Mar 17th 2021

Mobile Ad Best Practices for Publishers & Advertisers

These mobile advertising best practices drive revenue and conversions across every app category.

Mobile advertising is a vital part of any comprehensive growth strategy. In 2020, mobile ad spending continued to grow and will exceed $90 billion in the U.S. alone. The mobile market is also more crowded and competitive than ever before. Publishers and advertisers alike must adhere to mobile ad best practices to drive revenue while ensuring the best possible end user experience.

In this post, we’ll explore some of the mobile ad strategies that best serve publishers and advertisers, regardless of their app category or target audience.

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Mobile ad best practices for advertisers
Identify your audience
Choose the right ad format
Be concise with your messaging
A/B test your ad creative
Refresh your creative periodically
Mobile ad best practices for publishers
Strategic ad placements
Consider rewarded video ads
A/B test your ad placements
Disable ads for paying users
Choose the right mobile advertising partner

Mobile ad best practices for advertisers

Identify your audience

One of the most important things you can do as a mobile advertiser is to identify your target audience and the means of reaching them. Start by asking the right questions: Are you trying to acquire boomers, millennials, or Gen Z users? Are these users parents or teachers? What is their average income?

From there, advertisers need to segment their audience and drill deeper into their app habits. Consider what devices they own, which app categories they favor, and even which ad formats they prefer. Beyond uncovering audience insights, this exercise will enable you to target the most valuable user segments—those who will not only engage with your ad but convert into full-fledged paying users.

Researching your audience can be challenging, particularly in light of Apple’s IDFA policies and the restrictions they’ll impose on the ecosystem’s ability to gather audience data. The mobile industry will need to adjust its practices surrounding personal identifiers. Even so, precise segmentation is far from impossible. Ad partners like Vungle can leverage contextual data for targeting while ensuring user privacy.

Choose the right ad format

Different audiences have different expectations for mobile ads, so it’s crucial to select formats that align with their preferences. Some users may find banners distracting and favor rewarded video. Meanwhile, others may prefer ads that take up little screen real estate without disrupting their experience. You will find no “silver bullet” format that resonates with all audiences, especially if you’re targeting multiple regions. Instead, a mobile ad best practice is to develop creative in various formats and test what works. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind during this process:

  • Because they leverage sight, sound, and motion, mobile video ads are usually the highest-performing format, although advertisers can optimize them in various ways. Some users prefer longer, narrative videos, while others prefer quick soundbites.
  • Playable ads are interactive experiences that let users preview app features or play a branded minigame. These ads are a good fit for targeting a gamer audience or showcasing your product’s entertainment value. For example, hyper-casual developers often use playables to promote their mobile games.
  • Mobile banners are highly effective if you’re targeting a segment that is already aware of your brand. All they need is a small hint to trigger recognition. Similarly, banner ads are ideal if your target audience is short on time. For instance, a busy parent may be reluctant to sit through a video ad, but a banner ad could prove the value of your offering.

Mobile ad formats

Be concise with your messaging

The amount of time and display space available for mobile advertising is limited, so advertisers must make the most of what they have. For banners, this practice will mean using concise copy that doesn’t overwhelm the small display size. For videos, make your point in 15 seconds before displaying an end card. Keep your messaging simple and leave in-depth details for when a user decides to click on the ad for more information. Finally, don’t forget about a call to action that directs users to the next stage.

A/B test your ad creative

Whatever format you choose, be sure to conduct A/B tests of your creative.

Refresh your creative periodically

Even the best advertising campaign will see creative fatigue if users see it too frequently. Over time, ad fatigue leads to decreasing conversions or completions, or even a corresponding increase in advertising costs. The best way to combat this challenge is to periodically refresh your ads with new creative that will keep brands fresh in customer minds. Consider implementing your new ads as A/B tests among existing creative before expanding your scope.

Mobile ad best practices for publishers

Strategic ad placements

Publishers can design an app from the ground up, but they have limited control when it comes to which third-party advertisements will ultimately appear in-app. What they can do is strategically place ads in locations that will have the most significant impact. Here are a few mobile ad best practices that can guide your monetization efforts:

  • Advertisements perform well when they do not negatively impact the user experience.
  • Banner ads do not disrupt the user experience when positioned at the top or bottom of a mobile device.
  • Publishers can integrate MRECs as breakpoints within articles, blog posts, and content feeds. Alternatively, consider integrating MRECs as interstitials.
  • Full-screen interstitials such as video and playable ads are high-performing formats within mobile game categories.

Consider rewarded video ads

There are many ways to enhance the value of ad placements beyond format and location. Perhaps the most potent example is rewarded ads—a format that rewards virtual currency and other bonuses for engaging with ads or watching videos to completion. Studies consistently show that rewarded placements increase clicks and conversions while driving more revenue for publishers. Mobile game publishers tend to see the highest returns from rewarded video ads, but other non-gaming apps with virtual currencies or membership point rewards can also benefit.

A/B test your ad placements

Publishers don’t need to test ad creative, but it’s still a good idea to experiment with everything else. Conduct A/B tests on formats and placements and keep an eye on which user segments respond to each change. When publishers run rewarded ads, this step can maximize the impact of high-performing ad placements.

Disable ads for paying users

In-app advertising is a lucrative monetization technique, but it is not the only option. Many publishers adopt some combination of mobile ads, in-app purchases, and subscriptions to maximize their revenue. If you take this route, consider disabling advertisements for paying users, particularly those registered for a subscription service. This approach lets users self-select their preferred “payment” method and choose how they wish to engage with content.

Do note there are exceptions to this best practice—since rewarded ads are already opt-in, advertisers do not need to disable them alongside other placements. Users who engage with rewarded ads are more likely to complete an in-app purchase.

Choose the right mobile advertising partner

Perhaps the most vital element of your mobile advertising and monetization strategy is choosing a partner who can help you navigate the space. That’s where Vungle comes in. We’re a mobile ad tech platform with complete in-app solutions that highlight quality and performance above all else. Our team can support you with all mobile monetization elements, from enhancing the in-app ad experience to acquiring your highest-value users. Get in touch with us today for more details.

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