No Angry Users: The Real Deal on Smarter Mobile Advertising

No Angry Users: The Real Deal on Smarter Mobile Advertising


There are 3.65 billion unique mobile users around the world. In the US alone, there are 200 million mobile phone users. Imagine–these people are your targets for the ads you publish on your app. Getting 1% of them to click your ad once is already 2 million views.


But we know that getting clicks is not as easy as that. While placing ads is a proven way to earn as an app publisher, it won’t work unless you have an effective ad strategy. As you know, it’s a challenge to gauge user engagement in advertising campaigns–both offline and digital, and marketers continue to find ways of measuring the success of an ad campaign.


For mobile ads, a common metric used is the click-through rate or the CTR. It measures how often users click your ads against the number of times they see it. The higher your CTR, the better your ad strategy is. Here’s the simple way to compute your CTR:




As a publisher using ads to monetize your app, it’s a given that you always want to improve your CTR. Now, the question is how? We think a big factor is smart ad placement strategy.


The aim of a smart ad placement strategy is finding the right combination of commanding the user’s attention, their inclination to click the ad, and not angering them.


Location. Location. Location.


There are two areas to consider when crafting an ad placement strategy:


  • Attention: Did the user notice the ad?
  • User Experience (UX): Did the user get annoyed?


In this article, we will explore the different placements of ads within an app, what type of ads they are and how they fare as far as attention and UX go.


Native ads, the smartest format


Considered to be the future of mobile marketing, native ads get fantastic CTRs almost as high as the app’s feature content. Native ads blend in with mobile apps as their designs are tested to match the in-app interface. Native ads register as much as eight times the CTR of banner ads.

This is the whole idea behind native ads: Many users are unable to tell them apart from in-app content. Users click, click and click.

08O7rON.png?3 GQ0MQxa.jpg thinks that native ads will top in-app ad spending in 2017 at $5 billion. The Online Publishers Association also reported that almost three-quarters of publishers use native ads.

It’s almost foolproof and it works–making it a rapid-growing ad format choice.

Unfortunately, not all apps can support native ads. They turn to other formats for advertising. They do this by optimizing the ads according to their app’s interface and other factors such as gameplay (if it’s a game) and transitions.


Here are the other formats:


Interstitial ads


The moment a user opens your app, a full-screen ad is ready to say hello. This is the interstitial ad. It is the full-screen ad displayed in natural transition points throughout the user’s experience with an app. Because of its size, interstitial ads defeat the biggest limitation of mobile advertising: space.

Interstitial ads also ask users to close the ad before continuing their app experience. This brings the format to an industry average of 5.7% CTR. It responsible for 70% of mobile ad revenue.

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This characteristic of the interstitial ad also gives it a disadvantage. Many users are irritated by interstitial ads hindering them from getting to their desired destination. Placing too many interstitial ads on your app kills UX, causing a significant number of users to click out.


Rich Media Ads


Rich media ads contain images or video and compel the user to interact with the ad. These ads are either videos, audio, animations or request for tap interaction. Some ads of this type also allow the user to add a calendar event, send a text message, call phones, save pictures and more customizable user interactions the developer is free to make. This type has a higher rate of engagement compared to other ad types. Video ads alone register a CTR of 8.78%.


They also appear between transitions or after a level of interaction in-app, filling lull in the UX. This contributes to the ad’s high CTR.


Banner Ads


Banner ads are the horizontal strips of advertising usually displayed at the top or bottom of the in-app screen. This is the go-to format for publishers due to being cost-effective and easy to make. They provide good UX because they don’t get in the way of the user as they navigate and use your app.


But the question is: are users clicking your ads?

Banner ads are so small especially on the small screen of a mobile device, making them less compelling for the users to click on. They have very low engagement rates registering an industry average of 0.23% CTR. Banner ads are good if you’re after impressions, but not really good in engaging your users. Many publishers push the limits set on refresh rates to maximize the gains on a banner. It’s becoming increasingly ineffective and fewer publishers are pouring money on this format.

Banner ads are not smart ads.


App lists

App lists are smart ads. They actually respond to a user’s request, an experience the user genuinely enjoys. By suggesting ads and other products which are similar to what the user is currently using, They usually appear at the end of a level or an app process, working like user recommendations. App Walls register a high CTR of 7.57%. They are the least disruptive of all ads, a big reason why they have a high conversion rate.


For smarter mobile advertising, here are our further recommendations:



Placing the ads in the way of UX can result to high CRT upon launch, but this is not a sustainable route. Place ads in natural transitions within your app–after the user has used an actual feature of the app. For games, a good time to place ads is between levels. Placing an ad before the beginning of the game only compromises the possibility of the user actually playing your game.


Displaying your ads frequently is not a problem–ads should appear enough number of times for your ad strategy to work. If the ad appears more often, there is a bigger chance of users clicking it. But remember to be reasonable with the number. Figuring out this number depends on your apps average session time. For gaming app where the session time is much shorter, you can set your frequency cap at every minute.


Ad refresh rate

If you have dedicated space on your app just for advertising, keep in mind that you need to change the ad content every so often. You wouldn’t want a chased UX, an experience that frustrates many users. Depending on the app type, we find that an interval of half a minute to two minutes works best.


Looking for smarter ways

At AdtoApp, we combine all these formats in a single mediation SDK. You’ll have access to more than 20 networks in over 178 countries, allowing you to mix strategies using various ads and ad formats to always reach 100% fill rate.

We are living in a world run by mobile connectivity. As publishers, you are in the position to take advantage of this situation. With an expected 75% rise in mobile spending, there is only going to be a bigger market and bigger demand as the months roll in. It’s time for publishers, markets and developers to improve user experience while keeping apps profitable. If the movers of the industry are all-in on this movement, it’s going to be a win-win situation for both clients and publishers.




Listen to advice from marketing giants like Glu, Wooga, Busuu and Supersonic through our AppinTop PODCAST where we discuss the trends and issues about mobile marketing.
For more practical answers and use cases, come join us at our monthly WEBINAR.


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