It’s widely known that apps offer a very different consumer experience to that provided by standard mobile web, and that difference of experience definitely applies to advertising too. We can go further than this and say that apps offer media planners and brands a unique set of qualities and features that mobile web cannot. In this post we’ll examine whether different equates to better, by looking at a few of those qualities and the associated benefits for advertisers.




Apps provide a very specific set of circumstances for the advertiser. Unlike your average mobile web ad, the brand can be confident of precisely what will be seen before, during and after their ad. And we know how important the right context is to the success of an advert.


No cookies


Cookies are the meat and veg of the non-mobile internet ad industry, as they help us to monitor and serve consumers with messages that are appropriate to their search/browsing history. There is, however, far less reliance on one browser on mobile (as compared to desktop/laptop internet use). The fragmented behaviour seen on mobile devices (from browser to app to different app), makes data collection very hard to pin down and appropriate ads much harder to deliver. The upshot is that mobile web ads, as seen on browsers, tend to be inappropriate and, as a result, pretty irritating.


Apps are part of this fragmented world. Their own data collection is ‘sandboxed, as the majority of apps haven’t typically shared information with each other, and since scope of detail is needed to provide the necessary granularity to the industry, this has been an issue. However, individual apps do collect a huge amount of data, are opt-in by nature (as opposed to cookies) and lately, thanks to the bundles of apps offered by ever larger (and fewer) networks of publishers, are able to provide the sort of detail we need to reach the right audience, at the right time.


Ad Blocking


Do you run an ad blocker on your mobile device? The odds are increasingly likely. Circumventing this has proved to be a tricky issue for the industry, as (noted above) the ads served are often inappropriate and ad blocking is a very convenient answer for the user.


Apps are able to circumvent this. When you enter the fenced in world of the app, you have chosen to enter under certain conditions. Getting served ads is often one of those conditions. As a result many in the industry, people like Chad Gallagher, director of mobile at AOL, see in-app ads as the saviour of mobile:


“In-app mobile ad spend is really the future of the mobile advertising category. Considering that people with access to a smartphone or tablet now spend an average of three hours on them per day and 84 percent of all smartphone time is spent in-app, in-app engagement is increasingly critical for brands, advertisers, marketers, and agencies.”


App use has increased dramatically in the last few years. And, as the ad industry catches up with this shift of how we use our phones and tablets, we predict ever more bundles (of both apps and the data they provide) from publishers, an amalgamation that help to make in-app ads the dominant mobile format of the near future.


By Oliver Brown