the advertising cost.
- Cost per acquisition (CPA): The cost of acquiring one customer through an ad campaign.
- Engagement rate: The percentage of users who interact with an ad, such as liking, commenting, or sharing it.
- View-through rate (VTR): The percentage of users who view an ad and then later take a desired action without clicking on the ad. This metric is often used for video ads.
- App installs: The number of times an app is installed as a result of an ad campaign.
- Lifetime value (LTV): The total revenue generated by a user over the course of their relationship with a business. This metric is often used for mobile apps and games.
- Churn rate: The percentage of customers who stop using a mobile app or service over a given period of time.
Mobile advertising benchmarks
Here are some mobile advertising benchmarks for different metrics:
- Mobile ad spending is on the rise, with global spending expected to reach $290.8 billion in 2021. (Statista)
- By 2025, mobile advertising is expected to account for 75% of all digital ad spending globally. (Statista)
- In 2020, the average click-through rate (CTR) for mobile search ads was 3.52%, while the average CTR for mobile display ads was 0.59%. (WordStream)
- Video ads are becoming increasingly popular in mobile advertising, with 65% of ad impressions on Instagram being video ads in 2021. (Social Media Today)
- In-app advertising is growing, with in-app ad spending expected to reach $201 billion by 2025. (eMarketer)
- Native ads are becoming more popular in mobile advertising, with spending on native ads expected to reach $52.75 billion in 2021. (eMarketer)
- The use of programmatic advertising in mobile is growing, with programmatic mobile ad spending expected to reach $92.4 billion by 2023. (eMarketer)
- Personalization is becoming increasingly important in mobile advertising, with 80% of consumers saying they are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences. (Epsilon)
- Click-through rate (CTR): The average CTR for mobile display ads is 0.48%. (Google)
- Cost per click (CPC): The average CPC for mobile search ads is $1.72. (WordStream)
- Cost per impression (CPM): The average CPM for mobile display ads is $2.80. (Adstage)
- Conversion rate: The average conversion rate for mobile commerce is 2.14%. (Monetate)
- Return on ad spend (ROAS): The average ROAS for mobile app install ads is 28.23. (Liftoff)
- Engagement rate: The average engagement rate for Instagram ads is 0.81%. (Hootsuite)
- View-through rate (VTR): The average VTR for mobile video ads is 23.2%. (Google)
- App installs: The average cost per install (CPI) for mobile app install ads is $2.89 for Android and $2.13 for iOS. (Liftoff)
- Lifetime value (LTV): The average LTV for mobile gaming apps is $78.50. (AppsFlyer)
Mobile Advertising stats and trends
Here are some mobile advertising stats and trends along with their sources:
- Mobile ad spending is increasing rapidly and is expected to reach $240 billion by 2022. (eMarketer)
- Mobile ad revenue accounts for approximately 75% of Facebook’s total revenue. (Statista)
- In-app advertising accounts for more than two-thirds of all mobile ad spending. (eMarketer)
- More than 60% of all e-commerce website visits come from mobile devices. (Shopify)
- Mobile video ads are becoming increasingly popular, with a 25% year-over-year increase in ad spend. (Adweek)
- Mobile ad fraud is a significant issue, with estimates suggesting that it could cost advertisers up to $87 billion by 2022. (Business of Apps)
- The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in mobile advertising is growing, with AI-powered ad targeting delivering a 60% increase in conversion rates. (Spiceworks)
- Personalization and location-based targeting are becoming increasingly important in mobile advertising, with personalized mobile ads seeing a 28% higher click-through rate than non-personalized ads. (Invesp)
- Mobile ad-blocking is on the rise, with more than 26% of smartphone users in the United States now using ad-blockers. (Statista)
The future of mobile advertising
The future of mobile advertising is likely to be shaped by a number of trends and developments e.g.:
The continued growth of mobile ad spending
As more consumers shift to mobile devices, brands are likely to continue increasing their investment in mobile advertising. This is likely to drive innovation in mobile ad formats and targeting capabilities.
The rise of immersive ad experiences
With technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality becoming more accessible, advertisers are likely to experiment with more immersive ad experiences that allow consumers to interact with products and brands in new ways.
Increased use of artificial intelligence (AI)
AI-powered ad targeting is likely to become more prevalent in the future, allowing advertisers to better understand and target specific audiences with personalized messaging.
Greater emphasis on privacy and transparency
As consumers become more aware of the data being collected about them, there is likely to be greater emphasis on privacy and transparency in mobile advertising. Advertisers will need to ensure that they are collecting data in a responsible and ethical manner, and that consumers have control over how their data is being used.
More use of video and other interactive ad formats
Video is already a popular format for mobile advertising, and is likely to become even more important in the future. Interactive ad formats, such as playable ads and quizzes, are also likely to become more prevalent as advertisers seek to engage consumers in new ways.
Visme: Types of Mobile Advertising
Infillion: The Evolution of a Mobile Ad
Influencer Marketing Hub: Internet Advertising Statistics – The Rise of Mobile and Ad Blocking
HubSpot: Digital Advertising Workbook